I love playing Fall Guys. I am also terrible at playing Fall Guys. These two things aren't even at odds; rather, they feed each other.
That floor-level skill barrier is a unique feature of a unique game; it's always a thrill when a new type of game pops up on the public radar. People try to put it in different buckets, but none of them are really sufficient.
It's like a “battle royale” game, except nobody's really fighting. It's like a multiplayer platformer, except the genre's signature tight controls are pointedly absent. (Void calls it a “floppy platformer” on the Geek to Geek Podcast.) It's like a “Mario Party” minigame rotation, except more free-for-all and without breaking friendships.
For all the ways people try to pin down Fall Guys, it's pretty telling that one of the most resounding comparisons isn't to another video game at all. The prevailing (canon, according to the developers!) pitch is that the Fall Guys concept is a new incarnation of Japanese game show Takeshi's Castle (or, to American audiences, MXC).
For the uninitiated, think of an obstacle course competition, but put in goofy mascot-suit padding and rigged to ensure as many schmuck participants as possible prat-fall onto their faces.
And you might look at that description and think: “Why would I ever play a game that's obviously rigged against the player's success”?
Because it's rigged against everybody, equally.
Tip #1: We All Fall Down
Part of the setup of Fall Guys is that “episodes” (the lingo for which absolutely cements the “wacky game show” motif) each draw a pool of 60 competitors. That sounds like a lot, because it is in fact a lot. Which is made so much worse when the game pointedly rubs its scale your face. Your first round each time is always some form of obstacle-course race, and that mandates each player start from (roughly) the same position.
So from before the word “Go”, you see exactly how many dozen people are present. And for the five seconds after the word “Go”, every single one of them is tripping over the next in a writhing pile of giddy little technicolor bean-men.
That sends home a particular message: “I'm one player in a very literal crowd; my odds here, all else being equal, are slim”. Not in a self-defeating way, of course. More in a sheer law-of-large-numbers way.
And then the instant mosh-pit at the starting gate cuts another leg out from under your competitive drive:
The controls are more than a little clumsy.
Tip #2: Roll With It
In the wake of certain Athletics- or Heifer-Based games, roughshod and unpolished controls can get cited as a “quirky” design choice. But a character not responding how you expect often doesn't seem goofy in the moment. It can just seem frustrating.
Fall Guys instead makes that lack of control a key component.
As the network's flagship podcast pointed out: if you screw up a jump, you really screw it up. Your little beanie's leg will give out, and he'll trip to the floor. And then the see-saw you landed on will start tilting to the side. And then you'll try to stand up, but the slope will be too steep now. You'll flop onto your back and start tumbling head-over-heels into the clouds below, losing a whole ten seconds to hopeless flailing.
Then it plops you right back down, and you start again.
On paper, that should be an awful player experience. In reality, however, three people dead ahead of you probably just had the exact same stroke of bad luck, and you giggled along as they wibbled and wobbled and spilled off the stage. Chances are one of them did it a second time, taking a plummet right along with you.
That gives you a weird sense of camaraderie.
Everybody's kinda awful at Fall Guys for the most part, and the most violent action in the game is to weakly shove another player a few feet to the left. Rather, you're all vying for the same goal largely in parallel. It's less about “beating” the other Fall Guy, and more about being a smidge less terrible or unlucky than them.
It's an anti-competition built for those of us who aren't overly competitive. Which is why the best thing you can do to win is to give in to the chaos and roll with the punches. Sometimes, quite literally.
“But What if I Want to Be Good at Fall Guys?”
You should really try and play Fall Guys as low-pressure as possible. It really isn't meant for serious–“
I said, ‘I Wanna Crush the Other Fall Guys Beneath my Heel!'
…y'know what? Sure. Everybody plays differently.
If that's how you wanna play on an inflatable bouncy-castle course in a mascot suit, here's the stuff to know. These 4 tricks should, in essence, help you git gud at Fall Guys.
- Dodge Crowds. In a lot of races and in Roll Out, one of the most dangerous factors is other players jostling you off your path. So let other people fight it out. The crowd will thin itself, and you'll be able to watch cozily from afar, then push forward when the path's clearer of the other boneheads. Patience, grasshopper.
- Sabotage. Team games, for the most part, are three-way. There's no first-place prize; the only “reward” is for last place, and that's elimination. So the best way to ensure your team's survival isn't sheer domination. It's to make absolutely sure one of the other teams fails utterly and completely. Or at least performs a little worse than yours. Those eggs don't always have to make it into your basket. Mostly, they just have to be out of Yellow Team's basket.
- Be Indirect. The utterly earnest nature of Fall Guys means a lot of folks will aim directly at the closest moving thing, notably in Tail Tag, Fall Ball, and Hoopsie Daisy. So cut escaping tail-havers off instead of chasing them, act coy in a corner when you're the tail-haver, and ensure there's two goalies at the ready in Fall Ball. People will leave non-obvious hoops open; stay wary of them.
- Grab That Crown. No, seriously, you can't bonk your head against it. Your winning leap will lead to no glory and will not count if you don't hit ‘R2' to latch onto the crown, so actively touch that glory with your hands. Or else you'll lose the one shot you've had at the finale out of the last ten games. See the crown? Press R2 to grab it!
And, of course, most importantly…
Tip #7: Don't Stress
Fall Guys isn't a play-all-day, get-to-super-mega-Diamond-rank type of game. It's even not going to ask you for more than ten minutes; just a quick pick-up match. And the only reward for winning is cosmetic, anyway. (Well, and glory, if that's your thing.)
For such a rambunctious game, it's very much not aiming to get its players riled up. You hop in, you goof around a bit, and chances are you drop out in one of the middle rounds. That's fine, it's normal, and often times it's just because a weird jump sent you on a collision course with a whirligig.
So just kick back and play for the fun of it, then move on with no harm done. You can get skillful, sure, but there are other types of games for that. Fall Guys is built for the truest form of “friendly matches”.
And remember: Don't! Get! Eliminated!
What tips and tricks and pointers have you learned in your time of wibbling, wobbling, and falling down with the bean people?