The Best And Worst of Fall Guys
Fall Guys has been taking the gaming world by storm since it’s release a few weeks ago. It remains one of the most viewed titles on Twitch, brands across the globe are clamouring for a chance to bask in the Fall Guys spotlight with themed costume ideas and memes. Its spot as a pop culture behemoth is secure right now.
After the latest update added an all-new endgame mode, Jump Showdown, it is time to look back on the first phase of Fall Guys and determine the best and the worst that this jelly bean melee has to offer with five of the best game modes and five of the worst.
This is not a pure opinion piece, I gauged the reactions of fellow Digital Fix writers, readers, and my regular Fall Guys party members. Some modes came close to being included but were not quite beloved or hated enough to make the cut, and a mode that I actually like are in the Worst. Think of me as but a voice for the voiceless.
So here we are with the Best and Worst of Fall Guys.
BEST: THE WHIRLYGIG
Fall Guys is a game built on chaos and few moments in the game exemplify that more than the opening surge in Whirlygig, seeing 50-60 jelly beans ambling towards a spinning pole before being promptly swatted into the air, those incoherent jelly bean sounds turning into a wobbly sounding cacophony. Of all the race modes, whirlygig is one of the best structured. It offers a variety of obstacle types and keeps swapping things out to keep you on your ungainly toes. Whirlygig is frantic, fast-paced, and can descend into utter carnage at a moments notice.
Another beautiful quality of Whirlygig that not every race mode has is the end run. Some races simply aren’t worth running if you find yourself at the back of the huddle but Whirlygig smartly levels the playing field. A slowly rotating propellor blocks your path to the finish line, while you wait for it to create an opening there is a rapidly spinning pole ready to knock you into the abyss. This creates an element of uncertainty, you can be lagging behind the entire race but this final obstacle can ruin the hopes of everyone ahead of you in seconds, it gives everyone involved a fighting chance to cross that finish line.
WORST: FRUIT CHUTE
Fruit Chute had a fighting chance to be included in the Best for a while but a last-minute surge of resentment pushed it into the Worst category. While Whirlygig offered the best kind of chaos, Fruit Chute offers some of the worst. A simple uphill race is complicated by a barrage of different oversized fruits that can knock you down, while the ground at your feet slowly disappears behind you. This is a race where one misstep can completely ruin your hopes of qualifying, all it takes is one boulder-sized peach to the face and you are done.
Visually, Fruit Chute is one of the most colourful and striking but the design is far less interesting than many other modes and there is a serious imbalance between chaos and skill, you are essentially a prisoner to pure random chance which takes some of the tension away from the race.
BEST: TAIL GRAB
Much like Fruit Chute, there was a moment where Tail Grab nearly got voted into Worst but only for Team Mode. This is understandable. Team Modes in Fall Guys are generally dreadful, all your hard work can be for nought if everyone else on your team is slipping up and it can cost you a spot in the next round.
On top of that, Team Tail Grab has an inferior level design. Solo Tail Grab has the right level of chaos, the level design is more detailed and varied than the conveyer belt centric Team play, and it is a mode where you get to determine whether you win or lose. There is more room for tactics in Solo Tail Grab, some opt to snatch a tail and then run in the underpass area which obscures the in-game camera enough to hide you from other players, and some players hang around for most of the game and strike in the last 10 seconds so they don’t have to deal with the pressure of evading capture for 2 minutes. Solo Tail Grab is a lot of fun plus it comes with the sweet relief of realising it isn’t the Team Mode when it appears on your screen.
WORST: HOOPSEY DAISY
Another frustrating team mode, surprisingly, Hoopsey Daisy is actually one of those stages that only feels bad when you are losing. Some team modes are frustrating the entire time, and we will get to those, but this one requires a degree of skill to succeed. And good luck, but only a dash.
What differentiates it from other disliked team modes is that winning is down to being the better team and not a sudden last-minute turn of bad luck, sometimes your placement on the map can give you a better chance at scoring but that is still no guarantee that another player won’t nail a perfect dive through the hoop before you make your clumsy hop. Really, the only thing crippling Hoopsey Daisy is the fact that it is a Team Mode. People really hate losing on Team Mode.
The only final stage that made it onto either list. Fall Mountain, Royal Fumble and Jump Showdown are all good modes but they are simply not chaotic enough to be truly entertaining in that inimitable Fall Guys way. Fall Mountain is a mode where lagging behind all but guarantees you have no chance of winning and Royal Fumble does not have enough give and take to make it quite as enjoyable (although it is the only final stage that I’ve won on), and Jump Showdown is simply too new to assess yet.
