Fall Guys Review
Do you remember watching Takeshi’s Castle? Fall Guys is essentially that show with a very colorful, cartoonish aesthetic. This is a battle royale with 60 players per match, or show, with each and every player subject to (with consent, of course) rounds of obstacles and minigames in the hopes of becoming the sole winner and obtaining the crown. It’s by no means a serious game; it’s short, casual, and allows you to have fun either on your own or with a group of friends whom you will inevitably betray in the end.
A different kind of battle royale
Each show in Fall Guys consists of a series of rounds with the aim of eliminating waves of contestants until only a few remain for the final showdown. There’s around a dozen of them right now, ranging from obstacle courses like See Saw, requiring you to team up with other contestants to balance see saws so you may hop across to the other side, to minigames like Fall Ball, teaming you up with contestants against another team of contestants to kick two giant footballs into the opposite goalposts to win. Sometimes, winning the round will be a matter of racing to the finish line to become one of the qualifiers for the next round. Other times, you will be competing in an elimination-style minigame where you either be one of the last ones standing or force other players to become disqualified. It’s a brutal system encouraging you to push your fellow contestants off the map and backstab your own friends to secure a qualification. No wonder this game is tagged as psychological horror on Steam.
But here’s the thing about these minigames: even if you could somehow master completing them if you were alone, you have to take into account that a whole horde of anthropomorphic blobs are running the same course as you, fighting tooth and nail to not be last. You will be funneling into the same narrow paths and diving off the same ledges as your pseudo-comrades, and trust me, not everyone will be considered wholesome. People will grab you, throw you around, and body block you to prevent you from finishing—even if it means they will fail the round too. It’s hard to be upset about that though when you consider the physics of your characters are absolutely hilarious. Getting hit by a giant hammer could either send you straight into a downward spiral or conveniently fling you across the other side of the obstacle course. Contestants will trip and flail around, sometimes forced to cling onto a ledge for dear life in the hopes of being able to pull themselves up without another player goomba stomping them straight to oblivion.
Although being harassed by other players is a core aspect of the game, it is also one of Fall Guys’ downsides, in a sense. The game ends up being luck-based due to being dependent on the actions of other contestants. You may be in Jump Club, for example, and you’re doing your absolute best to avoid being a victim of a home run attempt by a giant stick rotating around you. Players may decide to stop you in your tracks by blocking your movement, causing you to inevitably be clubbed off the platform. It’s not your fault: you were simply a victim of circumstance. But it can definitely be annoying when you spent all that hard work to get to that round only to have it end by mutually assured destruction.
As another example, team games such as Fall Ball requires you to rely on the hope that your fellow teammates are better—or at least less worse—than the enemy team. Outside of co-op you’ve no choice in who your allies are, meaning that while you may be good player, if the enemy team is better than everyone else, then good luck. For Fall Ball, it’s especially frustrating when an uneven amount of players such as 11 survives the last round. Should that happen, well, one team will be down a player. Once again, I wish you good luck in that scenario.
Pimp out your blob
Once you get your hide tanned, you will go back to the main menu where you have the option to customize your character. Your outfit customization includes the options of changing your color, pattern, face, upper body, and lower body. You have the option of buying this stuff in the store, where you spend one of two currencies: kudos or crowns. Kudos are earned by just playing the game; they’ll accumulate over time. Crowns are only earned by winning a show and thus are harder to earn. They both can be earned for free, but kudos also exist as an option to purchase with real money which I find … strange. Fortunately the only items you can purchase are cosmetic items so nothing can provide you with an advantage outside of style points.
There is also a battle pass, which I also found odd to include, until I remembered this is meant to be a battle royale game. Each level is unlocked by earning fame points, obtained by completing shows. The battle pass goes up to level 40 and provides you with rewards such as costumes, emotes, and even currency. Each season seems to span approximately two months, and there is the possibility for mid-season events to occur to keep the game interesting.
It’s a simple game, nothing complicated. It knows what it wants to be, and does just that. I liked playing it. Granted, the art design and color palette gave me a massive headache, but I pulled through. Due to having seasons and a rotating store, it seems like the developers are in it for the long haul, but it’s not really the kind of game you will be playing for long. It’s fun for a few hours, but then you’ll be playing the same minigames over and over again. It’s also important to consider that you need 60 players for each match, meaning that there will need to be a loyal—or at least returning—playerbase to keep this game alive.
I do have good hopes for this game, though. Despite the limited pool of minigames, the game itself feels well-polished and runs without issue. There will be new minigames being released in time, and the fact you can play alongside your friends adds to the experience. Indie battle royale games aren’t easy to maintain, but when it’s something as whacky and wholesome as Fall Guys, I think Mediatonics will do just fine.