Fall Guys Is the Perfect Game for When Things Feel Hopeless

A screenshot from Fall Guys season 6.

Everything’s feeling pretty bad again, hey. Lots of games have kept us going during the various lockdowns of the last two years, and one that’s been a favourite this whole time is Fall Guys. There are lots of reasons why Mediatonic’s Fall Guys has been a mainstay of our pandemic life, from bright colours to upbeat music and a simple reward loop of free cosmetic unlocks. But what all of this boils down to is the fact that Fall Guys is a perfect game to play when things feel hopeless.

The premise is simple: jump into a game with up to 60 other people and play a series of mini-games. Players are eliminated in every mini-game, until there are only a handful of players competing in the final round and then one crowned the winner. There are a staggering amount of mini-games, including obstacle courses, last-man-standing challenges and team games. They’re all wonderfully creative, and though they mostly consist of the same elements — rotating platforms, seesaws, launch pads, and fragile platforms — every round feels wildly unique. In Roll On, players have to race to the finish line across a series of rotating rings; in Roll Out, you just have to run between rotating rings to avoid falling off.

The simplicity is part of the reason why everyone fell in love with Fall Guys. Each round is short, so even if you don’t enjoy one game, you know the next isn’t far away. As for why people still love it, over a year after launch? That’s partly due to regular updates — season six just began and introduced new rounds and cosmetics — and partly due to the game’s commitment to being cute. Unlike other games that shot to popularity during lockdown, like Among Us and Final Fantasy XIV Online, Fall Guys is almost obsessively optimistic. Characters are lovingly called beans simply because they look like jellybeans, and make adorable “woo!” noises as they run and jump through a round. The music, composed by Jukio Kallio, primes you for competition and gets even more energetic as the timer counts down. Even losing a round doesn’t ruin the fun: there’s no “whomp whomp” noise for being eliminated, and you can immediately join a new game.

You’re awarded points even if you’re eliminated in the first round, which you can use to unlock new skins and celebrations between games. The skins range from colourful patterns on your bean to hot dog costumes and outfits from other games like Ghost of Tsushima. It means there are 60 beans running around, arms flailing, dressed as hot chips, Christmas trees, deep sea divers and koalas.

Everything in Fall Guys is designed to make you feel good, whether you’re winning, losing or cheering your friend on. Maybe the game wouldn’t have become as popular if it had been released in less chaotic times, but I’m thankful that we’ve had it during lockdown. With things looking dire again now, I’m playing a lot more of it, simply because it’s fun and silly and colourful and makes me forget about the pandemic. If you’d also like a silly little distraction, you can get Fall Guys on PS4 and PS5 and PC.

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