What Parents Need to Know About Knockout City

Written by Patricia E. Vance, President, ESRB
June 4, 2021

Everyone remembers the mix of joy and horror upon entering gym class only to find a row of red vinyl balls sitting in the center of the floor. It means it’s dodgeball day. Knockout City aims to bring that jolt of adrenaline home with a dodgeball-like online multiplayer game.

Released in May, Knockout City is quickly climbing charts on Twitch and Steam as more and more gamers discover the new game from Velan Studios (published by Electronic Arts). Fortunately, ESRB is here to help parents like you understand what Knockout City is and whether it’s appropriate for your family.

What is Knockout City?

Knockout City is an online, team-based multiplayer game that pits gamers against each other in a dodgeball-like game of running, jumping, dodging, and throwing – but in this case, it’s called Dodgebrawl.

The gameplay hinges around your schoolyard dodgeball rules: Don’t get hit!

Available on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X∣S, and Nintendo Switch, Knockout City invites players to participate in several different modes and maps, all with the goal of knocking out opponents by throwing stylized dodgeballs.

Whether your kids are playing Team KO, Face Off, Diamond Dash, or Ball-Up-Brawl the gameplay hinges around your schoolyard dodgeball rules: Don’t get hit!

Is Knockout City Appropriate for Your Kids?

Knockout City is rated E10+ (Everyone 10+) with a Content Descriptor for Fantasy Violence. It also has Interactive Elements that include Users Interact – meaning players can communicate online – and In-Game Purchases – which indicates that the game offers the ability to make additional purchases using in-game currency (purchased with real money).

According to ESRB’s rating summary, Knockout City includes frenetic gameplay with some “cries of pain, explosions, and slow-motion effects”. That said, the overall presentation is whimsical and cartoony, making it a good fit for most kids aged 10 and older. Of course, every child is different and a parent is the best person to determine which games are appropriate for their children.

Managing In-Game Communications

As with most online video games, Knockout City allows gamers to interact in real-time via voice chat. This can be a big part of a fun team dynamic for some players, but it also opens the door for kids to come into contact with strangers.

Your kids can play with other players, regardless of what console or platform they use.

The best way to manage this it to set the parental controls on your kids’ device of choice. In some cases, you can individually approve the people on your children’s friends lists, so you always know to whom they’re talking. If not, there are a number of other solutions, including setting chat to play through the speakers so you can listen, or blocking player-to-player communications altogether but that can obviously take a lot of the fun out of the multiplayer experience. Don’t forget that your kids can always block, mute or report other players in-game who are acting up or making them feel uncomfortable.

In addition to being an online game, Knockout City also offers cross-platform play. This means that your kids can play with other players, regardless of what console or platform they use. Your kids may want to play on their Nintendo Switch, while their friends may want to play on their new PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X; cross-platform play makes it easy for them to play together no matter what. Note that cross-platform play can, in some cases, make it more difficult to manage with whom your kids play when using parental controls. Thankfully, if you’re concerned about your kids communicating with people that may be harder to block or avoid, modern gaming devices allow you to simply turn off cross-platform play.  At the end of the day, you can always have an earnest conversation with your child about the rules of the road when it comes to online game play.

How Much Does it Cost?

Knockout City is currently available for $19.99 on all available platforms.

The game includes the ability to make in-game purchases using Knockout City’s in-game currency: Holobux. In addition to earning currency by playing the game, you can purchase Holobux with real money ranging from $4.99 (for 500 Holobux) to $49.99 (for 5,000 Holobux). Players can exchange their stash of Holobux for cosmetic gear to customize their avatar and Crew (Knockout City’s name for a team) with emotes, colors, costumes and more.

Remember that you can set parental controls to limit how much money your kids are permitted to spend on in-game purchases or block them altogether! Don’t forget to visit ParentalTools.org for step-by-step parental control guides to help you manage what your kids play, with whom, for how long, and how much money they can spend.

Pat Vance - Headshot 2019Patricia E. Vance is the president of the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB). In her position, she leads the teams responsible for assigning age and content ratings to video games and apps, enforcing marketing guidelines adopted by the video game industry, and operating ESRB Privacy Certified, an FTC-sanctioned COPPA Safe Harbor Privacy seal certification program.