Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout Review | Free For All

Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout Review

We originally published this review back in September of 2020, following the initial release of Fall Guys, but we are bringing it back, with a small addendum, in June of 2022 following the game's free-to-play release. It would be an understatement to say that Fall Guys has made a huge splash it was released on August 4, 2020. The game that mixes the nail-biting suspense of the battle royale genre with the slapstick hilarity of game shows like Wipeout, Fall Guys has found a large player base, hundreds of thousands of viewers on Twitch, and went on to become the most downloaded PlayStation Plus game in the history of the service; no small feat from the team that brought you Gears POP! and Murder by Numbers.

In case you’ve somehow missed this game, Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout is a battle-royale platformer developed by Mediatonic, published by Devolver Digital, and, after being a PlayStation 4 and PC exclusive, is respawning as a free-to-play title with the aptly titled Free For All season. The goal of the game is to jump, dive, and climb your way to victory through a gauntlet of colorful free-for-all and team-based minigames. The last one standing takes the shiny crown.

Out of the gate, Fall Guys received favorable reviews from a number of media outlets with the game’s Metacritic review score currently sitting at 80 on PC. PlayStation players who subscribed to PS Plus on launch were able to get in on the action immediately as the game was announced to be included as one of August’s free game downloads when it launched, eventually moving on to become the most downloaded PS Plus game of all time. And the popularity doesn’t stop there. Fall Guys has been at the top of viewership, hitting over 500,000 active viewers at various times throughout the month of release. The game was originally priced at $19.99 but when I reviewed it, I did so on PlayStation 4 via the free PS+ download so, in a way, it was already sort of free.

After logging a couple hours into the game, I can say that it is very fun and highly replayable. The physics and platforming are as tight as a game with the name “Fall Guys” would allow in the most aggravatingly fun way, the music is catchy and energetic, and there exists a fine line between luck and skill in the stages that the game walks fairly well.

However, the launch and recent re-launch of the game were not as smooth as they could have been. During its first week, the game’s online servers were plagued with high traffic which led to a large amount of lag and disconnects for many players (myself included). Not only that, but a number of cheaters had popped up using a variety of speed and jumping hacks to ruin the fun for everyone. The game has cross-play enabled from the boot and where there's a PC there's a way. Some players expressed disappointment towards the game's content-to-price ratio, but now that it is free, the price tag is replaced by an optional battle pass that costs around $10 and unlocks a plethora of cosmetics including Altair from Assassin's Creed.

In the following weeks and years, the game saw many hotfix updates to address some of these issues. The server stability is noticeably improved; however, the occasional disconnection and lag spike still exist. Mediatonic has also taken steps to improve the reporting and removal of cheaters from the game. Some updates also affected the game on a wider scale, such as changing the minigame rotation so that it would not choose two team-based minigames to be played back to back, something that many players initially found irritating, as well as adding additional stages into the game.

Beyond the sheer numbers of viewers and players the game has brought in, Fall Guys spread throughout social media has been just as fierce. People sharing clips of last-second victories and crushing defeats as well as hundreds of pieces of fan art, many of which depict the potential for movie and video game-themed crossover costumes for players. This has been reignited once again by the influx of new players from the Free For All update. Fall Guys features a costume shop in which players can customize their “fall guy” with a number of different costume parts that can be purchased with real money or in-game currency.

The game has already had a few official video game crossover costumes, such as a pre-order bonus for the PC version that gave players a Gordon Freeman skin from the Half-Life games, and just recently players had the opportunity to grab a Bullet Kin skin from one of Devolver’s other popular games, Enter the Gungeon. Costume concepts from Batman, Minions, Colonel Sanders, The Witcher and many more have fans excited about what sort of customization options and crossover opportunities may be in store down the line. As for what you can get right now, players who make it to the end of the aforementioned battle pass can unlock the Mecha-Godzilla costume, along with several original ones as well.

But Mediatonic isn’t content with Fall Guys being just a popular video game, they have decided they want to use their popularity as a source of positivity and help some good causes at the same time. On August 17 of 2020, the Fall Guys Twitter account announced a “Battle of the Brands” charity auction. Companies could “bid” for a chance at having a skin adorned with their brand put into the game, with money bids being donated towards Special Effect, a charity that helps gamers with physical disabilities around the world. This bidding war ultimately concluded with a last-minute $1 million-dollar joint donation from content creators MrBeast and Ninja, as well as G2Esports, and Aim Lab, along with numerous other bidders donating to the charity despite being outbid earlier on.

The paid version of the game had gone through multiple seasons, each with a different theme. It will be interesting to see which of those return in the re-release. Season 2 of the game, which was showcased during gamescom Opening Night Live a few years ago, featured a medieval fantasy setting that included drawbridges and swinging axes, both of which can be seen already in the game currently. But we'll have to wait before all the fantasy-themed wizard, witches, and dragon costumes return to the store or future battle passes.

When the game was originally released, there are a number of things the team at Mediatonic was asked to implement in the future to keep Fall Guys at the top of the charts. The biggest request that was floating around online was for the implementation of “private rooms” much like the system implemented in the Jackbox Party games. This would be a great addition for those Twitch streamers who are looking for a better way to play with members of their audiences rather than leaving it up to synchronized matchmaking. Well, they listened and custom games are in the game and can be accessed from the main menu when you are selecting what show you want to participate in. There were also a number of quality-of-life fixes that were requested like when playing with friends having the spectator camera default to watch your friends rather than having to cycle through all the other random players, which was also eventually added to the game.

Originally in this review, I said that it would be great if and when the game made the dive onto other platforms, and now the game has not only done so but also removed the price tag. This has resulted in a spectacular launch, bringing in over 20 million players in the first few days alone. Barring the server issues this caused, it does mean that getting into a match in Fall Guys is easier than ever. If you were hesitant about picking up the game before, you have no reason to now. It's fun, it's vibrant, and, with a few friends, it's a great time. We have been streaming Fall Guys on Twitch since the release of the new season and we occasionally invite subscribers to play with us, so if you want to join in on the fun, make sure you follow.

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