EDITOR'S NOTE: Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout won a "highly recommended" honor for most rewarding challenge at the Tom's Guide Awards 2021 for gaming.
Last summer it felt like you couldn’t avoid Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout. The colorful battle royale game dominated social media for weeks and seemed to be just about the only thing that anyone on my friend’s list was interested in playing.
Yet, in the blink of an eye, its popularity seemed to almost vanish. From personal experience, I put in around 50 hours of playtime in the first month of release, then didn’t touch it again through the rest of the year. My addiction subsided almost as quickly as it had taken hold.
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Perhaps it was the emergence of competing party game Among Us which halted Fall Guys’ momentum. But I think it came down to the fundamental flaw, which quickly became apparent even after just a couple of weeks of play. The game was seriously lacking in content.
However, seven months on from release, developer MediaTonic has done an admirable job addressing this problem. I have found myself falling back down the Fall Guys-shaped rabbit hole over this past week, and the list of reasons to return has only grown as this week marks the launch of Season 4.
Third time's the charm
Fall Guys originally launched with 24 unique rounds, ranging from obstacle courses to team-based games. While this sounds like quite a lot on paper, considering that an average match will consist of five rounds, you could conceivable have played through all the game had to offer within just five matches.
It quickly became apparent that there just weren’t enough individual rounds at launch. What little content was present quickly started to stagnate as you’d run the same gauntlets over and over again, and the initially large player base began pining for additional rounds.
A medieval-themed Season 2 launched in October with a mere four new rounds, with a fifth being added mid-way through. It was a poor return for two months of waiting. However, with the festive-inspired Season 3, MediaTonic finally started to hit its stride by adding seven new rounds out the gate in December, before adding an extra one a few weeks later.
This brings the current total number of rounds up to a respectable 37. While you’ll still see lots of repeat rounds if you commit serious time to the game, there are now enough offered that games don’t feel repetitive. And it’s possible to go multiple full episodes before seeing the same round twice.
Variety is the spice of life
Another rather clever innovation that MediaTonic brought to Fall Guys is round variants.
These are essentially slightly tweaked versions of the same rounds. For example, you might play a game that involves running across a seesaw to cross a bottomless pit, but then the next time you play that round the seesaw will have been replaced by a giant fan that you use to blow you across the gap.
These randomized variants may only make small tweaks to pre-existing levels, but have managed to make courses that I’ve run a hundred times before feel new again. It's a great addition to the game that prevents me from just relying on muscle memory to see me through older content.
The best time to return (or start)
With season 4 kicking off this week, right now is the best time to start or jump back into Fall Guys.
Beginning today (March 22), Season 4 of Fall Guys is themed around 80s style sci-fi with a fittingly retro-future aesthetic. It will add new rounds and costumes to the game and the theme has already been a hit with fans on social media.
The fourth season is adding an additional seven rounds to the mix, which includes rounds based on a basketball-type game and one that involves hoverboards. These new additions bring the total number of rounds up to 44, and that number is likely to grow as a mid-season round or two is added.
Patch Notes for Season 4 which launches later today!Let's start with the 7 new levels...Basketfall: pic.twitter.com/kijNrwDik5March 22, 2021
Furthermore, the Season 4 cinematic trailer confirms that Fall Guys will be getting a crossover with the aforementioned thunder-stealing Among Us — looks like MediaTonic has decided if you can’t beat them, join forces.
Now that Fall Guys has addressed its fundamental content problem and has just got a whole new slate of colorful rounds for players to tumble through, there really hasn’t been a better time to jump (back) in.
You might be surprised by how much of the original magic that hooked us all last summer is still intact.