No one makes me bleed my own blood.
Knockout City: finally a game where all of my dodgeball knowledge from Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story can come in handy. Sure, maybe I watched the movie two or three times when I was a kid, but I’ve got it memorised up in my brain. I swear.
A multiplayer dodgeball brawler from developer Velan Studios, Knockout City was announced just last week during Nintendo Direct. This past weekend it had a beta test, and naturally I jumped in to try it out. Right off the bat, the game feels like a finished product. With multiple game modes and dozens of ways to customise your character, it’s shaping up to be a must-play for fans of competitive multiplayer action.
In the game you control an ultimate dodgeball player, each with their own set of awesome moves. The beta kindly gave me a tutorial to start where I learned how to throw and catch a ball. Players are also able to jump, glide and dodge. These controls felt incredibly smooth. I was very confident going into my first game that I knew everything there was to know.
Alas, I was very wrong. Things are much different once you get into that dodgeball arena. In a nutshell, Knockout City is pure dodgeball – but it also has a lot of twists you won’t be expecting. Around the level you’ll find jump pads that let you duck and dodge incoming balls. There are indicators that let you know you’re about to get hit. You can even get turned into a ball yourself for your teammates to throw at the enemy. All of these elements come together and make Knockout City feel super polished.
When players pick up the game they’ll have a few game modes to try. There will be 3v3, 4v4 or free-for-all matches. There is also competitive for those that have really honed their skills. If neither of those modes sounds right for you, you can jump into a private match and play against your friends.
The only part of Knockout City that could use a little tweaking is the character customisation. I wasn’t a fan of the options that were available. The faces aren’t great; they feel like the ones you avoid when you’re making characters in other games. They’ve got big noses, swollen lips and ridiculous eyebrows. I’d like to see a few characters with some softer features for the game’s full release.
Although I’ve only spent a few hours with Knockout City so far, I’m impressed with what I’ve seen. Dodgy character faces aside, there’s a lot to like and my time with the beta has cemented the fact that this will be a game I pick up at launch. Running around is fun in general, but when you jump into the arena and catch your first dodgeball, it’s a huge thrill.
Knockout City is set to release on May 21st for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and Switch, costing $19.99. At launch, a free trial will be available for a limited time. You can register for future betas by clicking here.