I don’t know why I’m writing this. You know what Fall Guys is. So many people played it that the servers were down until well into the launch weekend. It’s not just a game, it’s a new phenomenon, and it did something that I never thought a game would: it made me obsessed with a battle royale.
Okay, there’s nothing inherently wrong with the genre. But you have to know a little bit about me for this to make sense: I grew up playing competitive games. From first person shooters to player versus player arena battles in World of Warcraft, I’ve always been highly competitive in video games. And then, one day, I wasn’t. I think I got old, or the games got too stressful, or both. I mean, I still play lots of competitive games, but usually when I’m reviewing them. On my “off” time I prefer to play games where I can work with my friends cooperatively. But Fall Guys is an exception.
Fall Guys looks cute and accessible—and its looks are not deceiving. In fact, it’s extremely easy to jump into your first Fall Guys show and get your little jelly-bean shaped fall guy into a heap of trouble. The controls are simple: jump, grab, dive and run. It’s easy to pick up, but not so easy to win when you’re running an obstacle course against 59 other fall guys.
Fall Guys has tight controls, but still, it feels like your little jelly-bean shaped man isn’t too sure footed. It’s easy to get tossed around by a rotating obstacle just to be helplessly ragdolling around. Large crowds should be avoided, because you can easily get caught in a stampede of fall guys trying to get through a certain obstacle. Levels are often chaotic mad dashes, especially in the first round.
Unlike most battle royales where final victory is the end goal, Fall Guys is set up into five rounds. Each round feels like a victory in itself. This takes the pressure of the end goal off a little bit, as you can focus on the minigame at hand. And it doesn’t matter where you place in the current minigame, as long as you qualify.
Fall Guys has a great variety of games, with some standing out as crowd favorites, and others that are universally hated. I’m not going to get into the drama of which obstacle courses or minigames are the best, but the variety is another factor that helps Fall Guys stand out from the saturated battle royale crowd.
The games themselves are made up of a variety of obstacles courses—where you have to dodge obstacles, avoid barriers, and survive against the other fall guys who are trying to finish ahead of you. Sometimes you will participate in minigames, like Tail Tag where you have to finish the match with a tail, either by keeping yours or stealing others’. Minigames like the picture game require you to memorize tile locations. Not every game will make you go solo, either, as there are plenty of team games.
The team games in Fall Guys feel even less stressful, because if you are eliminated, you can always blame your team for letting you down. Some of the team games are the most fun. There are usually three or more teams, with only one team being eliminated. It’s easy to see your team get ganged up on by the other two teams.
But losing in Fall Guys isn’t a drawn-out affair. You can jump into a new game almost immediately, which lends itself to a highly addictive “just one more round” mindset. But these bite-sized royale matches are perfect for that, with you either eliminated, or the fifth round ending in only a few minutes.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a battle royale without microtransactions and paid cosmetics. Fall Guys has a premium currency, and a currency that can only be earned by either winning entire shows, or through season progression—the crown. The crown unlocks some of the best items, but kudos—the paid currency, gets some good stuff, too. Of course, kudos can also be earned through seasonal progression, or you can buy them in the DLC shop. Dressing up your fall guy is probably one of the best things about the game, and there are a ton of silly varieties to choose from.
While Fall Guys is mostly about one fall guy winning, you can group up as a team. You’ll be competing against your friends in most matches, but when team games pop up, you are most likely going to be grouped with your friends—that is, if they made it that far.
Fall Guys is a bright, colorful game that is strangely feel-good despite its competitive nature. There’s no voice chat or text chat for toxicity. Unfortunately, the ‘grab’ mechanic allows players to hold other players, and even try to push them off of the edge. This is fine in some scenarios—especially team games where you’re blocking your opponent from, say, stealing one of your team’s eggs—but grabbing in most other cases seems like a jerk thing to do. I have a hatred for grabbers and pushers. Luckily, you can’t be held for long, but sometimes I wish it wasn’t possible in every minigame.
Fall Guys is colorful battle royale bliss. I love everything about it, from the stumble-y little stubby leg fall guys to the cosmetics in the DLC shop. It’s rare for me to play a competitive multiplayer, much less a battle royale, but Fall Guys feels like wholesome fun, and mostly stress free–unless I’m stuck on that damn see-saw level.
Fall Guys is available now on Steam and PlayStation 4
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