Devolver Digital have been on an upwards trend for years now. Their awesome viral conferences teased Mediatonic’s wacky Takeshi’s Castle inspired, Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout. Yes, a Takeshi’s Castle inspired game! So, as Nina Struthers would say, let’s check a look.
After a long, bloody and brutal battle alone………kidding! There’s no story here.
Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout has a simple premise. 60 online players compete in a 3 round challenge to win a crown. The first level is a race to the finish where only 35 to 40 people can qualify. The second event is either a race or a team event, the team that loses is eliminated. Last and by no means least, is the finale. This is either, once again, a race or a puzzle. Sometimes, there can be 4 or 5 rounds, if the player count remains too high. On paper, this sounds like a throwaway game you would pick up for £1 on a Steam sale but Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout oozes charm.
Watch the Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout gameplay trailer below:
The races are all short but have plenty of complexity. Some have doors that you have to break through but have unbreakable doors to block progress. Some races have turbines that spin at different speeds, or goo that slows down progress. They can range from simple to downright nasty, one level has a rising level of goo that instantly eliminates a player upon touch. Having 60 players bounce off each-other during these races adds to the challenge, especially when less than half of those players can qualify for the next round. While these races are fun, they could get boring pretty quickly, thankfully Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout has that covered, in the form of team games. This mode splits players into teams of 2 or 3, as they work together in a hectic challenge.
One game has you diving through as many rings as possible or, a Rocket League inspired level has you try to gather as many giant balls onto your side of the level. This brings a great sense of community to Fall Guys, where most Battle Royale game encourage screwing over players, Fall Guys constantly mixes up the formula. Finally, we have the puzzle sections. These can be brutally difficult, one has a grid of tiles in front of you but only has a single path to take, with only 6 or 7 people likely to qualify for the next round, things get tense. A challenging puzzle has everybody standing on tiles and the player has to take note of the image on the tile before it disappears, then look at a screen and match the symbol.
What makes Fall Guys so fun, is that these are all chosen at random. Not only do you need to learn each level but remember your tactic for each and adapt on the fly. Team-based puzzles usually have a generous time limit, which leaves you with a choice, do you try to score early and hold that score, or do you wait until the last minute and steal the win? During an elimination round, do you fully sprint towards the end or do you try to throw as many people off the edge? For such a simple game, there’s a lot of complexity. The controls are simple, you can jump, grab and dive. That’s it.
Visually, it won’t win any awards but there is a nice use of colour. It feels like a Nintendo game in the best possible way, the little blobby characters you play as are all customisable and have a lot of personality. The music is fine and the PS4 Pro version holds its framerate pretty well, considering the chaos.
Check out some more Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout screenshots in out gallery below:
While the variety of levels is great, there needs to be a few more. Given the massive amount of support the game is receiving, I’m sure Mediatonic are hard at work on new levels as we speak. There needs to be something else the character can do, like either a shove or the ability to pick up power-ups, as the movelist at the moment is pretty sparse.
Doubly so for the shop, there’s not a lot to buy and the options are all expensive. Maybe this is a launch issue, so we’ll have to wait and see. Honestly, there’s not a lot to say. PS4 servers aren’t too reliable at the moment but the game is way more popular than the developers anticipated, maybe Sony will expand the servers at some point. Simply put, it’s a winner. It does what it says on the tin and it’s highly addictive. With a little more support this is going to be a huge hit and that makes me happy because Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout is brilliant.
Devolver Digital 4th August