I love Fall Guys – and I’ve had a blast playing the fun party battle royale title since it landed in August of 2020. Following a buyout by Epic Games it seemed inevitable that Fall Guys would eventually go free-to-play, and here we are! The new version of Fall Guys launched yesterday and I’ve had a couple of hours to jump in and have a play around.
First of all, some points to be aware of: Fall Guys is no longer available via Steam, although players who purchased it on that platform before yesterday will be able to continue to play the game – and it will presumably continue to receive updates in line with other versions. Secondly, the game is now available on Switch and Xbox… finally! And thanks to cross-platform play, players on PC, Switch, PlayStation, and Xbox systems are able to play together.
I was confused by some of the pre-launch marketing, specifically the talk of a “season reset.” Fall Guys had introduced a lot of new content and new rounds across its first couple of years, including a winter-themed season and a sci-fi one. It wasn’t communicated very clearly, in my opinion at least, whether some or all of this content would be included as part of this “new Season 1,” or whatever it’s called. As it turned out, all of the rounds are available, which is great! The good rounds are still a ton of fun… and the annoying ones are still annoying.
I didn’t get off to a great start, as some kind of error prevented me from even getting to the game’s main menu. I saw something about this on social media from one of Mediatonic’s pages, and considering the increased player numbers as the game launches on two new platforms and simultaneously goes free-to-play for the first time ever, I guess a few bumps in the road can be forgiven! But I hope this issue – which persisted for quite a while – hasn’t had too much of a negative impact on new players and their first impressions of Fall Guys.
So first of all, anyone who’s played Fall Guys before (on the same account) will be granted a few freebies – including some new costumes and access to the first Season Pass. That’s nice, and a little bit of generosity from Epic/Mediatonic toward the game’s early adopters. But going free-to-play has, naturally, completely changed Fall Guys’ in-game marketplace. The original “kudos” currency is still present and can be used for some items, but there’s now a second premium currency that must be bought with real cash – and this second currency can be exchanged for other in-game items.
Fortunately, items unlocked prior to the game going free-to-play seem to have remained in my inventory, so I don’t feel a desperate need to shell out a lot of cash for in-game currencies and new items right now. But new players in particular will find themselves affected by the decision to lock many cosmetic items behind a paywall, and Fall Guys is definitely following the business model used by many free-to-play mobile games and Epic’s own juggernaut Fortnite in terms of the way in-game monetisation is handled.
Too many reviews skip over microtransactions and in-game monetisation, but in my view it’s absolutely worth drawing your attention to this aspect of Fall Guys before we go any further. This is a game that’s very appealing to kids and young people thanks to a cute visual style, the lack of any violence or gore, and a fun party vibe, so parents and carers should be aware of what could lie in store. The original version of Fall Guys, as I noted in my first look at the game a couple of years ago, was very good about making its microtransations entirely optional and allowing simply playing the game to unlock boatloads of in-game currency and a plethora of new items. This new free-to-play version of the game feels more tight-fisted and stingy with its in-game rewards, and the emphasis from this point forward is going to be on those microtransactions and that premium currency.
Mentions of a “Season Pass” have also not eluded me, and it seems like this is another aspect of the game that is going to be monetised and heavily pushed. Paying for the game’s Season Pass – which, as noted, is free right now for players who bought the game prior to its free-to-play move – will unlock a lot of “premium” items and some in-game currency. It seems like these Season Passes will be a big part of the game going forward.
As with Fortnite, playing Fall Guys without spending a penny is possible, and none of the Season Passes, in-game currencies, and microtransactions could be described as being either necessary to complete the game nor as offering any kind of in-game advantage. But it’s worth being aware of the fact that this “free” game – like many, many others – could be a gateway to spending not insignificant amounts of real money.
While none of the purchases players can make today will offer any kind of in-game advantage, there’s always the possibility of that changing in future. Updates or changes to the game could potentially see some of Fall Guys’ rounds gated off behind a paywall, or the addition of power-ups, boosters, and the like that could potentially make the game a “pay-to-win” experience. I’ll do my best to keep tabs on things as Fall Guys progresses with its new business model – and I’m sure I’ll have something to say if any kind of pay-to-win mechanics begin cropping up.
So that’s how things sit in terms of monetisation from my point of view. Fall Guys is to be commended for not including the dreaded randomised lootbox as part of its monetisation, but that’s a pretty low bar. A free game with dedicated online servers naturally requires some kind of revenue stream in order to be financially viable, and the fact that there are still unlockable items without spending money is a good thing. Monetisation doesn’t feel horribly aggressive right now when compared to some other titles, but it is still present and, speaking as someone who played and enjoyed Fall Guys in its earlier incarnation, monetisation and pushes to spend money feel like a much larger part of the game than they used to be.
But enough about that for now.
Fall Guys plays exactly the same as it used to now that it’s free-to-play, and for newbies I guess I’d describe its gameplay as “deceptively simple.” You can run, grab, jump, and dive – and those are your available moves. Using those moves you have to navigate a huge variety of different rounds – most of which only last a couple of minutes at the most – in order to qualify for the next one. It takes a bit of getting used to, but there’s never been a better time to get started thanks to the influx of new players! It’s a level playing field right now.
I won’t go into detail about every round in the game – but I have several lists here on the website of my favourites (and least-favourites), the most recent of which you can find by clicking or tapping here. Suffice to say that most of the rounds are an absolute blast, and the few that I don’t personally enjoy never ruin my gameplay experience because of how short they are and how infrequently they crop up in a game with so much variety.
There are a handful of new rounds that have been introduced alongside the free-to-play update, and the ones I’ve tried so far retain Fall Guys’ signature sense of wild and wacky fun. I can’t wait to get stuck in all over again and figure out my best strategies for approaching some of these new experiences!
So I don’t think there’s a lot more to say. Fall Guys has gone free-to-play but has retained its fun gameplay, and while there is a definite and noticeable push towards in-game monetisation, at this stage it doesn’t feel excessive. I hadn’t played much Fall Guys over the past few months, but this update gave me another opportunity to dive headfirst into one of my favourite games of the last few years. As I said when Fall Guys was brand-new, it takes something truly special for me to be interested in any kind of online multiplayer title, least of all one that could be described as a kind of “battle royale,” but Fall Guys really is that kind of exceptional, unique game.
I’m pleased to see that the game is now available on Xbox and Nintendo Switch; the latter platform in particular should be a natural fit for this kind of fun, kid-friendly party game. I’d been awaiting the game’s Switch release for a long time, and although I’ve only played on PC so far I hope to jump into the Switch version very soon.
Maybe we’ll see each other out there on the obstacle courses… but I should warn you, the gloves are off! I’ll shove you out of the way without a second thought for a chance at winning my next crown! Good luck and happy falling!
Fall Guys is out now for free (with in-game purchases) on PC, PlayStation 4/5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series S/X. Fall Guys is the copyright of Mediatonic and Epic Games. This article contains the thoughts and opinions of one person only and is not intended to cause any offence.
Since I last ranked all of the rounds in Fall Guys, two new seasons have arrived and added fifteen additional ones! The total number now stands at a whopping fifty-five rounds, and there are promises of more to come. Hopefully developer Mediatonic and publisher Epic Games will soon launch a Nintendo Switch version of the game, because if there’s one thing stopping Fall Guys hitting its full potential its the lack of availability on that platform!
But we aren’t here to talk about that today, and a Switch version is still on the agenda for 2021 – at least according to Nintendo. This time I’m going to take a look at the fifteen newly-added rounds, giving my thoughts and impressions on each of them. We’ll start at the bottom with my least-favourites and work up to the rounds I consider to be the best and most interesting. So let’s get started, shall we?
Number 15: Lily Leapers
I don’t hate Lily Leapers, and after a few attempts I managed to get the hang of bouncing on the trampoline-like drums. But as I’ve said in the past about a few other rounds (like Door Dash, for example) the fact that there’s literally only one type of obstacle or item across the entire round naturally makes it less interesting. The trampoline-drums are fine, but the round itself is one-dimensional because that’s all there is to do.
Bouncing on the drums causes them to make a very bass-heavy noise. When playing the game using a setup that includes speakers and a subwoofer, this bass noise is incredibly loud, disproportionately so when compared to the rest of the music and sound effects. So I think a bit of tweaking might be necessary there!
Number 14 (tie): Basketfall and Power Trip
I’m not a big fan of team rounds. Your ability to progress is entirely dependent on who you find yourself teamed up with, and some rounds can see one or two players dominate proceedings. Power Trip is perhaps the better of the two team rounds introduced in Season 4, but even so it’s possible to play very well and lose simply because the other players on your team weren’t very good. Randomness is all part of the fun – sometimes. But it can be frustrating to be on a good run and be brought crashing down because of factors beyond your control!
All that being said, I haven’t seen anywhere near as many team games in recent weeks. I’m not sure if that’s pure luck or if the frequency of team games has been adjusted in one of the updates. As a result I scarcely play either Power Trip or Basketfall any more.
Number 12: Big Shots
The only reason Big Shots isn’t higher up the list is that it’s relatively easy. I’ve seen this round eliminate literally only one or two players sometimes, simply because most folks have got the hang of it. The concept is interesting – balancing on a see-saw while dodging flying obstacles – but something needs to happen to shake it up in order to make it a more useful round once again!
Despite that, I like Big Shots. I like the way it’s a riff on other concepts from elsewhere in the game, feeling familiar yet different at the same time. Its only problem is that it doesn’t always feel like a useful round given that practically everyone can qualify!
Number 11: Lost Temple
I really like Lost Temple. The maze-like layout manages to make the drab Door Dash concept actually worthwhile, and I like the way each chamber in the maze contains a different obstacle to overcome. It’s a very fun, well-designed round that’s constantly changing and keeps you on your toes!
Why isn’t it higher up the list? A valid question! And here’s the answer: because it only appears as a finale! Lost Temple would make a fantastic round earlier in the game, and restricting it to be only a finale feels almost like a waste of a great concept.
