TL;DR: Knockout City is one of the best iterations of dodgeball you'll ever play! Just get it and play it!
From the moment I saw video footage of Knockout City, it genuinely put a smile on my face and a warm fuzzy feeling in my heart. Why? Because I adored the original Super Dodgeball for the NES and this is, perhaps, the best iteration of virtual dodgeball to be released in a long, long time.
Packed with loads of depth in character, team, and gameplay customization, Knockout City perfects the timeless beauty of smacking the crap out of someone on the opposing team with a slew of different balls. From the standard oversized beachball to explosive homing missiles, you’ll never get tired of the different ways to eliminate the opposing team without getting charged for assault. Unlike the school playground version we’ve all played before, the object here is to not merely hit your opponents but to annihilate them. If we played dodgeball like this when I was growing up, I would have been in school every day.
All in all, there’s very little not to like about Knockout City. It looks good, sounds great, and it’s the best way to sustain a head concussion without ever having to leave the comfort of your home.
dodge me if you can
There’s an introductory practice mode where the nuances of the game are explained and where you can get familiar with the controls. Part of surviving a match is being able to throw the ball at your opponent while simultaneously dodging or catching any balls thrown your way. The practice mode is a great way to learn the basics but it’s in the multiplayer realm where you’ll get the majority of your training and experience. Knockout City is a game that is difficult to master due in large part to its large number of possible moves.
Once the online play starts, the action is fast and furious. Locating balls then taking aim at other players with the Right Trigger is a lot of fun. Each player can be hit twice with the third causing a knockout which leads to a respawn. Subsequently, as in most multiplayer games, each knockout takes a point away from your team and adds it to the opposing side. The team that accrues the first 10 points wins in a best of three rounds.
There are a bunch of other modes as well, including Team KO, Confirm Kill, and Ball-Up where instead of balls, you throw your teammates around. Plus, Knockout City is cross-play supported, meaning you can play with other players on different platforms including Xbox, PS4 and 5, and the Switch, ensuring there’s always a game to be found and plenty of good times to be had.
I’m gonna knock you out
If we played dodgeball like this when I was growing up, I would have been in school everyday.
You can level up your character too, but to be quite honest, this progression only allows you to unlock different taunts or something more to do with aesthetics keeping the integrity of the game more skill-based and balanced so that everyone is playing on the same level. Graphically, Knockout City looks like a combination of Fortnight and Rocket League and the commentary/announcer sounds just as rowdy as the game looks and plays. Conversely, the game reminded me a lot of Jet Set Radio Future for the original XBOX with its use of splash and dash colors.
If there’s, um, a knock, against Knockout City is that it doesn’t support more than 8 players total (4 players per side), which can seem pretty small in comparison to the larger-than-life arenas you play on. The music, however, is spot on with hypnotic riffs, thumping bass, and booming effects which round off the pumping sound.
All in all, there’s very little not to like about Knockout City. It looks good, sounds great, and it’s the best way to sustain a head concussion without ever having to leave the comfort of your home. Anyone looking for non-stop action with plenty of chaos should look no further than this game. It will literally knock you out.