Weebles Wobble but they don't fall down. FALL GUYS: Ultimate knockout review.

 

As we expected when we visited PAX East earlier this year,  A new phenomenon has invaded the world of video games. A new online competitive game that pits players against each other in a multi-round, winner takes all, knock out race.The game is Fall guys: The ultimate knockout. Or just Fall guys for short. The game quickly has grabbed the attention of people world wide since its release. But what is this deceptively simple and colorful game that makes everyone clamor for the crown? 



Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout pulls the winner takes all thrill of battle royal games and mashes it with the humorous and epic moments of  gameshows such as Wipeout and Takeshi's Castle.  Sixty players take on the role of a adorable and colorful (jelly)bean avatar. Each of the beans features the same statistics and abilities with only its appearance being whatever you make it up to be with available skins and costumes. Through a series of random challenges these sixty contestants will be dwindled down until one and only one will be victorious and take the crown and a moment to shine. To get there will not be easy. Running through various obstacles, dodge large fruits, memory games, skill based platforming, the occasional teamwork and a mix of skill and luck are needed to even make it to the final round. As colorful and inviting the game looks, it is simultaneous one of the most accessible and most brutal battle royal formats out there. 

The controls are simple enough. Move, Jump, dive, and grab. You can use it to overcome obstacles, climb over hills, dodge hazards and hinder your opponents. Combined with a bit of a light and loose physics engine that make you flop across the scene if you fall or get hit it is not only important to time your movements well but also to attempt to get separation from the crowd to increase your chances to survive. And if you do fall? Make sure you bring as many other beans with you and regain an edge before the round is over.

There are a large variety of modes to play, which map is randomly selected and can vary between competitive and cooperative. You can roughly divide the modes in four main groups. 
Races ,survival, team and final stages.

In the races the goal is to get from point A to B and finish before the limit of finishers is reached. In some cases you might have to dash through doors and hope you do not pick the ones that do not open. In others you might dodge enormous fruit or stay from being knocked off by rotating beams or hammers. 

In survival the goal is to stay alive until time runs out or enough other players have been eliminated. This can be by moving between rotating platforms or dodging sweeping walls or remembering which platform has a corresponding fruit and land on it before all the others disappear.
 
In team modes it becomes important to work together and it is not as important to win the whole round as it is to just make sure you do not finish last. As you cannot communicate with the other team members this can be a big challenge. 

During the final stage you either have to be the first to race to the top of a mountain and grab hold of a floating crown or be the last to survive the final rounds including the dreaded hexagonal disappearing platforms.

With 24 different modes/maps the release already comes with a large variety to keeps things fresh from the start. 

The fall guys experience is on of high accessibility for all ages and at the same time being extremely competitive. If you end up in a game where someone has learned all the tricks in the book you will have a difficult time.  And the game does not have skill based match making. Each new game anything can happen. If you are knocked out you can watch the rest of the match play out, switch players and learn how the other modes work and pickup new techniques allowing you to use them the next time you play. Or you can jump straight out and start a new game. The choice is yours. 
Not only is the game fun to play it is also very fun to watch. Cheering on the player on in person or through a live stream. You can team up with three of your friends and encourage the last player standing as you view their camera until the end. One out of four making it still feels like victory.


All this good time does not make fall guys perfect however. Some of the rounds have a good dose of luck involved that feels you can never overcome them with skill. All the players run at the same speed for instance. So if you start in the back you could lose even if you made no mistakes in the race. It puts you at a disadvantage you cannot overcome unless the opponent messes up. having a great few rounds to lose because of a team round where where your team seem unwilling or to clueless to win can be a nightmare. Because yes it is about the journey and having fun but you need to be able to at least feel there is a change to win but it is incredibly hard. Lucky getting in a new match does not take long so keep trying until you make it. We noticed that on the Playstation 4, we were winning a lot more matches then on the PC where wins have still eluded us though we have been very close. However on the PC there are more people too busy trolling and blocking others from playing then worry about making it to the finish line themselves. This can be a source of frustration. All you can do is  start a new game. The PlayStation experience was a more friendly environment.  

As you play you steadily unlock points that can be used to unlock new costumes, colors, accessories that do nothing to gameplay but allow you to express yourself the way you want and stand out from the crowd. With game passes offering even more cosmetics and plenty of companies chomping at the bits to get a in game cross-over costume there will be many opportunities for Fall guys to make money and last.

During its release month the game is free for anyone who has Playstation plus. So if you have a PS4 there is no reason not to check out the game. On the PC you are asked to pay $19.99 which is a not a very steep entry for hours of entertainment.  

There is no local play or cross platform play, although supposedly crossplay is being worked on. If you want to play at the same time with multiple people in the same household you will have to buy extra copies or take turns.


Fall guys seems to have created a new sub genre of the battle royal gameplay that is family friendly without being too easy. It allows for easy access into the game and the ability to grow an hone your skills. Even though some maps and modes feel like they take the control away from you and leaving either too much too chance or give unfair advantages the overall game is balanced enough to keep having fun. This fun can be diminished by trolls, the problem with any online game hopefully they will not overwhelm the game so much that people stop playing because they are no longer having fun. Barring that scenario I look forward to see how the game will grow and evolve in the coming months. 


Game information:
Title: Fall Guys:Ultimate Knockout
Developer: Mediatonic
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Release date: 4 August 2020
Platforms: PlayStation® 4, and PC(steam).
Review platform: PS4 and PC
ESRB: E for Everyone

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