Number 10: Short Circuit
Short Circuit is fun, and the concept of racing multiple laps of a track instead of just running from one end of a course to the other is neat. I also like the way Short Circuit has a varied mix of different obstacles, as this keeps things interesting throughout the race.
The only problem with Short Circuit is – somewhat ironically – that it can be a long round. Two laps of what is a fairly long obstacle course by the standards of Fall Guys makes for a round that’s longer than many others. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it does keep Short Circuit from climbing any further up this list.
Number 9: Button Bashers
Button Bashers is unique in that it separates players into groups of two, and pits each pair against one another in the only one-on-one round in the whole game. Its arena is compact, with ten or so buttons to jump on to score points. I like the concept and I think it works well. In fact, Button Bashers could be a template for other one-against-one rounds or round variants in future.
This round doesn’t seem to come up as often as some of the others from Season 4 – as it’s dependent on there being an even number of players – so I’ve only played it a handful of times. But I recently recorded my first win, so that’s something!
Number 8: Roll On
The third round introduced using rolling cylinders, Roll On is perhaps the most interesting riff on the concept so far. Both of the other rounds are about survival; Roll On is a race to the finish line. It’s deceptively tricky, even after you think you’ve got the hang of it!
I was a little surprised to see that Roll On doesn’t use the futuristic sci-fi aesthetic of other Season 4 rounds, instead retaining the original look of the game from its launch. Was that an oversight? Did the developers run out of time or not have the resources to re-skin all of the different obstacles? Or was it a conscious choice to keep the visual style the same with Roll Off? Not sure, but it’s notable at least.
Number 7: Pegwin Pool Party
The Pegwins – robotic penguins that can be seen on many different courses – are adorable, and Season 5 added a water park-themed level where the Pegwins are the stars! It’s a cute concept, one which makes for a surprisingly chaotic round as players struggle in a relatively compact area to control the limited number of Pegwins.
The relatively small space is well-used, with different areas and obstacles adding to the challenge. When 25+ players are dumped in, the pool party really gets going and, as I said, can be very chaotic with players jumping and grabbing each other left, right, and centre! It’s wild and a lot of fun.
Number 6: The Slimescraper
As with Slime Climb before it, I’m atrocious at the Slimescraper. In fact, this round is my Fall Guys nemesis as it’s the only round I’ve never been able to qualify from! Not even once. But despite that, I love it. It’s a challenging obstacle course with plenty of different things going on, all the while the slowly-rising slime adds an additional threat.
One day – if I cross my fingers and hope for the best – I’ll finally defeat the Slimescraper!
Number 5: Bubble Trouble
Bubble Trouble is a neat round. The course is divided into four parts, with each quadrant having different jungle-themed obstacles to climb on as players pop bubbles to score enough points to qualify. The abundance of bubbles to pop makes it easy to get on the scoreboard even for newbies, and when compared to other hunt rounds like Hoopsie Legends I think it’s more enjoyable as a result.
Get lucky and be in the right area of the map at the right time and you can quickly claim plenty of bubbles – and points – all for yourself!
Number 4: Stompin’ Ground
Stompin’ Ground uses a similar concept to Snowball Survival from Season 3, but replaces the rolling snowballs with out-of-control rhinos! Because the rhinos can charge at anyone in any direction at any time, Stompin’ Ground is a round that keeps you on your toes the whole time.
Sometimes in Snowball Survival it’s possible to stand to one side and stay still until the round is over; nothing of the sort in Stompin’ Ground unless you want to be ejected from the arena!
Number 3: Skyline Stumble
Skyline Stumble is a great sci-fi themed obstacle course with a variety of different obstacles to defeat en route to the finish line. It’s tricky to get the hang of each of the different aspects, and even after playing it dozens of times I still find myself getting caught out sometimes!
This round was a great introduction to Season 4, and the futuristic visual style present for all of the Season 4 rounds is really neat. Skyline Stumble also offers different ways to make it to the finish line.
Number 2: Hoverboard Heroes
Hoverboard Heroes has a clever concept at its core. The continuously-moving platform draws inspiration from classic side-scrolling platformers, and the round has plenty of different obstacles for players to overcome. It’s not an easy round by any means, and can often result in relatively few survivors!
What I like most about Hoverboard Heroes is that it reminds me of those older platform games. The moving platform adds a lot of pressure to get past obstacles in a timely fashion lest you be left behind and unable to progress, and overall it’s a fun, challenging round.
Number 1: Treetop Tumble
So we made it to the best of the best! Treetop Tumble is everything an obstacle course should aim to be. There are different paths to the finish line. There’s a wide variety of static and moving obstacles. There are slippery slides. Cannons shooting balls. Drums to bounce on. And much more besides!
Treetop Tumble epitomises all of the things I like about Fall Guys, and is unquestionably one of my favourite rounds in the entire game as a result.
So that’s it! We’ve added the new rounds from Season 4 and Season 5 to the rankings.
With only a couple of exceptions really, all of the rounds added since Season 3 debuted last winter have been great. I’m not wild about the team rounds particularly, but there’s no denying that the developers of Fall Guys are still on the ball when it comes to improving and adding to the game.
The only thing missing is a Switch version, really. Now that Season 5 has launched and the game now boasts well over fifty rounds, perhaps it’s time for Mediatonic to refocus their efforts to getting the Switch version ready and out the door. Fall Guys is the perfect game for Nintendo’s platform, and the fact that it’s been absent for an entire year has meant that the Switch’s 85+ million players haven’t had a chance to try the game for themselves. Rectifying that has to be the next objective for Fall Guys, surely!
Fall Guys continues to be a lot of fun. The game just passed its first anniversary, and though a cheating problem last year saw a lot of players abandon it, those problems have long since been resolved and in its current state it’s the perfect kind of casual game to dip in and out of. I don’t play every single day, but if I have down time and I feel like picking up a controller for a few minutes, Fall Guys is my current go-to game.
I hope this list was a bit of fun! If you disagree or feel like I’ve been too harsh on some rounds (or too lenient on others) that’s great. We all have our own opinions, and something like this is always going to be wholly subjective. Perhaps I’ll see you out there on the obstacle course, pushing you out of the way as I bid to win my next crown!
Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout is out now for PC and PlayStation 4/5, with Xbox and Nintendo Switch versions in development. Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout and all associated properties mentioned above are the copyright of Mediatonic and/or Epic Games. This article contains the thoughts and opinions of one person only and is not intended to cause any offence.
Back in August, when Fall Guys was the party hit of the summer, I put all of the rounds (i.e. levels) into a ranked list. Since then, a number of new rounds have been added to the game as part of the Season 2 and Season 3 updates. In addition, most rounds now have at least one variant, with alterations to obstacles to keep players on their toes.
I’m hopeful that Fall Guys will have a strong future. With releases planned for Xbox and Switch this summer, and a fourth season coming between now and then, developers Mediatonic are still working hard. But as we noted last time, player numbers have dropped significantly – by as much as 95% on PC – in a little over half a year, so new owners Epic Games have their work cut out to revitalise Fall Guys in 2021.
There are presently 38 rounds in the game, and we’ll look at each of them in turn from worst to best. Some rounds have been greatly improved since I last ranked them, whereas others are now overshadowed by newer rounds that are better! So there will certainly be some changes when compared to my previous list.
Before we go any further, a note about team rounds. In order to avoid being too repetitive, let’s get this out of the way first: success or failure in team rounds is inherently dependent on who you’re teamed up with. Lopsided or unbalanced teams (i.e. 5 against 7) have largely been eliminated from the game via updates – which is great news – but if you’re teamed up with people who aren’t great at the round, who aren’t paying attention, who drop out, etc. it’s going to be much harder to qualify. That’s just the nature of team rounds in a game like Fall Guys, and while it can be incredibly frustrating, it’s also something that can’t be avoided. The reverse can also be true – you can play atrociously only to end up qualifying thanks to being on a strong team. So rather than repeat myself with every single team round, I thought I’d just make this clear at the beginning!
Without any further caveats, let’s jump and dive headfirst into the list.
Number 38: Snowy Scrap (Team)
I appreciate what Snowy Scrap was trying to do, and how the developers clearly hoped to create a round that bypassed some of the issues with Rock N Roll – another round which tasks teams of players to push a large ball. The problem with Snowy Scrap is that the physics engine in use in Fall Guys, as well as the deliberately clumsy characters, are not well-suited to a game which requires precision. In Rock N Roll, the large goal at the end doesn’t require this, but in Snowy Scrap the snowballs need to be aimed at small patches of snow on the ground. The clunky balls are difficult to control so delicately, and it’s just a very difficult round as a result.
Number 37: Door Dash (Race)
Last time I ranked Door Dash as the worst round in the game… and nothing has been done to address any of its issues in the patches and updates since. Its combination of being fast-paced yet random means that a single unavoidable mistake – because which doors are real and which are fake is completely random and unknowable – can often mean failure to qualify. It’s a round where, if luck is on your side, you’ll breeze through. If not, however, you’re in trouble. A lot of the rounds in Fall Guys require at least a modicum of skill; Door Dash doesn’t. If you can run and jump, you can play this round just as well as the best players in the world.
Number 36: Fruit Chute (Race)
There’s nothing wrong with the premise of Fruit Chute, which sees players run on a treadmill while obstacles are being fired at them. But it’s an incredibly unforgiving round, and in most cases a single collision can be enough to knock you right out of contention. It’s also a round where not much has been changed, and the variant which added mallets (to sling players forward up the track) doesn’t really seem to help, as landing awkwardly can still mean qualification is out of reach. A fun round, for sure, but horribly unforgiving.
Number 35: Royal Fumble (Finale)
Royal Fumble has slipped way down my list compared to last time for one simple reason: it hardly ever shows up any more. It’s hard to say anything about a round that seems to have dropped off the face of the earth, and I almost took it entirely out of contention. The premise is fine – whoever is in possession of the one single tail when the timer runs out wins the crown – but if, for whatever reason, it’s no longer being used very often, then it can’t be ranked any higher on the list.
