Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout Review

General game information

Game name: Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout

Release date: August 4, 2020

Price: US$19.99

Store page: Steam

Genre: Massively multiplayer party game

Developer: Mediatonic

Publisher: Devolver Digital

Opencritic: Here

Launch trailer

I’ll admit it, there are few things I like more than being right. So, why do I have this stupid grin on my face right now? Is it because I was right, or is it because Fall Guys is one of the most entertaining games I’ve played in a while? Well, if you would believe it, it may very well be because of both. Want to find out more? Continue reading this review then!

So, to quickly set the scene for the uninitiated, Fall Guys is a battle royale of mini-games. Up to sixty players compete in a series of events, trying to survive until the final round, where one lucky contestant will be crowned as the winner (and then fall off-screen, because that’s what fall guys do, they fall). The mini-games can vary quite a bit, and they can either be a free-for-all, or team based affairs (where, depending on the amount of players left, up to four teams might have to duke it out, with the worst scoring of them being eliminated).

If you want to show off your support for the game (or the time you’ve spent playing), there’s a Battle Pass that lasts for more than sixty days (a great idea in my opinion, as new players don’t feel that they can’t complete it, since there’s enough time for everybody, apparently), and it grants you in-game currency and skins to customize your character. That in-game currency can be spent in a shop (that only sells cosmetic items, thankfully), so if you feel that you don’t have enough skins, there’s always a place willing to sell you more.

You can form parties of up to four players, and from my experience, the game will always try to put you with your friends in the team based rounds, but otherwise, there’s no real in-game benefit to parties, as there’s always only one winner, and you might have to betray your pals in the final round if you are dead set on obtaining that shiny, shiny crown. If your friend wins the match, you don’t get anything, so you might as well try to get it for yourself, right? (I might be trying to excuse some past transgressions here, sorry!). Thankfully, I found that playing with friends is its own reward, even if there’s no in-game benefit, since the game can get a lot more competitive (and fun!) if you are in a party.

The controls are very simple and responsive. Players can move, jump, dive and grab (other contestants, objects, and certain walls that let you pull yourself up if you grab and then jump). Chaining a jump with a dive lets you get across larger gaps, but you don’t land on your feet, so there’s a trade-off there, and bumping on other people will throw both the bumper and the bumped off-balance (this can be used to eliminate the competition in certain mini-games). Overall, it’s hard to find fault with this facet of the game, as it’s obvious that it was play-tested heavily and it works like a charm.

Since this is an online game, I’d be doing a poor job with this review if I didn’t talk about the stability of the online infrastructure. Now, as we are in launch week, I will probably be more lenient here than some people would expect. Launch day saw a few hours of server outages (which were promptly communicated by the dev team, both on Twitter, and on the game’s Steam Store page). Right now, four days after the game’s launch, there are still some random disconnections, but otherwise, the performance of the servers is more than acceptable, and I’ve never felt lag or lost a match/round due to a server problem (which is far more than I can say about almost every other battle royale I’ve played on launch week).

The one aspect of Fall Guys where I find myself growing frustrated from time to time is the quality of some of the mini-games (or, to describe it more accurately, the mechanics and ideas behind them). As an elimination game, Fall Guys relies way too much on random chance in its current iteration. Team rounds (especially the ones where it’s only two teams facing off against each other) depend on your teammates knowing what to do (or wanting to do it), something that’s completely out of the player’s hands. Then there’s a mode where you have to get through doors that open and close, so you’d think that timing is the key, right? Well, sometimes yes, and sometimes no, as there are certain doors that operate on different timers, and there doesn’t seem to be much logic behind this decision. The place where you start on race-type rounds can also be incredibly important, since if you are at the back of the pack, you will have to endure bumps that you wouldn’t even feel if you start in pole position (again, something that’s not earned by doing well in the previous round, but just a random chance).

Overall though, despite the complaints I’ve voiced in the previous paragraph, Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout is an incredibly fun experience that seems destined to top the most played charts on Steam for a pretty long time.

8.5/10 – Great.

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