Knockout City – nostalgic adrenaline rush

Knockout City is a multiplayer action video game developed by Velan Studios and published by Electronic Arts in May 2021. The game is available for Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. This release resembles dodgeball, and the principal goal is to attack the enemy team using a ball to knock them out.

Velan Studious was previously responsible for creating Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit (2020), raising the expectations for Knockout City. Moreover, the development of this game took over four years. Throughout the process, developers wanted to place dodgeball at the center of the game to make it intuitive and accessible for all players.

They also built the Viper engine and a programming script to power the game and prevent network latency. Before the release, Electronic Arts announced various times that the game would be free-to-play depending on the timeline and the level players reached.

Overall, Knockout City had two million players in the first week, and it received favorable reviews. However, many critics compared the game with Rocket Arena, another Electronic Arts release (2020).

As a multiplayer entry, Knockout City tasks players with a competitive challenge to defeat the opponents by throwing the ball and catching or dodging those thrown at them. The game provides various balls, such as the Moon Ball. With this ball, players can jump higher and also make explosions using the Bomb Ball.

However, Knockout City also allows you to throw another player instead of a ball. The controls are easy to follow, and all it takes to hit the opponent is to target them and lock onto their position. The next thing to do is press the throw button and hold it down until you prepare the ball for a more intense impact that the enemy can’t catch.

Your success depends on how you position yourself and what strategy you use. Hence, the game doesn’t require to be extremely precise or accurate when throwing the ball and aiming at the opponent. Moreover, remember to dodge the balls enemies throw at you because they respawn when hit twice.

To make the game easier, you can also fake that you’re throwing the ball to confuse the opposing team and use it to your advantage. Knockout City introduces HoloBucks, which you can unlock as you progress and move through the game. Thanks to that, you can use the Brawl Shop and unlock items for customization.

The game has six play modes and five maps that include environmental dangers that can jeopardize your health. The locales are set in Knockout City, a futuristic and mesmerizing metropolis.

But what about the game itself? You must wonder what its weaknesses are and if it’s worth your time. Here’s what we think!

Challenging, detailed, entertaining

The dodgeball awakes memories of elementary school, endless fun with friends, and childhood innocence. Because of that, a game that uses it to builds its gameplay must trigger sweet nostalgia. If you ever played it, you must remember the adrenaline that rushes through your bloodstream while waiting to see if the other person will throw a ball in your direction and if you’ll be able to catch it.

Perhaps that’s the best part of Knockout City. It provides a replica of the childhood experience many loved, but without scratches or scraped knees. Sure, some might find the game has cartoonish visuals, but it’s the real deal if you want raw fun and impressive combat moves.

Knockout City introduces various types of balls, team tactics, throw options, and styles. Thus, there’s no rectangle in the middle to draw with chalk to set the limits. Instead, you get to enjoy in open space with arena-like maps and navigate shooting with your team.

However, the game is not simple by any means. Every time someone locks their throw onto you, you only have two choices: to dodge it or catch it and throw it back fast. That’s where the adrenaline kicks in as the catch-and-throw dynamic allow the game to go on almost indefinitely. But the ball continuously speeds up, making it more challenging to plan your next move.

At some point, it will become that accelerated that you’ll have to start preparing your catch button before your enemy throws it at you. Hence, you need to stay focused all the time and strategize under pressure. Since this can last for some time, you’ll find yourself in a state of continuous excitement and adrenaline rush.

The game also entertains various fastball modifications that allow you to choose a spin, flip, or throw a high lob and hit targets standing above you or bending around skyscrapers and reaching opponents running behind. Moreover, you can use these moves as you want (e.g., slow, fast, close, far), but it’s beyond entertaining to surprise the opponent by throwing a ball behind the corner and watching them worry about what’s happening.

You can also leverage unique ball types to spice up the game, such as the Cage ball that holds the opponents as prisoners after impacting them. However, the Snipper ball is probably the most efficient that shoots, what appears to be, faster than the speed of light. But you can also curl yourself up into a ball to help your team and become a weapon.

Overall, Knockout City has impressive audio effects, and each action and move have a particular and sophisticated sound. The Ranking mode adds to the competitiveness of the game and makes it more exciting. Yet, Knockout City is challenging, and it’s not easy to reach Gold, although you’ll probably enjoy trying.

Complex and fun brawler

Knockout City is an adrenaline-fueled shooter, but it’s also family-friendly, and it has enough variety and content to entertain anyone, regardless of their age or experience with brawlers. It’s a complex multiplayer that provides immersive gameplay and makes you coming back for more.

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