Number 34: Tip Toe (Race)
Another round that hasn’t seen any improvement since last time, Tip Toe is another that can be very unforgiving and random. It’s impossible to tell which tiles are fake and which are real without jumping on them, and if you’re unlucky enough to fall near the end, by the time you’ve respawned the round can be over. Because Tip Toe shows up later (usually it’s at least the third round) players are cautious, wanting to qualify for the finale, so it can drag out if no one is willing to try stepping on the next tile. The addition of a mallet in one variant does basically nothing, because even if you jumped perfectly and got hit by it, chances are you’d still land on a tile that will fall away.
Number 33: See Saw (Race)
See Saw sees perhaps the biggest fall from grace since I wrote my first list. Back then I said that it was “a ton of fun, and deceptively tricky.” And that’s true – See Saw can be fun, but one thing I’ve come to realise is just how unfair it is. Players who spawn in at the front of the pack have a far bigger advantage than I realised, and it’s often the case in See Saw that two or three players manage to qualify way before everyone else simply because they had a straight shot to the finish line. However, See Saw is usually a forgiving round, meaning a fall or two doesn’t usually knock you right out of contention. I still like it and have fun with it, but the unfairness is definitely noteworthy!
Number 32: Jump Showdown (Finale)
Jump Showdown is – I think – the finale where I’ve won the most crowns! But it’s quite random when compared to all of the other finales, and it’s possible to lose simply because of where you spawned in at the beginning. When a couple of platforms have fallen away, you can end up in the wrong place simply by chance, and thus I stand by what I said last time: that’s poor for a finale.
Number 31: Rock N Roll (Team)
Rock N Roll usually sees all three teams make identical progress pushing their giant ball through a short obstacle course, and that’s the part of the round that could really use some attention and improvement. Once the balls drop it’s a short run to the goal at the bottom, and this round invariably descends into which team can hold up the others better. I also feel that there’s a disadvantage to being in the middle lane, simply because you have players from both sides who could jump in the way and hold you up. It’s preferable to Snowy Scrap, though!
Number 30: Jinxed (Team)
I hadn’t played many rounds of Jinxed when I ranked it last time, but it seems to come up more often now. It’s okay, and the level is well-designed. It’s a very fast-paced round, better suited to larger teams, but because of the way it starts – with one “jinxed” player per team – it can get lopsided fast if one of the jinxed players isn’t paying attention (or just isn’t very good!) It’s okay, though, and we’re getting into the part of the list where none of the rounds are all that bad, just overshadowed by some that are better!
Number 29: Perfect Match (Logic)
I ranked Perfect Match much higher up the list last time. I enjoy it a lot, and in a game that can be very hectic it’s a refreshingly different offering. However, it’s also a round that invariably ends up eliminating practically nobody. I don’t want to attach the label “too easy,” but it’s hard to know what else to say about a round where 30 out of 31 players qualify. A variant has been added that randomly shoots obstacles at the course, and that helps a little, but right now Perfect Match is an outlier. If it remains the case that it doesn’t eliminate many players, including it is going to end up feeling like a waste of time when it appears. That’s a shame, because in theory I like Perfect Match – it just doesn’t work so well at the moment.
Number 28:Pegwin Pursuit (Team)
The robo-penguins that you have to catch in this game are cute, and the concept is fun. You’ve probably figured out by now that I’m not wild about a lot of the team rounds, and in a way I’d like to see a solo variant of this round as I think that could be fun. If there were, for example, five fewer penguins than players (10 penguins in a 15-player round, and so on) maybe that would work. It’s fine, though, and worked well during the winter-themed Season 3.
Number 27: Team Tail Tag (Team)
Team Tail Tag has one of the best-designed levels, and it’s one that could work well for a whole range of different games. It has ramps, conveyors, slippery slime ramps, mallets… lots of different “terrains” and obstacles. It’s also the only round where I’ve seen four teams instead of two or three! The tail tag concept is fun, and pretty easy to get to grips with. A fun middle-of-the-road round that I don’t really have anything else to say about.
Number 26: Tail Tag (Hunt)
As I said in my previous list, the non-team version of Tail Tag works ever-so-slightly better, in my opinion, because victory or defeat is in your own hands. The map is perhaps slightly less fun, though it has spawned at least one variant with large fans that does mix things up a little. Tail Tag is the one round where what you do at the beginning does not matter in the slightest; it’s won or lost in the last few seconds. That keeps it exciting all the way along, and I appreciate that about it. It’s also on a fixed timer so there’s no waiting around!
Number 25: Hex-A-Gone (Finale)
Hex-A-Gone is fine. It’s a solid finale that does what it says it’s going to do! I’ve seen some players who seem to have very elaborate Hex-A-Gone tactics, including dropping way down to the final layer to make holes in the hopes that other players will fall straight through! I like that it’s a round that inspires some degree of tactical thinking; you can’t just run around and hope for the best.
Number 24: Fall Ball (Team)
I mentioned above that the physics of Fall Guys makes controlling large balls difficult, and while that was frustrating in Snowy Scrap it’s a big part of the fun of Fall Ball. Even after playing many times, I’m still crap at it. But it’s fun, and it’s a change of pace when compared to a lot of the other team rounds. It actually requires a degree of teamwork to qualify – just running around only considering yourself can leave your goal exposed or leave teammates without support, so it’s another round that can be played tactically.
Number 23: Hoarders (Team)
Hoarders is a pretty hectic round, and another that requires players to control large balls. Luckily in this case the objective is just to keep as many as possible in an entire third of the map, which is much easier than scoring a goal or rolling in a specific area! As with Tail Tag, who’s winning at the start doesn’t matter; there are only a few balls so it’s possible to pull off a recovery even at the last second. In that sense it’s a round that never lets up.
Number 21 (tie): Egg Scramble & Egg Siege (Team)
I’m putting these two together because for all intents and purposes they’re the same round. The level design is slightly different – with Egg Siege adding a medieval theme and drawbridges, as well as deeper “nests,” but the changes aren’t substantial enough to make the rounds play any differently from one another. I like both, and the addition of golden eggs alongside regular eggs adds an extra dimension to the rounds. They’re fun and often fast-paced – the only time either are less fun would be when there are only a few players per team. One round I played only had four players on each team, and I think that’s too few!
Number 20: Hoopsie Daisy (Team)
I think we’ve come to my favourite team round! I just love the jumping and diving, and the hoops are just large enough to make a good target without being too big or making it too easy. The addition of golden hoops, and mixing up some of the obstacles on the map, gives Hoopsie Daisy an additional dimension, and I always smile when it crops up. Unless your team falls way behind and stays there, it’s usually competitive right up to the last second, too.
Number 19: Jump Club (Survival)
I prefer Jump Club to its finale cousin for the simple reason that it’s less random. It’s still possible to screw up and fail to qualify, but usually that’s because of a self-inflicted mistake, and not because of the way the round was designed. Otherwise it’s a pretty simple concept – jump over the spinning beam without getting caught by the larger one above it. Hang on long enough while other players get knocked into the slime and you qualify! It’s a round that usually doesn’t drag on too long, either because a lot of players get caught out, or because the beams speed up!
Number 18: Roll Out (Survival)
If there were only the original version of Roll Out it would surely rank lower down the list. That’s because, as I noted last time, that version of Roll Out can take a long time to play out because most people have got the hang of it! But there are two new variants that completely mix it up. In one, two of the five rotating cylinders are gone, meaning there are more players packed into a smaller space. In the other, fruit obstacles are fired at random, knocking players down. These new variants massively improve the round.
Number 17: Wall Guys (Race)
Among the racing rounds, there really isn’t anything quite like Wall Guys. In a way it’s partly a game of logic, trying to piece together the best route across the platforms to scale the walls. But it’s also a round that requires good jumping, diving, and aiming reflexes. A second variant adds in giant fans, which certainly mixes things up. It’s not an easy round by any means, and sometimes positioning a platform in just the right place can mean someone else jumps on it first – but that’s part of the game!
Number 16: Freezy Peak (Race)
Freezy Peak is a fun obstacle course with several sections offering a variety of challenges. The hardest part (at least for me) is getting the timing right to jump across the fans, using the updraft to cross a gap. It’s not easy, but it’s a cleverly-designed round and I appreciate that it offers a lot of variety. It could easily be repurposed to become a finale, with the first person reaching the summit winning a crown!
Number 15: Hoopsie Legends (Hunt)
Hoopsie Legends is the solo variant of Hoopsie Daisy, and it’s great fun. The challenge doesn’t only lie in jumping through the hoops, but also in getting to them ahead of other players, and in moving platforms to just the right place. The map itself is perhaps a little bland, with only the central drawbridge area offering any variety. My only real point of criticism, though, is that in a round where the objective is to score six points, having a few golden hoops that are worth five points each can make it quick and easy for some players to reach the target. It might be better if these were only worth two points.
Number 14: Thin Ice (Finale)
Thin Ice is a slightly better variant of Hex-A-Gone, and that’s really all there is to say. After standing on the hexagon-shaped ice tiles for a couple of seconds, they crack and disappear, dropping players down to the next layer of ice. It’s possible to do well at Thin Ice by taking it slow and focusing on one section of the level. When it gets down to the final layer and a lot of holes, well that’s when it gets hectic! It’s also the finale where I’ve seen the most players – 18 on one occasion, and 15-16 several times.
Number 13: Snowball Survival (Survival)
This is a fun round, and a well-designed level. Two giant snowballs roll across the bowl-shaped map at random, sometimes bouncing off one another. There are patches of ice that crack and fall away, and patches of solid ground. Getting hit by a snowball sends players flying in all directions, and the challenge is in jumping out of the way in time! It’s also a round that can, on occasion, eliminate a large number of players.
