GBAtemp Recommends: Knockout City

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With the mass amount of shooters, open-world games, and battle royales coming out these days, Knockout City is a breath of fresh air. Published by EA and developed by Velan Studios, Knockout City creates an addicting and satisfying gameplay loop from a familiar childhood game, dodgeball.

Knockout City did not have much appreciation when it was first revealed during a Nintendo Direct with a very misleading trailer. That initial trailer seemed to promise a game with characters from various genres that would mash into one game but it surprised most when it ended on showing a game of dodgeball. Those who were intrigued by that initial premise were very disappointed by what the actual game was. However, Velan Studios surprised many with a very fun and addictive game on release.

The game is an extreme version of dodgeball on its surface and it doesn’t stray too far from that. Players can throw, catch, and pass various types of balls around the map. This game is very easy to pick up and play as the controls are very intuitive with auto-targeting taking away any need to have any precise aiming. Even initiating a catch can be forgiving as you can press it pretty early with a wide catch window. In most game modes, players also don’t even need to stress about players off-screen as there are indicators showing if you are targeted and a direction a ball is coming from.

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While the controls are very simple, the gameplay can become very deep and full of mind games against your opponents. While you might want to just charge up a ball and throw it as soon as you find a target, it isn’t that hard to catch a ball from a moderate distance. The real fun comes from outsmarting your opponent by either faking them out, stunning them, or working with your teammates. In a 1v1, Knockout City becomes a game of chess. After a catch animation, there is a small window where your character is vulnerable to getting hit. This is where the mind games come in and you try to fake your opponent enough for them to panic and open themselves up for a ball. What makes this game so addictive is the clear distinction of skill and the real tense moments that the skill game creates.

There is a lot of fun to be had in Knockout City and the various ways of knocking out opponents are all very satisfying. You can cage up an opponent into a ball and throw them off the map with a Cage Ball or even purposely turn your character into a ball so that a teammate can throw you and eliminate an opponent in one hit. Team play is one of the best parts of this game and it rewards you for doing so. While you might want to keep the limited balls on the map for yourself, passing a ball between teammates will charge it up and cause it to travel faster, becoming harder to react to. As mentioned earlier, players can ball up at any time to be picked up by a teammate and be thrown without the need for a ball. The most satisfying part of this game is when you can eliminate tough opponents by passing balls between teammates on the fly and communicating through comms and voice lines.

If you’re one for cosmetics, there are various options for you to unlock and spice up your characters. While there is no complex character creator, you can give your avatars different hair, clothes, and animations. Many cosmetics are unlocked for free just by playing the game but there is a store where you can spend money. I especially enjoyed the fact that we could use cosmetics for a clan that you can create and add more identity to it.

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If you‘re looking for a multiplayer game that isn’t just a copy and paste shooter like most are these days, Knockout City still feels fresh one year after launch. Unlike a lot of niche multiplayer games these days, there is no need to worry about the game closing anytime soon as it has gotten plenty of support and updates since launch with no signs of stopping. While the player base is not the biggest, Velan Studios has announced that they will be separating from its publisher EA and will make Knockout City free to play in their upcoming season. For free, I cannot recommend this game enough for newcomers to try. In the meantime, Knockout City is available on game pass and on all consoles (Xbox One/S/X, Playstation 4/5, Switch, and PC).





 

AndorfRequissa

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after how bad ea manages games like Star wars Galaxy of Heroes and other games i am reluctant to play or give them any of my money.

EA is one of the worst gaming devleopment companies imo. they are not designing games for entertainment. they are designing to grab as much cash as they can from you
 

StrayGuitarist

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I started playing during beta and bought it soon after. I was hooked on it until server issues started cropping up, then becoming more common, and it was about 1 in 2 matches you'd get 2 AFK teammates and lose because of it, along with other matchmaking bullshit. Eventually me and the friends I was playing with got tired of it and moved on to other things.
 

GoldenBullet

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after how bad ea manages games like Star wars Galaxy of Heroes and other games i am reluctant to play or give them any of my money.

