REVIEW: Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout

Aug
19

REVIEW: Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout

A “jelly” good time!

Released: Steam
Type: Massively Multiplayer
Genre: Action, Party Game
Developer: Mediatonic
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Release date: 4 Aug, 2020

Overview

I can probably end this review right here and tell you to buy it because this game took the internet by storm and I’m finding it really hard to even say something about Fall Guys that you haven’t read about or simply seen in countless streams, videos or even tweets. Fall Guys manages to take a lot of basic and popular ideas and blend them into a perfect milkshake of fun, tension and raging frustration that is somehow one of, if not my favorite multiplayer game of 2020.

It’s Fall Time

Dropping right on the game without a tutorial (oddly hidden in the options menu..) – you’ll quickly learn the controls within a few seconds: you can jump, dive (throw yourself forward) and grab people (to either push them from a platform or force them to not jump and basically screwing them over on a jumping game, for example).

Once you queue, you’re dropped into a lobby with 59 other players and must qualify in subsequent minigames (a full match ranges between 4 and 5 minigames which should average 10-15 minutes total) and avoid being directly eliminated in others. There are over 20 minigames that cycle consistently between matches so you won’t find constant repetition in short periods of time (though it may happen as it seems RNG-based). There are 2 big types of minigames – solo and team.

– Solo games consist of everyone for themselves, you must qualify yourself; these minigames are usually race-based – reach the finish line within a certain limit of accepted players and you did it!

– Team games will pair you with more players in a team effort to beat other teams and team numbers can go from 2 (football – or “Fall Ball” here), to 3 or even 4 teams, depending on the minigame and number of survivors.

You’ll usually face both minigame types during a single match so being skilled enough to handle yourself is mandatory for solo games as well as a cooperative spirit for the team games!

Fall Guys is, in its bare core concept, a battle royale that masks itself as a funny nickelodean style TV Show alas Wipeout, or Tekashi’s Castle. After every minigame, some people are surely eliminated and the lobby size gets smaller and smaller until the final showdown is played, which currently consists of 4 possible minigames. After your skills are put to the test in the showdown and you manage to win (it’s really hard! I’ve only won twice in about 15 hours of play…), you’re rewarded with a crown!

“A crown? That’s just a stupid animation…”

It actually isn’t! Fall Guys has two currencies for use in the shop, Kudos and Crowns. Every season, players have access to a Battle Pass that is entirely FREE that gives a few extra Kudos and Crowns plus a nice array of cosmetics. Outside of the Battle Pass, you have a Shop alas Fortnite where a select number of items (from different rarities and thus, different prices) are available to purchase and rotate daily.
The items can be bought with the Kudos you gain after every match, win or lose, or the more prestigious Crowns, won from the Battle Pass OR by winning games.

YOUR SKILL MATTERS! I cannot praise this enough, a game where you’re rewarded for being good!

Legendary cosmetics are Crowns only, so you should be legitimately scared if you see a guy with a 10 Crown cosmetic because you know he went through hell and won a lot of times to get that cosmetic! There is VALUE in cosmetics, Crown-bought cosmetics legitimately mean SKILL. And on top of that, you cannot buy Crowns with real money – only Kudos (which you can spend on lower rated cosmetics), which you gain at an absurdly fast rate by just playing, so I don’t recommend you buy any with real money.

There are some issues with the game, especially with server stability and synchronization. Most release bugs have been fixed but servers are still occasionally down – understandable as the game gained more players than probably anyone imagined. It is not excusable the tail grabbing minigames, though – I (and my friends too) have had COUNTLESS times where right next to a player, I couldn’t steal their tail and yet my tail could be stolen from some random player a distance that’s at least twice or triple the distance of my failed steal attempt. The grabbing minigames need a serious fix and are a source of frustration due to lack of quality servers and not raw skill.

Some minigames are also poorly thought out such as the individual tail games – if you have a tail (or THE tail in the final game version), you qualify. Imagine having a tail the whole game and losing it in the final second to some random guy. Where’s the skill? The person who was skilled enough to hold on to a tail for so long should be rewarded and not a random last second grab (though it’s an exciting feat nonetheless), tail minigames are an example and people who held them the longest should qualify/win, not those who have it at the end of the limit time, there’s a sense of injustice that the remaining minigames do not have.

Some hackers are also present, with something as basic as cheat engine. Ban waves have started being issued but I have still found some jellybeans flying around at Mach10 speeds…

Overall, Fall Guys is a really fun physics-based battle royale collection of minigames (I just invented a new sentence, I think), great minigames, tight responsive controls and a barrel of laughs every time the game opens up. Playing it is extremely rewarding and winning even more so, which is something so rare these days!

Graphics

Fall Guys has an incredibly charming art style, very cartoon-like, something I’d describe as Wipeout but on Nickelodeon. Everyone plays as jellybeans (with arms and legs) that wobble around while walking and have hilariously exaggerated physics and animations, further enhancing the hilarity the whole game constantly throws at you. The game is extremely colourful and every level has different systems in play to screw everyone, so there’s always new mechanics and animations and new things to look at (and even some funny exploits like climbing other jelly beans or getting hit by a fast-moving swing to propel yourself forward).

The game also runs really well, despite having 60 (at the start) jellybeans bumping to each other and crashing, jumping and just ragdolling around. I wish there were more camera control customization as the camera is frankly TERRIBLE in tight spaces, so trying to hide in certain minigames or going against a corner is a recipe for a visual disaster.

Audio

The music has a happy tone to it that fits the game perfectly, helping the players keep their rage meter low (there’s a lot of players screwing others so losing because of others – and frustration kicking in – is highly likely) and the fun levels high. The jellybeans all make sounds when diving, falling, getting hit or doing emotes and just combines perfectly with the over-the-top physics to give an experience that is both hilarious and competitive at the same time, which is something new for me in Battle Royales.

Conclusion

I have played a lot of BR’s, some for quite a long time and none are as constantly fun(ny) as Fall Guys, and I can’t praise this game enough for that. An absolute unique gem I never thought I’d see in my lifetime, but I’m glad I did. If you have 20€, I cannot recommend Fall Guys enough as a purchase that is absolutely worth the asking price, with or without friends, as the issues are not considerable enough to not be worth full price. Fall Guys is likely my favorite multiplayer experience of the year and I can’t wait for what the developers have in store in future content updates and future seasons.

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