Who has not played in his childhood to the ground is lava? And the pilla-pilla? Surely also to the rope or to the plates, with a high probability of having done the same with the dodgeball. And the latter is just what it is about Knockout City, the next EA Originals after Rocket Arena and developed by Velan Studios.
Officially featured at the Nintendo Direct a few days ago, it had a closed beta on PC during the past weekend, which I did not want to miss to see to what extent it respects the rules of the classic street game and also to check what it contributes to its formula, oriented here online.
A futuristic take on the classic dodgeball
While the main mode of this beta of Knockout City It only allowed team duels between six players (three per side), the final version will allow up to eight players, or with the option to play free-for-all games. And in any of the cases, its premise is simple: kill the opponent by throwing a ball to him until he ends his life (a maximum of two strokes) to score points.
The previous tutorial only emphasizes the basics, such as the shot, which can be fixed on the enemy, the parry (to counter the throw and catch the opponent’s ball) and the dodge move. But it has much more crumb: to begin with, we have a feint to deceive the enemy thinking that we are going to fire the shot; but we can even emulate Samus Aran and make us pass as a ball to be used as a “weapon” by an ally (or a rival, eye).
In the games we played there was a maximum of three rounds, each one winning the team that reached ten points. Even if we eliminate a player, he will reappear after a few seconds, as in the shooter shift. Because yes, in essence, Knockout City looks like a dodgeball passed through the filter of a lighthearted shooter, but with that obligation to first look for a ball (as if it were the ammunition of a weapon) to be able to attack. It goes without saying that they are not abundant and they come from specific points, some of them in neutral territory.
Control is easy to catch the first time, since we can fix the opponent so that the shot is directed automatically. Another issue is when making the stop, because if we fail we are vulnerable for a short period of time. And a failure means losing a heart. If we lose two, it will be a point for the enemy.
Knockout City, the next EA Originals in 2021
I did not expect much after his presentation of the aforementioned Nintendo Direct (from that event, I stayed more with the parodies of his cinematics, which you can see at the end of this preview), but the truth is that when we get to master the more advanced techniques, it gets to sting and it can have its audience, mainly for its original proposal within a classic game from our childhood.
There are aspects that have not convinced me of its beta, in any case, such as the fact of taking a hang glider if we press the jump button a second time. If we want to make an extra jump we have to press another button (“Y”, in the case of an Xbox controller), which allows us to circumvent some walls that would otherwise be impossible, unless we use a platform with momentum. Also, we are unable to hook onto the overhangs, which subtracts the fluidity of other games that bet on parkour, that lately rare is the game that does not have it.
Among other techniques that are curious, is the dodge, which serves older people to push the rival, seeing situations that may slightly remind us of Super Smash Bros., seeing players through the air off stage having to return using their skills. And there, the hang glider is essential, especially if they catch us in a “ball” shape, since the launch distance is much greater. It goes without saying that if we fall into the void, both hearts of life are suddenly consumed and it will be a point for the rival.
Obviously, in that spirit of shooter causes there to be different balls, with one that alters the gravity of the enemy, another that explodes like a bomb … It will not reach the level of spike that a Windjammers, of course, but I’m curious to see what it can offer in its final version. At least will have cross play between all exit systems, that is well received these days.
- Platforms: PC (Origin and Steam; reviewed version), PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch, with launch optimization for PS5 and Xbox Series X | S
- Multiplayer: yes, online (eight players)
- Developer: Velan Studios
- Company: EA
- Launch: May 21, 2021
- Price: to be confirmed