Fall Guys is available on Steam and PlayStation 4. It’s included as a PlayStation Plus game for August 2020. Joseph Pugh conducted this review on a standard PlayStation 4 console.
Fall Guys is an online multiplayer “battle royal” game where you compete against 60 other players in crazy obstacle courses and wacky mini-games. You won’t find weapons or loot here, just simple silly fun.
The game takes you through several random mini games where only a finite number of players can qualify for the next round. Eventually the finalists will compete in a finale for a shiny golden crown.
Fall Guys is simple to pick up and play. Each round only lasts a couple of minutes. Entire string of rounds can usually be completed in fifteen minutes or less, assuming you even make it to the finale.
Falling for you
Fall Guys is immediately a breath of fresh air, in a world of grays and browns, blood and gore, pain, and suffering. Fall Guys is bright colors, flavored ice cream, and unicorn farts. Everything from the cute little bean people you play as, to the upbeat music and the colorful palette, it’s hard not to feel at least a little bit chipper playing the game.
The entire conceptual design feels like the inspired result of an artist watching American Gladiators while on a sugar high infused mushroom trip. It was actually inspired by a Japanese show that I probably can’t pronounce because I can hardly enunciate basic English without slurring my words like I just licked a lollypop made out of Orajel.
The entire game is adorable, but it’s also kind of cute in the same way that baby turtles are cute when they first hatch. The ones that struggle to get over a mound of sand to swim free in the ocean. But they keep flopping over and wiggling side to side on their backs and, sure it looks cute as hell. However they actually die if they can’t get to the water because mother nature dosen’t give a fudge. In Fall Guys you get to be that turtle!
The game has an intentionally fickle physics system. The slightest bump sends your tubby little bean flailing around on the ground like an anti-masker throwing a tantrum because they aren’t allowed to blow snot on other people at Wal-Mart.
If you so much as bump into another player with the impact of a wet fart. You flop. If you jump and catch your toes on the edge of a ledge by a microscopic inch? You flop. If you get creamed by a giant banana fired out of cannon? You get the idea.
In any other game, it would be frustrating but in Fall Guys it’s hilarious and that’s part of the game’s core strength. You’re competing against other players sure, but it’s not competitive. It’s very easy to jump into a game ultra-quick and start having fun and laughing at the absurdity.
The overall goal of Fall Guys to make it to the finale and win a crown. You are rewarded to some degree no matter how crappy you are at the game. You earn XP which levels you up on a linear battle pass type thing that constantly drip feeds you cosmetic rewards. This activates those little dopamine receptors in your brain that keeps you playing like a good little addict!
You also earn Kudos that you can spend in a rotating cosmetic store, but the most interesting part of it is the crowns. You see, Kudos can be bought with real money if you’re either impatient or have a sugar daddy. But crowns are only obtainable in the game and by being that one out of 60 contestants that wins.
Crowns can be spent on specific crown only cosmetic items. I actually really love the concept. That victory tastes even sweeter when you get to spend it on something cool. It beats the hell out the metaphorical winner winner chicken dinner. That only ever made me sad that I didn’t actually have a chicken dinner, and thus I never felt like a winner. Just hungry.
Fall Guys does a good job of making you feel rewarded every game. Outside of the finale you only need to qualify, not win. But the better you perform the more XP and Kudos you earn.
There are a lot of cosmetics too. You can pimp your bean into whatever Frankenstein monster of strange attire that you want.
The Ultimate Disappointment
Fall Guys isn’t all sunshine and rainbows though. The game features around twenty-four mini-games, and some of them are regulated to the finale so the random pool for most rounds is even smaller. Fall Guys seems to be conflicted on whether it wants you to play it in short bursts, or all day.
The gameplay certainly fits the former. You get in and move between rounds extremely fast and each round is short. The integrated and free season pass mechanic, however, requires a lot of commitment to earn your way through.
