Velan Studios, the studio behind the mixed-reality racer Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit, has revealed its next title: Knockout City, a team-based online dodgeball game. And it’s launching soon, as the game will be released on May 21st on Origin, Steam, the Playstation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch, with enhancements for the PS5 and Xbox Series X. EA is publishing the game under its EA Originals label.
Knockout City’s take on dodgeball is similar to what you probably played in gym class. You and your team are trying to hit your opponents with balls while simultaneously avoiding and catching the balls thrown at you. In addition to straight-on throws, you can curve your shots, lob balls over obstacles, and even fake throws to try to catch your opponent off-balance.
Image: Velan Studios
But there’s quite a bit that you probably didn’t have to deal with when you played dodgeball as a kid. There are balls with special powers, like a bomb ball that will blow up (hopefully not in your hands). You can also turn yourself into a ball, and your teammates can pass you around, chuck you at enemies, or even use your balled-up form for a special attack.
You’ll automatically lock onto nearby opponents, meaning that you won’t have to worry as much about aiming as you would in other team-based games. Instead, Knockout City seems to be more about strategically timing your throws or coordinating with your teammates to get a good angle on someone.
The game also has a slick street-inspired style that’s aided by the huge variety of in-game cosmetics available. You can unlock new cosmetics through completing certain tasks or by buying them with Holobux, Knockout City’s in-game currency. And from what I could tell, the game seems to have a great soundtrack. During a preview event, I heard a jazzy big-band song that would feel right at home in an Incredibles movie.
Image: Velan Studios
Knockout City’s approachable-looking take on dodgeball and its distinctive style all reminded me a lot of Splatoon, which put a Nintendo spin on the team-based shooter genre with great results. I haven’t been able to try Knockout City myself yet, but I’m looking forward to giving it a shot.
The game will cost $19.99, and that flat fee will give you access to all of the game’s nine-week seasons. Velan Studios plans to offer a free trial of the full game when it launches, but it hasn’t announced how long that trial will last. There will also be a closed beta on PC on February 20th and 21st.
The game will also have crossplay and cross-progression between platforms, but you’ll have to buy Knockout City for each platform on which you want to play it. That might be a tough pill to swallow if you’re used to playing games like Fortnite or Rocket League on whatever device you happen to be using at the time without having to buy the game outright.