Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout Review – Falling In And Out Of Love
Fall GuysAugust 4th, 2020
How was this not done before now? How have we lived in a world without Fall Guys for so long? We all watched game shows such as Takeshi's Castle and Total Wipeout, but somehow none of us knew how much we wanted this video game. All of the physical comedy and chaos of these slightly abusive and dangerous game shows, distilled into a raw jellybean form, given googly eyes, and then kicked off a platform. Fall Guys is a battle royale unlike any other, and it's well worth playing.
The concept is simple. Each episode starts with 60 players, and those players must undertake up to six minigames, and at the end of each multiple players will be eliminated until only one is standing as the champion. It's as plain and easy to understand as possible, but its executed so well that it's difficult to not just keep going back and trying, again and again, to come out on top.
Fall Guys comes with 25 minigames to battle through, and several kinds of games to play. The races will be the most common and easy to understand - you have to get to the finish line before the qualification limit is reached. The team games are a bit more varied, some of which require you to roll and race a ball with your team, score points in football (soccer?), collect eggs, balls, or tails, and more. Then there are the games purposely designed to only leave one player alive at the end, such as the platformer where platforms vanish, Hex-A-Gone, the race for the crown up Fall Mountain, and the punishing Jump Showdown which has you squeezing between a small gap to survive. Oh, and there is also the logic game, Perfect Match, which is objectively the worst minigame of them all.
When you first start playing the game it will feel as you find a brand new minigame each time you turn it on, but it doesn't take too long before many of the games begin to feel strikingly familiar. In the first few days you won't be able to wait to play and race against other jellybeans, and then after a week or so you'll be watching other players and wondering how they could possibly be failing on stages you've played so many times before. Quickly what is exciting and new becomes all too familiar.
This is especially true when you're partying up with friends online. If one of you gets eliminated, the other will be stuck spectating you for up to ten minutes, just staring at you hop through the stages. Well, it's not even that simple since you have to flick through every single player in the lobby individually before finding your friends - and if you're on PC, good luck remembering what number your friends have assigned to them.
The main progression path in Fall Guys is buying more cosmetics. The game comes with a free "battle pass" style system which will award you with new cosmetics for every level you achieve, in addition to currency to spend in the shop for every game you play, with higher rewards paid out if you perform well, such as come first in race challenges. The victories are what you want to aim for though since they pay out crowns, a rare currency which you can use to buy, what else, rare cosmetics. You can judge how good a player is by whether or not they're wearing the latest legendary gear available in the shop.
It is at least nice that you aren't able to purchase crowns, it would've been all too easy to bait players into paying for microtransactions, but you are still given the option of purchasing exclusive DLC with real money, or purchasing the common in-game currency, which seems absurd since you'll be rolling in it anyway, but this is how Mediatonic are monetizing their PlayStation Plus players in lieu of actually making them buy the game. Having said that, it feels a little dishonest, since if the battle pass were given a cost the game would become just as monetized as most free-to-play shooters. A little cynical of me perhaps, but they feel unnecessary.
The actual gameplay of Fall Guys isn't that difficult, in fact, the skill ceiling is shockingly low, but that's a benefit. It makes it easy to have your friends play or even young children, and they can enjoy the game without needing to know anything other than how to move and jump. It does however turn the games into a speedrun once you've played them enough times. The first few times you do a race it's a hectic scramble amongst other players, but on the tenth time, you're perfecting your lap times like it's a driving simulator. At this point, much of the charm of the game is lost until the final few intense rounds.
So it's good that those final few rounds are so adrenaline-fueled and heart-racing, as otherwise there would be no point in playing. Climbing towards the crown in Fall Mountain and chasing a tail in Royal Fumble isn't the best experience, but the classic finale of Hex-A-Gone, where you must survive as platforms disappear beneath your feet is brilliant. You can either take things slow, hop on one platform at a time to delay your demise, or you can obliterate massive swathes of a platform, cutting off other players and forcing those falling from above to fly straight through. A Hex-A-Gone victory is an exhilarating one, and that crown added to your account is the icing on top.
As of right now, I do love playing Fall Guys, but the downfalls and repetitive gameplay are becoming clear. The game needs some kind of local multiplayer, whether that's against AI opponents or just two-to-four people on a single system playing online. A free-play mode where you can explore stages and time yourself would be massively appreciated. And an overhaul to the cosmetic shop would be just lovely. All of the problems Fall Guys has right now is down to either small changes that can make a big difference, or too much repetition, which Season 2 promises to fix with new stages and modes. The future is definitely bright for Fall Guys, and while I don't know how long it'll hold my interest, as of right now it's putting a massive smile on my face. At least when I'm playing with friends.
Reviewed on PlayStation 4.
Fall Guys is an excellent chaotic multiplayer game that can be played by people of any skill level, and that is its greatest strength. Sadly repetition has well and truly set in after several weeks of play, but if the developers at Mediatonic keep dishing out updates and new content on a regular basis, this could be just as influential and essential as Rocket League.
- Great multiplayer game for all the family and friends
- Easy to pick up and master
- Great variety of fun games
- Nothing else to do
- Perfect Match