General game information
Game name: Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout
Release date: August 4, 2020
Store page: Steam
Genre: Massively multiplayer party game
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Remember when PUBG first rose to prominence and many people feared that every other game would include a battle royale mode? That mostly didn’t happen, but there was one genre that no one would have expected to be affected by this… Which one is that genre, you ask? Well, I’d like to think that party games were somewhat safe from the battle royale epidemic. Oh wait, here’s Mediatonic with Fall Guys ready to destroy my theory!
So after that somewhat cringeworthy introductory paragraph we’ve established that Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout is a mix of battle royale and party game. How does that work though? Is that even legal? Join me as I attempt to share my thoughts on the game’s closed Beta, ahead of its August 4th release date.
I wasn’t able to queue up with friends, so I’ll mostly be talking about the solo experience (though I believe that if all members of a party make it to the end, there’s still only room for one, so in a way, at the end the game is always a solo experience). The matches I played all followed the same format, but the journey was mostly different, and not only because of my skills (or lack thereof), but mostly thanks to the game mode variety, something that I enjoyed quite a bit, as it did its best to remove the repetition element that is often present in both party games and elimination-based titles.
The game’s basic format is deceptively simple: once the game has found sixty contestants, it’ll put all of them into a lobby area, then automagically choose a starting game type, and away we go. After the first round, 15 players will be eliminated (they can stay and spectate the other contestants, but can’t interact with anything or try to complete the trials ahead). This continues until there’s only one player left. In the middle, you might get team-based rounds or frantic free-for-alls where the only thing that matters is making it into the next round.
Gameplay-wise, Fall Guys is an absolute winner in my book, as the physics based madness that ensues every round makes it an absolute blast to play (or watch, if that’s your thing). There are all sorts of obstacles to overcome, and as usual, other humans will do their best to ensure their fellow contestants don’t make it to the next round, so you’ll need eyes on your back at times. I did find some inconsistencies in a mode where there’s closing doors that seemed to run on a timer, but then one of them stopped doing so at the last minute, but otherwise, I can’t really say anything negative about Fall Guys‘ mini-games. There are races, climbs to the top, Tag equivalents, you name it, it’s there and it’s fun.
Another thing that I enjoyed immensely was that for a closed Beta, this test session was incredibly smooth. I don’t even think I was in a server from my own region (though I could be mistaken) and yet, I didn’t experience latency issues, disconnections or anything of the sort. No crashes or related weirdness either, my time with the game was rock solid, which bodes very well for the full release.
What I didn’t exactly enjoy comes in two parts. Part one would be that (at least in the closed Beta), the battle pass took forever to level-up, meaning that I was very limited in my choice of cosmetics. I would assume that this will be somewhat alleviated in the full game, since the cosmetics store was closed in the build that I played, and I got some in-game cash that could only be spent there (and I couldn’t cash it in, due to the store being closed, thus having access to less cosmetics than I would in the live game). My other negative point will sound weirder, and I’ll freely admit that it’s more of a personal thing than anything I expect to see as a widespread complaint: the elimination system. Why do I dislike this? Well, the mini-games are VERY fun to play, and I hated being eliminated quickly, since that meant I didn’t get to play more than a round or two. From my point of view, it’d be nice if Mediatonic added yet another queue, focusing on scores instead of eliminating players, and let everyone play everything, choosing a winner at the very end (and maybe even letting other contestants have fun trying to steal their crown, Duck Game style).
Overall though, my experience with Fall Guys‘ closed beta was fantastic and I look forward to playing it come release day. Mediatonic seems to have a big hit on their hands.