By Michael "Magic Mike" Dumee on June 4, 2021
I just love going online and playing games together with other gamers from around the globe. And as fun as coop games can be, sometimes I like a good match; teams battling against each other to see who will come out victorious! When I heard about Velan Studios and EA's upcoming title Knockout City I knew immediately, that it would be something for me. I mean, it's dodgeball! What's not to like?
Now I have to tell you upfront, that during my time a schoolkid I was not very likely to be selected during sport lessons. I'm not that athletic, I hate running around and I'm just not into anything to do with sports in real life. But a couple of times per year I was happy, because the gym teacher told us that we would be playing dodgeball. For some reason, that is a sports-game I like and I was pretty good at it as well. Or at least, I didn't suck at it as hard as I did with other sports.
Anyway, back to Knockout City! First things first, let's create a character. You can customize gender, outfits, body type, hairstyle, gear and much more. Let me assure you here that there are enough options to customize a character to your own style and likings. These choices are all cosmetic. Every player may look unique, but everyone has the same tricks up their proverbial sleeves. You can catch or throw a ball, hold the ball, make it look like you're going to throw the ball but then keep holding it. Of course, with the name of the game of dodgeball being what it is, it's also possible to dodge an incoming ball. A very surprising feature is that, as a player, you can roll yourself up and be used as a ball by your teammates. Now that's something we didn't do when I was a kid!
Okay, enough of that, it's playing time! I started with the Team KO mode; every round, two teams of three players will challenge each other, so it's 3 vs 3. During the game you need to be fast enough to pick up balls and throw it towards other players in order to hit them while, at the same time, making sure you're not an easy target for the opposing team. You have two lives and every time a player gets hit, it will cost them a life point. If you lose both life points, the other team will score a match point, which is added to their total score. The player who "died" will then respawn in the game. The first team that earns ten match points will win the game!
The other mode is Ball-up Brawl, where there will be no balls available in the game. You have to work together as a team here. There are no balls to pick up in the field, but remember I told you earlier about how you can roll up yourself, so another team-member can use you as a ball? That's the ticket here! There is also a Diamond Mode which is again played in 3 vs 3, but fallen players will leave diamonds behind. It's up to you to collect the diamonds left by the other team to earn points, or pick up diamonds of your own downed team members in order to prevents opponents from picking them up and scoring points. Apart from all this dodgeball goodness, there's one gamemode that is my absolute favorite: Party team KO. It works the same as Team KO, but instead of only standard balls there will be a great variety of balls in this game. I personally like the one which will give you three balls instead of one, so with one pick up I get three balls to throw. Another one I like is the Sniper ball, where you can use the ball in the same way you would use a sniper rifle in other games and hit players that are further away. Supercool!
Another great example of bending the rules of Dodgeball is that you're not limited to a basic sports field. As you might have seen in trailers, you can run around in cities and use buildings in said city to your advantage. The content currently incorporated into the game is already great and the developers have announced that with every new season, new maps, balls, rewards, events and challenges will be added to the game's roster.
I've played this game on my Nintendo Switch and it runs wonderfully smooth. Playing it in the Switch's handheld mode wasn't my cup of tea, but playing it at home, docked to my TV, was excellent. Keep in mind that, when playing this game on Playstation, Switch or Xbox, you'll need the appropriate subscription for that console to play online with friends and other players. Incidentally, I'd like to mention that Knockout City offers cross play, so whether your friends play on PlayStation, Xbox, PC or Nintendo Switch, we all can join in and have fun playing with our balls. wait, that came out wrong. Oh well, you know what I mean.
I had really high hopes for Knockout City and after playing the game, I was elated to see that it even surpassed my expectations. I truly had a blast while playing it and am looking forward to see what more new stuff the developers will come up with in the near future. And if you're not convinced already, a demo/free trial of this game is available on every platform, so you can try before you buy. See you in Knockout City!