There is no questioning the role video games have played in easing the process of staying home during the pandemic this year. And 2020 has no doubt given us some of the best games yet. But as great as this year’s games have been, they have often been limited to familiar genres, thus treading in the territory of “new but nothing fresh”. In comes Fall Guys, a battle royale game that is easy to pick up and offers a hilariously good time, taking the internet by storm in the process.

This is the review of Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout.

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Developed by Mediatonic, Fall Guys: Ultimate knockout is a battle royale game that pits 60 players against each other in a series of Wipeout/Takeshi’s castle-style obstacle courses, and other mini games. Guns, vehicles, grapplehooks and outlandish character design that are usually associated with the Battle Royale genre have been replaced by bright colours, uplifting music and minions-like jellybean creatures. This makes Falls Guys feel like a breath of fresh air in the crowded genre.

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Part of what works for Fall Guys so well is it’s easy to pick up gameplay. The basic move set comprises of jump, dive and grab and that is all you need to know to make it to the end of the game. But it’s the game’s physics, the movement of the characters combined with brilliantly designed levels that range from obstacle courses, to memory games, to collapsing platforms and many more that makes the game so much fun to play. The simplicity of the controls also means that anyone, even ones who haven’t played on a console or PC before, can pick up and be just as skilful within just a few matches. Every match starts with 60 players in a series of minigames with a chunk of players eliminated in each game.
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Some levels are confined to rounds one and two, while a few others serve as one of the final levels. The levels also comprise of a clever mix of solo objectives and team goals. So in one game you find yourself working solo, trying to hold on to a platform that pushes players off to elimination, and in the other you work as a team with random players trying to eliminate a bunch of other players in the opposition. This keeps the game fresh during long hours of play.

Graphics and Sound

Fall Guys’ key to success can largely be attributed to its art style and sound design. Its simplistic gameplay is one thing, but it’s the bright and colourful visuals combined with the cute yet clumsy characteristics of the characters that provide the global appeal for the game. If I have members of my family fighting over the controller to play the next round, it can be said that the visuals played a huge role. I often stop my 10-year-old daughter mid-course and try out all the emotes just to have a laugh, and that shows how much the art style and visuals contribute to the game’s appeal and consequently its massive success.

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Not Perfect

All that said, the game is not perfect. Fall Guys saw a free release for PlayStation Plus members for the month of August and is being sold at retail on other platforms. While the asking price is certainly not close to an AAA title, being sold at a reasonable Rs 529 on steam for example, the game still finds itself vulnerable to all the pitfalls that come with a free to play Battle Royale game.

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There have been several instances of cheaters finding their way to the finish which completely ruins the fun factor of the game. Although publisher Devolver Digital has been prompt in providing updates and is taking action against cheaters. Where the game fares better though is in its microtransactions that stick with the option of buying game currencies which in turn can be spent on cosmetic items. There are no loot boxes implemented within the game. And the level up system does a decent job of offering somewhat meaningful rewards in the form of skins costumes and other perks. Plus, if you want quick access to a few extra items, you could always purchase some of the available DLC costume packs.

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Fall guys: Ultimate knockout is not perfect. But it excels at what it is set out to do. Its simple premise and goofy aesthetics have a broad appeal, and as a result the game can be enjoyed by anyone who properly holds a controller in their hands. Given the massive success and popularity, the game stood a chance of fizzling out as the handful of levels, while fun, can feel a bit old with regular play, but the season two trailers indicate that the new levels do leverage from elements that work best for the game.

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The craze on the internet for this game may push sales, but it is the thrill of being the last person to make it to the next round, and being eliminated while being ever so close to the end, and that ecstatic feeling of winning the crown that the game encapsulates that makes me and my family come back for more. Fall Guys is a joy to play and is sure to put a smile on our face. Go play Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout.

Final Score: 9/10

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