Fall Guys Deaf Accessibility
I find Fall Guys to be an incredibly enjoyable experience that’s incredibly easy to pick up and understand, with no need to worry about the sounds and even potential dangers. Players are simply guided to achieve the tasks before them and that’s that.
Score8 out of 10
You’ve heard about it, let’s not lie. I’m talking about Mediatonic’s hugely popular Fall Guys, a Battle Royale title that throws 60 adorable looking characters —each one named a Fall Guy— into several wacky levels in a bid to be the last Fall Guy standing. It’s a game that keeps you wanting more, a game that bleeds endorphins, and a game that requires timing and sometimes, just sheer luck. But how accessible is the Devolver Digital published title for Deaf/HoH players?
Firstly, let’s touch on what the game’s about. It’s a Battle Royale, so if you’re eliminated, it’s back to the main menu. There are usually 5 rounds if you make it that far, and if you do you’ll earn in-game currency to purchase new cosmetics. That’s it, pretty simple! You’re challenged to be the last one standing in the final round in which you’ll get rewarded with a crown that can be used to unlock special cosmetics.
The levels range from different types of rounds, for example, some are memory games, some endurance, some team games, some are simply a standard race with obstacles. Every level has numerous forms of factors working against you, but sometimes, by sheer luck, they can work in your favor too. Thank you, giant fans.
Fall Guys is a visual explosion of color. Everywhere you look has had a rainbow of some form vomit vibrant colors over everything which really makes the game pop. Despite the plethora of colors, the elements of these levels stand out clearly such as the barriers along the edge of the courses, or sections you can’t climb or interact with.
Large white arrows on the floor and floating signs keep you heading in the right direction almost continually, and some levels are sectioned into team colors. Every specific obstacle has some form of recognizable color or pattern such as purple hammers and doors with stripes. Or even spinning floors that are cyan with arrows to show their direction. There are also orange moving floors that use arrows to show the direction, and there are some levels that have timed platforms that flash before vanishing.
Everything feels easy to understand, and obstacles are all clear to see, even from a distance. With the number of arrows scattered around for races, I felt like I always knew where I was meant to be heading just by visuals alone, even after respawning with the camera facing the wrong direction. Another factor that helps is how confined the courses are. There’s certainly no worry about getting lost or turning in the wrong direction.
There are no subtitles or captions available, but that’s mainly because Fall Guys doesn’t have any intelligible language. Instead, your floppy characters make weird and comical vocalizations as they fall, flip, and bump all over the place. Put these voices together in a crowd of them and you’ve got a comical sounding experience that serves no purpose other than to entertain.
With no narrator, no character dialogue, and no cinematics that has speech, the game relies solely on text. The countdown, and outcome of the rounds are displayed with large, thick playful text that’s incredibly hard to miss. All rounds have explanations for their modes that show up on the loading screen, but the text sometimes clashes with the background color. However, the same explanation appears during the flyover of the course and stands out far better. Fall Guys is also so simplistic that those elements are all you need to really read during your time with it.
While there’s no intelligible dialogue to deal with as explained above, there are sound effects littered throughout the world to add to the cartoony antics. You’ll have the sound of the characters slapping up against one another, the sound of footsteps sloshing in slime, the thud of a ball smashing into your face, the light sound to indicate you’ve jumped. Everything seems to have a sound associated with it, which is joined by an upbeat and funky soundtrack. You are able to adjust the master volume, music, and gameplay though if you need it.
However, with all of these sounds overlapping it does wind up becoming nothing but audio-noise in some moments. The game doesn’t have any visual representation for sound effects so you won’t see icons to signify a giant peach is hurtling toward you, and there’s no indication of things going on around you off-camera. While this isn’t an issue with the racing-focused levels because you’re so focused on getting to the end it is an issue with others.
The levels in which you have to, for example, knock a giant ball around, could do with a directional indicator for letting you know where it is off-camera as the camera rotation when continually looking around for it can sometimes be disorientating. My main issue is that when playing with a friend, the marker to show where they are is incredibly hard to see. Adding to that, if you want to spectate them, you’ll have to browse through 59 players and hope you find your pal.
The world of Fall Guys is filled with bumps and faceplants, so it’s just as well there’s a good deal of vibrational cues with a controller. Every time you land on the ground, hit a ball, get hit by something, the controller will rumble. There’s also rumbles to alert you that you’re starting a round. While the visual countdown itself starts from 3, 2, 1, and go, the rumble starts 2 seconds before the visual, meaning there are 6 rumbles in total. Two warning ones, three countdown ones, and one final rumble to let you GO GO GO.
Honestly, I preferred playing with a controller, not only because of the precision I felt I could get from a controller over a keyboard, but also because the vibrations actually helped. The tactile feel you get from knowing you’re hitting something can warn you. For example, a gentle rumble will occur if you’re nudging another player, which could lead to stumbling over, so you know to move slightly away from them.
While the game is 100% online, there’s no way of communicating with other players unless through emotes. While the emotes are cute, they’re incredibly limited and there’s no real way of communicating in the team focused matches. It’s just a case of hoping everyone can work together with no communication. More often than not, unless players are observant, everyone kinda just…does their own thing. I’d liked to have seen some form of quick-chat, perhaps even the ability to use voice chat for your squad.
Realistically, I find Fall Guys to be an incredibly enjoyable experience that’s incredibly easy to pick up and understand, with no need to worry about the sounds and even potential dangers. Players are simply guided to achieve the tasks before them and that’s that. It has some flaws when it comes to pointing out objectives or teammates, and the lack of communication can hinder team-focused rounds. All in all though, it’s a fun, accessible game that I felt entirely comfortable just jumping into. Even Grant, our mobility editor who recently reviewed Horizon Zero Dawn, has revealed how accessible Mediatonic’s game feels.
Hi, everyone’s favorite cripple. Let me just say that @FallGuysGame is the most physically accessible battle royale I’ve ever played— Grant Stoner (@Super_Crip1994) August 10, 2020