Knockout City Review


Knockout City is one of those free to play games that looks like a lot of fun but I wouldn’t say that it was marketed too heavily. It was certainly possible to just end up missing out on it. Well, I got to play it and it’s quite a bit of fun. Its main weakness is that it does rely on a team format meaning you can only do as well as your teammates. That is sure to get a little dicey for a while unless you can find a squad to join up with but it’s a solid all around title.

The games really follow the ole Dodgeball rules. It’s not instant elimination when you’re hit though and instead you respawn somewhere on the map. A typical match is a 3 vs 3 battle and the first team to 10 points wins. Getting hit by a car or falling off of the map will award the other team a point as well so you really have to stay vigilant at all times. Otherwise you could wind up giving the other team some instant points.

The controls are fairly easy to get the hang of. You can shoot the ball, pass, jump, double jump, and glide. The most important mechanic of course is catching a ball when someone throws it at you. You don’t actually knock them out by doing that but you prevent them from taking any points and can then fire your ball back at them right away. A good defense is a good offense right? This is the best chance to put that into practice and really dish out the damage. It take a little practice but before long you should be able to pull this off without too many issues.

There are different balls which all have different abilities so you’ll want to keep an eye out for them. The level has a little info section about the ball so you always have a heads up though. There’s only one kind of gimmick ball per level so you won’t be seeing a ton of them just show up. That said, it’s hard to beat the classic ball since it just feels really good when you’re able to secure the win there.

There are other modes too like a super hero one where everyone has powers and a 2 v 2 v 2 mode. Unfortunately there is no free for all or survival kind of mode. It would be nice to have at least one mode where you were on your own and I think the game should look into getting that mode available right away. There’s a whole lot of potential there right out of the gate and not using it just feels like a pretty big mistake.

So the game is fun but here are my brief issues with it. I already went into the lack of a solo mode. The other one is that the wait between matches can feel a little long. The announcer is trying to be very engaging with how he yells between the rounds but it’s more on the grating side. I would say you don’t need an announcer here and the game could just use that time in silence or putting you in a practice field like what Fortnite does. It would make the matches a little more seamless.

I also think the game could show where the dodgeballs are a little better. Sometimes it feels like you’re running around for a while trying to find them and I suspect this was not intentional. It just doesn’t seem to me like the game would want to make it hard for you to find the Dodgeballs so I suspect this wasn’t intentional. Perhaps there is a way to locate them easier and the game’s tutorial just didn’t cover it. That’s certainly possible so I don’t want to rule it out.

The graphics are solid here. They may not be cutting edge or anything as this is still a free to play game but it does well enough for itself. You should have a good time here. Then there is the soundtrack which is more on the forgettable side. You’re here for the gameplay either way though and that’s where the title excels. It does well with the Dodgeball mechanics and now we really know that the sport is possible to make into a video game. I’m surprised more titles don’t adapt this sport. I feel like there is a lot of potential here.

There’s naturally a ton of replay value as this game should go on for many years. You’ll have different modes popping in and out, new items, outfits, etc. As you progress through the levels you’ll unlock more things as well and one of the main advantages of a game like this is that the content never has to end. So if you like Dodgeball then this is a solid one to check out.

Overall, Knockout City does well in what it’s trying to accomplish. I had fun playing some rounds here and there. Ultimately it’s not quite as good as the big free to play title on the market in Fortnite though so it will be hard for this one to break out. It may end up getting a strong core fanbase but ultimately you need a lot of people if you want to become the next big thing and I’m not convinced that this one will make it in the long run. Guess we’ll see how it plays out.

Overall 7/10

Mario Sports Mix Review


Mario Sports Mix is a game that definitely fell to the backburner on my wish list for a while. It always looked like fun but at the same time not fun enough to buy. I think it’s because when Mario focuses on one sport you know that you’re going to get something amazing. When it’s a bunch of different sports in one game then you assume they will probably be a lot weaker. Still, I finally bought this game and I would say it’s pretty fun. It’s certainly not touching most of the other Mario sport titles but it’s a game you can certainly have fun playing with some friends. The replay value will be considerably lower if you play by yourself though.

