Knockout City is a dodgeball like online multiplayer game and was released on 21 May 2021 and is free to play until 30 May. It has also been added to the EA Play catalog. Can it compete against the other multiplayer giants like Rocket League, Apex Legends, Fortnite or Warzone? Let’s find out. At first, I didn’t find Knockout City all that interesting when it was first announced but after playing it for a few days I am seriously impressed.
Knockout City contains 5 different modes that take place over 5 maps. We have Team KO which is simple as the first team with 10 knockouts gets the win. Diamond Dash is more or less the same but when you get knocked out you drop diamonds and the first team to pick up 30 points wins. You also get 3v3 and 4v4 game modes. There is also a new mode coming that’s called Ball-Up Brawl but the catch there is that there’s no ball so you must throw each other.
Finally, there are a couple of 1v1 modes. Full transparency though Ball-Up Brawl is not yet available so I have not played it myself. What I like about Knockout City though is it’s accessibility factor, it truly is easy for anyone to come along and pick it up and play. Thanks to what are simple intuitive controls but there’s still enough depth for you to keep coming back if you want to invest some serious time mastering it.
When you start the game you just kind of run around, find a ball and throw it and maybe you will dodge an attack occasionally or maybe you’ll perform a defensive catch. The further you get into it though the more you are going to use these advanced techniques like faking a throw and understanding the speed of the ball or even curving it at your opponents. From here though you’ll start to understand the special balls and these were a blast to play with as there are 5 of them available.
There’s a bomb ball, a cage ball that traps your opponent so you can use them as a weapon against your enemies or even throw them straight off the map. There’s a moon ball which basically gives you extra abilities and gravity doesn’t mean anything to you. The multi ball gives you 3 balls to attack with in a chain and then finally the sniper ball, a long-range attack that tracks your opponents.
It’s just incredibly satisfying though as the action can become just a chaotic mess of dodgeballs flying all over the place and you doing everything in your power to not only get a ball in your hands but understand what is heading towards you and where its coming from. Knockout City gives you some nice visual cues on screen to let you know you’re about to get hit but all of this just takes practice and patience to get used to.
Some of them are going to require near immediate reactions. Matches though have constantly been close and are rarely clean sweeps. The game also presents you with an option to pass the ball, so communication is key and it’s a lot of fun to play with friends. Knockout City does support voice chat and it also has crossplay for PC, PS4, Xbox and the Switch, so community strength here should never be an issue.
Alongside the game play the maps add some nice variety as they play into the futuristic setting with platforms that move, wrecking balls and my personal favorite which is transportation tubes. Learning the maps should be high on your list to crushing your opponents. I do wish there were more maps honestly and that’s the one thing I will say that’s a bit of a negative for this game but they will be adding maps in the future.
There’s a hub world where you can go through training, you can customize your character’s outfits and you can even practice some throws against a test dummy. It’s also worth noting that micro transactions are in the game but it is purely cosmetic which is great. The problem I have though is that Knockout City could easily have been released as a free to play game instead they opted for a reduced price.
I’m not sure if that was honestly the best decision and with limited content currently, you’re not going to really be getting a huge amount of content here. It feels a little weird in today’s market as this could have been a perfect one to join the free to play crowd. Overall though it has a good roadmap ahead of it with modes, characters, maps and cosmetics all to come and I can’t deny that I really enjoyed this game and I’ve been having a blast playing online.
I do however suspect that Knockout City could go free to play in the future and hopefully not go down the same path as Rocket Arena. Hopefully though from here it’s onwards and upwards until then I’ll be grinding away at my XP and level. Graphically the world, the designs and the characters are all vivid and cartoony and I really like the design they’ve gone for.
The maps are relatively small so the action is never more than just a few seconds away but when I did get to look around there’s lots of secrets and interesting moments to find. Cosmetics is honestly not my thing but we’re going to get a rotating option to kind of experiment with. Outside of that there are no real issues. The odd bit of clipping on some of the maps can prove a little frustrating to learn as I fell to my death but that’s all part of the learning curve.
The over-the-top announcer has a few brief lines that never outstays his welcome, the balls sound heavy and each comes with their own unique spin on their power. The music I really do like as it’s got this almost electro kind of Jazz vibe that plays into Knockout City’s almost futuristic 1950’s style. I don’t think audio wise you’ll be disappointed though.
Overall, I had a lot of fun with Knockout City and I think that’s also what separates it from the pack somewhat. Hopefully this game will grow a competitive audience down the line but for me it’s just more of a chilled out game and just kind of going with the flow and not taking everything so seriously like Warzone or Apex Legends. The only question I have now though is how long until Knockout City is free to play because I see no reason why they wouldn’t want to go down that path.
Knockout City is pretty restricted in the content as it stands but is a very fun game to play with friends. They have a lot planned in the roadmap and no doubt as long as player numbers are good, we have a lot to look forward.