When you think of Sports games, dodgeball isn’t usually the first game to spring to mind. However, Velan Studios’ Knockout City changes all of that. Despite not having an enormous amount of content right now, Knockout City manages to convey what video games should truly be about: Fun.
In Knockout City, two teams of three face off in dodgeball, or as they like to call it, Dodgebrawl matches. There are three rounds, and a round is won when a team reaches ten points. Getting hit by a ball will deplete one of the two hearts each player has. Once a player is hit twice, they are knocked out, and the opposing team will receive a point.
“Having certified aimbot in Knockout City does seem like there is little to no challenge.”
The balls in Knockout City lock on to your targets. This means you don’t have to worry about your aiming skills or any ball trajectory interferences. Instead, you must focus on overwhelming the other team so that you can eliminate them before they eliminate you. This shift away from aiming enables Knockout City to be inclusive of everyone and incredibly easy to learn.
Having certified aimbot in Knockout City does seem like there is little to no challenge. Although, players must direct their focus towards either dodging, hiding, or catching the ball. Before throwing, players can charge the ball up to make the throw faster. If players can time a catch properly, this will also charge the ball further, allowing you to throw the ball back at high speeds. You can also pass the ball to your teammates which will charge it up, and you can even use another teammate as a ball.
“Each game is a thrill, and I have never wanted to win in a competitive game more than I have in Knockout City.“
Knockout City also uses special balls to help propel gameplay forward. Five special balls can be found on the map, with a random one selected at the beginning of each game. This includes the Cage Ball, Bomb Ball, Moon Ball, Sniper Ball, and the extremely useful, Multi Ball. Each of these balls are unique and are balanced well. While using them, I never felt like I had an unfair advantage as the spawns are frequent, and both teams have access to them.
On a surface level, the game seems simple. However, the longer you play and the deeper you dive, Knockout City starts to reveal its enormous skill ceiling. The game has a wide away of different mechanics at your disposal. You can fake a throw, tricking your opponent into prematurely pressing the catch button. You can also do lob throws and spin throws which alter the ball’s trajectory.
These mechanics made the game an absolute blast. I can’t remember the last time I was on the edge of my seat, anxiously hoping I catch the ball as the scores are tied at 9-9. Each game is a thrill, and I have never wanted to win in a competitive game more than I have in Knockout City.
“Imagine trying to throw a ball at someone only to be denied by a traffic jam.”
There are a couple of modes other than the standard 3v3 Team KO format. Diamond Dash switches the game up slightly by making it so players drop diamonds. You must collect the diamonds to win the game. This allows you to recover your friend’s diamonds, so you don’t lose any points when you carry them to victory.
Party Team KO adds every special ball in the game, which results in a very frantic high-intensity game. Fortunately, the final limited-time mode, Ball-Up Brawl, is available for friend groups that have that extra friend and need a 4v4 game mode. While the extra game modes add a little bit of variety to the gameplay, they all felt lacklustre and couldn’t compare to the thrill of the original game mode.
Imagine trying to throw a ball at someone only to be denied by a traffic jam. That’s what’s in store for you when you jump into one of the five maps Knockout City has to offer. Every map is intricately made to offer a special feature. From a rotating centrepiece to trains constantly speeding in between players, each map in Knockout City has a unique feature differentiating it from one another.
The ’80s inspired world of Knockout City is completely over the top and this is reflected in the game’s customisation too. You can heavily customise three brawlers and switch between them each game. There is a Street Rank section which is essentially a battle pass that offers no competitive advantages. If you don’t want to earn cosmetics, alternatively, you can head to the Brawl Shop and purchase an item that you fancy.
“While it is undoubtedly one of the best games available right now, it does feel like it is still in early access.”
Players can also create a clan or Crew as Knockout City calls it. In this section, players can invite friends to join their crew and team up in online games. Progressing through the levels and contracts will unlock rewards, allowing you to customise the car you arrive at each match in. You can also customise the team logo on the back of your clothes. This section seems a little bare at the moment, but I am interested to see how it evolves over time.
Unfortunately, that is the current vibe of Knockout City. While it is undoubtedly one of the best multiplayer games available right now, it does feel like it is still in early access. The game released with 4 (now 5) maps and a couple of modes, and has recently introduced league play, increasing the game’s depth. However, this still doesn’t quite feel like it’s enough. Luckily, as each season finishes, Knockout City will introduce new maps and features. As it stands, Knockout City feels polished, but I wish there was a little more depth.
Knockout City is available for less than AU$30/$19.99/£17.99, which is absolutely worth it. It is also available with EA Play, should you subscribe to that service. However, if you’re still on the fence, you can access the game right now for free until Street Rank 25. This should give you enough time to test the waters and learn the 5 Ds of dodgeball.