The much anticipated Fall Guys, created by Devolver, launched a mere two days ago, and already it has become a cult sensation. By evolving the BR genre through an integration of old-school party games and absurd, almost doofy, player mechanics and aesthetics, Devolver has created an ideal game for our moment in time. Although many of us are locking ourselves away from the world this summer while savoring our own unique low-key depression, we now have a zany, laugh-filled, salt inducing, and socially gravitating game to keep our spirits up. The perfection of its own imperfection will pull players in and leave them cursing at their competitors, laughing with their friends, and hollering in triumph when players finally attain their coveted first-place crown.
In Fall Guys, players will start an episode, which is what the game calls a full set of matches, with just about 60 players. In a series of randomly selected mini-games that range from survival based rounds, racing rounds, and team games, the players will be slowly whittled down to a small handful of players (the size of the final round depends on a variety of possible outcomes) until only one survives. Winning a round rewards players with a unique type of currency which can be used to buy an ever-changing list of aesthetic gear, ranging from tops, bottoms, skins, faces, etc.
Express your Inner Zany
With 60 players in a match, players will want to look unique, and this game’s customization provides a nice incentive, but also a hilarious way to express yourself. Right now, I honorably don a dinosaur head with swim trunks, but I look forward to my future look of a hotdog with a pigeon’s ass. While I know zany outfits are nothing to brag to mother about, this facet of the game just adds to the odd, comprehensive unity of the game’s fun absurdity. Watching all of these stumbling, vertigo inflicted beans that look like the fantasy of an LSD-riddled mascot aficionado, is really only the beginning of the fun.
Joy, Rage, Success!
There are a few things that make this game a blast, including the variety of mini-games, party game mechanics encapsulated within a BR, and the pure laughing rage induced by fellow participants, which may or may not be me holding you while you try to leap towards success. The team games, which probably have the most criticism behind them at the moment, have a potential to be fun, but they encourage the most salt. As of now, they have ‘tag’ inspired team games, a super-sized soccer match, a few others that either involve pushing a ball down a track with obstacles or capturing and protecting a similar sized group of balls. These matches are probably the most frustrating and rewarding parts of the game.
It is rarely fun to be caught on a team where most of the players seem to be using their feet to control their avatars, especially if you run into three team games in a single episode. But, it is exactly this imperfection that leads to grand elation. I recently just played a game of Fall Ball, which is the soccer inspired team game, and I cannot relate to the readers how many rage-induced, profanity filled rants I hurled towards my screen. As I watched my blue team take an early lead, I gaze over to see a blue chicken head-butting our ball towards our own goal to finally and successfully blow the game for us. And, in a similar game, through a series of stumbles, face-plants, and drunken spins win a game in the final seconds. A boiling curse can switch to a dopamine burst of happiness in a single second at any moment in this game.
Likewise, while competing individually, players will engage in courses that focus on see-saws, outrunning a rising sea of pink slime, trudging up a mountain with giant fruit tumbling down, and many other absurd courses that seem to be inspired by Wipeout, MXC, or adrunken version of Ninja Warrior. At the beginning, you are always filled with hope. There are so many players, and only a few are eliminated in the first match, so players always start with joy and a positive outlook, but by the third round, players will start to think they have a chance to get the title, and the gloves come off. What was once a place where my friends were rooting for me is now a place where I lavish at the thought of hearing the anger of my compatriot as I quickly hold them before a jump and watch as their hopes are ripped from their naïve spirit and their despair ripples out from their voice in a confused, “WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS!” But in all honesty, even the salt-seasoned rage is grounded in a belly laugh.
All of these components represent what could turn this game into an enduring party/BR game or lead to a temporary, fizzling success. As of now, the game hosts about 25 different, and normally, quite unique mini-games. I’ve been playing the game pretty hard, and based on the random selection, there are some I have only played once. This allows for a pretty fresh ‘episode’ each time; however, that will only last temporarily. While it is safe to say that Devolver will continue to push out mini-games, they will need to do this quite consistently. Games using this free model must push out new content. That doesn’t necessarily mean they need new mini-games every month, but they need to support the long-time players. If they do this, players will happily help fund the game. Just as they need new content, they must explore the potential for bizarre new mechanics within the game. It won’t be enough just to provide a new-looking course that has a new style of obstacle. Merely adding in ranked, increasing participants, or increasing party size will not be enough. They will need to really hone in on their creativity within game, because even now with the variety of courses, the mechanics of each game within a genre (hunt, survive, race, and team) are similar to one another.
Fall Guys is ripe for potential. The game is fresh, funny, and fun, and those are the grounding principles of a good multiplayer game. This indie developer is showing AAA studios how to create a gaming sensation. While there will be future obstacles to the endurance of this game, with fresh content and creative workers, we will be watching viral videos of screaming Fall Guys players for quite some time. If you want an opportunity to laugh with your friends while salting their wounds, there is no reason not to pick this free game up while it’s here. I hope to see your stumbling body somersaulting across the finish line beside me. Have fun!
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