Review: Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout
Whenever I watch a show like Ultimate Ninja Warrior or Wipeout, I can't help but think I'd probably be better than most of the contestants they show wiping out on the first or second obstacle. If you feel the same way, Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout is the game to put your abilities to the test. This game is absolutely ridiculous to play, and fun to watch your friends fail at too.
Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout is a battle royale game where you compete with up to 59 other players in a series of various Wipeout-style mini-games to see who will be the last guy standing. Each game begins with 60 contestants and lasts for four to six rounds, with each round eliminating roughly 1/4 to 1/3 of the player pool. Most of the mini-games are in a race format with obstacles, and the first few players to cross the finish line get to move on to the next round. Other mini-games can be team oriented, such as a soccer-like game or a a capture-the-flag-like game where you have to steal tails from other players and hold on to them until the time runs out. The mini-games are all very simple in premise, but the sheer number of other players that you have to compete with make each round turn into absolute madness, as you all trip over each other on your way to victory.
Fall Guys is very simple to get in to, and easy to spend a load of time in. Each full game takes about 10 minutes to see through to the end, unless you are knocked out in a early round. When you lose, you can either spectate for the rest of the game, or quit back to the main menu to search for another game. Currently, the player base is large enough that I never had to wait more than a minute or two to start a game, so I was never too far from having more fun.
There is a selection of probably no more than 15 or so different mini-games to play. I say probably because they are randomly selected, and I'm pretty sure there's a few I haven't gotten to try yet. It seems about half of the mini-games are in a race format, where you have to weave your way around a load of obstacles in a mad race to the finish. You'll usually play two of these mini-games in a game of Fall Guys, as they are primarily used to weed out a large amount of players. The race mini-games are always pretty fun, especially when a choke-point forms at a small opening through an obstacle. When that happens, you'll usually have to fight tooth and nail to get over or under all the other players trying to get past, which is as funny as it is frustrating (but not in a bad way). However, there are only a few different races, which can lead to you seeing the same ones over and over again if you play enough. This could probably be easily remedied if the game limited itself to only one race mini-game in the first couple rounds of a game.
After you are knocked out or when you complete a game, you'll be awarded some Kudos, the game's currency. Additionally, if you happened to win the game, you'll also be given a crown. These two forms of currency are used to buy cosmetic changes such as new colors, patterns, or outfits for your fall guy. There's a ton of different items in the game, but the store screen only has about ten items for sale at any one time. I'm not sure if the developers do this for any reason other than to induce a sense of urgency when you do see an item that you want. This is a feeling you're likely to experience often, because Fall Guys is absolutely loaded with cool patterns and cute costumes. If you don't have enough Kudos for what you want, you can buy some in a microtransaction, but the only ways to get more crowns are by either winning a game or leveling up (you get a bit of experience each time you play). This is a welcome change from most games with premium currencies, as usually the more difficult to obtain currency is also available for purchase as a microtransaction, causing those that spend more money to generally have the better looking cosmetics. This means that technically you don't have to use any real money to get cosmetics in Fall Guys if you don't want to, and some items can only be obtained by winning, not paying. One issue I do have with the cosmetic system is that the costumes in the game are divided up into top and bottom halves. This means you need to buy both pieces in order to the have the full costume, which is a bummer when you don't have enough Kudos for both, or when only one half is for sale. This seems like an odd choice to me.
One final but important thing I should mention about Fall Guys that I actually could not easily find anywhere in the game's official PS Store page is that it is an entirely online-only experience. If you don't have PSN, you will not be able to play this game after buying it, so be aware of that if you are thinking of trying it out. Luckily, the game is currently included for free with PSN subscriptions for the month of August 2020, so I recommend you get it for free while you can if you have a subscription. If you have any friends with the game, you are also able to form a party and play in games together, with the option to spectate your party members when you lose. However, you cannot play with multiple players on the same console.
Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout is a great game that you can play for a couple minutes or a couple hours. It has a plethora of cosmetic items to keep you grinding for more Kudos or crowns, but it is lacking the same variety in its mini-game types. If you have a couple friends with you in the same room, each game is quick enough to pass the controller around when you get knocked out. If you have friends online, you can play together. This is a game that is just as fun to play as it is to watch. With a fun aesthetic and a game show vibe, Fall Guys is a new and exciting take on the battle royale genre.
Heisengerm Rating = 3/5
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Platforms: PS4, PC
Release date: February 20, 2020
Reviewed on: PS4