It’s been almost a month since Fall Guys took the world by storm.
Since its release on August 3rd, the game has quickly become of the most popular (both played and watched) games on the planet and also is the most downloaded game in PlayStation Plus history. While it’s been free on PS Plus, it has still managed to sell over seven million copies on Steam at an MSRP of $19.99.
It’s been an amazing success story, has become a favorite of many, and shows absolutely no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Developer Mediatonic weathered the somewhat rough launch server wise (millions and millions of people will do that to a server, especially when it completely exceeds the developers wildest expectations), and has seen the game blossom and its success is well deserved.
Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout (PS4 [Reviewed], PC)
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Released: August 3, 2020
ESRB Rating: E – Everyone
If you rolled your eyes when you first heard of Fall Guys, it’s probably because “battle royale” jumped out at you. That was my reaction. Then I watched the game being played during beta and completely did a 180.
It went from zero interest to that looks really fun and it only took watching one “episode” (the game’s term for a match or game).
It became a no-brainer when it was announced that the game would launch as a PS Plus title. I, and a million or so others on PS4, downloaded it that first day.
I was hooked from the first time playing it, and not just because I lucked into winning the first episode I played. (You can watch that first episode in the video embed down below.)
So, what exactly is Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout?
It’s a battle royale. Nah. It is however an online only multiplayer experience. A popular way of describing it has been Takeshi Castle x Wipeout with a dash of American Ninja Warrior. It’s essentially a collection of mini party games, or it’s a gameshow.
A game/match is called an Episode, and each Episode begins with 60 players. Over the course of several rounds, players will be whittled down until only a handful remain and those players will compete in a final round to win the Episode.
Most rounds will see you solo competing against everyone else. You don’t need to win every round, you just need to do good enough to qualify for the next round. Some rounds are team based where you’ll be working with a random team to survive to the next round.
The goal of a round always boils down to simply qualify for the next one, and to do that you need to either (and it depends on the random mode you get) outlast enough people, finish ahead of others in a race, or score enough points to move on.
One of the aspects that makes Fall Guys so accessible and enjoyable is how easy it is to just pick up and play. Like the game is super easy to learn. It consists of moving your bean character with the left thumbstick (and you can rotate the camera with the right), X to jump, square to dive, and R2 to grab. That’s it, that’s the control scheme. Even then, most of the time you’re just moving forward and jumping.
It’s easy to learn, fast to play, and hard to put down.
Fall Guys is the perfect chill game. You might not think that a multiplayer only game that sees you competing against 59 other human players would be chill, but Fall Guys offers up a perfect balance of skill, strategy, randomness and luck.
As such, even for a competitive person like myself, losing never really feels bad. Getting that crown, outlasting everyone else feels great, but when it comes to failing you’re more likely to laugh than rage.
It’s this finely maintained balance that makes the game hard to put down and can easily stretch “just one more try” into 20 more.
If you fail, you can spectate others and continue to get some laughs and eventually see who wins the Episode. You’re more likely to do this when playing in a party (of which you can join up to three friends). Otherwise, you can quickly hop right back into your next Episode.
The rounds go by pretty quick, and even if you make it to the finals the Episode’s don’t take very long at all. While you might have a hard time wanting to put it down, the rapid pace of it makes it an easy game to play before heading off to work, school, or just to chill before bed.
At the time of this review, Fall Guys currently has 25 “modes” or “mini-games,” whatever you want to call them. Some are naturally better than others, and there will of course be those that you absolutely hate to see come up.
The random nature of the game means you could play many episodes and not see your favorite modes come up. To that end, there’s still a couple that I haven’t come across yet.
I generally like most of them though, with my least favorite events being the team based modes. The one I hate the most is probably Hoopsie Daisy, in which your team is tasked with scoring points by jumping through hoops, but I’m not terribly fond of any of the team stuff.
The good news with the team modes is that the game will make sure you and your party are on the same team which does help somewhat.
I enjoy the races quite a bit, but my favorites are the ones where you just need to outlast others. The only solo mode that I despise is the Tip Toe mode where you have to find the hidden path and avoid fake tiles.
Fall Guys nails it in the graphics and sound department. The game features lots of bright colors and some cool little characters that will have you chuckling as they’re bumping, bumbling, and fumbling around with their little squeaky noises.
You can grab other players, but so far most folks are just playing the game and having fun and the trolling isn’t as rampant as you’d think it would be. Sometimes you’ll encounter players sitting at the finish line to a race waiting to grab other players, but it doesn’t usually work out.
In fact, just the other night I was playing with a friend and we had both qualified and were spectating. There was a dude looking to troll at the finish line, he went to grab someone and ended up falling off the edge. The person he tried to grab crossed the line, and the would be troll was eliminated in a nice bit of instant karma that had us laughing like crazy.
Like other games, especially battle royales, Fall Guys has a battle pass system. Fortunately, the battle pass here is free. As you play, you acquire XP (called Fame) that is used to rank up your seasonal battle pass, with each rank offering up either a cosmetic item or a currency (Kudos or Crowns). The battle pass tops out at rank 40.
The better you do the more XP and Kudos you get after an Episode. You can spend your Kudos in the in-game store on different cosmetic items of different tiers. You can also buy Kudos, but the game is pretty generous with earning them.
In the store, there’s featured items and regular items that are on different reset timers. Regular items have a shorter reset timer. Some items cost Crowns, which you get a few through the battle pass, but other than that you get crowns by winning episodes.
So far, items are reasonably priced and so long as you’re playing the game and aren’t looking to acquire everything the moment it becomes available, you shouldn’t need to buy any Kudos.
At the time of this review, the first season of Fall Guys ends in 40 days.
Fall Guys is the perfect time waster. It’s not a perfect game, not by any stretch, and that’s not what five stars means on our scale.
This is an excellent game. It’s reasonably priced (and us PlayStation folks got it at an absolute steal of free), it’s kind of addictive, and most importantly it is an absolute blast to play.
It’s the type of game that anyone of any age and any skill level can pick up, play and enjoy it.
There may be some moments of frustration (what game doesn’t have those?), and you might get to feeling repetitive if you run into a streak of lobbies where you just keep getting modes you don’t particularly care for while those you do like are no where to be seen. Even then, the modes don’t last long.
There’s no political crap in the game or any sort of agendas, which is getting to be a rarity and is always a breath of fresh air. It’s just funny little bean characters dressed in goofy outfits bumping into one another and everyone having a good laugh.
There’s skill and strategy, yes, but there’s also enough randomness and luck to it that it’ll never become a super serious, sweaty competitive experience. It’s right where it needs to be, and that’s fully on the all fun side of things.
If for some reason you haven’t downloaded this yet on PS4 and you have PS Plus, hurry up and do so. You have until Tuesday, September 1st, otherwise it’s gonna cost you $20. On that note, yeah it’s worth that easy as you’re gonna get untold hours of fun from it.
Fall Guys is a fantastic game to play alone, and it’s perfect with a group of friends that just want to chill. It’s easy to see why it has been dominating on streaming platforms since its launch, and in general why many millions of people have flocked to it and keep coming back for more.
Kudos to Mediatonic for the well deserved success of the game, for creating something unique and fun that has been well received by virtually everyone, and for becoming the latest game to earn our “Excellent Game” label.
Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout gets a five out of five: EXCELLENT