Welcome! This column is part of a regular series in which we share what members of the Tom's Guide staff are playing and enjoying right now, with an eye towards helping you find great games that you may have missed. Be sure to check out our recent entry, where we talk about Xenoblade Chronicles 3.
I can't stop playing Fall Guys, and it's partially because I'm (arguably) what's wrong with gaming today. Back when Fall Guys dropped two years ago and became an overnight hit due to its madcap races, I couldn't get enough. But I eventually pulled away.
However, in a moment of boredom waiting for an early plane that got delayed (and delayed again), I realized I should give Fall Guys a second chance. And, then, wouldn't you know it, I'm sitting here a week later raving about how addictive this game is.
Fall Guys, for the uninitiated, is an online competitive platformer where you and up to 59 other competitors try to survive an obstacle course. Sometimes it's a race, sometimes it's a puzzle you have to stay alive in. But no matter what you play, you'll be competing in a neon-soaked environment where your fellow Fall Guys are stubby little creatures (not unlike the Minions) with tiny eyes.
Fall Guys, available on Switch (opens in new tab), Xbox (opens in new tab), PS4/PS5 (opens in new tab) and PC via the Epic Games store (opens in new tab), went free-to-play in June. But I'd been playing long before then.
I bet you're wondering what actually brought me back in? Well, dear reader, I'm not into makeup, but this is a story that starts with cosmetics.
Fall Guys got a character skin that makes me smile
One morning last week, I was sitting at the LaGuardia Airport in New York, learning that my flight was delayed. And in that moment I remembered a story I saw online. Austin Creed, who goes by Xavier Woods/King Woods when he's in the ring on WWE Friday Night SmackDown, was joining Fall Guys as a cosmetic skin, available for purchase as downloadable content. Yes, this is what I meant when I said I'm what's wrong with gaming. To be this swayed by a character skin, on a game I already know is fun and good? I feel the shame.
Since he won the last King of the Ring tournament, Woods' skin would even have its own crown — the artifact you're running to grab and win in Fall Guys. (Fellow WWE wrestlers Asuka and Undertaker are also available for purchase.) So, I booted up my Nintendo Switch, dropped the cash to get to play Fall Guys as King Woods — and Asuka too, but I have had better luck as Woods), pulled my Switch Pro Controller out of my bag and got down to business.
And this is is when LaGuardia's Wi-Fi impressed me greatly. Not only was I able to smoothly download the latest game update over the free airport Wi-Fi, but I actually was able to play on the server using the same wireless connection. I didn't expect any of this to work, from downloading an update to playing actual games.
Once I found a corner of the airport where I could play Fall Guys in peace — the gate I almost waited at had its own version of Fall Guys with little kids and confused adults running left and right — I plunked down and almost lost track of time. I played more than two dozen rounds of Fall Guys' games at that gate. At one point, I realized I was too engulfed in my mission to actually win a game of Fall Guys, so I had to set an alarm to remind me when I needed to leave for my gate.
And when that alarm hit, I hadn't won a round. But I was still having a ton of fun.
Fall Guys is an addiction that I am trying to manage
I would have played Fall Guys on the airplane if I could, but JetBlue failed to offer functional Wi-Fi on the flight. The second I got to my Airbnb, though, I was so desperate to win a round that I put all my thoughts of going out to get local grub (I was in Nashville and hungry for Prince's Hot Chicken) on pause. I had to get a win, right? Especially in the comfort of an Airbnb, with more stable Wi-Fi.
And, yes, I did it. What's more, I did it on Fall Mountain, one of the final levels that I always find it hardest to win. That level is a race where you have to get to the big floating crown at the end before anyone else, and then time a jump really well so that you grab that crown, which is going up and down.
I had no faith in my Fall Guy abilities, and thought I'd have to play through a couple more rounds again, until I got Hex-A-Gone, a round where you walk across hexagons that disappear when someone steps on them. But I won Fall Mountain because of other players running up to the crown before me who failed to time their jumps right.
Outlook: Fall Guys has me hooked — again
And now that I'm back home, Fall Guys has wormed its way back into my waking hours by being that game you can play just a little of, if you so choose. So, whether I'm tired of doomscrolling on Twitter (and, yes, I'm very tired of that), waiting to leave for something else or simply tired of my streaming options, I am jumping back into Fall Guys again.
So, dear reader, if you've never tried Fall Guys, I hope I've given you reason to check it out. And if you're already playing. Watch out for the player named 'henrytcasey' wearing an Xavier Woods skin. I'm more chaotic than good at this game, and I'm fine with that.
Next: You can finally also use your Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons with Steam now.