Okay, so I’ll start with a confession. This is more of an ode than a review. It’s fine though: Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout doesn’t really need reviewing. It’s taken the world by storm recently, so much so that the tech gurus at Mediatonic have been scrambling to help their servers deal with its incredible popularity.
I hate to sound all pretentious, but Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout is not just a game anymore: it’s a cultural phenomenon. From the genius marketing campaign including some very witty people behind the Twitter account, to the reimagining of battle royale multiplayer modes into this goofy little Takeshi’s Castle/ Total Wipeout style competition, this game is really on another level altogether. And the sales statistics say as much: 2 million copies sold on Steam in the first week is one incredible achievement, with PS Plus customers thrilled at its inclusion in August’s games and eagerly downloading it.
Now, if you’ve been sensible and avoided the internet of late, let me just give you a little rundown of what you’ve missed. Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout is the latest craze in gaming. It’s a colourful, wholesome online multiplayer game where 60 players – the cutest little jellybean type characters that can be customised – compete in 5 rounds of various obstacle courses and activities for limited spaces. After 5 rounds, the winner is crowned.
Sounds simple right? It is simple – and fantastic. It’s endlessly charming, it’s addictive, and it’s everything the online multiplayer scene needs in an age where ‘git gud’ culture is so prevalent.
And here’s where I get kinda sappy. Fall Guys actually means quite a lot to me as a game for this reason: to me, it feels like a brightening of those multiplayer scenes that are so uninviting for somebody who has severe anxiety of playing online with strangers for fear of being called out as the noob I am.
So many of them are combat games where your skill will be monitored by your fellow players and readily called out: Apex Legends, League of Legends, World of Warcraft…What’s so great about Fall Guys is that it brings these competitive modes forward into a much more family friendly space, and one that is competitive but just doesn’t seem quite as toxic. The controls are few and simple – run, jump, grab and leap – making it even more family friendly.
Sure: even with the cute, derpy, brightly coloured jellybean characters with their hotdog outfits and what have you, you’ll still get players waiting to push others off the edge if possible, or hold people back from the finish line, or even others that try to cheat the system – that might get annoying, granted.
But despite this, it never seems toxic like so many other online spaces, with less potential for targeted attacks or harassment and less hostility based on ability. And the developers are working very hard to combat instances of cheating, and have had results in this domain already. Despite some teething problems, the fact is that Fall Guys has enabled me to enjoy playing online multiplayer games without anxiety for the first time in a while, and for that I am so very grateful.
And this winning formula looks like one that could stand the test of time. With a good range of activities involved, both solo and team, races and collection games, logic puzzles, last man standing, Fall Guys is already decently diverse…but the possibilities for expansion in terms of games and game modes are endless. Think party modes to play with your friends and family, or more competitive modes, or just new games.
That’s not to mention partnerships with other franchises – just think of the possibilities for skins and new games! Mediatonic have really hit on something incredible here and I am looking forward to it becoming a staple of online gaming.
Artistically, Fall Guys is so inviting. It is bright, colourful, and frankly quite beautiful for a game that is meant to be quite silly. It’s utterly wholesome fun, with the cutest little characters and the catchiest lobby music in the actual entire world. I cannot stop bopping to it for the life of me. HELP! The little jellybean characters and the noises they make are just so cute. Oh boy, there is just so much to love about Fall Guys.
It’s also a truly hilarious game. There’s nothing funnier than getting thrown around in Whirligig or watching a fellow competitor leap headfirst into a fake door in Door Dash. The game is complete and utter chaos when you’re all trying to squeeze through small gaps, fighting over a golden egg, or attempting to sabotage the other team’s efforts. And it’s a comedy treat all the way. Even your failures will have you laughing.
So, to return to my initial point: this is not really a review. It’s an ode. Because from my perspective, Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout is another of those games, like Drink More Glurp, that the world really needs right now. It is wholesome, hilarious, and wonderful. This is the exact time to follow the crowd, reader. I absolutely love Mediatonic’s creation – and for free with PS Plus for August, or £15.99 otherwise, it is an absolute steal.
I can only hope that it soon comes to other platforms than the currently available ones, PC and PS4, and indeed future consoles, where the game will have ready and willing players for a long time to come.