Hex-a-gone, however, is brilliant from the first time you play it. With a series of rapidly disappearing floor panels, spanning multiple floors, there is always that element of unpredictability that makes it so exciting while also offering room for strategy. Of course, no strategy has ever worked for me but I have seen it work for others. Even failure in Hex-a-gone is fun, a slew of jelly beans tumbling down several levels, frantically running around and trying to avoid each other. That is a simple concept and it works so well. While some final modes can inspire groans from those fortunate enough to make it to the last round, I have never heard someone disappointed about getting Hex-a-gone, and in a game that can systematically wear down your resolve like Fall Guys, that is a huge win.
WORST: EGG SCRAMBLE
This is not a popular mode, largely by virtue of being another accursed Team Mode, where all hope of victory can be thrown out by a few players who aren’t playing strategically. The key to egg scramble is that once you have divvied out the egg supply, work out which team is lowest and start to pick away at their supply while leaving enough players in your basket to defend the eggs. This is not always a guarantee because sometimes your teammates will decide to raid the wrong basket or they will all want to be raiding, leaving you to defend all of these eggs against a stampede of hard to grapple opponents.
I personally really enjoy defending the basket in Egg Scramble. Wrestling away eggs from other players or dive-bombing them from above to knock the eggs loose from their hands, there is a lot of entertainment to be had, but a few bad rounds can really sour you on the entire premise.
BEST: SEE SAW
A mode so disastrous it became a meme. Entirely too many players running See Saw struggle to understand the basic concept of balance and yet, somehow, See Saw is still an enjoyable experience. A perfect run of See Saw is one of the best feelings in the entire game, hitting all your jumps just right, shifting the balance just enough to give you an opening but not enough to guarantee the people behind you can follow, being in sync with another player and keeping a board balanced properly so you can both make it across, all of these things feel great to do.
And then there are the times when every conceivable player in the race tries to stand on the same end of the see-saw and sends the entire thing upright, crushing any hopes of crossing in the immediate future. That can be frustrating when you had a smooth run going up to that point but there is still something so funny about seeing dozens of desperate jelly beans throwing themselves at the upturned board, trying to shift it back down only to stumble into the abyss.
It is one of those modes that highlight how funny the chaos of Fall Guys can get, while still hitting a good balance of skill and luck. The sheer unpredictability of See Saw also means that everyone has a fighting chance. You can be dead last for most of the race but still cause a massive upset because the horde ahead of you fudged up the balance on a see saw. It feels good to qualify in a See Saw race and it does not feel completely aggravating to fail, it feels easier to surrender to the chaos of the game and accept that sometimes it was not meant to be.
Yet another Team Mode and truly the worst of them all, Hoarders has the deliberately frustrating ball moving mechanics of Fall Ball mode but with far more balls to manage. The mode simply lasts too long, it takes forever to reach the frantic final seconds which is where the game can suddenly shift. All it takes is a few balls straying from your zone into someone else’s and all your hard work can be undone. Hoarders epitomises ‘snatching defeat from the jaws of victory’ and it is as infuriating as it is boring. Where most of the Worst modes are in that category because strategy and chaos are wildly imbalanced, Hoarders is also bad because it’s not fun to play, it’s not even rewarding to win because it’s almost all down to luck.
BEST: DOOR DASH
Whereas most of the best races have a strong balance between skill and luck, Door Dash is actually wildly imbalanced in favour of luck. Hit one immovable door, get stuck at the back and you have zero chance of qualifying once that big final push comes up. Door Dash is entirely dependent on your position at the end of the race, there is no spoiler element to possibly slow down your opponents, once they hit that final run they have a clear path to the finish line.
And yet, somehow, this is a beloved mode. It once again comes down to the simple entertainment value of seeing these jelly bean creature bumble and bounce around for your amusement. Seeing and hearing a jelly bean bounce off a sturdy barrier will never get old, even when it is happening to you. Seeing dozens of jelly beans do the exact same thing amplifies the amusement. It is simple, quality slapstick. It is the one game mode where screwing up is always funny, always feels rewarding in some way, and you can never really feel mad about failing to qualify. It is such a common mode in the early rounds that you will always get another chance to try and if you fail yet again, at least you had a laugh in the process.
WORST: SLIME CLIMB
The problem with Slime Climb is not that it is a poorly designed level. The race/survival hybrid is actually among the best designed in the game, the level of challenge escalates the further through the obstacle course you get, perfectly in time with the increased threat of the rapidly encroaching slime. The problem is that I am bad at it and I hate it.