Fall Guys was a surprise hit back in 2020. The then-indie developer Mediatonic’s take on the battle royale genre starring those funny little jellybean characters took the world by storm during the height of the COVID pandemic. After an almost two-year wait and coinciding with its free-to-play launch, Fall Guys has finally landed on Nintendo’s turf with a solid, albeit flawed conversion.
For those of you unacquainted, Fall Guys is a 60-bean battle royale game show. Rather than the usual battle royale fare of blasting your enemies into a bloody pulp — or sending garbage in Tetris 99 — Fall Guys is a platformer in which you compete in several different rounds of minigames to take the crown at the end of the show. Think of it as the video game equivalent of Takeshi’s Castle (from which some rounds in Fall Guys are taken directly), a show that any Americans may know by its vastly inferior Craig Charles-less version, MXC.
Fall Guys’ matchmaking is split into shows; you have the ‘Main show’ in which you and 59 other beans compete solo to win an elusive crown, which is also in rotation. You also have the option to compete as part of a two or four-person squad to win shards (of which 60 make up a full crown). There’s also a selection of rotating show types which range from being as simple as squads with three players to specialized shows like Jump Around, which gives you two straight rounds of ‘Jump Club’ (followed by its finals variant ‘Jump Showdown’).
The game’s rounds fall into different categories. Making up the majority are races, in which you must manoeuvre your bean through treacherous courses with only the top percentage of players qualifying for the next round. Then there’s Survival, in which — as the name implies — you must survive as long as possible, either until a timer runs out or a select number of players are eliminated. Hunt focuses on objectives such as having a tail when the timer runs out or spending a certain amount of time within a certain zone, and Logic, which consists of a couple of fruit-based memory games. Rounding out these categories are Team and Finals, which are variants of other categories focused on teamwork or being the last bean standing.
So what’s new with the Switch version? Aside from the obvious addition of handheld and docked modes, not much. All six seasons of content are included off the bat as well as a brand new seventh season ironically named ‘Season One’, with each one having a specific theme like Jungle, Future, or Medieval. As the Switch release coincides with the free-to-play launch, features that are new to the game such as a premium battle pass are included.
Running at 720p/30fps in handheld mode and 1080p/30fps in docked mode, Fall Guys’ gameplay remains unaffected by the move to Switch. While we’ve experienced no noticeable frame drops during our time with it, the menus and end-of-round screens seem to be a bit laggier than usual (while this could very well be attributed to server issues, it was not present when we checked other versions of the game). The big catch, however, is that every other player in the match appears to be rendered at half the frame rate in both handheld and docked modes. While this has no effect on gameplay, it looks incredibly choppy and sticks out like a sore thumb in the otherwise smooth conversion to Switch.
The Switch release includes cross-play and cross-progression through the use of an Epic Games account, meaning all of your progress, emotes, and customs (yes, even the Playstation character ones) will carry over to Switch. If you owned a copy of the game previously on Playstation or PC, you’re also given the legacy pack, which includes exclusive customs, nameplates, and free access to the first season’s premium battle pass. Worth noting, however, is that there is no guarantee that Switch owners will be able to access legacy content like the Sonic and Doom crossover customs — unless of course they’re rotated into the shop once again.
However, due to the introduction of the premium battle pass and premium currency ‘Show-Bucks’ along with it, Mediatonic has made some changes to the previous in-game currency. Kudos — the game’s main currency — will no longer be given out after every game and can now only be earned through challenges, and only spent on items with a common rarity. Additionally, Crowns — which were previously earned from winning shows and were able to be spent on special outfits — are no longer spendable, with their only use now being the crown rank system. All of your account’s remaining crowns will be exchanged for Kudos. For veterans of the game this is pretty disappointing considering Crowns used to feel like a big reward allowing you to get the best customs.
Fall Guys’ brand of chaotic fun is still great all these years later, and the free-to-play Switch release is no different, assuming you can ignore your opponents’ choppy frame rate. While there are some disappointing elements linked to cross-progression, those ultimately won’t matter if this is your first time entering the Blunderdome. Some moments of lag and frame rate quirks aside, the Switch version offers a solid way to play if you’re looking for some barmy 60-bean battling and the barrier to entry has never been lower.