This will probably wind up being a contentious inclusion in our Game of the Year countdown, but it really shouldn't. Knockout City is an online-only multiplayer game with broad appeal, fuelled by frequent post-launch updates and battle pass-style progression. While many will condemn it for those reasons, we strongly believe that this title is fundamentally fantastic, and that anyone dismissing its GaaS framework is missing out.
What makes it stand out is its core gameplay. Like many of the more popular multiplayer titles out there, Knockout City is a shining example of "easy to learn, hard to master". You can throw, catch, and dodge balls, but there's more nuance to the experience than it first appears. You're able to perform feints, curved and arced shots, pass to your teammates, and even become a ball yourself. It's when all of these options are put to use, and you begin playing mind games with your opponents, that the core loop's potential reveals itself. Also, it just feels very satisfying to thwack someone in the face with a big rubber ball.
Combine the responsive gameplay with excellent netcode and rapidly-paced matches, and you have yourself an addictive game with that one-more-go pull. Rewards for your efforts are pretty much all cosmetic, but there's great variety in what you can unlock and how, with dozens of contracts rewarding you with XP and in-game currency for completing simple objectives.
Those aforementioned updates, by the way, have all been great so far. Each brings another imaginative arena into the fold, along with new modes and playlists that keep twisting the basic gameplay in unique and fun ways. Like Rocket League, Knockout City takes a well-known sport and puts an interesting spin on it, and the end result is something endlessly playable — especially with friends. For the type of game it is, it gets just about everything right; even the microtransactions are okay, tucked away in a corner and completely unnecessary.
Of course, not everyone enjoys playing online, but for those that do, this is an easy-going blast, and deserving of recognition in our end-of-year rundown.
You can read our full Knockout City review here.
Push Square's Game of the Year list is primarily decided by an internal staff vote. Our community Game of the Year poll is also taken into account. Feel free to agree or disagree with our list in the comments section below!
You can check out all of our Game of the Year coverage by clicking the link.