Good-Ass Games: Knockout City Packs a Lot of Punch in a Small Package

Illustration for article titled Good-Ass Games: Knockout City Packs a Lot of Punch in a Small Package
Photo: Electronic Arts

Y’all. I missed variety.

I’m sure I’m not alone in this, but a year spent alone doing the same thing again and again and again has left your boy...different. Now that I’ve been able to get back to seeing movies, watching the Suns straight body the Lakers with my boys, and generally not having my entire existence confined to a couch, I’ve been left with an intense desire to change things up.

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Now that I can do things, I want to do different things, explore new avenues—at the very least, try to make sure I’m always spending my time in interesting ways. That newfound desire to change it up has also bled into my gaming habits.

Lately, I’ve just been playing shit. Some of it good, some of it bad, but all of it outside my norm. It doesn’t hurt that I’ve got an Xbox Game Pass subscription that lets me indulge my curiosity without breaking the bank. That spirit of curiosity led me to download Knockout City, a game I can’t say I really gave two shits about when it was initially revealed. It looked like a cartoony multiplayer game in an ocean full of cartoony multiplayer games. What makes this one so special?

Well, for starters, it kind of fucking bangs.

Knockout City is, at its core, an online dodgeball game with very simple mechanics. In its primary 3 v 3 mode, you and a team of two other people do battle across various stages in a fairly kinetic game of dodgeball. You can throw the ball, catch the ball, dodge the ball, and you can also glide because Fortnite. The game also has a unique mechanic where you can roll into a ball and let your teammate throw you into an opponent.

Learning the game is pretty easy, with the early tutorials doing a good job explaining how the game works. While it took me a few matches to get a feel for it, I quickly found myself getting very invested in these matches. I can’t lie, I never really thought dodgeball would be a compelling concept for a multiplayer game, but having seen how well Knockout City, uh, knocks out the concept, I’m honestly surprised we haven’t seen more games try it.

In addition to the 3v3 mode, there are three additional modes you unlock once you get past level five. There’s a four player free-for-all mode that, predictably, is a very different energy from the team based mode. You gotta keep that thing on you at all times in the free-for-all. I can’t tell you how many times I got taken out while taking someone else out.

This is low-key one of my favorite types of games. It doesn’t try to do a lot, but what it is doing it does very well. I really don’t have any complaints about this game. Matches never dropped, I didn’t have a problem finding players, and the core gameplay is not only incredibly fun, but also mad unique.

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Seriously, who else is making dodgeball games like that?

If you can’t tell by now, my desire to change it up has also bled into this column. Instead of giving you quick blurbs on games I find on sale, I figure, why don’t we take deeper dives into some lowkey heat that won’t break the bank? As I mentioned earlier, I downloaded Knockout City using my Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription, and even if you don’t have Game Pass, the game is still really cheap at only $20.

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If you were sleeping on Knockout City, give it a look. I can say with certainty that there aren’t too many other games like it.

The stylin', profilin', limousine riding, jet flying, wheelin' and dealin' nerd of The Root.

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