When the worst complaint people have about a new game is how its servers can’t keep up with player counts, then you know someone, somewhere, did something right. Such is the case with Mediatonic’s new game, Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout, which matches up to 60 players (also called “beans”) who compete in a series of stages ranging from obstacle courses to wacky sports until only one claims the crown. This party game has exploded on the scene, and perhaps that’s because Fall Guys is a breath of fresh air in a world where battle royales like PUBG and Fortnite have dominated the market for a while.
I watched hours of streams and played a few rounds myself to get a feel for Fall Guys. The competition is repetitive but addicting. Stages are randomly ordered, as are the players in each game, making each attempt at a crown a little different. There’s also a level of skill and know-how that players must develop if they want to win. A good portion of the stages are free-for-alls, but I particularly enjoyed that there are six where players work together on teams. Having played through most of them, I can already tell you if one is going to knock me out, but this drives me to get better because the rush of making it to the final round is exhilarating.
Much like the chaos of a round of Slime Climb, 2020 has been a year full of ups and downs. You’ve probably heard that more than you’d like since March. And in these times, we can lose hope in humanity, particularly in the good ol’ USA. Hyper individualism and a lack of concern for others’ well-being are on display in every news cycle. I encounter it when I walk down the hallways at my school, having to remind students to wear their school-mandated mouth coverings. Or I encounter this at the grocery store as people ignore clearly marked directives on one-way movement down aisles.
What I really appreciate about Fall Guys, however, is that no matter what game I am in or watching, there is at least one team round, so many players get the chance to win more stages and make it further into games with the help of others. Maybe it’s a mob of blue beans rushing toward the yellow team’s nest in Egg Scramble. Perhaps your bean forms a line of defense around the goal in a game of Fall Ball. Whenever a team round queues on the screen, the mindset shifts from “me” to “us” as the team dynamic takes precedence. This is the trend in more recent battle royale games. Other games like Warzone and Hyper Scape, along with Fall Guys, move away from individuality and towards needing other players to help you win, which allows these games to form us into better human beings.Much like the chaos of a round of Slime Climb, 2020 has been a year full of ups and downs.
Humanity is not meant to live alone; it was never good for us to be alone. We were made to be communal—to reflect a communal God who exists in perfect communion with Himself as is best explained in the Athanasian Creed. As such, oftentimes the hot, new games do not reinforce that aspect of our humanity. Instead, we are driven to make it on our own. Fall Guys partly breaks that cycle, and it gives me hope that the gaming industry as a whole is moving away from the strictly solitary mindset of recently popular games.
That’s not to say that Fall Guys doesn’t still play into the “winner winner chicken dinner” of it all. Only one player can win the crown, and even when you’re queueing for a match with your friends, only one of you will succeed in the end. So, maybe it’s not 100 percent devoid of individualistic achievement since you can still survive without others’ help or helping others in other battle royales with team play. But it is a step in the right direction, and Fall Guys makes it so that you will not advance to the final round without a team.
We like to succeed by our own merits. This is why so many battle royales have done well, but it’s nice to be reminded that we can’t always succeed by ourselves. Sometimes, it takes a team to get you through to the next round.