The minigames themselves repeat often and are a mixed bag. There are races which are basically obstacle courses. You have to navigate your incredibly clumsy bean folk through an array of cleverly laid out environments. Moving walls, swinging balls, and slippery slopes to name a few.
One course, in particular, killed my faith in humanity more than I ever thought possible. Essentially the entire course is a series of giant seesaws. Even a child who licks windows knows how a seesaw functions.
Yet, you will witness 60, presumably humans beings, jumping on to a seesaw pointed 90 degrees in the air and slide straight down because patience, is obviously for the weak.
Now, all animals can learn from their mistakes. So obviously upon re-spawning they would wait 0.3 seconds for the seesaw to even out and adjust themselves to counterbalance the weight right? Nope, they dove straight off again like lemmings. How did we ever make it this far in life? Take that flat-earthers. Fall Guys proves if the earth was flat, we would just all walk off the edge and die.
In addition to races, there are survival games where you literally must survive something that the game throws at you. It might be escaping from rising slime, remaining on a series of moving cylinders, or testing your memory on a matching fruit game.
Those two types of games are the best, they are always fun and full of laughs. Then you have the team games. You will play at least one before reaching the finale and I hate them with a passion. There are a couple of good ones, Fall Ball is basically a mini Rocket League with chubby bean people instead of cars, it’s fun.
The others are a mess. This is because they feel random and not in the “oh yeah, what kind of goodie am I getting kind of way.” It’s the, “I just lost a dare and have to lick that hairy dudes armpit” kind of way.
The players are split into teams and the team that ends the game doing the worst is eliminated together. The simplicity and chaos of the game and the fact that there is no coordination means your individual impact means very little. It doesn’t matter how well you play. If your team screws the pooch, you are getting eliminated with them.
One such game is called Tail Tag. You have to go around and grab tails from other players and the team who has the least amount of tails when the clock runs out is eliminated. You can spend the whole game holding on to your tail like it’s a precious newborn puppy. If the rest of your team didn’t grab enough, you’re out. It’s not “technically random” but from your perspective, it might as well be.
The worst part is, I think it’s by design. The casual nature of Fall Guys is trying to prevent skilled players from winning the crown every game. I have to disagree with this. Losing in Fall Guys isn’t like getting shot in the face and tea bagged by a third-grader in Warzone. Losing is fun, not insulting and it’s a mass of 60 players all scrambling like bumbling morons through swinging bobbers and rubber baby buggy bumpers.
When you get knocked down, it’s funny, not frustrating. Sure this level of randomness is a great equalizer, but it’s neither entertaining nor fun. You could replace the team games with a coin flip and it would functionally be the same. Heads, “yay I get to continue on”, tails “I get to sit in the corner and be sad because the game said so”.
The game is simple enough that I can’t imagine the skill ceiling is that high anyway. You can run, jump, dive, and grab. That’s it. Grab is really only used for two things, specific mini-games and grabbing the jiggly butt cheeks of a passing bean to prevent them from crossing the finish line for no real reason other than you can.
Fall Guys is hilarious fun if a bit flawed. It’s simple to pick up, play, and put down with very little downtime in between rounds. For the love of gaming, other battle royals take note. I can literally feel my bones creak with age sitting in some game lobbies waiting for a game to start.
It nails the reward system pretty well and it’s simplistic but chaotic nature combines with it’s attractive and bright presentation to make for a charming game. If you already subscribe to PlayStation Plus you need to give this whirl while you have the chance.
Fall Guys is silly and stupid fun, and that is perfectly okay. It just needs a bit more variety and the RNG feeling of the team based mini-games are a real downer. The game is a nearly perfect platform to be expanded upon and I hope that’s the case going forward.
You might also want to check out my review of Pummel Party.
- Cute, charming, and upbeat.
- Many minigames are chaotic and hilarious fun
- Winning as a currency is clever and feels good
- In and out of rounds quickly.
- Lack of minigame variety
- Victory in team games feels random
- A little too simplistic