Comedians these days are quick to point out that they don't tell jokes. They make observations and perform acts that make us laugh, but actual "jokes" are child's play. And so it would be with video games that Gang Beast, the funniest game I've played in ages, doesn't have a single gag in its code. But play this oddball competitive brawler with three friends in a living room and you'll be hard-pressed not to keel over howling like the Joker's latest victim.

Like QWOP and Surgeon Simulator 2013 before it, what makes Gang Beasts so incredibly hilarious is its intentionally assbackwards controls and goofy physics. Using an Xbox 360 gamepad, the default control scheme has A jump, like you'd expect, but the bumpers punch your left and right arms, respectively. Hold a bumper down and you'll grab onto whatever you touched. So you can grab someone with your left hand, while pummeling them with your right. Furthermore, if you can get both your hands on something you can lift it up. That's it.

It may sound simple, but your characters control like drunken sailors sliding around an ice skating rink in their socks. Beyond that, there's no throw button, so simple actions like tossing the opponent you're hoisting over your head into the furnace below will likely end with you stupidly wandering off the ledge you were planning to drop them from. If you're really unlucky, the person you were about to throw may slip back onto the safety of the ground and end up victorious despite having the lower hand moments ago.

Punch him in the dick! Punch him in the dick!

Gang Beasts is still in its embryonic form with only the pre-alpha version 0.0.2 available as a free download, but it's recently received some neat upgrades like a Ferris wheel stage where the pier's planks fall to the ground when you walk over them, a furnace map with a conveyor belt and boxes to tinker around with, and AI enemies in the Sandbox stage.

While Gang Beasts' titular beasts can only only use their arms and jump, developer Boneloaf noted on the game's Steam Greenlight page that it would like to add additional fighting moves like kicking, elbowing and headbutting, along with other game modes like Team, Tournament and Sandbox. The developer noted that its goal is for Game Beasts to eventually support 10 players.

So far Gang Beasts is slated for release on PC, Mac, Linux and "select Android consoles" though it added on its IndieDB page "we will publish version[s] for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Wii U consoles if we can secure the necessary licences."

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This is still safer than walking on the pier below.

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Jeffrey Matulef

Jeffrey Matulef

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Jeffrey Matulef is the best-dressed man in 1984. Based in Portland, OR he operates as Eurogamer's US news editor.

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