Say whatever you want about Electronic Arts' business model and micro-transactions strategy, but you can't deny that EA is pushing the envelope when it comes to online games. We have a frantic online shooter like Apex Legends, emotional co-op adventures like It Takes Two or A Way Out, and the always competitive sports scene, with big brands like FIFA or Madden. Now, EA is exploring a different kind of sports game that feels more like a modern shooter without guns.
Welcome to Knockout City. Watch Out for Loose Balls!
In Knockout City, different crews fight against each other to see who gets to rule the city. But don't worry, they don't use guns or any kind of weapon. Instead, they compete in wild dodgeball matches around town, not only to determine who are the most skilled players but also who's the best dressed! Maybe the most important thing about this place is its—probably clandestine—radio station, with a DJ that will guide you through the adventure.
Knockout City comes with several game modes, from the classic 3vs3 match (a race to 10 points in a best-of-three series) to other, most creative setups like Ball-Up, where there are no balls and you must hit your opponents using your own teammates. Just like in any other season-based online game, the more you play, the more items you unlock to customize your player profile and your brawlers, so that's another reason to keep coming back to Knockout City every day.
Let us remind you that this is not a dodgeball simulator but an arcade experience, opening the door to lots of wild ideas. For instance, every match will feature unique balls that will grant whoever picks it a special ability. The Bomb Ball comes with a timer and will explode after a few seconds, dealing damage to all players in the area; the more tactic Sniper Ball will seek an enemy despite their attempts to flee; the Moon Ball puts you in a low-gravity state, allowing you to jump higher but also sending away whoever it hits; then there's the Cage Ball, trapping inside of it an opponent for a short period; and finally there's also our personal favorite, the Multi Ball, giving you three shots instead of just one. You can bet there will be more special balls in the future!
Cross-Play Really Helps
One of the best things about Knockout City is that it's available on all modern platforms, so everyone can enjoy it. You can play it on the go using your Switch, you can play it on your TV console if you're a PlayStation or Xbox owner, and you can play it on PC too. The other thing we love about Knockout City is that it features cross-play, so matchmaking shouldn't be a problem regardless of your platform of choice. Since it launched with a free-trial event, it's hard to tell how big or small the community will be once the hype is over or how much players will buy the game and actually keep playing, though. At least, cross-play will definitely help people don't feel left out regardless of their platform of choice. In FIFA, for example, there's no cross-play, so PC and Switch players can't enjoy the competitive scene you will find on Xbox or PlayStation; something similar happens with Apex Legends, a game that does include cross-play but only for PC, PlayStation and Xbox users, treating the Switch version as a joke. Knockout City is a pretty simple game with easy controls, so playing on a Switch using joy-cons shouldn't be a disadvantage...
How Much Dodgeball Is Enough Dodgeball?
The only issue we see is that Knockout City is a repetitive game, but that actually applies to most competitive online games. Finding enough motivation to go for yet another battle only depends on you, and we must admit we truly enjoyed the gameplay. Still, unlocking new items may not be enough for some players. It's too early to see how the competitive scene develops or how the eSports community treats Knockout City when it comes to events and tournaments, but we sincerely hope that Knockout City doesn't end up forgotten and abandoned like other "flavor of the week" online games (yes, Fallout Guys, we're talking about you). For now, Knockout City is a fantastic option if you're looking for something fresh to compete against other people!
After a frantic week of dodgeball, we're hooked to Knockout City's visuals and non-stop action. What we don't know is why we almost always lose when playing with the blue team but we dominate every match we play for the gold team... could this be another case of scripted matches?! LOL.
The free-trial week is over, but don't let that stop you. Take a look at some gameplay videos on YouTube or Twitch, and if you feel like this is your thing, come visit Knockout City!