When looking for happiness and laughter that makes one truly forget about how shocking and macabre the real world is, turn to Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout, commonly shortened to Fall Guys. This game provides players shades to the windows of the cruel world outside with a healthy balance of simple gameplay and chaotic, anthropomorphic jelly-bean-like avatars running and dive-bombing about to win.
The U.K. based independent game developers, Mediatonic, have seen success in their previous works as they’ve teamed up along Japan’s Square Enix for the digital collectible card game title Heavenstrike Rivals.
They have also co-produced the obscure, avian reimagining of Japanese dating simulator games with Hatoful Boyfriend, in which the player finds love with different types of pigeons at the “world’s greatest pigeon high school.”
Although the studio is quite flexible when it comes to the genres it produces, Fall Guys is an interactive display of craftsmanship that stays true to what makes games so enjoyable.
Reinventing battle royales
When the game begins, so does the premise. It is a multiple-round tournament, where a pool of 60 online players are put into a survival game show where the fastest or most successful players will carry on to the next round.
Rounds consist of randomly selected levels with its own obstacle course that players must traverse through, similar to ABC’s game show, “Wipeout.” Eventually, the rounds will eliminate more players as the “show” progresses until a small number of players will engage in a random free-for-all, which will leave only one player standing: the victor.
The competition is fierce and hilarious as players try to gain a lead on opponents through various means, whether that includes holding others from crossing the finish line or sabotaging other teams in hopes that your team will reach the goal before the others.
It isn’t a gun-shooting title where the player has to massacre dozens of players to stand at the top. Instead, players are eliminated by failing along with their team or individually, by either not crossing the finish line, falling down into the clouds or into the endless pool of pink slime.
Less is more (level design and controls)
The learning curve for this game is not steep. The developers have made the game minimal in controlling what your avatar can do. Inputs are only limited to controlling direction, jumping, diving and grabbing.
While other titles are taking advantage of the entire real estate of a player's controller, players can get confused trying to remember which button to press in a given situation.
Fall Guys, however, has the ability to capture a wider range of players with simplistic controls that allow for users of any experience level a chance to win.
The goal is clearly displayed before each level starts, offering a brief description of the objective that each individual or team must fulfill to qualify for the next round.
Before the round starts, the camera shortly projects an overhead of the entire stage which details the obstacles players will have to face before they start.
Objectives are easy to understand with an obvious finish line, the difficulties come with the amount of avatars crammed in a small stage, all attempting to reach the same goal at once.
As the other players attempt to go through the obstacles, all it takes is one person to make a mistake. This could hilariously send others to their downfall or mercilessly push them off the high ground onto the much harder low ground variant.
There isn’t an optimal way to play the game. Regardless, players are still able to win even if they choose a more difficult route to do so. Riskier routes can lead players to fail miserably, wondering why they risked it all or gain a significant advantage into qualifying for the next round.
How the user chooses to create their experience relies on however they want to play the game, compared to other titles where players are guided through the experience the developers want the user to have.
Beauty amid chaos (colors and ending)
Fall Guys’ colors include very saturated bright pinks that label the hazards of the course. Shades of blue fill the sky and foundation of the course, while mustard yellow lines the support structures. The colors are inviting and bubbly, which sets the tone for the entire game, while also complementing the design in order for the players to understand what could be dangerous to their progression.
While the bells and whistles of the game leads minds astray, the pandemonium that occurs can make even the nicest person gnash at their teeth and enact acts of revenge to push themselves towards victory.
Nobility in this game is often absent as players are decivilized to their fight or flight instincts. The gratification of winning among 60 others is second-to-none — a popular reason as to why the battle royale is so addicting and profitable.
After the player relishes in victory with a crown atop their jelly bean avatar, it only makes players want another win.
The game is addicting, even when eliminated, and even after losing or taking the crown.
There’s motivation to continue to play the game a different way.
The game clouds thinking as the world faces turmoil and the outside appears to be grim and virus-ridden.
Although humans rely on happiness to function, this game is by no means a solution to what is happening in the world. Rather, Fall Guys is a must-play experience that captures the essence of what video games should provide for players; pure, unadulterated joy — with a dash of pink.