Knockout City – Review (PC)

When this game was first announced I was highly sceptical, it looked like a big YIKES. However, I have to say, while the visuals and models are still YIKES, the gameplay is much better than I anticipated. This is one of the better EA games in recent years and has a lot of potential.


The gameplay on the surface feels very lacking and 0 depth, you don’t actually aim your throws, there’s a forced lock-on system, all you do is choose the person and throw. This sounds so simplistic it would become boring very quickly, however that is not the case, due to the use of multiple well thought out mechanics.

The game has dodges and dashes as you would expect, double jumps and special types of jumps. Q and E are special jumps, Q is an overheard mortar like throw, and E is a spin which is a curve shot. All throws can be charged also. Passing is an option and ups the speed of the next throw. There are also perfect catches, if you time the catch from an enemy right (the window is actually large on first throws), the ball will become purple, every perfect catch ups the speed of the next throw, which means the timing on dodging or catching the next shot is going to be different for your enemy. You can also feint throws.

These systems a lone add a lot of depth to the combat, it is not too dissimilar from a fighting game. You are having to watch the animations on your enemy, time your dodges or catches, time your throws and choose the right type of throw. Based on your environment you must choose the right throws and timings right; feinting is a big part of the game to throw your enemy off.

There are other systems, for example, you can roll into a ball and let your teammates throw you. Not only that a fully charged shot of you turns your attack into a mortar special with a large radius, which if timed and planned right can wipe out the entire enemy team depending on the situation. If you dash into someone you will make them lose their ball and briefly stun them, which can be used very tactically if co-ordinated. There are also different types of balls, each round consists of normal balls and a special type of ball, which could be a timed bomb with a big explosive radius, multi balls and so on.  

There’s also gliding and other forms of movement etc that I have not mentioned. All of these come together amazingly well and make you feel like you have options. You also have all the tools at your disposal that unlike a lot of other games means 3 v 1 is completely winnable. There will be multiple times where if you do everything right you can take down an entire team solo.  This is what makes the game fun. All the options gel so well for both team-based play and single play. The arenas are well designed, and everything just works. It is not the most in-depth multiplayer game ever made, it however has enough depth to make every match interesting (if you are not matched with much higher skill levels), there is a genuine skill wall.


Graphically the game looks better than I expected, it is generic, but it gets the job done and it has a decent colour palette. Where it falls apart however is animations and models. The character models are simply horrific, these are the worst character models I have ever seen. The are very blocky and low polygon and just horrible in every way imaginable. The animations generally leave a lot to be desired, the rag dolls are somewhat humorous, but everything is just serviceable, there is no real sense of strength, or body contortions based on how you take the shot. It is just a serviceable animation. However, this is a low budget title that is on multiple platforms with cross-play so that is to be expected.  


The sounds in the game are again nothing special but fine. The ball sounds are good but that is because they are extremely easy to record.  The music is perfectly fine and does its job. The special sounds and other sound effects again are simply fine. I do however have to confess one thing, when you boot up the game and you hear the commentator talking about pirate radio and the music in the background, it did remind me of Jet Set Radio. The rest of the game does not, but it must be said every time you boto the game there is an initial JSR vibe and that is a good thing.


At launch, the game features five maps and six modes. All the maps are set in a futuristic metropolis named Knockout City, and each map also features various environmental hazards which can knock a player out. The modes announced include Team KO, which is a variant of team death-match, Diamond Dash, in which players must collect diamonds dropped by defeated enemies, and Ball-Up, a four-versus-four mode in which the player must throw their teammates to eliminate enemies. The player can also form a Crew of maximum 32 players. Right now, the ranked mode matchmaking Is a bit iffy but this might naturally work itself out over time.

Net code

This is where there are issues with the game but understandably so. I am not sure what the tick rate is, but while it does seem good enough, the game is cross-play. This brings issues, people will be running at different frame rates, a lot of people on console use wireless and have varying quality of internet.  This means you will experience laggy matches or have a player lagging out all over the screen, if I disable cross-play this does alleviate the issue somewhat, as majority of PC users are on cabled internet. However, the problem persists. Net code is an area for improvement.

PC report

I am pleased to report that frame timings when FPS is capped at a driver level are very solid, and performance is above average. The game is incredibly basic and could run better however my 8700K at 4.7GHz on all cores a 3080 OC and16GB LL DDR4 RAM at 3600Mhz rig, maxes it out no problems. At 1440p with 150% resolution scale I can always get a solid 140FPS with 30%+ GPU left on the table, the next step up is 200% which is effectively 8K at that point I cannot maintain a solid 140, but it is easily over 100FPS majority of the time. The game should run on anything, and while the options for mouse controls etc are extremely basic and I see no RAW input option It feels fine. I would have to say this is a very solid PC port.


Knockout City is a fantastic budget title, that is now F2P up to lv 25, has no P2W elements, is incredibly fun fantastically priced and has a great foundation to be built on. This game is a good, if not great title as is, but with more modes, maps and balls added overtime. In addition to improvements to net code, this game could be something quite special by the end of the year and is a solid release by EA, and another Indie/small studio success story.  At £17.99 RRP for the standard edition (which is all you need), This is a very strong Recommendation, based on its future potential with new seasons, however even at launch its price is completely justified.


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