Number 12: Fall Mountain (Finale)
Fall Mountain makes for a great finale because it’s fast-paced. It’s a race to the top – while giant balls are being shot down the mountain at you – and whoever makes it and grabs the crown wins. Victory or defeat is entirely in your own hands – quick reflexes are needed to avoid the balls and swinging mallets, and to jump at the right moment to grab the crown. Though it’s kind of basic as far as obstacle courses go, it’s great fun.
Number 11: Slime Climb (Race)
I’m still awful at Slime Climb! More often than not I wind up eliminated through a mistimed jump or by getting knocked over by one of the many different types of obstacle! But as a pure obstacle course it has everything: rolling balls, swinging mallets, slippery slopes, pushing platforms… the lot. And a few different variants have been added, changing up some of the obstacles to keep players on their toes. In terms of the way the level is designed it has to be one of the best in the game – even though I absolutely suck at it.
Number 10: The Whirlygig (Race)
I like what The Whirlygig has to offer, and the fact that a couple of different variants have sprung up keeps it fresh and interesting. I’ve pretty much nailed my tactics for this round, and even on my worst days I can still expect to make it to the finish line! The rotating fans offer a different kind of obstacle, and getting the timing right to avoid getting hit is the key.
Number 9: Gate Crash (Race)
I’m not doing individual awards, but if I were, Gate Crash would win “most improved!” Last time I said that it was too unforgiving, but maybe I’ve just got better at it since then. Regardless, the addition of moving obstacles seems to have helped, and Gate Crash has one of the best final stretches of any round – with a slippery slope leading to a jump. Getting that right requires a bit of skill and the right timing, something that can be tricky!
Number 8: Dizzy Heights
Dizzy Heights now has several different variants to spice things up, including one where its signature spinning platforms have been removed in the middle section! These variants keep it fresh and interesting, as you’re never sure which version will be selected. It’s a fun round, and one which can be difficult, especially toward the end. Those three rotating discs spinning in opposite directions – with balls being shot at you – are difficult to navigate!
Number 7: Big Fans (Race)
I utterly detested Big Fans the first few times I played it! That was because I couldn’t get the timing right to successfully jump between the spinning platforms! But the more I’ve continued to play it I’ve come to appreciate what it has to offer, and while there really isn’t much variety – except on the variant that introduces spinning beams – it’s nevertheless a fantastic, cleverly-designed round that’s incredibly tricky to get to grips with.
Number 6: Roll Off (Finale)
Roll Off is what Roll Out should have been! Where the original version of Roll Out can take a long time to eliminate players, Roll Off speeds up, and the rising slime leaves less and less solid ground available. It’s a truly fun take on Roll Out, massively improving on that round’s gameplay. I just wish, in a way, that it wasn’t a finale so that it would crop up more often!
Number 5: Ski Fall (Race)
The concept of Ski Fall is just fantastic. Jumping and diving through small target rings while slipping down an icy slope makes for a deceptively challenging round, and it’s easy to mistime a jump or bounce off an obstacle and completely mess up! However, it’s also forgiving enough that a mistake or two won’t knock you out of contention altogether most of the time, which is great. Tricky but great fun is how I’d describe Ski Fall.
Number 4: Hit Parade (Race)
Last time, Hit Parade was my winner. It’s slipped down a few places this time, and if I’m being really honest the reason why is that I’ve played it so many times. There are some great variations that have been introduced that have kept Hit Parade fresh, and I still feel that, when considering pure obstacle courses, it beats out many other rounds – especially those which only consist of one type of obstacle! And it’s still great fun, don’t get me wrong… but a couple of newcomers have arrived to topple its crown.
Number 3: Block Party (Survival)
I still absolutely adore Block Party. This timed round sees players standing on a short platform having to run out of the way of walls that come racing toward them. There are some beams to jump over, too. It’s a tricky round that keeps you engaged until the very last second, and it gets progressively difficult as the timer ticks toward zero. My only criticism would be to say that, of all the rounds in the game, Block Party is perhaps the easiest in theory to mix up with new variants, as changing which beams and blocks come and at what time shouldn’t be too difficult. Yet there aren’t many variants that I’ve seen – perhaps two or three.
Number 2: Knight Fever (Race)
So now we come to the top two, and just missing out on the top spot is Knight Fever. This amazing obstacle course has so much going on that I hardly know where to start. There are platforms with holes in, cylindrical platforms with fast-moving spikes that knock you off, crushing cylinders and blocks, and drawbridges. There are several variants, too, which introduce see-saws, fans, and change the timings of the drawbridges. There’s just so much going on that Knight Fever is a wild ride from start to finish, and always keeps me on my toes!
Number 1: Tundra Run (Race)
My number one pick this time is Tundra Run. It was a close call between this and Knight Fever, because both are excellent, varied obstacle courses. But as I thought about it some more, Tundra Run has to take the top spot. As above, it offers a range of different obstacles and terrains, with the icy sections being slippery and difficult to navigate. But it’s so much fun, and incredibly hectic. There’s so much variety that each section feels almost like a new level, and it’s not easy to make it to the finish line!
So that’s it! We’ve put all of the rounds into a list again… one that will be out-of-date as soon as Season 4 rolls around!
I took a break from Fall Guys over the holidays, but after picking it up again last month I’ve been having a whale of a time. I often say that, when it comes to video games, I prefer something with a good story that I can play alone. Fall Guys has reminded me that enjoyable gameplay matters too, and that there’s still value in something unique, silly, and fun. There aren’t that many games like Fall Guys where I sit down to play simply for the enjoyment of playing – not because I’m chasing achievements or following a story.
I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Season 4 being fun with its futuristic theme, as well as for successful launches on Xbox and in particular on the Switch later in the year. Fall Guys deserves to have a great future with many more updates and more content to come – and I’m still hopeful that it can, despite the significant drop in player numbers since launch.
If you haven’t tried Fall Guys yet… well I guess this list won’t have made a lot of sense! But the game is available on Steam and on PlayStation 4, and as mentioned, Xbox and Switch releases are coming. It was suggested – or at least hinted at – that it may go free-to-play in future, so watch this space. But if you ask me, it’s a steal at £15.
I won’t immediately re-rank the rounds when Season 4 arrives, but stay tuned for more Fall Guys-related articles and posts, especially if we get any significant news regarding the game’s future. Perhaps I’ll see you out there, pushing you out of the way to grab a crown!
Fall Guys is out now on PC and PlayStation 4. Fall Guys is the copyright of Mediatonic, Devolver Digital, and Epic Games. This list contains the thoughts and opinions of one person only and is not intended to cause any offence.
This article was originally going to be titled “Can Season 4 reinvigorate Fall Guys” – but that was before the announcement that Epic Games had bought developer Mediatonic! However, many of the points I planned to make still apply in some form, and in addition we have the buyout and its associated effects to consider. So settle in as we talk about the hit party game of the summer – last summer, that is – Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout!
A few days ago I put Fall Guys on my list of games that deserve a second look in Spring 2021, and despite some of the criticisms I have of the game, I stand by that. Fall Guys is plenty of fun, and the addition of new rounds and changes to existing rounds has extended the game’s longevity. I recently got back into playing after taking a break over the holidays, and I’ve been having fun with it all over again. There is a lot to love about Fall Guys, but there’s also no denying that right now, the game’s survival hangs in the balance.
This is nothing to do with the Epic Games acquisition. Fall Guys was struggling long before that was announced, and my original plan for writing this article was to look at the possibility of Season 4 bringing players back. That’s something Fall Guys needs to address urgently. They have a good social media team, being active on Twitter and elsewhere every day, churning out memes and one-liners of the sort that a modern social media manager for an online game should. But it doesn’t seem to be having much effect.
Fall Guys blew up when it was launched last August, but almost as quickly as it arrived on the gaming scene, most of its players abandoned it. On Steam, Fall Guys peaked at around 125,000 concurrent players in August last year, and sold over 2,000,000 copies within a few weeks of launch. But as of yesterday, when I checked its progress on Steam, it had fallen to fewer than 6,000 concurrent players, with a maximum for the day of fewer than 10,000, and was barely clinging on to the top 100 most-played games on the platform, occupying the 100th slot.
To put that into context, Fall Guys had fewer players than titles like Civilization V, The Sims 4, Skyrim, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and even a title I’d never heard of called Geometry Dash, which is a port of a mobile game that originally launched in 2013. Ouch.
As a player, this has become noticeable. Though most games I play are usually fully-populated (with 55-60 out of a maximum of 60 players) it can take several minutes of waiting just to begin a game, with long loading times in the queue as the game struggles to assemble enough players. With no cross-platform play between PC and PlayStation, this is obviously beginning to become an issue. One of the highlights of Fall Guys – something I praised it for back in August – is that because rounds are so short, losing or failing to qualify doesn’t feel so bad. All you had to do was jump immediately into the next one! But if you have to wait several minutes at a time to even just begin a game, one of the absolutely vital components of Fall Guys is lost, making it significantly less enjoyable. Not only are the waits themselves frustrating, but losing at a round risks becoming frustrating too – because you know if you don’t qualify it’ll take a while to start a new game.
So what caused Fall Guys to lose much of its playerbase? That’s the key point, because addressing it – if indeed that’s even possible – is the key challenge facing Mediatonic and Epic Games.
As much as I hate to say this about a game I’ve come to greatly enjoy, the fundamental problem is that Fall Guys was a “release now, fix later” title. I’ve talked at length here on the website about the live service business model, and how the ubiquity of internet connections has led developers and publishers to push out games that weren’t quite ready with a view to improving them later. It almost never works, and Fall Guys, as much as I love the cute little title, is an example of that phenomenon too.
Firstly, Fall Guys launched with no anti-cheat software. I know that it’s scummy and pretty disgusting for a basement-dwelling low-life to cheat at a fun little game like this, but realistically, developers Mediatonic and original publisher Devolver Digital should have anticipated it. Cheating happens in any online game, and if you give players even the tiniest opportunity, some will cheat. Playing Fall Guys before the addition of anti-cheat was not fun, because what was the point in progressing through the rounds only to lose in the finale to an invincible cheater or a cheater who can simply fly above the course?
