The latest craze on Twitch is Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout, a game about squeaky little critters who compete in a series of challenges to be the last bean standing. It’s an adorable, madcap little game that feels like a mashup of battle royale and Nickelodeon Guts.
Each “show” begins with 60 players who have to beat various challenges to qualify for the next round and keep playing. It only took me a day to sample all of the game’s challenges, but there’s enough variety on day one to keep things interesting, and most of the challenges are pretty light and entertaining. There are a bunch of obstacle courses and mini-games, including memory-matching, football, and an egg-hoarding challenge that’s basically just Hungry Hungry Hippos. The controls are simple and only took me a few minutes to master; you can only run, jump, dive, and grab things.
Fall Guys is a delightful and colorful trifle: the perfect counter-programming to the year 2020. Battle royale games used to feel fast and exciting to me, but they’ve largely become dark and stressful slogs with awkward pacing and too much waiting time. Fall Guys avoids these pitfalls by lowering the stakes, cutting out a lot of waiting time, and providing plenty of charming and kinetic goofs. When I fail in Fall Guys, I often end up laughing at myself. If you get disqualified, it’s easy to join a new game and start playing again right away. And even if you qualify through to the end, most matches only last about 15 minutes from start to finish.
I don’t see the game having the quarantine staying-power of something like Animal Crossing unless developer Mediatonic adds dozens of challenges to prevent repetition. (Side-note: the company’s overly-thirsty social media presence almost turned me off to the game before I was able to play it, so engage with Fall Guys tweets at your own risk.) But for now, at least before Twitch’s most popular streamers ditch it and go back to Call of Duty, Fall Guys is the perfect game for a horrible moment in time.
Fall Guys is $19.99 and available now for PC and PS4.