I want to give a sincere apology to my Fall Guys the troops. I fell in the slime. I thought we were out. So I quit. I did not understand how much that screwed you (autumn)! It will not happen again, I promise.
Yesterday, as part of platformer royale’s season four update, Fall Guys got a troop mode. Instead of traditional solo matches – where you qualify for new rounds depending on your personal ranking – you are paired with up to three other team members. At the end of the races you will earn points based on how fast you finish. Survival rounds meanwhile give more points the longer you survive. The total score for all four members determines whether your squad advances to the next round.
Even better, if your team reaches the final round, only one member needs to win for the entire squad to claim victory. It will give each of you 20 Crown Shards. Earn 60 of these, and you get a penny.
On paper, everything sounds divine, especially for those of us involved in an eternal battle to actually win one last round. And when it does, squads mode is really a blast. Not only is the feeling of camaraderie a lovely addition to this notoriously cutting game, but playing with a team also lowers the barrier to earning the sweet, sweet crowns significantly. Sometimes. It is a disturbing trend where players quit when they personally fail and effectively sentence teammates to disqualification.
Let’s say you play a round of Block Party, and you’ll somehow be knocked into the slime in the first few seconds. Muscle memory will tell you that you are done, that it is time to stop and try again because there is no way you are in the qualifying block. In squad mode, you still have a chance. Yes, by falling early you have made it harder for your teammates, but there is still a chance that they (and by extension you) will keep up. Maybe they’re playing actually we will. Or maybe all the other troops will play actually bad. The point is: there is a chance.
What is anything but certain is that your squad will fail in the next round if you quit. Think about it. Your score is determined in full. If you put a layer of three beans against different layers of four, the team of three poses an immediate, practically insurmountable disadvantage. I played for several hours Fall Guyssquads mode last night. I did not even see a three-man team qualify after a round.
After the match’s fourth season went live yesterday, players took to Fall Guys subreddit and quickly pointed out the problems with players throwing in the towel too soon. You can spice it up to a bad posture or to muscle memory. You can say that it is even a result of a lack of attention, but the elimination screen is pretty clear that you should be in the round until the end to see if you have qualified. (See above.) These people – and, yes, I say this as someone who is guilty of such a sin and who is totally apologetic for it – deserve a single strike.
When it comes to crime Fall Guys behavior, I will put early quitters over the much hated grabbers who are holding you back from victory at the last minute. In solo mode, Fall Guys is a dog eater glove. Bad sportsmanship, of course, does not deserve praise, but it is expected and without a doubt sound. When you play troops, there is an implicit level of trust. You’re a team. You’re in it together. Betraying that trust – whether it is harmful or careless – is unjustifiable.
The logical change would be to change troop scoring from a linear total to a calculated average. That way, troops of three or even two can possibly go up against full parties. (Kotaku reached out to Mediatonic, the game’s developer, about any plans to implement this, but did not hear back in time for publication.)
That is not the only problem with troops at the moment. As something of a flashback to the game launch day server woes, loading into a game with troops is a mess. A match starts when 40 players are in line. But, according to Mediatonic, when a match is full, stains cannot be refilled if someone leaves. This prevents the game from starting, so if you see the number of players go down instead of up, end the title instead of waiting.
But the troop mode is mostly a wonderful addition Fall Guys, and I totally love the fourth season. I walked away from Fall Guys in seasons two and three, so there are many new levels to enjoy, including the seven that were added this season. The brand new Big Shots stage – where you balance on a saw and avoid huge projectiles blown up by cannons – is a really excellent one.
It’s a lovely intensity to play squad. Yes, there is pressure to do your best, since others trust you. But the spectator mode will also put you on the edge of your seat. When you finish a race before your teammates, the camera will focus on stragglers, by default to your partners. You can watch with anticipated breaths as they travel through the path. In solo games, the spectator mode for me has historically been a moment of downtime, where I would check my phone or get something to drink. In groups, I can not make myself ignore. I’m just so focused on anchoring my other prayers. It’s not a strange feeling, but it’s a new one. I do not know how long this will last, but Fall Guys once again have the hooks in me.
I’m just sorry I played one game.