So lets talk about each of the sports here. First off is Basketball since that’s definitely the biggest draw here. At least it’s the sport that pops out at you from the cover. It’s pretty fun even if it may not be quite as strong as Hoops 3 on 3. You do have all the rules in and making the shots is satisfying. I think making the block a little more complicated by having you shake the Wii remote is unnecessary but I’m sure they wanted to push the motion controls a bit. The game is fun but one issue here is how long each game takes. You can be playing the same game for a very long time as there is no mercy rule and each score shuts down the clock. After I was winning by a massive amount I just started running around to waste some time. I think a mercy rule should always be enabled to prevent that. It’s not the standard though so I suppose I shouldn’t expect this game to have that necessarily.

Part of why the game feels so long is because the computer A.I. just isn’t very good on most of the settings. Either they’re broken hard or extremely easy but there’s not much of a middle ground. Then you have Dodgeball which may be my favorite from from the 4 sports. It’s never really gotten a big video game before and it’s fun to run around the field and try to hit someone. The controls can take a little getting used to but once you’ve got them down, you’ll be doing well here. It’s a game that is easy to understand and makes a lot of sense the whole time. It can also be a bit on the longer side but if you’re dominating the opponents then you can make the game quicker. There’s no big time limit you have to wait on after all, just knock everyone out instead.

Next up is Volleyball and that one’s fun. I would say that the minigame for it in Mario Party is still better but it’s hard to top that one. The Mario Party version is fairly iconic after all. This one has the motion controls to worry about as well, but it’s still fun to coordinate your moves and try to land a spike. You’ll be thinking of Haikyu while playing as you remember those hype volleyball moments. It may not top the first two sports for me but it’s another fun one into the mix.

Finally you have the Hockey game. It’s the weakest of the 4 but still makes for a good time. The controls are good and while it may be hard to score, that’s true for all hockey games. You get used to the goalie being super powerful after a while and just come to accept it. Either way the computer won’t be doing much against you so you can keep landing hits until you finally win. At that point you will have completed all 4 of the games.

Aside from the main sports there are also some minigames that use the same gameplay but switch things up a bit. They’re effectively using the game’s gameplay without the time limit. They’re fun and it’s a nice little touch that shows how the developers were trying to add some more content and variety in here. I appreciate that and the minigames are good so you can certainly have fun spending time there.

In general I would say the game has a good amount of replay value. You can play the sports in exhibition mode or in tournament mode. You have the minigames and of course the multiplayer content as well. So that’s enough to keep you playing for a very long time. Most multiplayer games by default have a lot of replay value for that reason. I’m still not prepared to put this up against most of the mainline sport games since I think they’re just on a different level, but this is a very capable game from start to finish.

The graphics are solid and will remind you of the classic Mario games for the Gamecube. It’s definitely got that kind of artstyle going for it. It’s also really nostalgic to see the characters one more time. It feels like a while since we’ve gotten some big Mario sport titles. Golf doesn’t really do it for me and the latest Tennis titles have gone in too hard with the gimmicks. We need a return to basics like this. The soundtrack is also good although it doesn’t really stand out the way it does for Mario Kart. Maybe next time they’ll be able to get in some really iconic tunes to go along with the game.

Overall, I enjoyed Mario Sports Mix. It’s a fun game and you can get it for a pretty decent price nowadays. If you enjoy Mario games and like your sports then this is one game that you don’t want to miss out on. If we’re lucky then maybe they’ll make a sequel at some point. Without the Wii Remote holding it back, I suspect the next ones will really be able to go all in on the fun gameplay. The sky’s the limit there and of course the game I’m really waiting for is Mario Football. One day they’ve gotta come out with that right?

Overall 7/10

Major League Baseball 2K7 Review


It’s time for another Baseball game! This one could actually be the last one I review for a while which is pretty crazy. I have two more MLB games, but they haven’t been working. If they don’t start working soon then it’ll be time to cut my losses with them. Baseball is one of the few series where I actually tend to prefer 2K to the main line games. 2K7 is no exception and actually has the best batting mechanics I’ve seen yet. If you really like Baseball then this is the title for you. It’s still not really my sport when it comes to video games because I feel like there is too much RNG, but at least now I can hit the ball back.

