Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout premiered on August 4 on both PS4 and PC: on PS4 it can be downloaded for free as a PS Plus member in the month of August, while on the Steam it is available on Steam for a price of $19.99 for its standard version. This nice battle royale is sponsored by Devolver Digital, although it was developed by Mediatonic, an English company that also has a studio here in Spain, specifically in Madrid, which has also collaborated in the production of this game.
If you do not already know it (rare would be, since it has become a phenomenon in its first day on the market with a total of more than 1.5 million players that caused servers to overload, you should know that Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout is a battle royale without weapons that instead of a post-apocalyptic scenario has multiple obstacle tests, if we want to reach the top spot. Each game is divided into several tests: a total of 60 players start to play and in each round, those who fail to pass the test are eliminated. So until there are a few left in a final test from which the winner of the game will emerge.
Each player can have their own little character that can be customized to their liking by changing the colour palette, body design and face colour. In addition, you can put costumes that are divided into two parts, one upper and one lower. Additional cosmetic content is achieved in two ways: buying them in the store with two different types of currency (one can be purchased for real money) or by unlocking them in a season pass as we gain experience and level up.
If your visual style is already friendly, with the controller in your hands Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout becomes an even more enjoyable game than it is at first glance. Its controls are simple, obviously, but they are well measured to enhance humour through physics and movement; All this is eminently based on the inertia of walking and the response of the jump, which are the essential actions that we can carry out with our plump creature.
There are more possible movements: grabbing opponents, diving headfirst and other social expressions that can be assigned to the directional arrows allowing us to dance or make gestures in the middle of the game. These gestures can be purchased in the store in exchange for Compliments, the in-game currency, which are achieved both by winning games and by buying them with real money in packages ranging from $5 to $49.
But essentially the movements are divided into two: the basic ones, running and jumping, and the specific ones, grabbing and throwing. The first thing we will have to learn to control is walking around the stage and the cadence of the jump since our first games will be based on simply surviving the tests. Later we will evolve as players learning to use the grip and the lunge as part of more thoughtful tactics
And if we said before that Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout is nice to the touch, it is because the inertia of the character (an aspect that encompasses both weight and animations) accompanies the control we do from the command: the bowlegged walk adapts perfectly to the speed not very high from the little creature, her love handles sway in a rather funny way and she runs while swinging her arms in a ramshackle manner trying to balance her own plump body.
Mass competition: between casual and competitive
Perhaps, if we have to attribute something to the movement of Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout, it is that at times it is useless for competition, and this can be uncomfortable in a game that, today, is completely focused on victory. At the moment the Mediatonic title does not have non-competitive, or even cooperative, game modes, so playing one game after another has no other objective than to win. And winning is difficult without a proper control system.
It’s not that it’s bad that winning is difficult, on the contrary: the challenge of this 60-player battle royale is less casual than it seems and its challenge surprises for the better, as it engages. However, many of the games in Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout we will lose without our ability – or lack of it – having anything to do with it. There is a high component of chance in their tests: sometimes because the jump is not well measured, sometimes because it is a team round in which your teammates do nothing to win.
Sometimes it seems that Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout is in an awkward middle ground between casual fun and online competition. Playing one game after another with your brain deactivated is hilarious, but when things get serious and you want to win, you realize that not everything is in your power to achieve victory. If you try to be the only player standing and a tangle of little characters comes rolling towards you and knocks you off the stage causing them to eliminate you in around in which you were playing a good game … you may still get frustrated. That’s the kind of random component that makes the competition suffer.
Variety of levels
Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout is clearly not the pinnacle of competition, but it does too much well in that regard to not want to demand that it go one step further. We know that Mediatonic is working on new game modes with a focus on cooperation and local multiplayer, which can also come in handy for its party game side, but for now, the title is what it is: a battle online royale focused exclusively on the competition.
And nothing wrong with that. Racing is fun and hitting the big ‘PLAY!’ Button to start a new game has something exciting; It is always nice to come in and see what trials await you, how you will face them. The variety of scenarios fulfills its function better than well, ensuring that no two games are the same: the tests are happening more or less randomly, although it always begins with challenges that eliminate more people (the first round usually ends with 30- 40 survivors of the initial 60 players) and then propose more restrained challenges.
There are several types of tests: the most common are obstacle courses, scenarios full of traps, jumps, falls, and other types of traps that prevent you from reaching the goal. Others are based on the most direct competition: football matches, egg hunt, a kind of capture the flag with golden tails … Finally, there is a series of more strategic tests, which are also the most inspired: a stage divided into plants whose tiles disappear after stepping on them, another in which you have to remember the symbol of the square you are in so as not to fall when the wrong one is opened… These last challenges appear in the more advanced rounds of each game.
Although the variety of tests is good, there is something that weighs the Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout experience to some extent: its flow between games. Playing is fun and you never want to stop doing it, but for some reason, it is easier to continue watching as a spectator the game you were eliminated from than to go to the main menu and start another. In fact, based on how other games of the genre work, the ideal would be that you don’t even have to go to the menu if you don’t want to: the natural flow should be to keep playing, but illogically that path has more obstacles than simply continuing to watch playing others.
Difficulty and mastery: from simplicity to mastery of mechanics
Watching others play is equally satisfying, yes. For some people, it is even better than playing, something that explains the success of the title on streaming platforms such as Twitch, a platform on which it has already positioned itself as one of the most-watched video games since its premiere. Watching games is not only good for laughing at the blows and the reactions of the players, but also for learning their strategies and then imitating them in the game.
Because although it sounds cliché, Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout is an easy game to learn, but difficult to master. Mastery is so far removed from the initial experience, so hidden even, that some players don’t see what’s behind it. There are more optimal ways than others to face the same challenge, there is a great advantage in learning the best way and, as we said before, learning to control the grab and lunge movement makes the difference between novice and experienced players.
Within the chaotic games of Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout there is room for strategy and when one learns how to make a certain movement, how to act in the face of such an obstacle or how to wait is sometimes better than running, then the game gains another dimension. There is a level of tactical depth Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout hidden between the fluffy tummies of the protagonist creatures and, best of all, is that two players from each end, one experienced and one novice, can coexist in the same game without ending to greatly affect the particular enjoyment of each of them.
Playing Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout is a hilarious experience that doesn’t sacrifice challenges even if some decisions put a strain on the competitive spirit. On the one hand, the control system perfectly adapts the sympathy of the proposal to a comical movement that sometimes fits the command input well and sometimes not so much. The variety of challenges carries the weight of the feedback loop that keeps players hooked, even if the flow is not oriented to play over and over again, as we might expect (and would even be desirable).
Fall Guys is simply magnificent, and it can only stay at the top with additional game modes that allow another type of relationship with the game: right now the dynamics are very limited to the competition and its systems give much more than that. Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout will stay with us for a long time and it sure keeps us entertained.
We prepared this review on PS4 by downloading the game for free through the PS Plus subscription.