To be fair, our time playing Knockout City during a recent review event didn’t change our opinion much. After spending some time with the beta before, we’ve come away quite impressed with what Velan Studios has done, and as the title launches on PlayStation 4, we can’t wait to play more. The game, a dodgeball-inspired online multiplayer affair, is so much fun.
A smart design is that you lock onto an opponent as you charge up a shot, and the ball will gently land on them. This means that your shots usually don’t go wasted, especially when using lobs to throw over walls and curves to shoot around corners and obstacles. More than that, however, automatic targeting makes sure your opponent has to be careful and have to catch or dodge an incoming shot. We love that the frustration of missing a thousand hand-placed shots has just been brushed aside completely. This means that most shots thrown in a match will land, or otherwise impact the course of the turn in some way, forcing opponents to move or retaliate.
It reminds us of Rocket League – a simple concept that takes something familiar and gives it a twist, easy to understand gameplay with a high skill cap, and more sophisticated matches that only last a few minutes each. This game is really all about throwing, catching, and getting hit by dodgeballs, but it does a lot with that basic idea to brighten it up, with the end result being an addicting experience, one more round.
You can also become a ball yourself which adds even more wrinkles to a game. If your team needs a weapon, you can just become one. When you throw an ally, you can charge the shot normally or turn it into a powerful area-of-effect explosive that drops from above. It doesn’t really make anatomical sense, but it is fun.
At launch, there are five maps and four playlists for you to check out, which isn’t much, but Season 1 begins days after, featuring another map and a new playlist every week. It’s clear that Knockout City will be added and adapted quite widely after launch. This will of course include many new cosmetics, of which there are already a lot.
The ebb and flow of a match works really well. The maps are quite compact, so it doesn’t take long to find the action when you respawn, and when your team is working properly together – passing balls, becoming balls, etc. – it feels good. The special bullet types also keep things interesting; the moon ball gives the medium low gravity and sends enemies flying when hit, while the sniper bullet takes a long time to charge but is a powerful forehand when it connects. These are randomized into regular 3v3 matches, so you never know what to expect.
Completing matches earns you XP, which increases your rank on the street, a battle pass progression that allows you to unlock something with each level. The street rank is huge, with nine levels of 100 levels, which means even the most dedicated players will have their work cut out for them. Contracts are mini-objectives that also reward you with XP, while Holobucks can be earned in a number of ways. This currency can be spent in the in-game item shop, and yes, you can buy it with real money if you’re desperate for that particular neon hat. What’s refreshing is that there aren’t any loot boxes and all of the cosmetics you get are purely for style. No payment to win here.
Playing in a crew can earn you even more rewards. Essentially a clan system, you can crew up with friends or strangers, and you’ll cumulatively work toward crew-exclusive unlocks. We haven’t explored this aspect too much yet, but it’s safe to say that a lot of effort has gone into customization. The game is full of ways to make your avatar unique.
We’ll be writing a full review of Knockout City soon, after spending more time with him he’s now out in the open. To sum up, though, we highly recommend it, and considering it’s free for the next 10 days, now’s the best time to give it a try. Have you tried Knockout City during its 10-day free trial? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
- Knockout City could be your new favorite PS4 multiplayer game
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