The cheating problem pushed players away, just as I said it would when I discussed Fall Guys’ impending Season 2 update back in September. When I’ve spoken to people about the game or seen comments on social media, aside from the “dead game” memes the one thing that seems to come up most often is that people remember how Fall Guys had a cheating problem. Folks don’t know that’s been solved because most didn’t stick around, preferring to move on to games that weren’t plagued by cheating. The game should never have been released without anti-cheat software, and that’s perhaps its biggest mistake.
The rise of Among Us stole Fall Guys’ thunder in some ways, even though the two titles aren’t really comparable from a gameplay perspective. But there is a vague aesthetic similarity between the crewmates in Among Us and the jelly beans in Fall Guys, so it’s worth considering why Among Us is doing so well while Fall Guys appears to be in decline.
Among Us is one quarter the price of Fall Guys, at least on PC. On mobile or tablet, the game is free. Among Us is available everywhere, compared to Fall Guys which is currently only on PlayStation 4/5 and PC. Among Us has never had a cheating problem.
Both games had the potential to break into the mainstream and become ongoing successes, but only Among Us really has. The biggest factor in its favour is its ubiquity, particularly its availability on mobile devices and tablets, which are the platform of choice for many younger players. This enabled the game – which was originally released in 2018 – to become so popular. The fact that it’s free-to-play helps immensely too; younger gamers in particular are always on the lookout for free titles, which goes a long way to explaining the success of Epic Games’ mainstay: Fortnite.
When considering Fall Guys’ release, one huge factor preventing it growing was the natural ceiling on its playerbase caused by not being available on every platform. There was no Xbox or Switch release, and while those platforms are now scheduled for this summer, that’s a year too late. Without knowing more about the technical side of the game I can’t say for sure whether it would be possible to port it to mobile devices, but if that were possible then obviously that would open up the game still further.
Nintendo Switch is the platform I would have chosen to prioritise if I were in charge of Fall Guys’ development and release. PlayStation 4 has a larger install base, but Switch players are, I would suggest, more interested in this kind of fun pick-up-and-play party game on the whole. With over 60 million Nintendo Switch consoles having been sold, that’s a massive potential playerbase that Fall Guys missed at launch – and will continue to miss until this summer. By then it could be too late.
An online game that barely breaks 10,000 concurrent players is not doing well, and while that doesn’t account for PlayStation 4 players, it’s hard to imagine the game is doing significantly better on its only other platform. There are still people interested in Fall Guys, and there are still new players jumping on board, but the big challenge facing Epic Games and Mediatonic as they begin their partnership is shoring up the playerbase and bringing in as many new players as possible. Fall Guys was a hit last summer. Whether it can be a hit again is up to its new owners.
So what needs to happen to bring players back? The launch of Season 4, with new cosmetics and new rounds will be a good start. But there needs to be more of that, with the game basically being continuously updated. New rounds and new round variants are good, but there could also be timed events, such as the recent double-kudos offer, competitions focusing on one aspect of the game (like a fixed set of rounds, for example) and other such things that will incentivise players to keep coming back.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the polar opposite of Fall Guys in so many ways, but one thing New Horizons gets absolutely spot-on is the incentives it offers players to log in at least once per day. Fall Guys needs to find some kind of hook, some way to keep its players checking in often. Once they’ve sorted that – which is no small task – bringing in new players is priority #2.
Releasing the game on Switch and Xbox is a good start, but I’d love to see mobile devices too if at all possible. Then there absolutely needs to be cross-platform play. If Sony remains intransigent about this – as they often are – then cross-play could be between Xbox, Switch, and PC only. But it has to be in there somehow, because splitting up the already small playerbase into walled gardens by platform makes those wait times mentioned above more noticeable. If PC players could join PlayStation 4 players right now, today, I bet those wait times would be cut at least in half. And that in itself would make the experience more enjoyable, keeping existing players around for longer.
One thing that Mediatonic teased in their announcement of their deal with Epic Games was a possible free-to-play model. To me, this is a double-edged sword for a game like Fall Guys. While it would undoubtedly bring in more players, it would mean the game would have to find an alternative way of making money, and in the games industry that only means one thing: microtransactions.
Fall Guys has always offered the ability to buy in-game currency, yet it’s never felt intrusive or obligatory. The game is very generous with in-game rewards and items earned through basic gameplay, and I would hate to see that disappear or for cosmetics to be locked behind a paywall in future. Part of the fun of Fall Guys has been earning cosmetic items through gameplay, or earning in-game currency through gameplay and trading that for cool items in the in-game store. Going free-to-play would mean all of that would change, and while it would unquestionably attract more players, I’m not sure the change would be a good one.
With all of the controversy that lootboxes and randomised rewards generate these days, I would hope that even Epic Games wouldn’t try to force them into Fall Guys, but that remains a risk. From a PC player’s perspective, I’m also concerned that Fall Guys may eventually be withdrawn from Steam – Epic Games has its own store and PC client, after all, so why would they leave Fall Guys on their competitor’s platform? This may seem extreme, but it’s exactly what happened to Rocket League. That game used to be available on Steam, but following an acquisition by Epic Games it was withdrawn. The game technically still exists on Steam for players who already owned it prior to its withdrawal, but an Epic Games account is required to play, and new players can’t add it to their Steam libraries. While Mediatonic promised in their statement that this isn’t part of the plan for Fall Guys, it’s hard to see that being sustainable if the game survives into the longer term. Sooner or later, Epic Games is going to want to monopolise its purchase, just as they do with other games that they own.
Removing Fall Guys from Steam would run counter to everything we’ve discussed about trying to retain players and expand the playerbase, so the game may be safe in the short term. But watch this space, because it feels inevitable that Fall Guys’ presence on Steam is doomed!
So to answer my original question: can Epic Games reinvigorate Fall Guys? The short answer is “maybe.” The game is a huge amount of fun, and bringing it to the Switch in particular feels like a natural fit, one which should bring in new players who are well-suited to enjoy this kind of cute, fun little title. But the game’s longer-term prospects are murky at best, and I’m surprised that a company like Epic Games would take a risk on a game which appears to be in a serious decline. Hopefully their involvement can stop the rot and turn things around. Fall Guys is such a fun game that it deserves to last longer than a few measly months.
Fall Guys is available now on PC and PlayStation 4/5, with launches on Xbox and Nintendo Switch planned for this summer. Fall Guys is the copyright of Mediatonic, Devolver Digital, and Epic Games. This article contains the thoughts and opinions of one person only and is not intended to cause any offence.
Spoiler Warning: Though there are no major spoilers, minor spoilers may still be present for a few of the titles on this list.
Anthem is gone, Cyberpunk 2077 is still a stinking mess, and there are delays aplenty across the games industry as the pandemic rolls on. What’s a gamer to do? Well, I might have the answer for you! Tomorrow will be the first day of March, and to me March has always meant the beginning of Spring. There are small snowdrops beginning to bloom in my garden, and the nights are getting shorter. A few times this past week I’ve even managed without the heating on in my house – much to the dismay of the cats!
There are still plenty of great games that – all being well – will be released this year. If you missed it, I put together a list just after New Year of ten of the most interesting titles! But considering the delays and that this time of year is typically fairly quiet in terms of releases, I thought it would be a great moment to consider a few games that deserve a second look. I’ve limited the list to titles that are readily available to buy on current-gen platforms and PC, so no out-of-print games this time.
Without any further ado, let’s jump into the list, which is in no particular order.
Number 1:Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Nintendo Switch, 2017)
Nintendo’s most recent karting game is a ton of fun. It’s the kind of arcade racer that has a very low bar for entry – anyone can pick up and play this fun title. But mastering Mario Kart 8 – especially if you choose to head online – is no small task, and there’s a surprising amount of skill involved to be truly competitive with the best players! I’ve adored the Mario Kart series since its inception on the SNES, and this version is the definitive Mario Kart experience… at least until they make Mario Kart 9!
Number 2: Fall Guys (PC and PlayStation 4, 2020, coming to Xbox and Nintendo Switch this summer)
Among Us gained a lot of attention not long after Fall Guys was released last summer and stole at least some of the cute game’s attention! The fact that Fall Guys isn’t on mobile probably counts against it as far as finding a broader audience goes, but despite what some have claimed, the game is by no means dead. Season 4 – which promises to bring a new set of futuristic rounds – is being released soon, and for less than £15 (at least on PC) I honestly can’t fault Fall Guys. It’s an adorable, wholly unique experience in which your cute little jelly bean character runs a series of obstacle courses in a video game homage to the likes of Total Wipeout. Each round lasts only a couple of minutes, and it really is way more fun than words can do justice to! I’ve recently got back into playing after taking a break, and there’s plenty of fun still to be had.
Number 3: The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (PC and Xbox, 2002)
You can find Morrowind on PC, and despite being an older title it’s compatible with Windows 10. There has been an active modding scene for almost twenty years at this point, so even if you’ve already played the base game it may still be worth going back for more. In my subjective opinion, Morrowind is the high-water mark of the Elder Scrolls series. It certainly offers players more to do than its predecessors or sequels – more NPCs to interact with, more factions to join, more types of weapons to wield and spells to cast, and so on. Especially if you hit Morrowind with some of the visual/graphics mods that are available, it can feel almost like a new game!
Number 4: Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (PC, PlayStation 2, and Xbox, 2002)
Another older title that you can find on PC, as well as on iOS and Android, Vice City was one of three Grand Theft Auto titles released between 2001 and 2005. Remember when Rockstar was able to put out more than one game per decade?! If you’ve had your fill of Grand Theft Auto V by now – and it’s been out for eight years, so I wouldn’t blame you if you were ready to play something else – maybe going back to one of the older games will be a nostalgic blast. Many fans of the series consider Vice City to be the best entry, and while I don’t think I’d go quite that far, I had a ton of fun with it back on the original Xbox.
