Over the past few years the video game landscape has been changed by the emergence of the battle royale genre. Games such as PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Fortnite, Apex Legends, Call of Duty: Warzone, and more are all among the most popular games in the world right now. That said, I myself am not really into them that much. I’ve played all of the above games along with others such as H1Z1 but outside of playing a few rounds they don’t hold my interest. I think there is more developers can do with that genre then just make shooters. Well, doing something different is exactly what publisher Devolver Digital and developer Mediatonic did with their new game Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout.
I first saw Fall Guys during a PlayStation State of Play in June last year and instantly I knew this game would be something special. It’s a 60-player online multiplayer battle royale game where you play as bean blob things and have to make it through up to five rounds of play to be the last one standing. The influence from game shows such as Wipeout and Takeshi’s Castle is very apparent when you play this game. It’s colorful and charming and is almost the kind of thing you would expect to see from Nintendo. The game will be easy for anyone to pick up and play as the only controls are your movement, a jump button, a dive button, and a grab button plus some silly emotes you can do with the D-pad. Knowing how and when to use each of these control features though can mean the difference between winning the crown and falling just short. The game has no local multiplayer support but you can team up online with three other friends.
So how does a typical session of Fall Guys play out? Well you’ll start with 60 players and after each round a number of them will be eliminated. Every round will have you playing a different type of event with there being around 25 variations of them in total. Sometimes it will be a free-for-all event and other times they will divide the players up into two or three teams. Some of the events are really fun while some of the others need to just be removed or have some changes made to them to improve them. See Saw is one of the free-for-all events where the players will have to jump across a series of see saw platforms that will tilt. This isn’t too bad if you are one of the players in front but if you’re a little bit behind you can find yourself waiting for the platform to tilt back your way or jump on and risk sliding right off. Another one is called Gate Crash and will have players racing forward while trying to jump through walls. Some walls will break when they are hit while others will just cause you to bounce off. This can quickly get hectic as you can have 30 players or so all trying to fit through a small door which is pretty funny.
Slime Climb is probably one of my favorites as you’ll have to race up a mountain while slime races from behind you to eliminate you. There are various obstacles on this course that you have to dodge and I how it was more challenging than many of the other events. Fruit Chute is another fun one as you have to race up a conveyor belt while fruit is constantly falling from the sky. If you get hit, you’ll get knocked back so doing your best to avoid it is crucial. I’ve seen players be almost to the end of the conveyor belt only to get nailed by a piece of fruit and fall halfway back down it. Needless to say, the game has provided plenty of laughs already but also some frustration.
That frustration comes in the form of the team events. Some of these can be fun and work well but others can be very frustrating and many times you can find yourself having no power at all to avoid being eliminated. Team Tail Tag gives some players on each team a tail while some players don’t have them. If you don’t have them you have to try to grab a player who does have one. The team in last place when the timer runs out will get eliminated. This game type isn’t so bad except that many times the game failed to register that I was grabbing someone. I’ve had to grab the same person up to four times in order for it to actually give me the tail. I’ve also had my tail stolen from a player who somehow grabbed me from a good distance away. I know these are likely server issues on the developers part but they are frustrating nonetheless and need to be fixed. Another team game has each team trying to push a soccer ball into the other team’s goal. I’ve had fun with this one at times but many other times I get stuck with teammates who are constantly scoring on our own goal. Other times you’ll have uneven teams in these events which can also make things a bit unfair. I know some of these problems are a thing in any online game you play but it can be frustrating to get down to the last nine players or so and get stuck with a team that likes to score against themselves. I’d prefer if they had a way to just do the free-for-all events.
The last part of a match that I haven’t talked about yet is the final round. The number of players left can vary greatly when you reach this point. I’ve done a final match with as few as five players and as many as 19. Most of the final event types I enjoyed but the tail tag one can also appear here and that can be a bit annoying. Fall Mountain has the players racing up a course to be the first one to jump and grab the crown at the end. This one is a lot of fun and even if you are behind don’t despair. I’ve seen players ahead of me get to the crown first only to jump and either miss grabbing it or just not know they should grab it. Another fun one is Hex-A-Gone which has you falling through multiple layers of hexagon platforms that fall once they are stepped on. Whoever falls all the way into the slime below is eliminated so you have to try to stay up top as long as possible. Of course, you could also try the strategy of dropping all the way to the final platform of hexagons and getting rid of as many of them as possible so that when the other players fall from the top, they will have no place to land and will just fall right into the slime. I just really like that while many of the events are simple there is also some cool strategies you can use to give yourself an advantage.
Tail tag is the only other game type you’ll get in the final round and I already described that. The only game type I think should just be straight up removed is one where you are on squares that each light up with a different type of fruit. When the fruit appears on the screen you have to remember which square that fruit appeared on and stand on it. Any others will disappear and the players on them falling and being eliminated. This event was just kind of boring and most of the time barely any of the players were eliminated from it. I’ve had a lot of fun with the game so far but within a few hours I had played every event type there is. I could see the game getting old to some people so the developer’s ability to add new event types and content to the game will be critical to how long players will stick around.
Every game needs something to work towards and in Fall Guys case that comes in the form of items to customize your bean creature with. There are various colors, patterns, and outfits you can unlock either through the battle pass system or by purchasing them from the in-game store. The battle pass is free and you’ll progress through it just by earning points from playing matches. The rest of the items can be bought in the shop with two types of currency. Every match you win you earn a crown and certain items in the shop can only be bought with crowns. You also earn another type of currency while playing that can be used on other items in the shop. You can also spend real money on this currency but I saw no real reason to. I’ve put around 12 hours into the game already and have earned plenty of the currency from playing matches and through the battle pass. The game feels absolutely balanced so that no one should feel the need to spend money for the cosmetics.
As I already said the colorful art style in the game is very charming and one of my favorite things about it. The soundtrack is also upbeat and matches the colorful, fun visuals perfectly. As for the trophy list the game does have a Platinum trophy but it will be one of the hardest you’ll earn. Most of the trophies aren’t that hard and will come over time but there is one that asks you to win 5 matches in a row. Due to just how much luck it requires just to not be stuck on a bad team will make this one very difficult to unlock.
The last thing I want to mention that is a problem with the game right now is the servers. The game has been out several days at the time I’m writing this review and during that time I’ve been disconnected from matches and been unable to find them. I know that hundreds of thousands of players are trying to play this right now but it is annoying to get to the last round in a match only to get disconnected due to a server issue. This also plays into the inconsistent grabbing I talked about earlier. I hope they can get these server issues fixed soon as they are a problem right now.
Putting the server issues and a few of the other problems I have with the game aside, Fall Guys has been an absolute joy to play. It is a battle royale game that I can see myself coming back to for a long time provided the developer can continue to update it and keep it fresh. It’s a perfect game to play solo, online with your friends, or by passing the controller around with your family as the silly and unpredictable nature of it will lead to plenty of laughs.
*Fall Guys is available now on PlayStation 4 and PC. Reviewed on a PS4 Pro. Review copy obtained through PlayStation Plus.
Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout$19.99
- Probably the cutest battle royale game yet
- Most of the game types are loads of fun
- Easy for anyone to play
- Love the visuals and soundtrack
- Lots of customization items to unlock by playing
- Currently has server issues
- Some of the game types aren't fun
- Will need regular updates to keep it fresh