EA is one of the worst gaming devleopment companies imo. they are not designing games for entertainment. they are designing to grab as much cash as they can from you
The developer is leaving EA as a publisher and making the game free to play which is why I thought this was a good time to recommend it.
I started playing during beta and bought it soon after. I was hooked on it until server issues started cropping up, then becoming more common, and it was about 1 in 2 matches you'd get 2 AFK teammates and lose because of it, along with other matchmaking bullshit. Eventually me and the friends I was playing with got tired of it and moved on to other things.
I just recently got back into it and you don’t get that in my experience but I usually play with one other person in my party so I guess I never have that issue. Finding ranked matches can take a few minutes though.
 
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AndorfRequissa

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The developer is leaving EA as a publisher and making the game free to play which is why I thought this was a good time to recommend it.
2 problems there. once you get in bed with EA your reputation is forever tarnished in my book. free 2 play would mean there are no microtransactions. free 2 torture yourself is a better name for it. they want you to pay for outfits and other garbage lol. nba playgrounds and other EA games that cost money and have tons of microtransactions are just as bad.

my rule of thumb is if you want money from me charge me a single fee and give me full access to the game. only huge dlc content added after the fact is somewhat acceptable to me and that is even borderline.

there are tons of games i pass on that look cool at face value but if they are free 2 play the mechanics aren't designed for entertainment. designed for manipulation into your pocket. id rather play games where the devs and companies arent evil and design real games.
 

TehCupcakes

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If you want to experience this game properly, play it on PC, not Switch. Besides the obvious aim aspect with this being a lite shooter, the Switch version has some performance issues and WAY more lag, server disconnects, etc. YMMV depending on your internet connection, but it stands to reason if you are playing against console players, a lot of the people you are playing with/against will be on Wi-Fi and not all of them have reliable connections.

Now as a PC game... I recommend it if you're into competitive games which are easy to pick up but hard to master. (Like Super Smash Bros, Splatoon, Ninjala, etc...) If you're into traditional shooters like Call of Duty or hardcore PVP games like League of Legends, this probably isn't for you.

The developers behind Knockout City also seem very competent. I was disappointed when I found out initially that they went with EA for a publisher, but they still managed to knock it out of the park despite EA's push for exploitative microtransactions. Knockout City is much more lenient with earning premium currency than many other titles (although maybe that's in part because it had a sticker price on the initial release...) Either way, the currency is used exclusively for cosmetics. If you're worried about microtransactions, the usual advice applies - just don't buy it. It doesn't add anything meaningful, so if you don't care about appearance, don't buy into it and you won't be at any disadvantage. It is still a fun game.
 
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GoldenBullet

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Wait, really? Why does it say on steam that is cost Money and that it requires DRM by EA? :ninja:
I should have made it more clear but it is going F2P in its next season.

www.ea.com/games/knockout-city/amp/news/knockout-city-season-5-year-2-free-to-play-details

2 problems there. once you get in bed with EA your reputation is forever tarnished in my book. free 2 play would mean there are no microtransactions. free 2 torture yourself is a better name for it. they want you to pay for outfits and other garbage lol. nba playgrounds and other EA games that cost money and have tons of microtransactions are just as bad.

my rule of thumb is if you want money from me charge me a single fee and give me full access to the game. only huge dlc content added after the fact is somewhat acceptable to me and that is even borderline.

there are tons of games i pass on that look cool at face value but if they are free 2 play the mechanics aren't designed for entertainment. designed for manipulation into your pocket. id rather play games where the devs and companies arent evil and design real games.
I wouldn’t say the games reputation is tarnished forever as the game has been reviewed very highly compared to EAs first party games.
I can see why you don’t like F2P games but at least for me, it is Free to Play. I never spent a single dime on F2P games. All of the micro transactions are cosmetic only and don’t affect gameplay.
 
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SonicRings

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To be honest there has been a couple of GBAtemp Recommends where I have thought what the fuck. Like this or Super Seducer or Frog Detective :rofl2:
Not to mention the majority of the gamer products they review. I'm convinced they ask the companies to send them shit to review just for the sake of getting free shit.
 
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