Released on: August 4 2020
Available Platforms: PC, Playstation 4
Price: $22.79 CDN ($19.99 US) [Has Microtransactions]
Youtube is known for being quirky with its algorithm, its flawed copyright system, and introducing weird “features” that no one asked for. Where Youtube truly shines, however, is introducing smaller, independently developed games. Even here on Sergie Reviews, I admit I find out about games through Youtubers. The current “game du jour” on Youtube is Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout. Everyone seems to be playing it nowadays, and, with it being one of Playstation Plus’ free games of the month, I decided to see what all the fuss was about. Is Fall Guys a game worth falling for?
Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout is a battle royale platform party game where sixty-four players compete to win the crown. The game frames itself as this gameshow-esque universe filled with bean people that make funny sounds when they get knocked down, jump, fall, or win. Fall Guys reminds me of shows like Wipeout or Takeshi’s Castle. There are games based on the Wipeout show, but they are usually subpar, which is sad. I always thought that a Wipeout game could be enjoyable if done properly. It looks like someone heard me, as Fall Guys is basically what I envisioned a good Wipeout game to be.
I’m just going to come out and say it: I love Fall Guys’ art style. The bean people are hilarious, the obstacles are clear and colorful, and the overall aesthetic pleases me greatly. The animations never fail to make me laugh even if I lose in the first round. It’s hard for me to stay angry for long when this giant bean with legs is celebrating its hardest on the results screen no matter how well I do.
I recently enjoyed listening to a few Fall Guys tunes out of the game, and I’m glad I did. The soundtrack is fun to listen to on its own, but it adds a subtle touch of chaos to get the player going when playing the game.
The gameplay of Fall Guys seems simple when watching someone else play, and for the most part, it is. The controls are simple, move, jump, dive, and grab are the full list of actions available to the player. Where it gets interesting is in the courses. Each round, the game selects a course at random for the players to run through. On round one, the course is usually a race to the finish line to see who qualifies for the next round. If the player fails to place higher than forty-second place (give or take,) they are eliminated. This is what makes Fall Guys so chaotic. Every round, every player is trying to qualify to get to the final round, and win that crown. It often feels like many people trying to get through the door all at the same time (with one course actually having players go through doors all at the same time.) At the same time, however, I never felt overwhelmed by what was going on; I always had a sense of where my fall guy was, what my goal was, and what my situation is. I commend Fall Guys for being chaotic, yet precise in its gameplay philosophy.
During the game, the player will receive Kudos: Fall Guys’ currency. With Kudos, the player can purchase more colors, emotes, and outfits for their bean person. If the player manages to win, they will get a crown for every victory they achieve. The player can use crowns to buy rarer items that Kudos can’t buy. This, I believe, is the ultimate incentive for getting crowns. There are many options for customizing the fall guy, which helps track where they are when playing the game.
If it hasn’t been done already, I would like to introduce a new term I’d like to call “One More Game Syndrome.” One More Game Syndrome is when a game makes the player go: “I’ll be done after this game,” then when they lose early, they go: “just one more game.” Fall Guys is notorious for giving players One More Game Syndrome (OMGS). I’m better at dealing with OMGS ever since I had my child, but if I’m playing Fall Guys, chances are I’ll be playing until I hear crying from the monitor. What’s more, I’ve seen countless Youtubers claim that “this will be my last game,” only to play a dozen more soon after. OMGS is not a bad thing; it means the game balances punishment and rewards brilliantly. It’s not crushingly mean to the player, but not overly patronizing either.
There are a few spots where Fall Guys falls flat.
The fall guy itself, while simple to control, feels heavy as well. If I may make a comparison to Super Mario. Mario’s controls are responsive, snappy, and Mario himself is incredibly acrobatic and nimble. The fall guy, on the other hand, is stumpy, slow, and downright clumsy. It doesn’t take much to topple the bean person: colliding with an object (including other players) and falling from too great a height (which is very strict) are the prominent examples of what will often make the player fall. I find this works in Fall Guys’ favor, though, as being too acrobatic would nullify much of the game’s challenge and make it less involving overall. It is still worth noting, as it will take a couple of games to get used to how the fall guy controls.
I wouldn’t feel right if I ignored this, but Fall Guys does have DLC and microtransactions. Players can purchase special outfits from the DLC store, and they can also buy Kudos using real money. There is also a battle pass-like system, but, to my knowledge, players cannot purchase additional levels using real money. Crowns must also be earned by winning the game or by reaching certain levels. I’m on the fence with how I feel about the inclusion of DLC and purchasable Kudos. Fall Guys’ regular price is a little steep for my liking (worth noting I got it for free with Playstation Plus, an offer that has since expired,) so including microtransactions gives me mixed emotions. However, they aren’t intrusive, and the player can only purchase DLC outfits and Kudos, so I’ve seen far more egregious forms on microtransactions.
The common problem I have with battle royale games is that, once I end up winning, my motivation for playing them plummets. This holds true for Fall Guys as well. I understand that I might be in the minority with this take, but that’s just how I feel about battle royales. Tetris 99 had this issue, and sadly, so does Fall Guys. I will play a few rounds here and there, and when I get determined, it’s hard to stop. Once I do win, though, I’m left with this weird empty feeling afterward.
Playing on Playstation 4, I’ve not encountered many cheaters in Fall Guys. It might be because it’s harder to introduce third party software to the Playstation 4, or I might have just gotten lucky, but I don’t recall seeing many cheaters during my time with Fall Guys. That said, I’ve seen plenty of Youtube videos of people cheating in Fall Guys. Cheaters seem to be a big problem on the PC version of Fall Guys, which ruins the game for everybody. Why would someone cheat at Fall Guys anyway? It’s a game about bean people toppling over each other, trying to win a crown to buy virtual outfits. I fail to see the reasoning.
Fall Guys is a ton of fun. The graphics are enjoyable, the music is upbeat and catchy, and the overall presentation and gameplay are pleasing. If the player doesn’t mind the slightly steep price point, the DLC, and the cheaters, Fall Guys is a battle royale worth diving into.