Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout review

2020 is definitely the year we all need some silliness and fun, and Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout provides both in spades. This is a game that will have you shouting out loud whether you’ve been knocked off a platform, just scrape qualification or you’re diving for that coveted crown. The following is my Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout review.

Fall Guys has taken the world by storm and if you haven’t played it you’ve probably heard about it or seen it by now. The basic premise is you and 59 other players take on a series of assault courses and only a certain number qualify each round until the final round where the winner is declared. It’s very similar to those Takeshi’s Castle or Total Wipeout where energetic contestants take on a series of mini-games.

This is a mix between battle royale and party game, and it’s a wonder that no one has thought of this formula before. The best thing about this simple concept is that anyone can pick it up and give it a try, and unlike other battle royale games you’re not going to feel bad for failing. Often in battle royale games, where you have 100 players battling it out for the top spot by taking out of all your opponents, there’s a lot of prep, looting and then you’re taken out by someone with more skill than you very quickly. In Fall Guys the balance of skill and randomness is about 50/50, and the movement of the characters are always very funny, so it’s hard to be angry if you get eliminated early.

It’s all very fast and fluid. When you first boot up the game you’re greeted by your bean (the name of the main characters in Fall Guys) and you can jump into a game right away. After a few moments of diving in where the servers find 59 other players, you’re there on the start line with your other bean friends. There’s an element of randomness to where you start in the first round, sometimes you’re at the front (which sounds good, but sometimes you don’t want to be the first one to dive headfirst into a door that won’t budge) and sometimes you’re at the back. The starting gun goes off and all the beans spill forward.

The controls are simple but effective. You can move in all directions, jump, dive and also hold other players. The hold button also comes in handy if you want to climb, which is needed in some rounds. There’s nothing more satisfying in 2020 than running towards the finish line, jumping and then diving to qualify for the next round when the bean next to you gets eliminated.

There’s a bunch of different games on the way to victory. There’s the round with the fake doors where you have to guess which doors are real and which ones are fake, and then make your way to the finish line as fast as you can. There’s the Whirlygig, where you have to cross a series of spinning platforms. There’s the seesaw round, where you have to make your way across a series of platforms, and if too many beans are on one side then you’ll slide down and off the platform and back to the last checkpoint. There are about 25 game modes in this initial release with the developers Mediatonic looking to add more soon.

As well as the pure racing rounds you also have team games. The beans are split into 3 teams – yellow, red and blue. Here you have to work together to get through to the next round. In one game you have to grab the tails and keep hold of them as long as you can, in another round you have to gather the eggs (and stop other team’s bean from stealing yours). In one of my favourite game modes, you and your team have to roll a ball to the finish line, which sounds simple, until the other team start to get in the way and then all hell breaks loose.

Fall Guys is going to make you shout, and scream, shout ‘YES’ and ‘NOOOOOOO’. I haven’t laughed out loud this much playing a game in a long time, there are a simple joy and ridiculous nature to the game which is pure fun. The gameplay is excellent, the rounds are fast and it doesn’t really matter if you get knocked out as you’ll be laughing all the time anyways.

As you progress through the game you collect currencies which can be used to buy cosmetics for your bean. There’s a pickle suit, wolf suit, chicken suit to name a few. There have been cross overs with other games and brands have been falling over themselves to get in on the action. So far the developers have resisted the temptations of the KFC suit, but we’ll have to wait and see what happens with that. As well as the cosmetics there’s a battle pass for the game where you have rewarded currency and cosmetics like many other games before Fall Guys.

Fall Guys has taken over the internet at this point, it was the number 1 selling game on steam days after release and continues to be top of the Twitch charts. Huge streamers have picked up on the game and strats have been shared around twitter and the wider internet on the fastest ways to complete levels. The hexagon strat is particularly funny, where hexagons disappear when you step on them and if you run around in a circle you can remove all the platforms for the other beans and watch them fall to elimination.

As well as single player you can team up with 3 other friends in a party and make your way through the levels, where you’ll either compete against each other or play team games. This is probably where Fall Guys does it’s best work when you’re playing with friends and want a quick fire few rounds and catch up with buds.

The only real draw back with Fall Guys at this point are the amount of levels. After playing them a few times you will have seen them all. You could go back and perfect strategies for them of course, but over a few hours of gameplay it can feel a little bit samey. There’s also the levels that are clearly not as good as the others, but over time I am sure developer Mediatonic will figure this out. At this point they wanted to get the game out with a small number of polished levels to start on a good platform, then iterate over time.

Fall Guys has been more successful beyond the wildest dreams of the teams involved and now it’s time to develop the game further. I’d love to see some kind of level voting, or even perhaps a forge mode later down the line where the community could build their own levels. I am sure that’s a tough one to figure out, but it’d be great to see.

Much like Animal Crossing earlier this year, Fall Guys is the tonic we all need in 2020. It’s silly, it’ll make you laugh and it’s a guaranteed good laugh which will have you screaming in delight or failure. Currently it’s available on PS4 and Steam, and it’s very reasonably priced (this month it’s free on PS plus), so I’d definitely recommend picking it up and trying it out.

That’s it for this Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout review. Check out more reviews on This Week In Video Games or keep up to date on the latest in the world of video games on YouTube.

Developer: Mediatonic
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Platforms: PS4, PC
Release Date: August 4th 2020

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