It feels almost pointless reviewing a game like Fall Guys. In the weeks it’s been out, millions of players have been through its challenges, and hundreds of thousands have watched along on Twitch.
It’s even breached the gap between the gaming community and the wider public – my parents have made references to Fall Guys. And yet, I do think there are a few areas where the game… falls flat.
Fall Guys is a physics-based platformer-meets-battle royale inspired by game shows like Takeshi’s Castle and Total Wipeout. Sixty jelly beans enter, and through a series of minigames and races, only one emerges the victor.
To contrast with its cutesy style, it could just as easily be called Cyber Bullying: The Game. It’s everyone for themselves as they push, jostle, and pull you out of the way to ensure their own survival. It’s ruthless, but mere seconds after a disappointing defeat, I jumped straight back in for another whack at it.
It’s no surprise that Fall Guys has become what it has when its art style is so endearing. Every character and costume is bursting with colour and charm. A horde of 60 jelly beans all going “Wooo!” as they careen off a platform into the pink Angel Delight below never fails to raise a smile. The bright colours and simple shapes also make each challenge immediately readable, which is a refreshing rarity for the battle royale genre’s usual vistas of brown, khaki, and russet.
Fall Guys’ biggest problem is in its minigame variety. They range from the brilliant, like the racing level Slime Climb or the final snake-like level Hex-a-Gone, to the awful, like the pace-destroying, mind-numbing memory game Perfect Match.
The team games are a particular low point, as playing your best and still being eliminated because of your team feels against the spirit of the rest of the game. The result is that each match has an iffy pacing between the speedy, intense modes and the slower ones, and often ends in frustration at a team you had no choice but to be a part of.
It also suffers from a number of bugs. Aside from the launch window’s expected server problems, there have been random freezes, disconnects, and physics glitches, and at the time of writing, PC players still can’t use their own usernames due to an exploit.
Fall Guys has reached a popularity that many developers can only dream of, thanks to a simple idea cleanly presented, and is released at a time when most people are still stuck indoors. But I can’t wait to see what Mediatonic can do with Fall Guys in the months ahead – and find out how the few niggling issues that mar it can be rectified.
The aesthetic is an endless delight. Watching plump little jelly beans flail around in a vibrant landscape and make adorable noises will never not be fun.
A slightly rocky start to a game that’ll be with us for a very long time.
Genre: Platformer / Battle royale
Format: PC / PS4 (both tested)
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Release: Out now