Fall Guys can be a frustrating free-for-all where you have to throw your head against the wall — quite literally in the case of minigames like Gate Crash — and pray that you make it to the next round.
But for diehard players who have already racked up hundreds of Crowns, it’s a completely different experience that requires esports-like skill.
Players have spent the past month crafting consistent strategies for just about every stage. These can be as simple as hopping a barrier to skip a few moving walls in Slime Climb or as complicated as taking intentional hits from The Whirlygig’s spinning bars to propel yourself forward.
Take the game’s most iconic endgame stage: Fall Mountain. Players run up a steep hill while dodging giant yellow boulders that fall at random. At first glance, there’s little strategy; You just have to react on the fly and hope that the pattern has mercy on you.
Streamer Robert “BobbyWasabi” Wilson, on the other hand, has boiled the stage down to a science. A video shared on his Twitter shows a supercut of him placing first every time by using the exact same route, dubbed the Bobby Path.
“No matter where I spawn, I always aim for the right side,” Bobby tells Inverse. “What I do is I go up the right side. I kind of hug the right side of one of the walls. I don’t go far right; I stay somewhat close to the middle. As I go up, I angle to the left. Doing that allows me to kind of skate past one of the areas where a lot of boulders typically fall, which is straight down the middle and down to the left.”
By following the same set path, Bobby is able to avoid each boulder, regardless of how they spawn. It’s the same kind of meticulous optimization speedrunners use to reduce games like Super Mario Bros. down to a tight five-minute routine. It’s no surprise Bobby is a speedrunner himself, currently holding 19th place in SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated’s “77 spatulas” category
Bobby’s skills drew the ire of the Fall Guys community after a clip of him beating the Hex-A-Gone minigame went viral. The video shows him winning by slowly jumping between falling panels instead of running across them. TikTok user Mbeen22 commentated over the moment in a video, criticizing Bobby for being a “tryhard” who was ruining a casual party game for others. But Bobby sees the popular Hex-A-Gone trick as Strategy 101.
“Why would you run and get rid of a ton of platforms when you could just jump from platform to platform?” he says. “I don’t think I ever ran in Hex-A-Gone as a beginning strategy. It was always that intuition of ‘No, I’m gonna jump. I’m going to let you all run and fall faster and strategically platform on what’s left over, and just stall until everyone else plummets to the goo at the bottom.’”
The game contains so many small nuances that some YouTubers have rededicated their entire channels to Fall Guys tips. Before the battle royale game came out, Matthew Schafer’s KingBlackToof YouTube channel mostly focused on Gwent, the standalone card game spun off from The Witcher. Over the past month, he’s exclusively released in-depth Fall Guys guides, which quickly became his most viewed content.
His video (featured above) about Door Dash, a game where players race through rows of doors that contain a handful of fakes, is a revelation. While the minigame has been cited as a prime example of Fall Guys’ luck factor, Schafer reveals extremely subtle visual hints that eliminate the need for guessing from the back half of the round.
“The last three sets of doors have several tells that all mix together,” Schafer tells Inverse. “The main one that I use is the gap between the teeth and the actual door. If there is a gap, it’s non-breakable. If there isn’t a gap and the door’s sitting right next to the teeth, it’s breakable. So you can tell which ones to go through.”
Schafer first found the trick after a friend noticed that real doors seem to be slightly shorter than fake ones. When combing back through his own footage, he discovered the tooth tell, which allows him to correctly deduce the final doors every time.
Part of his strategic success comes from his background in game design. Schafer has a bachelor’s degree in computer science, and he uses his knowledge of how games are built to find Fall Guys’ seams.
“I generally thought that some doors are static and won’t move, but some of them will have physics on them so they fall down and land on each other, so maybe there are gaps,” he says. “You’ve got to think about how they designed it and if you can take advantage of that.”
Team games are a different story. While solo races contain repeatable routes and tricks, even the best Fall Guys players are at the mercy of randomly selected teammates (If you’re placed on the relentlessly bullied yellow team, then you’ve almost no hope of winning). Minigames like Team Tail Tag have been so unpopular among fans that developer Mediatonic has tweaked how often they appear in rotation several times since launch.
Despite the level of chance that these rounds bring, there are still plenty of clever strategies for conquering collaborative games. In Fall Ball, two teams battle to score the most goals in a short round of soccer. Players quickly started figuring out how to effectively play positions like goalie to aid their team.
And then there’s Zak “Coney” Zeeks, who has mastered the art of playing center. During one of his streams, his team went down 0-2 within one minute of a round. Determined to make a comeback, he ran to the center of the court and began sinking shots one after another. As he clinched an 8-2 landslide victory, he shouted “Coney skip!” which became the de facto name for the strategy among his viewers.
“When I play Fall Ball, all I try to do is play center,” Zeeks tells Inverse. “Once the ball starts falling, you see the shadow and you jump up. If you win the tip, it sails in over everybody’s head. Or it pops up, does a bounce, and goes so high that it goes over everyone’s heads. It can really shift a game because you get two to four points instantly.”
The game’s lack of voice chat makes it so Zeeks can never explain that trick to his teammates. A less experienced player could easily derail the strategy by cutting into the tipoff and sending the ball flying sideways. That’s the kind of variable that even pros can never fully account for, but Zeeks believes that people will naturally pick up on high-level strategy as the game’s skill ceiling climbs.
“This game undoubtedly has so many casual players who don’t care about the tips and tricks or would never watch a YouTube video. But as this game gets more and more popular and more people want to win, you’re going to see people doing minute things — like grabbing people on Fall Ball so they can’t make shots – that you might not think of unless you really put your head into it.”
Is ganging up against Team Yellow needlessly cruel? Absolutely. Is it the kind of game plan that total strangers can easily unite behind without ever speaking a word to one another? You bet.
Extreme Fall Guys
Less than one month after its release, Fall Guys’ competitive scene is already coming into focus. Publisher Devolver Digital hosted its Extreme Fall Guys event on August 12, featuring 20 streamers shoving their way to victory. The competition showcased just how much control top players already have over the game.
One of the most unique strategies came from Frank “Techniq” Ellerbe, who won the competition as part of Team Pigeon. Rather than honing in on optimal routes or perfect platforming, Techniq has mastered the art of griefing. He uses the game’s rudimentary grab mechanic to knock players down a level in Hex-A-Gone or toss them into holes in Roll Out.
“A lot of people think that the pushing and pulling comes from the player themselv, but it’s a combination of the opponent and the player, depending on the way they move their controller,” Techniq says. “If you can predict movement and snap your controller in the opposite way that they do, you have this rubber band effect.”
Through testing the game’s mechanics with friends, he began to master Fall Guys’ physics — an Achilles’ heel for most players. For example, he realized camera position plays a surprisingly integral part in throwing a grabbed opponent.
“On Roll Out, if one person’s running full speed going one way and you’re running full speed going the other way, grab them and use your right analog stick to spin your camera around,” Techniq says “You actually do a fling effect where you can throw them in a half-circle.”
While some have called Techniq’s strategy “toxic,” he believes it’s all part of the game. Like Matthew Schafer, Tachniq’s strategies don’t count as using hacks to gain an unfair advantage. They’re simply using every tool presented in-game to take Fall Guys apart piece by piece and see what sticks. And these are tools available to everyone — even you.
Fall Guys is now available for PC and PS4.