Number 5: Banished (PC, 2014)
There are some great city-builders out there, but one of my favourites from the last few years is Banished. The game was built entirely by one person, which never fails to amaze me! It would still be a fantastic title if it had been made by a full studio, but the fact that the game and all its complex systems were programmed by a single developer is an astonishing achievement. Banished isn’t easy, even on lower difficulty settings, and it will take a little time to get into the swing of how to plan your town and manage your resources. But if you’re up for a challenge it’s a wonderful way to lose track of time!
Number 6: Skully (PC, PlayStation 4, Switch, and Xbox One, 2020)
Skully is a game that I’ve been meaning to write a proper review of since I picked it up last year, but it keeps slipping down my writing pile. From the moment I saw the trailer and heard the game’s premise – a 3D platformer in which you play as a disembodied skull – I was in love, and the game did not disappoint! The environments are beautiful and the game is plenty of fun. It manages to feel at points like an old-school 3D platformer of the Nintendo 64 era, and at others like a wholly modern experience. It’s also an indie title, and it’s great to be able to support indie developers wherever we can!
Number 7: Jade Empire (PC and Xbox, 2005)
If the demise of Anthem has got you missing the “golden age” of BioWare’s role-playing games, make sure you didn’t skip Jade Empire. The Xbox exclusive was overlooked by players in the mid-2000s, and while other BioWare games from that decade, like Knights of the Old Republic, Mass Effect, and Dragon Age Origins are all held in high esteem, the Chinese-inspired Jade Empire is all but forgotten. When Steam has it on sale you can pick up Jade Empire for less than the price of a coffee, and for that you’ll get what is honestly one of the best and most interesting role-playing games of all time.
Number 8: Star Trek: Starfleet Academy (PC, 1997)
Starfleet Academy is unique among Star Trek games because it features the cast of The Original Series in video clips recorded especially for the game. These aren’t scenes from films or episodes of the show; you literally will not see them anywhere else. Starfleet Academy is a starship simulator, and while its visuals obviously don’t look as good in 2021 when compared to other titles, the overall experience is fantastic. You won’t find another game quite like it – especially because ViacomCBS has all but given up on making Star Trek games since the release of Star Trek Online!
Number 9: Forza Horizon 4 (PC and Xbox One, 2018)
I signed up for Game Pass in order to be able to play racing game Forza Horizon 4 – and it was totally worth it! The Forza Horizon series attempts to find a middle ground between true racing sims and arcade-style titles, and generally manages to do so quite well. Forza Horizon 4 has a map which represents parts of Great Britain, and that’s something unusual! I didn’t see my house, but it’s always nice when a game uses a familiar setting. There are plenty of fun cars to race in, and different kinds of races too, including going off-road.
Number 10: Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (Multiplatform, 2013)
Is it just me, or has every subsequent game in the Assassin’s Creed series struggled to hit the highs of Black Flag? Origins and Odyssey were decent, but even in 2021, I think that Black Flag is the definitive title in the franchise! There’s something about its pirate setting and the wonderful crop of NPCs that make Black Flag a truly enjoyable experience from start to finish. For a game that’s approaching its eighth birthday it still looks fantastic, too!
Number 11: The Last Of Us (PlayStation 3, 2013)
Despite its severely disappointing sequel, The Last Of Us is fantastic. If you’re looking for a game with amazing characters and a deep, engaging story, it simply can’t be bettered. I put The Last Of Us on my list of games of the decade as the 2010s drew to a close, and for good reason. Joel and Ellie’s trek across a hauntingly beautiful post-apocalyptic United States was absolutely one of the gaming highlights of the last few years. The characters are so well-crafted that they feel real, and every twist and turn in the intense storyline carries emotional weight. The game is being adapted for television, and I’m interested – cautiously so in the wake of The Last Of Us Part II – to see what will happen when it makes the leap to the small screen.
Number 12: Age of Empires: Definitive Edition (PC, 2018)
Though I know Age of Empires II is the title most folks prefer, I’ve always appreciated what the original Age of Empires did for the real-time strategy genre. If you’ve been enjoying the recent remake of the second game, it could be a great time to give the original a try as well. Age of Empires didn’t invent real-time strategy, but it was one of the first such titles I played after its 1998 release – and I sunk hours and hours into it in the late ’90s! There’s something about building up an army of Bronze Age warriors to smash an opponent’s town that’s just… satisfying!
Number 13: Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, 2019)
I played through Jedi: Fallen Order last summer and documented my time with the game here on the website. Suffice to say I had a blast; the linear, story-focused title is exactly what the Star Wars franchise needed after the Battlefront II debacle! Having just seen the dire Rise of Skywalker I was also longing for a Star Wars story that I could actually enjoy for a change, and Jedi: Fallen Order did not let me down! I had a great time swinging my lightsaber across a galaxy far, far away… and I think you will too.
Number 14: No Man’s Sky (PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, 2016)
No Man’s Sky was incredibly controversial at launch. The pre-release hype bubble got wildly out of control, egged on by a marketing push that oversold the game. Remind you of any recent titles? But despite the backlash in 2016, Hello Games has since put in a lot of hard graft, and five years on No Man’s Sky genuinely lives up to its potential. Had it been released in this state I think it would have been hailed as one of the best games of the decade – if not of all time. I understand not wanting to reward a game that was dishonestly sold, and that the “release now, fix later” business model is not one we should support. But there’s no denying that No Man’s Sky is a great game in 2021, and if you haven’t picked it up since its 2016 launch, it could be worth a second look.
Number 15: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 (PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, 2020)
A full remake of the definitive skateboarding game is hard to pass up! In the Dreamcast era, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater launched an entire genre of skating games, and its amazing soundtrack is a nostalgic hit of late ’90s/early ’00s punk rock. The remade version, which you can pick up on Switch and the two new consoles later this year, is great fun, and has managed to do something rare for a remake: genuinely recapture the look and feel of the original title. Obviously the visuals are brought up-to-date, but the feel of the game and the way tricks are performed are fantastic. I was able to slip right back into playing as if I’d never put the Dreamcast controller down!
So that’s it. Fifteen games that I think are worth your time this Spring.
There are plenty of fun titles on the horizon, but some of the ones I was most looking forward to – like Kena: Bridge of Spirits and Hogwarts Legacy – have recently been delayed, prompting me to look at my library and put together this list.
I hope this has inspired you to find something to play over the next few weeks! If not, stay tuned because there will be plenty more gaming-related articles here on the website. Happy gaming!
All titles listed above are the copyright of their respective studio, developer, and/or publisher. Some screenshots and promo artwork courtesy of IGDB. This article contains the thoughts and opinions of one person only and is not intended to cause any offence.
I was a little surprised to hear that Season 2 of Fall Guys – a game that only launched at the beginning of August – would be arriving in early October. That seems an awfully short span of time for a “season”, though admittedly Fall Guys has hardly been a game that follows the beaten path. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of seasons in online games, it’s something that popular titles like Fortnite have been doing for several years. In short, each season brings new content and new opportunities to progress. In Fall Guys’ case, this means new mini-games and new cosmetics.
But Fall Guys has some issues, and I’d much rather see time and attention spent on improving the core experience before adding new content.
And I know: it isn’t just an either/or case. But at least some of the development time dedicated to building new content for the game – if indeed it is new and wasn’t cut from the initial release – could be reallocated to fixing some of the problems Fall Guys has. Most egregiously I’m thinking of cheating.
I know, right? What kind of pathetic basement-dwelling low-life needs to cheat in a fun little game like Fall Guys? It’s sad, really. But unfortunately, at least on the PC version where I play, it’s becoming much more common. When I first played the game in early August, I didn’t encounter a single cheater. And for the first couple of weeks or so that continued to be the case; the thought never occurred to me that cheating would even exist in a game like this. But in the last couple of weeks cheating has become commonplace. I would guess that roughly one in five games I play now has at least one cheater; some have several.
I don’t pretend to understand the technical side of how the cheats and exploits work, but in-game they appear to give characters the ability to move very fast, fly, and even clip through obstacles and scenery. This gives cheaters a massive advantage, and I’ve played some racing rounds where one or two cheaters were able to qualify before everyone else had even got past the first quarter of the course. This has been going on for some time, and it clearly hasn’t been fixed or patched out yet, but it should be a priority.
When an online game becomes plagued by cheaters, it becomes offputting for everyone else. What’s the point in continuing to progress through the rounds to make it to a finale when you know you’re going to lose to a cheater who can fly all the way to the top of the mountain before you’re even a quarter of the way there? Or who can levitate over the course while everyone else has to hop from tile to tile? There’s no fun in that! And it’s going to result in people no longer wanting to play.
There are other issues too, most notably lopsided teams in some of the team games. I made note of this when I put the rounds in a ranked list, but some of the team games can be horribly uneven. Even a single extra player can provide teams with a huge advantage in some cases, and while the patch notes for a recent update claimed to have fixed the problem, I’ve continued to see unbalanced teams often.
Some rounds need tweaking too, at least from my experience. Perfect Match – a game that involves memorising tiles to avoid falling – routinely ends with hardly anyone being eliminated, and despite the fact that it’s a very enjoyable round, surely something’s got to change there. Likewise Roll Out, which is another round I have a lot of fun with, can take forever as it just isn’t that difficult, meaning it takes a long time to eliminate the right number of players. Better to fix the current rounds than work on a bunch of new ones, right?
Though the server situation has improved massively since the game’s launch, there are still disconnects and failures to connect to contend with. It can be very disheartening to make it all the way to the finale only to get disconnected from the server!
I don’t want to just attack Fall Guys. This is developer Mediatonic’s first big hit, and I genuinely want the game to continue to be the roaring success that it has been this month. According to sales reports, the PC version alone has sold over seven million copies! That’s an astonishing accomplishment for any game, let alone one developed by a small studio. It would be such a shame to see that hard work undone if players are driven away by cheating and other unfixed issues.
Preparing a big update – or “season” – as we head into the autumn does make sense for a business perspective, and I understand that Mediatonic and publisher Devolver Digital recognise they’ve got a hit on their hands and want to keep players engaged. But I’d caution them by saying this: new content will only achieve that objective if players believe that games are fair and that the rules apply to everyone. If cheating continues to run rampant, and cheaters continue to get away scot-free, it won’t matter how much new content is available because there’ll be no one coming back to play it.
