Review: Knockout City
Knockout City: A city sprawling with...knockouts from high-speed balls? Yep. Knockout City is EA's latest original title, where the main goal is to score as many knockouts as possible, as part of a team or solo, with the help of balls - much like dodgeball. After spending several hours in total being both knocked out a ton, but also doing a lot of damage myself, I'm now confident in what I think of this colorful & fast-paced game. Let's go!
Platform: Xbox Series X.
Visuals & performance
Knockout City isn't about looks, as it's obviously more about knocking other contestants out, but it's sure a looker either way. On the Xbox Series X, the game is running in a sharp and gorgeous native 4K resolution, at a 100% locked 60 frames per second framerate.
All while sporting some seriously good looking visuals, ranging from neat & crisp texture work all around, very detailed character design (further enhanced by putting on clothing and other cosmetic parts that are also very detailed), beautiful lighting, to a cartoony yet still realistic art style, great effects, and level design that isn't short of being fantastic. I've also played the game on both Xbox Series S and Xbox One (S), with the former running it pretty much just like the Xbox Series X version, though with a lowered resolution, and the latter running it in a lower resolution than the Series S, with lowered graphics settings, but still at 60fps.
To really get into matches fast, both Xbox Series consoles utilize load times that are blistering fast. Knockout City is by all means a fault-free experience, and even comes with zero bugs, which only results in fueling my interest in the game even more. In a competitive game like this, a stable and high framerate is preferred, so the only real "complaint" I've got is that there's no 120fps support for those that actually have a TV or monitor that supports it, especially since the game is optimized for Xbox Series X|S.
The game's audio design is fairly good, and tries its best to fit into this whole "futuristic" approach that's going on - with cool sounding vehicles around, characters lines that are catchy, and a soundtrack that definitely fits a good old game of crushing opponents with a dodgeball. This game paired with an Xbox Series X and a 4K + HDR capable TV, is awesome. In pretty much every imaginable way, Knockout City is a super good looking, 100% performance solid, and bug-free experience.
Here comes the important part, however: is the gameplay at least equally as good? It is! I wasn't sure of what to expect from this game at first, and in all honesty thought it was going to end up like Rocket Arena, so to see it being as popular & supported as it's been, is spectular. It's basically a third-person arena... dodgeball shooter? Quite literally. The sole objective in every match is to eliminate opponents using dodgeballs that are found throughout the arena, but it's vital to be quick about it, as fellow KO enthusiasts will definitely be keen to grab them as well.
There's a catch, though (pun intended): those very fast and dangerous dodgeballs can be caught by you right before they arrive on that face of yours! If I'm the first to grab it, my next task is to throw (RT) towards the opponent and hope that it doesn't catch it (LT), cause if it does, it's able to quickly eliminate me if I'm not quick enough to catch, too. To traverse the arena quickly, I'm able to transform into a dodgeball myself and roll around - that's right, and teammates are indeed able to pick me up as well as throw me, even in a more explosive & high-altitude way.
It's simple dodgeball mixed with intense and fast-paced competitive gameplay, but while most of all being highly fun. I wasn't expecting a game where you knock other people out with dodgeballs in a futuristic enviroment to be as thrilling as it is. The main take-away with this all, however, is just how addictive it is - it sort of always brings me back into playing it, after moving on to something else. I'm assuming it's the combination of the simplicity of just quickly finding a match, playing an old-school competitive arena title together with friends, and just how good looking it is that does it for me.
It's arguably one of the most original and fun experiences I've had in a while. There's a certain thrill being felt everytime I knock someone out, and I...love it, haha! Now, is it really a game of dodgeball if you're not allowed to look great while doing it? Of course not! That's why Knockout City offers character customization that sees me being able to change hair, clothes, emotes and much more, to really express myself out in the arena.
There's a ton to choose from, and without it, the game would feel really bland. While I do feel like the game has a lot in general to offer, and even with the price point still in mind, I can't help but feel like there should be more. More maps, and different game modes, perhaps? The only thing I can hope for, at the least, is for Velan Studios to support the game for a long time, and for it to not end up like Rocket Arena.
All in all
Knockout City enters the arena while packing some seriously KO worthy content, but not only that, visuals that truly look beautiful. In addition to that, the game offers some of the most fun I've had in a while, where the concept of blending together a good old game of dodgeball with fast-paced competitive gameplay really shines its brightest. This all is running in a nice native 4K resolution at a rock-solid framerate of 60fps, but while I'm definitely expecting more content to be included in the future, and maybe even 120fps for Xbox Series X|S, I feel like that should be sooner rather than later, if Velan Studios really want it to survive. Can they deliver? I think so. No matter what, however, Knockout City is an original concept that I've more than enjoyed, and I'm confident that I'll be playing a lot more of it. I fully recommend it!
Knockout City is available for Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S consoles on the Microsoft Store for only $20, while even being available via Xbox Game Pass through EA Play. Are you interested in buying it? That can be done here:
A review code was provided by EA for review purposes.
This review is written by Jesper Ingemansson and is based on his honest opinion about the game.