Your typical battle royale is a pretty violent affair. Even stretching back to the genre's roots in film showcases blood and merciless violence. Maybe that's why my time playing Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout ended up charming me. In much the same way that Splatoon turned arena shooters into a rainbow of kid-friendly gameplay, Fall Guys takes on massive multiplayer matches with various fun objectives that don't involve death in the slightest.
For one, I'm not sure if the colorful rubber men (?) of Fall Guys can die. A mixture between Grimace and the Teletubbies, they're certainly not what you think of when you picture a video game protagonist. They only seem to slow down whenever they're impeded, whether it be by giant hammers or smacking into a wall. Basically, if they could apply for Wipeout, they'd be the perfect competitors.
In fact, the gameplay I got to play of Devolver's new battle royale wasn't that far from ABC's perennial hit game show. Once you customize your personal Fall Guy's color and cosmetics, you join into a match with a huge number of other competitors. The developers aren't sure exactly how many they'll support upon release, but I got to struggle alongside a healthy number.
Each round features a different mini-game of sorts. One might have you trying to grab a raccoon tail off others in order to avoid elimination. Another may have you climbing up a hill to grab a crown before anyone else. A third had the pack racing through breakaway walls, although some of them stop you dead in your tracks. While the demo only has these three challenges, there are plans for much more, both in the final game and in many new updates after launch.
The "battle royale" aspect of the minigames is that only a set number of players will survive to get to the final round. Winners of any given game will progress further and losers will have to load back into matchmaking. This was a very early build of the game, so it's possible that the developers at Mediatronic will tweak any and everything. After all, there's not too much incentive to really mix it up once you realize how many player progress between rounds.
When asking about those updates, the developers assured me that all gameplay-relevant updates would come free of charge. Some of the more colorful costumes may come at an added fee, although that's also up in the air as of now. Considering the young audience the game could attract, it's probably for the best that genre staples like battle passes aren't in the cards.
While there's a long way to go, Mediatronic is certainly off on the right foot with Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout. While Fortnite is an overwhelming hit amongst the younger set, it's not exactly a game pitched towards that demographic. For those who oppose cartoonish murder, Fall Guys could provide a stylish alternative that everyone can enjoy.
TechRaptor previewed Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout in the Devolver Digital parking lot just outside E3 2019.
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