The Killer Klowns From Outer Space title screen.
Image via IllFonic Publishing

Killer Klowns From Outer Space: The Game Review — Nostalgia Over Scares

Killer Klowns is a faithful adaptation, but nostalgia cannot compensate for lacking features that other asymmetrical horrors do better.

Killer Klowns from Outer Space: The Game is IllFonic’s video game adaptation of the 1988 movie of the same name. The game is classified as an asymmetric horror, meaning two different-sized teams with opposing goals try to win a match. There have been several video game adaptations of famous horror movies in this genre, so you might wonder if it’s worth playing.

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Source Material Recreation

Killer Klowns from Outer Space title screen from the movie.
Image via MGM Studios and Amazon

Whenever I play a video game adaptation of a popular horror movie like Killer Klowns from Outer Space, I always compare how well the developers matched the content to the original source material. I do this because I want to feel like I’m inside the movie’s universe, whether by playing unique characters inserted into the story, faithfully recreated characters, or exploring maps that recreate iconic locations from the film.

I’m happy to report that IllFonic did a fantastic job of recreating all the best elements from the movie. As soon as you load into the game, you’ll immediately feel a sense of nostalgia as you hear the film’s theme, “Killer Klowns” by The Dickies, playing in the background. The attention to detail continues when you start customizing your Klown loadouts. You’ll notice each Klown Type matches the same Klowns from the movie, complete with their funny cotton candy guns and zany abilities, like the Balloon Dog that can track down humans through the forest.

Once you load up the game, you’ll feel like Mike and Debbie, as you discover that Klowns have started taking over various Crescent Cove locations. When you first spot a cotton candy cocoon, you’ll have fun remembering the cheesy lines when the two protagonists attempt, quite poorly, to explain what they found to the local police. The lackey generators, cotton candy cocoons, weapons, and abilities of the Klowns are all spot-on recreations In fact, they’re better since they’re more polished and not as cheesy as they are in the movie. Finally, all of the original actors lend their voices to their characters in the game.

General Gameplay

Carrying a cocoon to a lackey generator to hook it in Killer Klowns From Outer Space.
Screenshot by GameSkinny

The objective of Klowns is to either harvest or kill Humans to bring about the Klownpocalypse. To harvest Humans, you must encase them in a cocoon and connect them to a generator. Doing so will accelerate the appearance of the Klownpocalypse, the end-game event that ends the match if any Humans are still on the map. Additionally, you can directly kill Humans to eliminate them from the game.

Your objective as Humans is to resist the Klowns and exit the map by unlocking different exits and completing various tasks. For example, if the Klowns find you, you can equip yourself with firearms or melee weapons to defend against the Klowns. Using weapons to protect yourself from the Klowns is another enjoyable element inspired by the film, as you can hinder or eliminate a Klown by targeting its nose, just as Officer Dave Hansen did when he first encountered a Klown.

Using items to defend against the killers is not a unique concept to this genre. Still, how IllFonic implemented items to have multiple uses forces the Klowns to carefully plan their approach, knowing that Humans can defend themselves. For example, you can pick up an Energy Drink, which gives you a quick stamina boost when drunk if you’re about to run out during a chase. It can also double as a weapon in a pinch by throwing the can at a Klown if needed. With a well-aimed shot, you could hit its nose to stun it.

To escape the map, you must locate the exit, remove the cotton candy blocking it by completing skill checks, and then use two specific items to activate it. If you want to activate the bunker exit, you’ll have to find a gas canister to power the door and an ID card to unlock it before you can escape. The locations of the exits and objective items are different in every match. I appreciate this because it forces both sides to search for the objectives instead of just camping at the same spots every time.

Although Killer Klowns’ gameplay has some positive aspects, I found playing as a Human quite dull (more on this later). It felt more like a stroll through Crescent Cove than an intense escape from Klowns. I never felt in danger unless the Klowns were lucky enough to find me out in the open while completing objectives or using the Trackers’ skills — the lack of imminent threat eliminated any fear of playing in a horror movie.

Klowns Offer Better Gameplay

Configuring the Tracker loadout in Killer Klowns From Outer Space
Screenshot by GameSkinny

In Killer Klowns, there are five different types of Klowns for you to unlock, each with unique abilities. The Tracker specializes in finding humans, the Brawler excels in hand-to-hand combat, and the Trapper focuses on trapping Humans near objective points. Each Klown type brings its unique flavor to the game.

The Klowns are where the game shines because you have the most customization options available. You can choose from special abilities, stats, and weapons to create unique loadouts that fit your playstyle. For example, there are five types of Cotton Candy guns, secondary weapons, and tricks you can mix and match to suit your favorite Klown type and your specific playstyle.

However, after extensive testing, I noticed that only some customization options were effective in the game when trying to hunt down Humans. There are many buildings and environmental objects that Humans can use to avoid attacks when being chased. This limitation makes it almost impossible to turn a fleeing Human into a cotton candy cocoon using your gun while they are running. Instead, you have to use other abilities like the Hypnotic Lure to stop them from running away, which limits you to specific combinations. I felt the same about the melee weapons since their range isn’t the greatest. They are most effective when you are playing with another clown that uses the only ranged secondary weapon in the game, which I often used. Even when the Humans attacked me, I could defend myself with it and didn’t need a melee weapon.

The Klowns can also perform Klowntalities on Humans, which is a fancy way of killing them. For example, one of the Klowntalities involves a Human shaking hands with a Klown, only to be electrocuted to death by the Joy Buzzer the Klown is holding. However, after unlocking and seeing all the Klowntalities, you’ll want to stop using them because you can’t skip the animations, and they lock you out of the game until finished.

