Gemma delves into the appeal of Fall Guys, and why it’s been so well-received and so widely loved by gaming fans.
If you’re remotely interested in video-games, you’ll have heard Fall Guys mentioned in conversation non-stop this month.
For those who don’t know, Fall Guys consists of a range of mini-games including obstacle courses, races, and team games. You compete against 60 other players in a Battle Royale format, and after each mini-game people get eliminated, until a final round of around 10 players. The last one standing wins.
Developed by UK studio Mediatonic and released by Devolver Digital for PC and Playstation platforms on August 4th, this simple little game has taken the world by storm and become one of the most streamed and watched games on Twitch. At one point it even had more viewers than Fortnite! But what makes it so popular?
Firstly, the obvious: This August, Fall Guys was free for everyone with a PS plus subscription. There’s no reason not to try a free game – everyone loves not having to spend money! With the PS plus subscription being so popular amongst the PS4’s huge playerbase, many gamers were able to take advantage of this offer.
7 million copies have been sold on Steam
The game costs only £15.99 on Steam – pretty cheap compared to the standard $60 triple-A price-tag. 7 million copies have been sold on Steam, and within just over a week Fall Guys had become the third most popular game on the service. So many people wanted to play the game on PlayStation that it had be taken offline for repair. Therefore, low price was a big factor in kick-starting the empire that Fall Guys has built itself over the past month.
I think a massive factor in Fall Guys popularity is that you don’t have to be a serious gamer to enjoy it. Anyone can play Fall Guys, skill levels aside – you only have to master jumping, diving, and grabbing other players. On the other hand, serious gamers will enjoy a more light-hearted, colourful, and nostalgic break from intense games.
It’s the type of game that doesn’t need you to dedicate hours, days, or weeks to it to master complex skills or complete an involved storyline. Instead, you can hop in and out of a game of Fall Guys within around 20 minutes (assuming you make it to the final round that is – if you have a habit of being eliminated first round, then it’ll be a lot quicker!). This means it is an easy game to play with friends.
Fall Guys is such a simple concept, combining a modern Battle-Royale setup similar to Fortnite – we all know how popular that continues to be – with a nostalgia for simpler childhood days playing games like Mario Kart. The controls are easy to master, the rules of each obstacle course ‘mini-game’ are simple, clear, and easy to remember, but it still has a high level of competitiveness as you try to reach the finish line before up to 60 other players, even including your own friends. People are eliminated after each round until the last player standing wins.
Competitive games like this are easy to fall in love with and get addicted to – you simply can’t stop playing until you get that win! Plus, every time you win, you get a crown. These crowns can be exchanged in the shop for new and creative skins for your character.
CHARACTERS AND VISUALS
Speaking of the characters, I believe they’re one of the reasons the game became so popular. The owner of Mediatonic stated “We’re thrilled by the response and can’t quite believe how beloved our little jelly beans have already become!” Games with character customisation and different skins are always popular: People love having control over how they look, so being able to dress up as a dinosaur, a chicken, a pineapple – the list goes on – was bound to garner the game a fan-base.
A game’s visuals are key to its success, and Mediatonic’s little ‘jelly beans’ are adorable. They’re brightly coloured, and aesthetically pleasing, and add to the game’s nostalgic vibe. Fall Guys is more visually appealing and friendly-looking than other currently popular games.
NOSTALGIA AND TONE
I think in times like 2020, nostalgia can be a big factor in a game’s appeal – hence why the Nintendo Switch and games like Animal Crossing (another game with cute characters and a nostalgic vibe) have seen such a surge in popularity.
Instead of remaking older games we used to play as children like a lot of releases lately, Fall Guys is a completely new concept, which has never been done before but still captures that aspect of nostalgia that’s comforting to players; reminding us of simpler times in our childhoods. This rare blend of the new and exciting, with the nostalgic at the same time. It has been called the ‘perfect game for the coronavirus age’ for a reason!
It’s refreshing to see a game as joyful and non-violent as this become so popular
Mike Wilson, co-founder of publisher Devolver Digital, said Fall Guys “will hopefully inspire other developers and publishers to bring more joyful, non-violent, but still competitive games into the world.” I have to agree with him – it’s refreshing to see a game as joyful and non-violent as this become so popular, as typically the most popular games have violent tendencies. Of course there’s nothing wrong with those violent games, they are extremely enjoyable, but it’s definitely nice to see something different reach the same heights of popularity, especially after the dark year 2020 has been.
Simplicity is key, and Fall Guys has mastered it. I just hope it continues to be as popular as it is now, and hopefully (fingers crossed!) releases on a wider range of platforms soon!
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