Knockout City (Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox X/S, PC)

One of my favorite sports video games of all time is Super Dodge Ball on the NES.  In fact, it was my number one favorite sports game until Wii Sports came along.  So when I heard about Knockout City, a 3-D online dodgeball game that’s free to start on the Switch, I was willing to give it a try!

The game is set in a colorful urban area and has a lot of Splatoon or Ninjala vibes.  When you start the game, you get to play some extensive tutorials, or you can just go right into a match if you want.  So that’s good.  It’s pretty easy to pick up and play.  Just jump and run around in 3-D space, and pick up balls and throw them with the trigger buttons.  Some balls give you powers, like being able to jump high with a moon ball.  You can do charge shots, catch thrown balls if your timing is right, and even glide in the air with a hang glider that pops out of your back.  If there are no balls around, you can roll into a ball and have one of your teammates pick you up.  But watch out because the other team can pick you up as well!  Whichever team gets a certain amount of knockouts first, wins.

The game is free to start, and you can play until you reach level 25 before you have to pay to play.  Which is quite a while, you’ll be able to play plenty of matches before then to get an idea of the game.  There is a shop where you can buy all sorts of things to customize your character with real money as well.

I had a few problems with this game that kept me from staying interested, though.  Gameplay-wise, I felt I spent more time searching for balls and then having to find someone in the big city mazes and corridors to hit.  And then by the time that happened, I’d be the one getting hit!  I think I would’ve liked the game more if the arenas were smaller and there were more balls to find and throw.  Also the game is just a pain to set up.  I don’t know if it’s because it’s an EA game, but you have to link an EA account to your Nintendo account, and that took forever and the EA servers had trouble connecting.  And then it happened again when I wanted to play some more later.  Also, and I don’t know if this is another EA thing, but the initial trailer for this game looked way cooler than the actual game.  It showed you playing as trolls and other neat characters.  But in the game, all you get to control are androgynous high-schoolers.  I think for now I’ll just stick with Super Dodge Ball.

Kid Factor:

Knockout City is rated E-10 with an ESRB descriptor of Fantasy Violence.  You can throw balls at opponents to smack them around, and knocked out players just disappear and respawn after a while.  Reading skill is helpful for the text, and parental supervision is recommended for the in-game purchases.

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