Knockout City – Review
Follow Genre: Arcade
Developer: Velan Studios
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Platform: PC, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, PS5
Tested on: PS5

Knockout City – Review

Site Score
Good: Simple to get into but complex enough to keep you entertained, Concept
Bad: Turns into a grind after a while
User Score
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 5.5/10 (2 votes cast)

Creating games that are completely online and are dependant on other players is a tricky thing to do right. Over the last few years, we have seen many contenders on the horizon, and only a few have made it big. When thinking of big hitters, we immediately think of games like Fortnite, Apex Legends, or some older titles such as League of Legends or Rocket League. Some are backed by massive publishers and have a bigger chance of success, or are simply able to spread the word easier. Sadly, the latter did not turn into Destruction AllStars’ favor, which was a fairly horrible Sony exclusive for the PS5. While entertaining in its offset, the execution proved to be quite horrible and every bit of content was locked behind a paywall. Now, we get to take a closer look at Knockout City, another quirky cross-platform online-only competitive multiplayer game. We can immediately say that we very much enjoyed the experience, but it was also clear that EA once again wants to earn big bucks from useless microtransactions.


Knockout City doesn’t really have any narrative components, other than the fact you’re a competitive dodgeball player who has the option to start their own crew. Those diving in expecting more will be sorely disappointed by the game’s lack of story.


Knockout City dons a cartoonish style that has been used in many other competitive games, as it lures in both a younger and an adult audience. Even though the game is colorful, the overall design choices are never too bombastic and the colors are actually quite warm and soft. The latter is probably to lessen eye strain, making sure you can focus completely on the rather fast-paced matches you’ll find yourself in. The level designs are nice and offer a change of scenery when required, but a few more backdrops would be nice. Perhaps even adding a night and day mode could already aid in this scenario.


While the sound quality is certainly quite decent, it’s also more of a type of background noise when actually playing the game. There are only a few sound effects that will prove to be of any value, namely the ones when you are being targeted or when you need to pass the ball. Other than that, what’s there is nice, but it serves little to no purpose when you’re in the middle of a match.


Knockout City is an online-only competitive multiplayer arcade game, in which you play dodgeball. Of course, the game does not offer a regular dodgeball experience, but you’ll be running through gravity-defying arenas, while gliding through the air, throwing special balls, while dodging, passing the ball, and ultimately taking out your opponents. The game plays itself out in a futuristic setting, which perfectly suits this version of dodgeball. You’ll go from one match to another, grinding experience, unlocking new content and currency on the way.

The game is quite easy to get into, and at first, you have a certain impression that the game’s mechanics are equally as easy. True, you’ll get the hang of the basics in mere moments, but as you dive deeper into the training missions and the game, you’ll find out things gets more complex and that, in combinations with your reflexes, you’ll have quite a few things to learn and work on. The game allows you to throw balls with different trajectories, you can dodge, you can catch balls with the right timing, you can deflect, and so on. We found ourselves getting the hang of the core gameplay loop quite quickly, to then work on specific skills as we progressed. Overall, the mechanics proved to be surprisingly deep for a ‘simple’ game such as this. Of course, there are different modes to try out, but it all boils down to playing a futuristic version of dodgeball.

A fun inclusion in the game is the ‘crew’ system, where you can basically make a small clan/guild for your friends, and work towards group goals, gaining experience and unlocking new items as you progress. This is certainly an incentive to keep playing with friends, as not only the good players will get rewarded, but also the team. We do hope this system gets fleshed out a bit more, but it’s a great start.

Sadly, we also have to address the elephant in the room here. Unlocking new content goes very slow, and it’s clear that EA wants to line their pockets with your money by charging ridiculous amounts for their ‘Holobux’. This is the currency you’ll need to unlock new items. While you can earn some of this currency on your own by just playing matches, the amount you then get is negligible. You’ll also have another currency to unlock variations of items, which we didn’t earn yet, but when inspecting it closer, it refers to rewards for playing in leagues or also outright buying it.


Knockout City is a very entertaining online experience that plays really smoothly and is very easy to get into. We see a bright future ahead for this title, if the developers can keep the content varied and entertaining for the upcoming seasons. We do regret, however, that a lot of microtransactions are present in the game, and that grinding for new items becomes a chore after a few hours of playtime, making it clear that if you want nice things, you’ll have to pay for them. Sentiments over shady business practices aside, the game is certainly a blast and proves to be a great title to pick up with friends, no matter what platform they own it on.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 5.5/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: -1 (from 1 vote)
Knockout City - Review, 5.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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