Showcased during the recent Nintendo Direct, Velan Studios’ Knockout City is a team-based action dodgeball game with a similar vibe and energy to games like Splatoon and Ninjala. As another title in the slate of EA Originals, this online-focused “dodge-brawler”–as the developers call it–is the next online game coming from EA that aims to be a fun and accessible take on classic multiplayer battles. Ahead of its launch on May 21, which will have a free trial for a set amount of time, select players will even be able to get some hands-on time with the upcoming closed beta on February 20.
Before the game’s public reveal, I had a chance to get some early hands-on time with the upcoming Closed Beta while also speaking with Velan Studios CEO Karthik Bala about the game’s making. The core concept of Knockout City is that it’s a fast-paced and tactical take on the familiar game of dodgeball. Set in a future metropolis that’s run by different gangs, you’ll take your new “dodge-brawler” up the ranks, customizing their look and style, honing your skills with a variety of different attack balls, and even coming up with tactical ways to use your own teammates as cannonballs to strike against the opposing team.
From my hands-on with Knockout City, I found it to be a surprisingly accessible approach to the conceit of an arena-style action game. Without worrying about choosing the right set of perks, gear options, or even character classes, the game keeps all players on a level playing field and gives all the tools they need to win. When you manage to grab a ball on the field, you can charge it up and fire it at your opponent. However, your opponent can still evade the projectile or even catch it in mid-air. The latter is risky, and it will require careful timing, and if you’re up against a crafty opponent, they can use fake-out moves and gestures to catch you off-guard.
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