If you had told me earlier in 2020 that a non-violent battle royale about beans doing Wipeout courses, playing football, and hilariously competing for that elusive crown would be one of the games to take the world by storm… I’d probably have believed you to be honest. It’s been a bit of a weird one, but just the kind of thing 2020 needed. It’s even more surprising that Fall Guys is as great as the hype may have you believe.
The description I used for Fall Guys in the introduction is pretty much exactly what the game actually is. You and 59 other players take part in a series of minigames, with each round slowly whittling down the contestants until only one person remains to win the crown. It’s a fantastic take on the battle royale last-player-standing genre that shows how flexible it can really be. You don’t need a gun in hand or shrinking circle to tap into this idea.
Fall Guys may be great in theory, but it’s only as strong as the minigames you take part in. Thankfully, I’d say a good 80% of the 24 on offer here are enjoyable, with only a few that stick out as groan-worthy whenever they pop up. The most common theme amongst the rounds is moving through obstacle courses and I found these to be the most fun thanks to how simplistic the movement is. You can only move, jump, grab and dive which makes it easy to understand pretty much straight away. There are also some mini-games that require critical thinking like Tip-Toe, and some that have you trying to keep stuff away from other players like Tail Tag, but they all come back to little jelly bean-like characters toddling around colorful arenas and trying not to… well, fall. Every player will have different favorites, but they’re generally all enjoyable enough.
Not all of the games you’ll play are as fun, although I understand that what each player enjoys is very subjective. I really don’t enjoy the team games as you can very easily be let down by your team just not trying or annoying bottlenecks which make these impossible to win. It’s annoying to get to the second to last round only to fail at Fall Ball because your team just isn’t playing properly, and it’s annoying to lose a game of Tail Tag when you’ve kept yours the whole time but your pals can’t hold onto one to save their life. The best solution for this may be to have some sort of playlist that eliminates the team games and just has the single competitive ones, as well as other playlists that let you choose which specific game types you’d like to play, though that would understandably limit the player pool, so it may not be feasible.
If you’re looking to play Fall Guys competitively and seriously, you’re not going to have the best time. It’s really not a game to be taken seriously. You’re going to have absurd and ridiculous failures that are completely out of your control. It’s rarely what one would call “fair.”Although there are certainly tactics to follow, a lot of the fun comes from all of the ways things go wrong and there are some things you just can’t plan for. I’m looking at you Fruit Chute.
Fall Guys Review – Fun in Failure
Even with some annoying matches, there’s a consistent thrill to watching other players try and rush for an objective, and it’s one that doesn’t really let up as you play more and more. I still laugh every time someone dives into a fake door in Door Dash, and I still sit upwards when I’m being chased in Tail Tag. There’s a real sense of community and fun here, as if it doesn’t really matter who wins the crown in the end. You’re all just beans having a great time. Speaking of the beans, the customization here is another highlight. It’s all just silly costumes and patterns, but they all scratch that collectible itch that Fortnite also does so well. It’s worth playing just to see what sorts of costumes and outfits have been added to the shop, with crazy crossovers like Jacket from Hotline Miami already happening. Besides the potential for new minigames in the future, there’s enormous opportunity for fun crossovers with the cosmetics.
As chill and funny as the first few rounds are, Fall Guys perfectly nails the rising tension and thrill of getting to the last ten players that the battle royale genre does so well. No matter how many times I’ve gotten there, aiming for the crown has never gotten old, especially since the last match is almost always the most fun one to take part in. I also loved that the crown can actually be used as a currency, so winning doesn’t just feel like bragging rights. That’s how you get some of the most coveted cosmetic items. What does get a little bit old is the music, which can be really grating to hear over and over again. It’s clearly trying to be simplistic and catchy, but it honestly does this to a fault. If there’s any game to play music over with PlayStation’s Spotify integration, it’s Fall Guys.
Much like other games in the genre, the long-term success of Fall Guys is very much going to depend on post-launch updates. The selection of modes here is pretty good as it is, but longer play sessions can get a little old and I sometimes got a little bit sick of doing the same thing over and over again. There are a lot of ways this could be changed, like adding player votes and playlists, but right now I’m just hoping to see more minigames added to the rotation to keep things fresh. Notably, the game is only in Season 1 right now, with a battle-pass-like system for earning new cosmetics. Future seasons should bring even more to the game as Mediatonic continues support.
If Fall Guys can keep up its current momentum with a steady stream of skins and minigames, I see no reason why it can’t be one of the top contenders in the battle royale genre. It’s got the charm, the fun gameplay, and the multiplayer communituy focus that’s as fun to watch as it is to play, and these beans don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.
Fall Guys review done via free game on PlayStation Plus. Fall Guys free on PlayStation Plus for the month of August 2020. Reviewed on PS4. For more information on scoring, please read our Review Policy.