Staying ahead of the curve when it comes to stamping out cheating and exploits is part of the job for any company that wants its multiplayer title to be a success. The moment an exploit or cheat is identified it needs to be patched out; Fall Guys has only released a couple of patches since launch, and by now they must know how players are able to exploit the game to fly, move quickly, clip, etc. Quicker fixes for cheats is a must – and any player found cheating needs to be permanently banned from the game.
The most successful online games take a tough stance on cheating. It’s a shame that it exists, that there are people so scummy as to cheat in a game like this. But not understanding it or taking a dim view won’t make it go away, and with the PC version of the game not even using player’s gamertags/Steam names, identifying cheaters to report them to the developer is even more difficult for regular players. Mediatonic and Devolver Digital need to step up – they’ve got a hit on their hands, but they’re in danger of losing it.
Focusing on bringing out new content while these issues still exist feels wrong. Players who’ve had their fun ruined by cheaters are well within their rights to ask why the growing problem doesn’t seem to be getting the attention it warrants, and while it’s absolutely fair to say that a developer can do two things at once, the messaging and marketing trying to hype up Season 2 is in danger of becoming a bit of an own goal from a PR perspective.
Here’s hoping that cheating can be stamped out, and other issues tackled, so we can all get hyped up for Season 2 and the new content it will bring. I’m looking forward to it – but I’m also increasingly worried about some of these issues.
Fall Guys is out now on PC and PlayStation 4. Fall Guys is the copyright of Mediatonic and Devolver Digital. This article contains the thoughts and opinions of one person only and is not intended to cause any offence.
About a week ago, I gave you my first impressions of Fall Guys, which has been a game that completely took me by surprise. I’d even go so far as to call it the sleeper hit of the summer; it’s been very popular and has received widespread praise. When I wrote down my first impressions I’d spent a couple of hours with the game, which was enough time to know I liked it but not enough time for a really detailed breakdown. This time, I’m going to put all 25 of Fall Guys’ rounds in a ranked list from worst to best. Now that I’ve played all of them multiple times I’m in a good position to know which work well and which need some tweaking!
It’s worth pointing out that Fall Guys has a roadmap for more content, and that will include new rounds at some point. So eventually this list will be out-of-date! I’m also assuming, for the purposes of the list, that you have some degree of familiarity with the game. With those caveats out of the way, let’s rank these rounds!
Number 25: Door Dash
The basic problem with Door Dash is that it’s purely a game of luck. You have no control over which doors are fake and which are real, nor over whether you start near the front or back of the pack. Because the course is so short, hitting a wrong door even once can be enough to relegate you to last place, and if you’re at or near the back of the pack when jumping through the final door you may as well not bother because there’s only a very short distance at the bottom to the finish line. This round universally ends up with every player (and there can be up to 60 if it’s the first round) jumping through the final door within seconds of each other. It’s just not a lot of fun.
Number 24: Tip Toe
Because Tip Toe usually appears as a later round when there are fewer players – and thus, fewer qualification spots – it’s one that most people seem to take very cautiously. If you step on a wrong tile there’s no chance to jump back before it disappears and you fall, meaning it’s possible to do very well and make it almost to the end only to fail, and if you fall one or two tiles from the finish line, there’s usually not enough time to get back in with even a chance at qualification.
Number 23: Jump Showdown
The worst of the final rounds. Because the platforms fall away at random, it’s all too easy to simply be in the wrong place because that’s where the game placed you when the round began. Take away the falling platforms and you have Jump Club, which is one of the better minigames. Unfortunately the addition of the falling platforms means it doesn’t work nearly as well, and there’s often no skill involved whatsoever; it’s pure luck. For a finale, I think that’s poor.
Number 22: Fruit Chute
The entire race takes place on a treadmill moving away from you, with obstacles shaped like fruit being constantly fired down the track. There’s nothing wrong with the setup, but it’s another round where a single – often unavoidable – collision can mean failure to qualify. It’s more random chance than skill-based, and spawning at or near the front of the pack can give players an advantage.
Number 21: Roll Out
Several large rotating platforms with obstacles to jump between make for a tricky setup. However, at least in the rounds I’ve played, most people seem to have mastered it very quickly, and these rounds can drag on and on if not enough people get eliminated. If it would speed up or change direction or do something to make it harder as time went on, it would be more fun.
Number 20: Rock N Roll
I like the premise of this game, which involves three teams pushing a large ball to the finish line. It requires teamwork, which some of the other “team” games really don’t, and it can be just as much fun to stop another team making it to the end as it is to help your team! I think the obstacle course part of the track needs tweaking a little to make it harder or longer, as what often happens is all three teams basically make the same progress, at which point the ones who qualify are the ones who do best at holding up their opponents.
Number 19: Fall Ball
This is basically a Rocket League clone, but with two balls instead of one. Oftentimes it’s fine – though I’m undeniably bad at it – but what can be an issue is lopsided teams. I’ve seen games where it was six against eight and seven against nine, and when considering such a small number of players per team, a two-person advantage is huge! This isn’t something that can always be avoided, but it can be very frustrating to lose 10-0 through no fault of your own.
Number 18: Hex-a-Gone
Another of the finales, and perhaps the one I’ve done best at, Hex-a-Gone features hexagon-shaped platforms that behave like the donuts in Super Mario games – step on them for a second or so and they fall. This game is fun, but on a couple of occasions I’ve fallen from near the top to near the bottom, missing the platforms in between. Not sure if this is a bug or just the way the level is designed. For a finale, a “last one standing” is good, and the fact that you’re in control of where you walk and jump makes it far better than Jump Showdown.
Number 17: Gate Crash
A less-extreme version of the problem with Door Dash afflicts Gate Crash, and it’s another round where a solitary mistake – especially one near the end – can mean failure to qualify. I like its premise and design, and I especially like the slippery ramp leading to the finish line, but the fact that it’s very unforgiving stops it being ranked higher on this list.
Number 16: Hoarders
These next two games are very similar. Basically Hoarders is a team game where the team who has the fewest balls in their segment of the map is eliminated. It’s fun, raucous, and fast-paced, but as with every team game if you’re teamed up with someone crap, or a couple of players on your team disconnect, you can lose through no fault of your own.
Number 15: Egg Scramble
Egg Scramble is basically Hoarders but with several dozen eggs instead of a handful of balls. Once the pile of eggs in the middle of the map have all been claimed, players begin raiding other team’s “nests” to get theirs! It’s pretty good fun – but with the usual team caveat of sometimes losing because of other players being useless.
Number 14: Royal Fumble
Another of the final rounds, and a pretty solid one. There’s only one tail, and whoever is in possession of it when the timer runs out wins. It’s less important who has the tail earlier in the round, but keeping track of it so you can grab it at the last moment is challenging! It’s a competitive round in a game where sometimes it’s possible to win just by concentrating on yourself, and that makes it somewhat unique among the finales.
Number 13: Jinxed
By running away and avoiding anyone on the opposing team, it’s possible to do well at Jinxed. Rounds can be equal or very lopsided depending on who you’re teamed up with, but compared to something like Fall Ball your success or failure is at least partially in your own hands. It’s also a round that doesn’t seem to appear as often; I think I’ve only played it three times.
Number 12: Hoopsie Daisy
A rather unique offering, Hoopsie Daisy has a fun level design with spinning discs, conveyor belts, ramps, and open areas. The hoops appear randomly but in set locations, and they’re easy enough to jump through while at the same time not being too easy – it’s possible to mess up and miss the hoop if you mistime your jump.
Number 11: The Whirlygig
Spinning fans that resemble aircraft propellers and spinning bars to jump over are the two obstacles here, and the course is fun and can be challenging. It’s quite a forgiving round, and it’s possible to recover from even three or four falls to still qualify. The final jump, with the very slow rotating blades opposite, seems to cause a lot of problems for newbies!
Number 10: Team Tail Tag
Team Tail Tag has one of my favourite levels in terms of layout. It looks like a battle course from the Mario Kart series, and its upper and lower levels, with a few obstacles and a ring of conveyor belts near the centre, is a ton of fun. I’d even suggest it could be re-used for other mini-games if the developers wanted to! Team Tail Tag gives each team a set number of tails to start with, and whichever team ends with the fewest is eliminated.
Number 9: Tail Tag
The version of Tail Tag without teams is every so slightly nicer, in my opinion, than its team variant for the simple reason that victory or defeat is in your own hands instead of being tied to a bunch of random players.
Number 8: Jump Club
Jump Showdown, mentioned above, is the worst of the finales. But the game it’s based on, Jump Club, is actually very fun. The spinning bar is easy enough to jump over on its own, but the beams above it provide an extra challenge. It’s so frustrating to survive to almost the end only to be the final player eliminated… speaking from experience here!
Number 7: Dizzy Heights
A series of spinning discs are the main obstacles here, and the round is plenty of fun. There’s no “best” path from the start line to the finish, which shows how well-designed the level truly is, and the final section, with three platforms moving in opposite directions and occasional balls rolling down is deceptively tricky! I’m getting pretty good at Dizzy Heights, and it’s a round I can expect to qualify from more often than not.
Number 6: Perfect Match
Perfect Match is utterly unique and thus hard to place on this list, but I like it so I’m ranking it in the top six. It’s not particularly difficult, and doesn’t always result in a lot of players being eliminated, but in a game that can be very fast-paced, it’s a slower game that’s about more than just who’s faster at pressing buttons. A good memory is very important – but you can sometimes get away with following other players if you’re quick!
Number 5: See Saw
I love See Saw. It’s a ton of fun, and deceptively tricky. It looks like it should be simple to get across the platforms, but a mistimed jump or an awkward landing can lead to a fall. However, it’s a very forgiving round and falling several times isn’t enough to put you out of contention. The only criticism I’d have is that players who spawn at the front of the pack have an advantage, and it’s possible to see the first four or five players qualify long before everyone else simply because they had a clear path to the finish line.
