Ideas to lift up ‘Fall Guys’, the surprise hit of the summer

Gene Park & Elise Favis

THE WASHINGTON POST – Fall Guys isn’t too big to fail yet, but it’s also too good to fail.

It’s not like the game isn’t big. Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout by Mediatonic is the surprise hit of the summer, with more than two million copies sold on Steam and countless more people playing the game for free on PlayStation 4.

Fall Guys twists the “battle royale” concept by having players navigate bean-shaped folks across minigames and obstacle courses. The small team who developed it said the game was inspired by old game show’s like Takeshi’s Castle and Total Wipeout. As Launcher reporter Elise Favis wrote, it’s a game that will make you laugh, especially when you lose.

But being developed by a small team, it’s grown bigger than anyone expected. Spotty service and maintenance issues abound, keeping the game offline for hours at a time as Mediatonic deals with the deluge of bonking beans hoping to get a crown (the ultimate prize at the end of each “episode”).

But even beyond patching up some of the technical glitches, there’s room for an already enjoyable game to improve. To that end, Elise Favis and Gene Park put together a list of suggestions or ideas to consider as Mediatonic moves forward with evolving the game.

TOGGLE GRABBING ON AND OFF

Grabbing, which lets you pull others toward you or be caught in someone else’s grasp, is one of the most controversial elements of Fall Guys. Though some minigames like Tail Tag and Egg Scramble require it as a core mechanic, other minigames do not. A well-timed grab can launch a jellybean neighbour off a seesaw to their death or, if you’re not careful, result in your own demise.

Grabbing brings a sense of unpredictability, but for many, it’s not welcome and makes the game unfair. In the most extreme cases, you can be prevented from racing through a finish line if you’re swarmed by griefers like this streamer experienced.

Rather than removing grabbing entirely – because some enjoy goofing around by using it with friends – it could be reimagined as an optional feature, where every player can toggle grabbing on and off in the settings menu.

NEW MINI-GAMES IN LATER SEASONS

Developer Mediatonic is promising a consistent refresh with every new season of Fall Guys, and the team vows to expand on the current 25 minigames. In fact, that’s already happening: Mediatonic announced that a new variation to the level Jump Club, called Jump Showdown, is arriving Wednesday via a patch after its popularity within the closed beta that occurred before launch. This is great news, considering the limited variety can grow stale after several hours of play. Hopefully we see completely new additions soon, rather than just spins on levels we’re already familiar with.

EXIT A MATCH WHENEVER YOU LIKE

One of the best things about Fall Guys is being able to hop in and out of matches easily, but this process can be slowed down if you don’t leave a match as soon as it concludes. With only a small window of time to exit, you’re otherwise locked into spectating or playing until the round begins, which usually means a minute or two of wait time. It’s a small gripe, but the ability to leave whenever you like would be a welcome change.

CHANGE UP STARTING POSITIONS

At the start of a round, all jellybeans are randomly positioned in rows at the starting point. Being in a back row, however, can leave you at a disadvantage in some minigames (particularly Fall Mountain, a race through an obstacle course that appears as one of the game’s final rounds). Sure, you can still win, but it requires more effort, strategy, and luck (i.e. if someone ahead of you messes up). Fall Guys would benefit if this system was adapted somewhat, so that everyone is left with a fair chance.

PRACTICE MODE

I love Hex-A-Gone – a platforming minigame – but I rarely get to play it. Minigames are randomly queued in Fall Guys, and Hex-A-Gone is especially uncommon because you need to survive until the finals to experience it. A practice mode could remedy this issue, as well as give players a chance to hone their skills more regularly.

PRIVATE ROOMS WITH FRIENDS

Playing with up to 59 other random beans can be hectic and fun, but it can be easy to lose track of your friends in the dense crowds. Private rooms would be an excellent alternative for players who want to waddle across obstacle courses together or go head-to-head against a friend in a game like Fall Ball, a minigame similar to the premise of
Rocket League.

IN-GAME REPORTING SYSTEM

Fall Guys has seen its share of cheaters and hackers. Some have used exploits to fly over obstacles straight to a finish line, others use speed hacks to run quicker than opponents. It’s something Mediatonic is closely monitoring, and the team said they’ve cracked down on a number of cheaters, but the issue isn’t completely eradicated. An in-game reporting system for both console and PC would streamline a player’s ability to report wrongdoing (right now, the most effective way is hopping onto the game’s official Discord).

MATCH HISTORY AND METRICS

Currently, the only metrics for tracking progress in Fall Guys are how much you’ve levelled up through the battle pass and what rewards you’ve subsequently unlocked. As someone who has poured 20-plus hours into this wacky game, I’d love for more insight on my win/loss ratio for each minigame so I know where I need improvement. Even some goofy metrics would work well here, recording how often you’ve been bonked on the head by a spinning propeller or how many tails you’ve grabbed.

SINGLES AND PARTNERS ONLY MODES

The game has only one mode, which consists of mixing up free-for-all matches and games that divide the player base into teams. This is fun and all part of the chaos that makes this game fun for most. But it’d be nice to be able to funnel players down episodes that feature only free-for-all solo play or only team-based games. This is great for folks who feel weighed down by bad random teammates, or who have a bunch of friends who just want to keep coordinating through the episodes.