Knockout City Preview: DodgeBrawl

Knockout City Preview: High-Flying Dodgeball Action

Knockout City is bringing the pain with fast-paced dodgeball action. Just remember—If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball. Velan Studios follows this mantra, clearly.

Coming out of EA’s Originals lineup for this year is a multiplayer contender with the means to lay down the law on whoever enters the arena. Knockout City is a third-person action title where competitors join into teams of three to toss rubber balls at each other at maximum velocity.

Knockout City was designed to be easy to pick up and play, but with a high skill ceiling that supports super-competitive play for those that aspire to be the best,” stated the team over at Velan Studios in reference to how the idea came to become a full-release game. “The core mechanics and team-based play evolved into an experience that is genre-defying. And it required us to build a brand-new game from the ground up to pull it off.”

Additionally, a slew of mobility options allows for fast-paced traversal and dodges, with dashes and jumps keeping your team afloat. Besides that, a tackle ability lets you knock balls out of the opposite team’s hand, while also creating some spam-tastic fights for survival. Different ball types, arenas to fight within, and a slew of cosmetic options keep things interesting from match-to-match.

Knockout City
Knockout City

As I jumped into my first few matches playing alongside fellow journalists and various developers from the team over at Velan Studios, I quickly found out that everything I was experiencing could be easily described with one word—frantic. Not only is the gameplay fast-paced with players zooming around the match, but everything you’re doing is a heart-pounding event, from chasing after balls to catching and dodging, and tackle fights with the other team.

Nothing here calms down! For those looking for high-octane, anxiety-driven gameplay, Knockout City is certainly bringing the heat. While I might be a little over the top with that description, it definitely felt like each match went by faster than expected, because you’re so focused on the simple gameplay cycle. You’re looking for projectiles, you find one so you’re looking for the other team, you attack, and repeat.

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While I do feel like the 3v3 mode was a little barren at times, different maps, 4v4 matches, and free-for-alls keep things fast-paced even with the occasional dip as things lean from one end of the arena to the other. It’s easy to see where strategy can start to make teams act like total trolls. Keeping control of the balls means your team will consistently win fights, so when facing an experienced team, things can get less fun if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Of course, there are ways to combat this. Keeping your team close so you can more easily make counters and push for ball control is supremely important. While also properly utilizing the field, your catch ability, and your tackle, can turn the tides very quickly when all of a sudden you’re in control of positioning and the balls. Thus, things never get unfair, just tough. Which is a basic premise of every multiplayer shooter or fighting title, right?

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Knockout City just has a fun-factor to it. While it may not be the next Fortnite, it certainly has something unique and exciting to offer the multiplayer community, and EA along with Valen Studios plans to offer regular content drops in the seasonal format we’ve seen the other top-tier multiplayer titles take on.

A Block Party Event is kicking off the launch of the game on Friday, May 21st, where a free trial of the game will be available for all looking the give the game a shot. With platforms including PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch (with next-gen support as well), you’ll be able to jump in wherever you play. Additionally, for those Switch players wondering about whether Nintendo Switch Online is necessary to play—it’s not. Even after the free trial, NSO won’t be necessary to jump into matches. Also, it’ll be on Xbox Game Pass at launch.

Starting May 25th, Season One kicks off with a new game mode, Ball-Up Brawl, as well as a new map and features. Ranked Play will be available for those looking to get serious about things and with each season lasting nine weeks, there will be plenty of room to jump in whenever you feel the need.

The Standard Edition will retail for $19.99 USD, with a $29.99 USD Deluxe Edition that includes cosmetics and 1,000 Holobux—Knockout City’s in-game currency. With multiple seasons planned for the future, if you’re someone enjoying your time in Knockout City, you can expect to see more of it coming down the pipeline.

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