Review: Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout

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80%
80
Engaging

Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout is a charming and bright game that, with some improvements, could be a surprise contender for the best battle royale out there.

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Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout has become a hit, peaking as the most popular game on Steam. This popularity has somewhat backfired though, given the various server issues that have been reported after release. These issues are common for far bigger companies like Ubisoft and EA, so I see no reason why a much smaller game published by Devolver Digital shouldn’t be excused.

Fundamentally Fall Guys is a battle royale, but nowhere similar to the likes of Call of Duty and Fortnite. Its gameplay revolves around platforming through various levels and qualifying for a series of rounds before you make it to a grand final. Conceptually, it’s similar to Takeshi’s Castle or Total Wipeout. Some rounds are races to the end of a track full of obstacles, some are more similar to Mario Party minigames, testing your memory or your platforming ability. It’s a very bright game, and you control a short and fat creature with a range of costumes, patterns and colours to unlock. This light tone manages to make the game fun above all else – each full game lasts under 10 minutes, and the rounds alone are fun and quick enough to make failure never feel particularly disastrous. Some rounds were so fun I found myself getting quite easily distracted from actually competing, but there were one or two others I found just stress-inducing. There’s one minigame where the player has to keep items on their side of the arena, but the difficulty in being precise with the grab button, mixed with the fact that there is always lots of characters trying to steal items, makes it a bit of a mess to play properly. This minigame is the exception, not the rule, and the controls work very well everywhere else, but there’s still a sigh whenever it pops up. There are also some issues with quitting back to the menu if you’re eliminated midway through a game. These will hopefully be addressed soon.

The unlockables for your character are earnt by working your way through a level-up system that changes each season (similar to other battle royales’ “battle passes”, but free) and by earning currency through playing and winning singular rounds and full games. The “kudos” currency is obtained by playing, or by purchasing with real money, which may be an issue to some. However, this currency is exceptionally easy to obtain just by playing, and the much harder to obtain currency of “crowns” can only be obtained rarely through levelling up or winning games.

I think that, excluding the microtransactions, Fall Guys is an excellent game for all ages but especially children. I could imagine having endless fun just messing about in a game like this as a child. It suffers from some server issues (that should be completely solved once this review is out) and one or two minigames that could be better, but it is still a great game. It is also one of the free games given to PlayStation Plus subscribers for August!

Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout is out now on Steam and PlayStation 4. You can watch the gameplay trailer below.

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