There’s not a lot out there that truly rivals Fortnite as a competitive multiplayer. Many have tried, but far too many have failed. Maybe because it’s simple enough to play and has some great support from Epic to deliver constant updates, new skins, and more. The gameplay is great, but it’s not revolutionary by any means. Sometimes, a game just connects with its audience. Knockout City is the next big co-operative multiplayer to hit the market, and it’s ticking all the right boxes to be a huge success.
Knockout City: Satisfying gameplay
Set across different maps in a big futuristic city, playing Dodgeball is Knockout City’s sole focus. Teaming up with friends to take on other teams makes for some superb action. After a few matches getting used to the mechanics, I was able to get in some great shots at my opponents. It relies on skill alone. There’re no buffs or leveling bonuses. Firstly, you just need to be good at it. Secondly, honing your skills will make a big difference. The mechanics are simple enough to understand. For instance, run over a ball and your character automatically picks it up. Hold the right trigger to throw and the ball auto-locks on to an opponent. You can hold the throw in for a charge, and if it connects, more damage can be done.
Each player has two strikes so to speak. If they are hit twice, they respawn and the opposing team get a point. In Team KO, matches follow a best-of-two round system. To counter being smashed in the face with a ball on every attack, pressing the left trigger at the right time allows you to catch the ball. If timed perfectly, the ball will hold a charge and can be thrown for added impact. Team mates can even roll around and be picked up instead of the ball. Pass, move, communicate. Get the drop on an opponent and unleash hell…with a dodgeball. Shots can be curved, lobbed, and tweaked to show off a surprising amount of skill.
Fun maps and balls
There’re different types of balls with added effects. Multi-ball is like the triple shells in Mario Kart. There’s a bomb ball that will explode when its timer runs down. Launching this at the right time has the chance to take out two or three players at once. However, if you or your team mates are too close, they can also get caught in the mix. Not only are there multiple balls, the maps have plenty of diversity. There’s a construction yard with a huge swinging wrecking ball in the middle. There’s a street level brawl inspired by Anchorman (no, really) where you can teleport through tubes to other areas of the map, and a space diner with a rotating platform in the middle.
Each arena has great attack spots and variables to aid and abet your offence. There’s one map with two skyscrapers and strong winds that can carry you between both, or a small bridge in the middle. Learning the best spots for a sneak attack can be liberating, but don’t underestimate your opponents. The catch mechanic is a blessing and a curse. Get it right, and it can be a gamechanger when returning an opponent’s shot. Mess it up, and getting knocked out is so damn frustrating. After enough practice, playing becomes a breeze. The nuances of skill start to factor in and can provide a thoroughly enjoyable multiplayer experience.
Knockout City: Chill with friends
Before every match, you can jump into your Hideout. Here, you can chat with friends and get some practice. This space is your Crew’s, and the customisation on offer is astounding. Each crew turns up in a car that can be customised with all sorts of cosmetics. Not just that, outfits can be unlocked with in-game earned currency, as can outfit variants, gliders, KO poses, and more. There’s a daily shop where funds can be spent, and for those hardcore players, there’re special items for the most elite.
It feels like a lot of care has been put into Knockout City. The gameplay offers a satisfying loop, and the amount of customisation is staggering. More maps and modes will be introduced at a later date through the concept of Seasons. Velan Studios are firmly behind Knockout City, and whilst there’s not a lot at launch, it’ll be interesting to see how it pans out in the future. For now, though, there’s just enough to give players hours of fun. With friends, this is a definite hit in my books. Playing with strangers isn’t as good, but it’s still a fun game to play.
So much fun to play
Maps are well designed
Plenty of customisation
Not a lot at launch