(Pocket-lint) - Not many saw it coming, but Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout has been one of the gaming sensations of 2020.
But what is Fall Guys, how do you play it and why has it become such a massive success (so much so that the online servers went down often during its initial days due to overload)?
We've been playing it regulalry since launch to give you the answers, plus tips and tricks to help you qualify on each level.
What is Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout?
Fall Guys is a fun and friendly, multiplayer online battle royale-style game for young and old. It seems to be loosely based on TV shows like Takeshi's Castle and Total Wipeout, where the object is to navigate obstacles or survive long enough in mini-games in order to qualify for later levels.
It starts with up to 60 online players on level one, with a number of players being eliminated each round until a final level with only a handful competiting to be the overall winner.
Winning awards crowns, which can be then traded for ultra rare costume items or emotes, while every other competitor also earns in-game currency (Kudos) which can be swapped for other costumes, etc. The futher you get in the game, the more Kudos you receive.
There are also experience points awarded, which give you extra items and skins as you level up.
The game runs on seasons, with new items and awards being refreshed once over. You also get the choice of different colour schemes for your Fall Guy, costumes or emotes every 24 hours.
Is Fall Guys safe?
One huge benefit to Fall Guys is that it is suitable for all age groups. It has PEGI 3 rating and no way to communicate inside the game apart from cute emote animations.
Experienced players can all communicate through the PS4 Party Chat function (for example), but if a kid is playing, they will have a safe environment to do so, with little toxic behaviour in-game.
This is meant to be fun, rather than overly competitive. Even when you fail to qualify, you can start a new round almost instantly.
What platforms is Fall Guys available for?
Fall Guys is currently available for PlayStation 4 and PC (through Steam). There is talk about releasing versions for Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and even mobile, but no confirmed plans as yet.
Fall Guys tips and tricks
Fall Guys levels are split into four categories: race, survival, team and final.
There were 24 levels launched on day one, with another added with the games first major patch in August. Here are those levels and tips on how to qualify/win in each.
This is a simple race level with spinning platforms to leap onto. The best tip we can give here is make sure you leap just before the "bumper" at the edge of each disc, so that momentum takes you onto the next.
One of our favourite levels. You have to bash through doors, but some of them are fake and you just bounce off them. The best tip here, therefore, is to avoid blindy running at doors and hang back a few beats in order to let other hapless fools find out the right path to take. Also, don't jump through the doors, dive instead. That way you won't be bashed by other players jumping and are more likely to be flung forwards than back.
Like many of the race games, this is fairly simple. Just avoid the giant fruit cascading down the mountain. Our tip is to stay fairly central and jump over the rolling log when needed - that seems to have worked most often for us.
Gate Crash is different to door dash as the gates move up and down, so timing is key. Again, it's a race to the end but you have to ensure you don't get stuck behind gates for long. It's also worth noting that some gates move more slowly than the others, so keep away from those. And don't forget to jump at the end of the slime slide to get through the last gate - there's a hole you fall down otherwise.
Hit Parade is another simple race game with a couple of obstacles that seem to trick players unless they know what they are doing. First, there are turnstiles that are easy if you follow everyone else... we suggest heading to the left set of turnstiles and pushing to the right of them so they turn anti-clockwise. Also, when you get to the wrecking balls, just stay completely central on the path and time your runs carefully. Finally, stay to the far left or right when running up the slime hill, as obstacles can't get you there.
Another of our absolutel favourites and one level we've come first in more than once. It helps if you are out in the front pack, as the see saws will be mostly static when you get to them, but remember to try to stay central on each see saw (near the white line) if possible, and always run and jump to the static platforms when the see saw is at its highest - you can miss and fall otherwise. If you do find yourself further back, instead of jumping between see saws, dive. That way you are less likely to fall and roll off.
In our opinion, this is the hardest of the race games. A lake of slime is rapidly rising, so you have to navigate the obstacles and outrun it at the same time. What's most irritating is that other players can get in the way. Some tactics are to use the bumpers at the beginning as platforms and the "grab" button to lift yourself onto the second climb section to speed things up.
This is especially tricky for new players. As well as spinning bars that you have to leap over, there is a mandatory wall climb midway on the level. It's possible to jump on one of a couple of yellow blocks and then again on the raised platform, but we suggest using the "grab" mechanic to climb straight up as it's less fiddly and quicker.
Tip Toe is quite simply a pain in the posterior. There is only one true path through the tiles in front of you, but you don't initially know what it is. The rest of the tiles disappear underfoot when you tread on them. Basically, let others make those mistakes, but try to keep as close to the leading pack as possible so you can continue on the right path. Also, try not to stand on the edge of the correct tiles as others will push you off. And don't forget to jump from the last tile to the finishing line - there is a gap.
