Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout is a last man standing battle royale game developed by Mediatonic and published by Devolver Digital. It was announced at E3 2019 and released August 4th, 2020 on the PlayStation 4 and Steam.
The battle royale genre has been around for many years; however, it is difficult to come into this genre and have a title stand out from the rest. Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout does this with its Japanese cult television game show hit Takeshi’s Castle and Wipeout game show inspired game, giving a little breath of fresh air into an almost over saturated market. Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout can be played solo or up to 4 of your friends online, however there can only be one winner. The games start off with up to 60 players competing in the first round with players being eliminated after each round. Rounds are picked at random from a selection of 25 maps and are either played solo or teamed up by colours for some team-based rounds. Matches consists of 4 to 5 rounds and last around 15 to 20 minutes if you make it to the final round to get that crown.
When you start up the game you are met with bright colours and a catchy tune that will get stuck in your head after a few hours playing. You get a short but sweet page of tutorial of the games controls which are very minimalistic. Move, jump, dive and grab. The player is then able to customize their jellybean shaped character with a few limited colour options and a few different patterns. The player matchmakes into the lobby, this takes only a few minutes and the match starts. The first round is a race on an obstacle course where a certain number of players need to cross the finish line to avoid being eliminated and move onto the next round. These are some of the most chaotic fun loving games that will have the player in laugher; watching 60 jelly bean shaped characters try and push themselves through a door way all at the same time. It feels like being at a boxing day sale as soon as the doors open.
There are a variety of maps that have different mechanics. The obstacle course races have a variety of hindrances such as spinning plates on the map dizzy heights. Seesaw sees the player running through a series of giant see-saws towards the finish line, one wrong move will see you slide off the see-saw into the pink slime and you will be respawned at the last checkpoint you went through. Fruit Chute sees the player running up and conveyer belt with giant fruit hurtling down to knock you off your course, the amount of times I was close to the end for only a giant strawberry or orange to hit my jelly bean head to send me in a rolling mess backwards down the conveyer belt as I laughed hysterically. Falling off the map, being hit by giant fruit, being hit by the many spinning hammers does not necessarily mean you will be eliminated and you won’t be the only one.
There are also a few team-based maps, these maps will see the player being evenly distributed into teams, be given a colour and have to work as a team. If you are playing solo these games can be frustrating at times if not all of the team are pulling their weight, and if your team does not make the objective, the whole team will be eliminated. Some of these maps are Fall Ball, which sees players put into two teams and on a field with not one but two giant soccer balls and you play soccer, with the team getting the most goals scored winning. Team tag tail has players distributed into four teams, each team has a certain amount of players that already have tails attached and the aim of the game is catch one of the opposing teams tails and the team with the least tails at the end is eliminated. Rock ‘n’ Rock has teams of 3 push a rubber ball through an obstacle course towards the goal at the end, but there’s a catch, the first half of the map the teams are separated into lanes, at just past half way, the lanes end and its anything goes, you can either keep pushing your ball as a team or some of your team mates may run towards the other teams to hinder their progress, but be warned they will probably do the same to you.
What are you competing for? Well, fame. Fame is the XP of the game, the XP you earn goes towards unlocking the battle pass contents. The battle pass is free for season 1 on PlayStation 4. The pass has 40 levels, and you unlock cosmetic items for your character such as, different colours, patterns, costumes and emotes. You also earn kudos, this is the in-game currency that you can earn just by playing the game, there is an option to buy more kudos with real life money as well. These kudos are used to buy more cosmetic items for your jellybean, such as dressing them up as ninja costumes, changing their colour or patterns. There are some costume packs available in the PlayStation store and these are cosmetic items that are not in game. This leaves the possibility of cross overs that we see in games like Fortnite. Where players may be able to purchase costumes of other characters from other movies, games or tv shows.
Unfortunately, there is no split screen couch co-op which is unfortunate as the mini games remind me of times playing Mario Party. There is no practice mode where you can practice learning the controls, there is no offline mode or custom games. Cross play is not a feature in the game yet but in recent interviews with developers it is something they may visit in future. I hold hope that they also introduce split screen and custom matches further down the line.
Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout is a fun game that will have many laughing and stumbling their way to the finish line. Whether you play solo or with a group of your friends online you are sure to have some fun. The maps are fun, bright, full of colour and not every run will be the same, you can play a map 20 times and the result will be different. Progression towards the battle pass does not feel grindy as every game, no matter where you place you still earn some fame XP and kudos.
+ Fun gameplay
+ Simple controls
+ Variety of maps
– No split screen/custom games
– Team based games can be frustrating if solo
Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout was reviewed on a PS4 Pro. All thoughts on this title, is ours and ours alone.