Number 4: Slime Climb
I’m atrocious at Slime Climb. In fact, I’ve qualified from this round precisely once – and that was by sheer luck! But in terms of what Fall Guys aims to be – a game about running fun obstacle courses – Slime Climb has it all. There are moving platforms, slippery sections, balance beams, a conveyor belt, moving obstacles, and bouncing balls to avoid on the way to the finish line at the top. And all the while, the slime is slowly rising! I love it, even though I suck at it.
Number 3: Fall Mountain
Fall Mountain is my favourite finale – even though I’ve never won at it! It’s a proper obstacle course, with different things in your path as you race to get to the summit and claim the crown. As balls roll down the mountain providing randomised obstacles, there are things to dodge and push and jump over, and it feels like a proper finale where your fate is in your hands!
Number 2: Block Party
Although it doesn’t always succeed at eliminating a lot of players, I like what Block Party is about. A fairly narrow platform is all the space you have, and there’s not a lot of time to get out of the way of the obstacles that come flying at you! The final seconds of the round are incredibly tense as players rush from side to side to side to get out of the way of speeding blocks! It can be tricky and tense, but it’s fantastic.
Number 1: Hit Parade
For me, Hit Parade epitomises the “obstacle course” concept better than any other round in the game. The round begins with beams to balance on and a slippery slope underneath. Then the next section has spinning gates to push and a moving barrier with a small gap. Up next are the swinging balls to avoid, and finally a slippery slimy slope to climb to reach the finish line. Of all the rounds, Hit Parade offers the most diversity in terms of obstacles, it’s perfectly designed to be just the right length, it’s forgiving enough if you make a mistake without being too forgiving, and above all, it’s just good fun.
So that’s it. All the rounds in Fall Guys ranked… according to me, anyway. I’m having lots of fun with this game, even though there can be a couple of frustrating rounds! Even the “worst” ones can still provide a good time, though. For pure pick-up-and-play fun, there isn’t anything quite like Fall Guys on the market, and I’d encourage anyone with a PC or PlayStation 4 to give it a go.
If your favourite round wasn’t one of my favourites, please don’t get upset. This list is the subjective opinion of one person, and even within a single game there will be a range of opinions on which course or level is “best”. If you like a round that I don’t, or vice versa, that’s okay. It’s great that we don’t all like the same things!
I’d love to see Fall Guys ported to the Switch – I think it could be a phenomenal game on that platform. And of course bringing it to Xbox would complete the lineup and make it a true multiplatform experience. I’m curious to see what the roadmap brings – will the new rounds be just as good as those already in the game? What else could they bring to the table? I’d like to see another logic or thinking-based round to go along with Perfect Match, which feels like an outlier at the moment. And more obstacle courses with diverse challenges instead of rounds where all the obstacles are the same type. Those would be my requests!
I mentioned in my first impressions that the game has microtransactions. I wanted to clarify that point before I go, because having played the game for longer, I can now say that there’s plenty of content available without spending a penny on the microtransactions. Each round provides players a certain amount of “kudos” – the in-game currency – and this can be exchanged for cosmetic items. In short, unless you desperately want a limited-time item and there’s no way to play enough rounds to afford it, you can play the whole game without touching the microtransactions and still rack up a huge variety of cosmetic items. The best cosmetics – or rather, the rarest – are only available with “crowns”, the second in-game currency. Crowns are awarded for winning – i.e. being the last player standing after the finale. While microtransactions can be an issue in games, they aren’t in Fall Guys in my opinion.
Maybe I’ll see you out there in the wild, pushing you out of the way to make it to the finish line!
Fall Guys is out now on PC and PlayStation 4. Fall Guys is the copyright of Mediatonic and Devolver Digitial. This article contains the thoughts and opinions of one person only and is not intended to cause any offence.
I’m not usually an online multiplayer guy, and Fall Guys – also known as Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout – is the kind of massively-multiplayer game that I’d ordinarily overlook. The last online games that I played with strangers were Mario Kart 8 and Rocket League, and it’s been a while since I played those. But after hearing great things about its fun, silly gameplay I decided to take a look for myself, and for £16 on Steam it wasn’t a huge risk despite Fall Guys being a new title.
To be up front, Fall Guys currently has some issues with its server capacity; this is something that’s being worked on. High demand for the game seems to have caught developer Mediatonic and publisher Devolver Digital a little wrong-footed, but I’m confident that, with the game reviewing well and being popular, those problems will be fixed before too long. It is, however, understandably frustrating to get disconnected or to have to wait a long time to join a game. But part of the fun of Fall Guys is that its levels are very short – a couple of minutes or so at a time – so it’s easy enough to jump back in, and losing or getting disconnected doesn’t end up causing a huge amount of lost progress. If you’re on the fence about buying the game, though, it’s worth being aware of this server problem. It may be prudent to wait a couple of weeks to see how quickly it can be fixed if you’re really worried about it.
The first time I tried to play Fall Guys after installing it, I was hit with this server problem. Despite waiting almost half an hour I wasn’t able to join a game. It was only when I came back to try again several hours later that I was actually able to successfully play. Although the server problems made for a poor first impression, Fall Guys is a ton of fun!
The game is a cross between a competitive “battle royale” and television game shows like It’s A Knockout and Total Wipeout. For some reason, it also reminds me of late-90s kids’ show 50/50. Fall Guys’ levels are designed to look like they’re taken from such shows, deliberately using the aesthetic of soft foam rubber obstacles. In fact, many of the levels are designed like obstacle courses! An indoor children’s play area would be another good comparison when considering the look of the levels.
The other side of Fall Guys’ aesthetic is the incredibly cute character design. It’s hard to say exactly what these little guys look like – personally I feel like they’re somewhere between Oompa-Loompas and marshmallows – but they’re absolutely adorable. There are customisation options, some of which can be unlocked simply by playing enough rounds of the game. Other character customisation options are, however, paid for with in-game microtransactions. Because Fall Guys has a very child-friendly atmosphere, it’s worth making sure your parental controls are up-to-date if you plan to get the game for your little ones to play. Obviously I’d prefer a game that had no microtransactions at all, but this is the realm of online multiplayer – and these days, in-game monetisation comes with the territory. If Fall Guys were charging more than its £16 asking price I’d be annoyed at their inclusion, but considering that there are some cosmetic items that can be acquired in-game, and taking into account the relatively low up front cost, I think the microtransactions are okay. They’re easily avoided for those who don’t want to participate.
So Fall Guys is a battle royale/game show? How the heck does that work? Glad you asked! 60 players compete in a variety of events, including races, challenges, and some team events, to be the last one standing. Though it’s possible to play the game in such a way as to sabotage someone else’s chances of progressing, for the most part – at least in the early rounds – it’s easier to focus on one’s own character or team. Navigating the obstacles – like see-saws, spinning platforms, and windmills – to win a race or to make it to the next stage is great fun. And the team challenges borrow from the likes of Rocket League – there’s even a football-themed one!
I’m not great at games in general, let alone competitive multiplayer titles. Yet despite my limitations, I had a lot fun. I was able to progress to the latter rounds on several occasions, and the times where I lost in round one or two it usually only took a few seconds to load up a new game and try again. Fall Guys isn’t something you can be great at on your first attempt, even if you’re a regular online gamer. However, with each round lasting only a couple of minutes or so, losing doesn’t feel so bad.
Each round whittles down the number of players until only a few remain. The first round is supposed to begin with 60 players (though I’ve seen anywhere from 49-60 in practice), and of those, perhaps 40 will qualify for the second round. The game continues in this way until it reaches a final round, with the survivor crowned champion. Though I haven’t won (yet?) I’d reckon playing a full session from the preliminary round to the finale is only going to take maybe quarter of an hour at most. And as I keep saying, any time you’re eliminated, getting into a new game doesn’t take all that long.
There’s a “roadmap” of updates planned for Fall Guys, promising more content, more cosmetic items, and new levels. Though I’m generally sceptical of this kind of business model, the current version of the game has a lot to offer and doesn’t feel like it’s missing anything major. If you play for a while you do start to see the same levels repeat – there are 24 levels at time of writing, including three “final rounds” – but again, each one only takes a couple of minutes, and they’re chosen at random. If you discover a burning hatred for a specific one, I guess it might be annoying to keep encountering it, but Fall Guys is the type of game where even something like that doesn’t have to be a big deal.
It’s been a while since I played through a game that’s as apologetically fun as Fall Guys. There’s no story, there’s no background or explanation given for why these weird little characters are taking part in a game show, and there doesn’t need to be. It’s just simple, casual, pick-up-and-play fun. I had a smile on my face practically the whole time, and making it to the end of a challenging level when it looked like I wasn’t going to manage in time has been legitimately thrilling.
A lot of care and effort has gone into crafting what could be one of the sleeper hits of 2020. Though the server issue is definitely frustrating, it’s something that will hopefully be resolved in the coming days, and aside from that I encountered no bugs or glitches during my time playing. I’m looking forward to jumping back in!
So this has been my initial first impression of the game after spending a couple of hours with it today. I may write another piece in the coming weeks if I find that I have more to say after spending longer with Fall Guys. But for now, what I’d say to anyone on the fence is that Fall Guys is great fun, and the kind of game that practically anyone could pick up easily. The server issues are a problem, but when I got into the game on my second attempt I didn’t experience too many disconnections and was able to load up a new game every time without having to wait too long. However, it may be worth checking back in a few days or a couple of weeks to see if that’s still an issue if you’re concerned. For £16, though, I can’t really fault the game for the way it plays. If you’re a subscriber to PlayStation Plus, you’ll get Fall Guys for free this month – and if you’re in that category you have no excuse for not trying it out immediately!
Fall Guys is available now for PC and PlayStation 4. Fall Guys is the copyright of Mediatonic and Devolver Digital. This article contains the thoughts and opinions of one person only and is not intended to cause any offence.