Human Gameplay is Lackluster

The Tough Human archetype in Killer Klowns From Outer Space.

Typically, I prefer playing as the survival characters in games like this, but I was disappointed with the options in Killer Klowns from Outer Space: The Game. Unfortunately, they removed the perk system from the game, limiting the Humans’ customization options. These kinds of features are essential for unlocking perks and abilities to create unique builds that set you apart from other players. Instead, the game only offers five Human Archetypes that determine your character’s stats.

The Tough Archetype provides the highest Health and Strength stats, making characters extremely resilient to Klown attacks and allowing them to turn the tide in battles using weapons found in the game. Although the ability to attach these Archetypes to any of the five character models is good, there needs to be more customization options.

In addition, the Archetypes need to offer more of an advantage to compensate for the lack of other options. For example, you can use an Energy Drink to regain Stamina during a chase when using an Archetype with low Stamina stats. As a result, you’ll find yourself sticking to your favorite Archetype after trying them all out for yourself.


Starting a private match on the Amusement Park map in Killer Klowns From Outer Space.
Screenshot by GameSkinny

Unfortunately, there isn’t much to love about how the matchmaking in Killer Klowns works. Before delving into the negatives, let’s mention the only positive aspect: the ability to create crossplay private parties, allowing you to play with your friends no matter their platform. 

However, the main problem is that Killer Klowns doesn’t have dedicated servers, so all players connect to another player who serves as the host. This lack of dedicated servers means that players will likely experience a lot of latency and disconnection issues, which can be highly frustrating, especially if you’ve been in a match for a long time. When you get disconnected, and the game will kick you back to the main menu screen. While you will still keep all experience points you’ve earned up to this point, it is still annoying.

Another frustrating aspect of the game’s matchmaking is the inability to change or modify your loadout while in a game lobby. You’re locked to your current loadout and must exit the main menu to access the customization screen to change your active loadout or swap to another one. While this may seem like a minor inconvenience, it can disrupt the flow of your gaming session, especially when you’re in a lobby with your friends.

Finally, the in-game VOIP system has issues with disconnects or using the wrong device, which you can’t fix while in-game. These will prevent you from speaking with other Klowns since there is no ping system currently in place to communicate with each other outside of voice communication.  

Pleasing to the Senses

A Tracker Klown turning a human into a cocoon with her cotton candy gun in Killer Klowns From Outer Space.
Screenshot by GameSkinny

I mentioned earlier in this review that hearing the theme song during the main menu will bring back memories of experiencing the film for the first time. This is also true for other aspects of the game, such as the special effects, visuals, sound effects, music, and overall aesthetics. 

Killer Klowns has a naturally dark tone, making the colors of the Klown costumes, the set pieces from maps like the Amusement Park, and the special effects from the Klown weapons stand out. The developers used this contrast effectively to show that the Klowns are dangerous and otherworldly.

The sound effects and music in the game are fantastic and add to the fun or dread, depending on which side you pick. The Cotton Candy guns are out of this world, and their sounds reflect that perfectly. The music starts fun and whimsical, like you’d expect at the circus, but slowly becomes ominous as the match progresses.

Killer Klowns from Outer Space: The Game — The Bottom Line

Performing the Pie klowntality on a human in Killer Klowns From Outer Space.


  • A faithful adaptation of the film. 
  • Pleasing visuals, special effects, and sounds.
  • Fun gameplay, if you love playing as the Klowns.


  • Lacking Perk system or other customization options. 
  • Humans offer dull gameplay. 
  • Frustrating matchmaking system.

After initially enjoying playing as the iconic Klowns and protagonists from the movie, I was disappointed that the game lacked depth. Although I initially thought there would be a lot of content and character customization options, I soon realized Killer Klowns is relatively limited compared to other asymmetrical horror games. Killer Klowns from Outer Space: The Game could have been a great single-player video game companion for the film, where the limited customization options wouldn’t matter as much. If you’re a huge movie fan and want to relive its best moments, you’ll have fun playing until the initial charm disappears. However, if you’re not a die-hard fan, you’re better off playing more established games in the genre.

Code provided by IllFonic for review. Gameplay tested on PC.

Post Review Update (June 5, 2024): Illfonic has taken player feedback to heart during the media review and early access periods for Killer Klowns from Outerspace. As such, it released a Day 1 Patch that addressed many of the issues I mentioned in my review. Examples of changes from the Day 1 Patch include bug fixes, performance improvements, and removal of exploits. In addition, it made general adjustments to weapons, Klown Types, and Human Archetypes to allow for a better experience and loadout creation. For a complete list of Day 1 Patch changes, please review the official patch notes from Illfonic

Killer Klowns From Outer Space: The Game Review — Nostalgia Over Scares
Killer Klowns is a faithful adaptation, but nostalgia cannot compensate for lacking features that other asymmetrical horrors do better.

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Image of Matthew Kevin Mitchell
Matthew Kevin Mitchell
Matthew Kevin Mitchell is a freelance writer for GameSkinny and has written in the game journalism industry for over two years. In his previous roles, Matthew primarily covered Manga, like One Piece, horror movies like Scream, and asymmetrical horror games like Dead by Daylight. His favorite moment came during his first press event covering Scream 6. He hails from Denver, Colorado, where he received his Bachelor of Science in Information Technology from Regis University. When he isn’t scaring himself silly or writing, he loves to play goalie in rec ice hockey, spoil his dog Nux, and drink an unhealthy amount of coffee.