Three months after our first contact, Knockout City is published on our machines. We were fascinated by this TPS, in which Kalashnikovs and other rocket launchers were exchanged for DodgeBall balloons. What is the Velan Studios shooter worth in its final version?
For those who didn’t follow Knockout City, it’s a good idea to remember the concept behind the title. This PVP shooting game places two teams of 3 players in an arena where they have to compete against each other with dodgeball shots. Each participant has two life points, so it only takes two hits to get knocked down. The players must therefore rush to the balls scattered across the field in order not to be helpless in the face of the onslaught of the opponents. However, being defenseless against other players is not the same as a knockout. By pressing the appropriate button it is possible to intercept the ball and reverse the trend. This manipulation must adhere to a certain timing, otherwise the ball is secured in full pear. You don’t have to be precise to hit your target as an automatic lock ensures that every ball thrown hits its target directly. But how does Knockout City reward skills in this case?
Fun and approachable
This shooter has multiple options for changing feints and shots, and relies more on mind game and timing than on the ability to target participants. Indeed, it is possible to make a false shooting movement to encourage the opponent to catch the ball. This therefore makes it possible to create an opening that is easy to use. Players also have access to a side spin or a small somersault. The first adds a curved effect to the shot, while the second allows for a bell toss. These two shots therefore allow additional subtleties, but can also avoid obstacles and hit opponents who are otherwise inaccessible. Participants can also charge their shots for a longer or shorter period of time, which affects the speed of the ball, but not the damage. A blinding shot can surprise an opponent in close combat, but a slow bullet can cheat their timing. In short, sheer skill is not predominant while tactical decisions and cooperation are very important.
This gameplay base is therefore fun and efficient. And when the room for improvement doesn’t seem endless, there’s plenty of opportunity for players to express themselves and improve. If we add a one-on-one combat that allows the opponent to drop the ball, push it into space, or simply dodge a projectile, we get full games. So many tactics are possible. Wait for an ally to attack an opponent to throw them an impossible balloon to dodge, curl up into a ball to serve as a projectile for their ally, and get out of a desperate 2v3 game. These are the types of interactions that Knockout City’s gameplay offers and it is clear that everything is working fine. In addition, special balls are scattered around the area. The prison ball will shrink the opponent into a ball, making them extremely vulnerable. The moon ball offers the wearer larger jumps and freezes the enemy hit in the air. An American football offers the players a gigantic range and a phenomenal rate of fire. You can chain three shots with the multiball. After all, the bomb ball speaks for itself and can cause serious damage to the opposing ranks.
Content that lacks a touch of madness
In Team KO, the standard mode of Knockout City, only one type of special ball is placed on the map per round, while in Party Team KO all balls are scattered on the map. Then there is the 1v1, which is aptly named and sticks to standard balls. The Diamond Dash, the last mode available at launch, is nothing more than Confirmed Elimination. Defeated opponents drop diamonds and pick them up to earn points. On May 25th, the ranked matches will be added to the selection along with the ball-up brawl. There is no ball in this 4v4 mode, so it is up to the players to shrink down to a ball in order to fight. It is also possible to create your own lobby to play with your friends. It’s a shame that the latter are not sufficiently configurable. It could have been fun turning off the auto-lock or raining hundreds of explosive bullets on the field. If the content present is solid, it cannot be denied that it is a little bit wise. The modes may lack a bit of fun, which is a shame for a game with such solid and entertaining gameplay fundamentals.
If we are fundamentally convinced, we cannot judge the shape so positively. Knockout City is clean without being a technical stallion and shows a garish artistic direction. And if his space universe, populated by flying cars and young sluts, is sympathetic, one cannot deny that the protagonists have unsightly proportions. However, from a purely functional point of view, the title is very good as the visual and acoustic effects allow for a better understanding of the action. Red borders indicate where the next ball is coming from, while dynamic whistles indicate the type of projectile and the speed of the throw. It is therefore possible to stop a ball without even seeing it. Very good work.
- Un fun and accessible gameplay
- Team play is generally recommended
- Thoughtful cards
- Sound effects and user interface are well integrated into the gameplay
- Real tactical options
– –Negative points
- Confused hand-to-hand combat
- A screaming artistic direction
- Game modes that lack madness and private games that are not sufficiently configurable
While we may regret the garish artistic direction and game modes that lack madness, we can’t deny that the core gameplay of Knockout City is really fun and well thought out. Velan Games’ title offers a thrilling experience with real personality by setting the goal aside in favor of feint and co-op. The whole thing loses clarity once in close combat, of course, but it doesn’t spoil the experience for all of that. Knockout City is a highly recommended experience that you can try for free until May 30th.
May 22, 2021 at 8:13 p.m.
What the readers say (2)
Read the readers’ reviews
Give your opinion on this game!