This is a simple game where blocks will come towards you over the horizon line and you have to avoid them, or they will knock you off the platform and eliminate you. We tend to find it's best to first stay central, move as necessary, and then head back to the central position as you can go as easily left and right as necessary. Warning though, some block formations can only be avoided by jumping over or diving underneath them.
This is mindbogglingly simple. You start on a large disc and two bars rotate around it, knocking anyone over who gets caught by them. Many run around like loons on this level, to hilarious effect. However, the best tip is stay exactly where you are and just jump over the faster bar when needed. Far more often than not, you'll qualify.
Jump Showdown (new)
We haven't yet see this game in circulation, but it is almost identical to Jump Club. The difference is that you won't be able to stay where you stand because, as well as the rotating bars, segments of the platform disappear at times.
This is a simple memory game. You will be shown which fruit each tile represents and then one will flash up on the screens around you. Just make sure you're standing on the right tile when the time runs out. More fruit are added each round, but we find standing in one stop and surveying first is much better than scurrying about like a maniac.
Like Block Party, the aim here is to avoid being pushed off the edge by obstacles, but this time the entire platform rotates, with different segements moving in different directions. Our best tip is to keep moving between the two segments on the furthest edges - either left or right.
There are few tips for this and it's one of our least favourite mini-games to be honest. Some of the players start with a tail, some don't. The aim of the game is to ensure you have a tail before the time runs out.
We're not really fans of team games, as qualification is in the hands of others, not just ourselves. However, Egg Scramble is one of those games where you can have more affect on the outcome. After the initial dash to grab an egg and store it in your respective home, some teammates - if not all - will likely head to rival "nests" to steal eggs. We find it's therefore worth hanging out in our own, grabbing any prospective egg thieves from other teams.
Of all the team games, this is our favourite. It's essentially Rocket League without the cars. Two balls will appear on the pitch and you have to guide them in your rival team's net. There are a few good tips here. If someone on your team hasn't already, considering being the goalkeeper and standing just outside your net, ready to head balls away when they get near (by jumping just as they get near you). Alternatively, stay in the centre circle, but just in your own half a touch so the balls appearing overhead shoot towards the rival end when they hit your noggin.
Hoarders is a cross between Egg Scramble and Fall Ball, but this time you have to ensure that more balls are in your zone when the time runs out (or, at least, you don't have the fewest). As far as we can tell, this is a free-for-all and we've struggled to find tactics that make it any more than random.
Set in the same arena as Jinx (below) and the tag games, hoops will appear that you have to dive or jump through. The team who jumps through the most progresses. Our tactic in this one is to pretty much stay in the same small zone, as hoops reappear regularly. If you dash around looking for hoops, it's likely someone will get there first.
Jinx is not great, to be honest. It's another game of tag but this time you become "infected" as soon as another player on a rival team touches you. If you have the lurgy, you have to try to touch as many rivals as you can too. The team that has one "unjinxed" member standing wins. It's generally chaos and random, we find.
Rock 'N' Roll
Rock 'N' Roll is another fun team game. Three teams have to push their own respective balls down a course and then into a hole at the end. The team that does so last is eliminated. Two tips: try to push your ball either far left or far right at the start, moving more central after the first few obstacles; and don't, whatever you do, leave your team and head to the bottom to try to stop the other teams' ball. More pushers mean the ball runs more quickly, while we've never seen a blocker successfully stop an opponent's ball.
Team Tail Tag
This is exactly like solo Tail Tag (above), but this time the team with the least amount of tails "grabbed" by the end is eliminated. It is likewise a random free-for-all.
Fall Mountain is a fun race, with similar obstacles as other rounds, but this time the aim is to "grab" the crown at the end to be the overall winner. Our biggest tip here is, if you get there first, don't forget to use the grab button as you jump to touch the crown. Just touching it doesn't work.
We're quite proud that we've won a few times in Fall Guys and it's all down to Hex-A-Gone. As you touch each hex tile, it disappears, leaving yourself or rivals to fall to the layer below. Eventually, the layers run out and all that hit the slime at the bottom are eliminated. Our tip here is to make sure you run around each layer a couple of hexagons inside the perimeter. preparing to jump to the nearest cluster as you get near gaps. Don't run around the outside as you can sometimes fall a couple of laters at a time. And, if you can, jump from the hexagon you start on to another nearby as it uses up some valuable seconds.
The final, final game is Royal Fumble - yet another tail grab. Basically, one of the finalists starts with the tail and the others have to chase and grab it from him or her. The one with the tail at the end of the time limit is the winner. There's nowhere to hide, so there's not much strategy to it, to be honest. Just pure luck.