In a market so heavily saturated with AAA studios, aim bots, and microtransations, it’s hard to imagine the Battle Royale genre going anywhere but downwards, but there is a beacon of hope coming in 2020. Announced during Devolver Digital’s bizarre and strangely entertaining E3 digital presentation, Mediatonic’s Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout is going to change the way players think about these Battle Royal games, bringing wacky Japanese game show style antics and edge-of-your-seat action to obstacle courses and mini-games played by lobbies of 100 people.
Like most games in the genre, the premise of Fall Guys is incredibly simple, take 100 people, throw them into a free-for-all, and crown the last man standing the victor; however, it is Fall Guys’ approach that makes it such a unique and exciting title. Fall Guys throws everything you know about looting, squad communication, and ranged gunplay out the window, instead focusing on platforming mechanics and relying on a little bit of luck to take the prize. During each game, contestants duke it out in a series of wacky challenges involving running, dodging, jumping, and grabbing, using the hilarious in-game physics to roll, bounce, and slam their way to the finish. With each round, more and more competitors are eliminated, ultimately leaving a select few to race through a digital obstacle course to grab the crown.
Hands on, Fall Guys is an absolute blast to play, primarily because of the lighthearted and accessible nature of its battle royal gameplay. With only three controls: move, jump, and grab, anyone can quickly pick up this title and have a blast, and it is not hard to imagine that even a group of varying experience levels would still have an awesome time. Instead of the futile feeling that some battle royales can give, Fall Guys feels like a title that anyone can win with a little luck.
That being said, the true potential of Fall Guys lies in its possibilities as a streaming title, as it is an awesome game to spectate. Imagine lobbies of hundreds of people watching their favorite streamer running through ludicrous levels and duking it out in hilarious fashion, or even take it one step further to have a match of only viewers and the streamer tumbling their way through the obstacle course. According to developers, they are even playing around with allowing for viewer feedback to have an impact in-game, possibly giving fans control over which mini-game plays next or how the course reacts. Either way, It would not be shocking if Fall Guys becomes a most-streamed game on Twitch after its release, as its gameplay and art style lends itself to a hilarious and engaging viewing experience.
During my hands-on time with Fall Guys, I had so much fun that I honestly wished that I could take the demo with me so I could play it with friends. I was laughing, yelling, and trash-talking my way through the courses, and the controls were so intuitive that it felt like I had been playing the game for weeks. We ran through a few mini-games, one involving choosing the right door and another involving grabbing and holding a tail for the round, ultimately ending with an obstacle course that featured swinging objects, rolling boulders, and various other hazards. The levels were quick and snappy and had little downtime, and the physics felt slightly like the wacky horseplay of Gang Beasts.
While Fall Guys feels like a title that is ready for launch, its success lies in the maintaining the addictive nature of its gameplay and ensuring a varied amount of levels. While I only got hands-on with 3 different mini-games, developers stated that they plan to have over a hundred different mini-games that are randomly chosen by the game lobby, making every playthrough different and every experience unique.
While the wait may be a bit long, keep an eye out for Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout when it drops on Playstation 4 and PC in 2020.