REVIEW: ‘Floor is Lava’ is Fun and Suspenseful

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Floor is Lava

Floor is Lava is a new, absurd game show from Netflix. Hosted by Rutledge Wood, the show sees three teams of three competing to cross large rooms without falling into the lava. Only by climbing, leaping, pushing, and using various objects found throughout the rooms can the teams cross the finish line and potentially win $10,000.

As an avid Floor is Lava player myself, this series captures the hijinx of the classic game perfectly and then cranks it up to a ten. Each episode takes place in a hyperbolized version of rooms in ones’ house, emulating how you might play the game in real life, but then adds a huge layer of fictionalization to turn the rooms into places that would just be the absolute most fun to play in. The first episode, for example, takes place in “the basement.” But the basement is decked out like a museum storage facility, complete with Easter Island heads, giant cargo boxes, and sarcophagi.

Players must navigate their way up, over, and around these obstacles to escape the room before the staircase at the end completely sinks into the lava. Any objects they drop or a toe dipped into the bubbling red water that excellently simulates lava is eliminated.

The suspense is absolutely palpable. Everything from the music to the constant eruptions from the lava to the sweat on the players’ brows had me in suspense nonstop throughout each episode. Even watching teams compete on the same course in separate episodes, the game never got stale just because of how many different ways teams could come up with to navigate the rooms.

It also helped that the host is genuinely funny most of the time. The commentary in these types of shows can get stale quickly sometimes, but host Rutledge Wood genuinely had me laughing often and never felt particularly grating. Plus, he shuts up when the suspense is high and the focus is on the heat of the moment. However, I did not like how much of an emphasis the show puts on showing action replays of how hurt some of the players got with the jumps they made. Watching players bang themselves on what looks like hard surfaces close-up and on a loop is not fun. However, watching them dramatically “drown” in the lava when players fall in is hilarious every time.

Other small complaints: the color palette gets drab fast. I know that lava is red, but having different color palettes in different rooms would have been nice. Additionally, the beginning of each episode lays out the room in extreme detail. While on one hand I really like the detail and the way the paths are presented, it also feels like it takes away from the opportunity for audiences to figure out how best to navigate the obstacles alongside the contestants. The same schematic breakdown could happen concurrently to the teams encountering new parts of the room rather than being frontloaded and it would have the same effect without feeling like a giant spoiler.

Besides being a well-executed game and show, what makes Floor is Lava stand out among other summer game shows is how badly I want to play it myself. Sure, I want to be a Jedi and be in Jedi Temple Challenge, but even as a kid I would have found it a bit basic. Holey Moley on ABC is a cool idea, but I can just go to a real mini-golf course and probably have more fun. With Floor is Lava, there is no premise of humiliation found in so many of these shows either, nor is there a barrier to entry to American Ninja Warrior with how insanely strong you have to be.

Floor is Lava is simply a fun looking game that I loved playing as both a camper and camp counselor, cranked up to a ten. And, it’s a game that can be played right now in virtually any home with little more than a few pieces of furniture and an active imagination. In fact, I hope after watching an episode or two, everybody who is able to immediately plays their own floor is lava, whether they live alone or with five other people. And when public spaces become safe again one day, forget about escape rooms, I want floor is lava rooms when the pandemic is over.

Floor is Lava is a fun, suspenseful, captivating new game show that will not only have you wishing you could get on the next season yourself, but it will also have you setting up a course in your own home as you wallow away the stay-at-home hours.

Floor is Lava is streaming now on Netflix.


Floor is Lava
  • 8.5/10
    Rating - 8.5/10
8.5/10

TL;DR

Floor is Lava is a fun, suspenseful, captivating new game show that will not only have you wishing you could get on the next season yourself, but it will also have you setting up a course in your own home as you wallow away the stay-at-home hours.