When was it when a game can be competitive and fun without having any complex mechanics? Knockout City is just that, a fun dodge ball game in an open environment with simple gameplay mechanics. It is stylish, full of swag and oozing with charisma. It is a cross-platform multiplayer video game developed by Velan Studios and was released in 2021.
The game leans towards style in every aspect. It has a cyberpunk aesthetic with a comic book-like vibe in a futuristic world. Everything is filled with swag from level design, HUD, interface, and character drip. The gameplay itself can make you feel it with its stylistic animations. It gives the perfect satisfaction once you land a hit on someone with funny sound and visual effects. It also has a decent customization library. You can choose from different clothing, shades, haircuts, hand gloves and boots to get on with the drip. You can also choose win, lose, MPV and taunt animations. These can be unlocked by the in-game currency which is gained by playing or paying. All in all, you get to style on your opponent with extreme prejudice.
The gameplay is pretty fun with its simple yet technical mechanics. The ball can be thrown straight, curved, lobbed and can be charged power to throw faster and farther. The player can even throw a slow ball and fake throw to mix your opponents. The balls thrown at the player can be catcher or dodged. The thrown ball can be tackled to get away unscathed. What’s funny is that the players can turn into a ball and can be thrown. When they are fully charged, they turn into a bomb, get vertically thrown and can move around before falling and getting an instant kill. But gotta be careful because the opponent can catch them and throw off the bound.
There are interesting movement techs as well. The player can roll, sprint and dodge. Spinning and Flipping affect the type of throw. You can use the glider midair to traverse the gaps in the stage. The screen indicates when an opponent comes near you and shows their position. If your reflex is fast enough, you can catch and throw the ball back at them. Hitting an opponent doesn’t rely on the player’s accuracy but their positioning and strategy. Pressing the throw button auto locks on the opponent and throws right at them. The player can also tackle the opponent and prevent them from hitting, getting a ball or knocking them off the stage. The way you can use the mechanics strategically makes this very fun.
The game has different modes. The main mode is 3v3 Team KO which is the first-to-10 game. You hit the opponent 2 times to get a score. This mode is also in the League Play which is for ranking up. Other typical modes like a free-for-all, battle royal, and Party Team Royal which is 2v2v2v2 are also available. Some other modes get featured and some get daily rotation which changes every week. There are different types of balls too to spice up things and one is randomly picked every match. Different balls like bomb ball, multi ball, moon ball, boomerang ball, cage ball, sniper ball, etc. can impact your strategy. All that gets you into a chaotic experience.
Pros & Cons
The game is pretty fun overall. It has interesting level designs that work well in a strategic game. You can use emotes to communicate with others without needing a mic or text chat. Emotes such as pass the ball, throw me, ball up, etc. The tutorial is good enough for new players and explains all the things you need to know. The game is decent online with its rollback net code. But it gets a bit dicey when playing with someone far away. The movement sometimes feels restricted. The recovery animations from catch and dodge are too long and make you vulnerable. Some stages feel too full of obstacles and annoying to move around. Otherwise, everything is pretty okay.
The game is free now on every platform after the developer took over from the publisher EA. But you need PlayStation Plus, Xbox Live Gold, or Nintendo Switch Online subscription on the respective consoles to play online. On Steam, you need an EA account for now, which will be no longer the case once Velan Studios take full control over this. The game is still getting updates and new features are being added. It’s in season 6 right now and it’s still fun to play. All you need is a mid-range PC, a decent internet connection and the mentality to have fun to play this game.