Anyone who’s played Fall Guys since its release at the beginning of August will know the rush of joy when you press X and the main theme begins to play. Joy and dread, I should say. Fall Guys is like many other battle royale inspired games in that it inspires both love and hate. It has never been more frustrating, and yet so addictive, to be beaten and bullied by an assault of colourful jelly beans. With a plethora of entertaining mini-games and a system designed for moments of tragedy as you come nail-bitingly close to qualifying, there is a lot to keep you coming back to the game. The music especially.
Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout is a uniquely chaotic experience and the music had to match that. Playing as one of sixty jelly bean characters, the player races through 5 rounds of randomly selected mini-games, either surviving the clock or jumping across the finish line before everyone else. It’s high-energy and easy to jump into. Now with short wait times, following a lot of maintenance after PS4 servers crashed when the game hit 1.5 million players in its first 24 hours. With all this in mind, we can see a clearly specific criteria the music had to meet. It had to be frantic and fast-paced, but not monotonous; colourful and fun, but not distracting.
How Fall Guys’ Music Qualifies
Many games have tried to meet this criteria before and have quickly gone wrong: think The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, which uses MIDI noises to capture the frenetic tension of the game but instead becomes quickly monotonous and downright headache-inducing. Or Mr. Resetti’s theme (for which nothing more needs to be said).
But what Fall Guys does right is keep the music playful, no matter where they take the sound. Like the game itself, the music is just repetitive enough to be ridiculously catchy but not become an earworm. That might drive you not only mad but also away from playing another round. The main theme ‘Everybody Falls’ is criminally funky. As you enter the lobby and begin to fall, in search of fellow beans to compete against, it jumps straight into the deep end with upbeat electric sounds and a killer slap bass kicking in just when you think the song’s about to get boring. It’s perhaps even funky to a fault. Every time I leave the game, most often in defeat, and tell myself that’ll be the last match of the day, that beat kicks in as I sit in the lobby and, well, I just have to go back in for another shot at the crown.
Aside from ‘Everyone Falls’, the piece that really captures the messy mayhem of Fall Guys is ‘Fall ‘N’ Roll’, which places in several mini-games including ‘See Saw’ and ‘Tip Toe’. Likened to the music of Splatoon, which also does a great job at capturing the chaos of the game while using more lo-fi electronica, the song makes use of criminally cheerful jelly bean singers. The words they sing are nonsense (although that hasn’t stopped fans from trying to uncover real lyrics) and yet you cannot help but smile when you hear them kick in. Unless you hear them for the second time, then you know you’ve got to hurry to that finish line.
For a game where your chance of winning is 1/60, Fall Guys is unbelievably moreish and the music plays such a large role in this. The songs are uproariously joyful and radiate a unique, warm style that makes gameplay just as sweet as the jelly beans look. I go back for the music just as much as I go back for the crown. It captures the same surge of a sugar rush, spurring you on to tackle falling fruit and falling jellies in equal measure. Only allowing for a rage-quit every once in a blue moon. Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout will be starting its second Medieval themed season in early October and I, for one, can’t wait to see whether the wizards, knights, and dragons will bring a new sound to the chaos.