Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout is slowly gaining a toxicity problem

Devolver Digital
Devolver Digital /

Fall Guys has a playground bully problem thanks to player grabbing.

As some of you may have read, as all of you should have read, I did a parent review on the new Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout. As I mentioned in the game, the folks at Mediatonic really outdid themselves coming up with a game that takes battle royale swarms and makes it accessible for people of all ages and skills.

My kids aren’t aces at the game, but they’re six and four so they just like playing in it. Even if they don’t win, they just love watching all the characters go flying. They love Gate Crash, they hate Whirli-Gig and, to prove they’re my kids, they also despise anything involving tails. Bless them.

But my oldest encountered something else the other day. He was playing whilst I was cooking dinner and he came up to me and asked me what “rick-tee” was. I had absolutely no idea and asked why he was asking. Then he told me it popped up on my screen. This concerned me as he was on my account and I went to investigate.

In my message box was a message from a user name (whom I won’t give the clout of naming them directly but I will say no one cares that your name ends in 420) that said, simply, “get rekt.”

Rekt. Rick-tee. I get it now but why did my son get this?

I held the share button on the PS4 controller and reviewed the last 15 minutes of gameplay. Shortly before my son got this message he had an encounter. He almost made it to the end of Fruit Shute. How? I have no idea as I’m terrible at that one. But when he got to the end there was a player who blocked him and shoved him back on the belt multiple times.

This would have been easily avoidable if you weren’t six and new to video games but my son, alas, is six and could not avoid this. After about three blocks my son was hit by fruit and fell all the way back where he ended up being disqualified.

The person who did this was the person who sent my son the message and the daddy lion in me kind of wanted to bite the throat of the person who did this.

But here’s the thing, while I haven’t seen someone message another player in this game like this before, the rest of the experience wasn’t entirely new. When the game first dropped everyone was racing and trying to get to the finish line. But it very quickly became a thing where, in addition to grabbing tails and crowns, people realized grabbing could also be used on other players… for reasons that are way beyond me.

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And people started to realize with the correct motion, thanks to the judo the physics engine allows for, you could mildly shove and throw people. Now the where you match fruit or have to stay on a rotating cylinder are less group exercises to see who can stay on the longest. It’s now a Black Friday crowd fighting to get whatever the hottest toy of the year is. It’s just people shoving each other and it’s very unfortunate.

My son, who dove into this game with wide-eyed wonder, is now hesitant to play and has lost interest in it because of, in his words, “mean bullies.” And, honestly, that’s what these people are. If like I said in my parent review, Fall Guys is the ultimate playground, the grabbers are the playground bullies. They’re the ones shoving kids off swings, blocking the slides, and ruining other people’s enjoyment for their own ends.

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I’m still not entirely certain why you can grab other players but I would love to see that feature removed as each game seems to be less about getting to the end and more about avoiding grabbers.