Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout


This game will have you crying with laughter, and break you the minute you take it seriously. An insufferable, brilliant mess.


You’d think it’d be straightforward to write a review of a game that is - and I’m not being flippant - nothing more or less than a horde of technicolour Mr. Blobby clones running Takeshi’s Castle.

It isn’t.

Fall Guys is the hottest game of 2020, hands down. It’s already broken download records on PS4, been played for ~90 million hours on Steam (that’s more than Rocket League, Team Fortress 2 or GTA V), and even its server status Twitter account has 250k followers. It’s a phenomenon.

And it is wafer thin. Essentially a (mostly) non-violent online gauntlet/battle royale, you have to navigate a series of randomly-selected individual or team challenges until an initial group of 60 becomes 1. If you do that, you win a crown, and then start from the beginning, as if it never happened. There's an irrelevant levelling system and fun but ultimately meaningless customisation of your Guy’s appearance via your winnings, and that’s it. There’s no leaderboard, no in-game communication, no real progression of any kind, and by default it’s played fairly anonymously.

So why is everyone losing their heads over it?

Because it’s a paragon of simplistic, disruptive game design. Instantly accessible, dangerously addictive and consistently hilarious. Combine the joy and despair of Mario Party, the punishing precision of Crash Bandicoot, and the slapstick laughs of Kung Fu Chaos, and you’re somewhere near it. Fall Guys is as much fun to observe as it is to play, and if you drop out in an early round, they let you sit back and watch the rest of the game unfold, free of suffering. You should absolutely do it too, not only because it’s the single best way to learn how to succeed at some of the survival rounds, but because it is unequivocally one of the funniest games ever made.

And I hate it. I hate its stupid bean characters and how impossibly clumsy they are. The way they flop around and trip over each other constantly, get stuck to the scenery or inexplicably slide off a See Saw. I can’t stand the cutesy soundtrack and larger-than-life UI, the infuriating Tail Tag games that are totally gutted by server lag, and the arbitrarily long waits between rounds while a pseudo-randomiser pretends for a moment that it’s not going to make you do fucking Slime Climb again.

Fall Guys on a giant see saw. Many of them aren't going to make it.
Some of these Guys aren't going to make it. [Source: Destructoid]

Or do I.. love it? Isn’t running full-tilt towards a door/wall - and not knowing which it is until you’ve hit it - among the purest forms of fun? Ditto getting bonked on the head by a giant Whirlygig and then punted into the distance by another one and wanting to swear, loud, but not being able to because you’re too busy cracking up. Or miraculously getting put on a good team in Fall Ball (for a change) and running out 6-0 winners, having scored a brace and made a diving goal-line clearance. Even a rare solo victory, surviving a super-intense Hexagone finale against a far superior player brutally undone by a fall through four levels in one go, just as you’re beginning to flounder. Conquering 59 worthy challengers to get your hands on a glorious, priceless crown, and then being afforded the privilege to do it all again right away. Does gaming get any better than this?

Well yes, it does. But you should play Fall Guys anyway, because after the year we’ve had, we could all do with a good laugh.