There are a lot of modes as always here but the one you will want is the exhibition mode right off the bat. I just wanted to test my skills against another Baseball team and so I dashed over. Much to my surprise I actually put up a pretty good fight here. It started out badly as I was down 3-0 after a few innings. I just couldn’t manage to hit the ball. I checked the settings and the reason for this was that the game was using motion controls. You were supposed to tilt your controller in order to swing. This is all well and good except for the fact that my PS3 controller has no such feature. I switched the controls to what they listed as “Classic” which allowed me to hit the ball normally. It went back to a classic “Press X” control scheme which is way more my speed.

So I started to make my comeback. I was hitting balls left and right. A lot of them went foul but others would actually be home runs. Eventually the game ended with a score of 9-6. I may have lost, but I got really close compared to most games where I lose 18-0 or something like that. At least this one made me feel like I was in the game at several points. It still doesn’t really take away from my main issue with these Baseball games though. My problem is that none of it feels like it’s in my control.

When pitching, the guy will just hit the ball sometimes. It doesn’t matter if you hit the perfect pitch, sometimes the guy will simply be ready for it. Likewise when you’re batting you can be in just the right spot and still not hit the ball. Perhaps it was outside and it just looked like it was in. Even worse is when you hit the ball and it goes out of bounds or straight into someone’s mitt. I know there are ways to angle your hit better and if you don’t want to go out of bounds then you’ve got to work on timing but there is too much that is out of my control for me to enjoy it as much as the others.

Basketball, Football, and Tennis are my three favorite sports to play in video game format and that’s because RNG is kept to a minimum there. What you see is what you get. If you mess up then it’s all on you. Sure, there is RNG present in every game and those are not exceptions, but they don’t feel nearly as frequent as they do in Baseball. No matter how refined the controls get, I feel as though that will always be holding the series back to an extent.

As always the graphics are good though. The players all look lifelike and the Baseball field is very clear. A lot of effort went into this even if it’s not quite up to Madden level. The presentation is also nice with a lot of quick cutscenes showing up between plays or after the game. Even seeing everyone heading into the stadium was a lot of fun. Slowly but surely the games are all starting to have big presentations like this and I think it’s definitely a good thing. It makes the whole thing look and feel even more realistic.

There’s a lot of replay value to be had here so you don’t have to worry about running out of content. That’s never really been a concern in Baseball games though so I would have been surprised if there was a lack of content. You can play endless matches against all of the teams and there are a lot of modes to try out. Considering that the game is only about a dollar or two nowadays it’s really a great deal for sure.

Overall, Major League Baseball 2K7 is probably one of the best Baseball games I’ve played. It’s quite solid for a Baseball game, but still doesn’t solve the things that were issues for me. I think the games need to take a bit of inspiration from the Mario Baseball game for Gamecube. Of course they wouldn’t grab the special abilities or anything like that, but the batting mechanics were quite solid. There you felt like every ball went exactly where you wanted it to go and that’s a really good thing. I’m confident it will happen in a main Baseball game someday.

Overall 5/10

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 Review


It’s time to look at a golf game that I’ve owned for a very long time. Golf is easily my least favorite sport at least from all of the mainstream ones. It’s just never really peaked my interest whether it be playing the game, watching on TV, or playing it through video game form. Still, it was only around a dollar so what’s the harm in giving it a whirl right? I’ll give the game this, it’s a fairly peaceful title. I could see this being enjoyed in the same way as something like Journey where you just admire the surroundings. Ultimately I wouldn’t be playing it for very long though.

So there are a few modes here like usual. You can jump into the practice, tournaments, or a quick game. Well, it’s not all that quick, but it’s a standard match. In Golf a standard match takes 18 holes and you tally up the score at the end. You want to have as low a score as possible since the higher it is, the more turns it took you to clear each hole. You start off a long way away from the golf ball and the idea is to get it in the hole in as few turns as possible. It’s a simple objective, but it does take a whole lot of skill to get to that point. You’ve got multiple clubs which each have a different use to them. You’ll have to get used to how much power each swing should have behind it or you’ll constantly be hitting to the wrong spots.

You can alter the trajectory once you have launched the ball and even apply a back spin once it lands. At that point you have so many things to worry about that you will need a lot of practice to get it right. Then depending on where you are with the ball you have obstacles that will cause you to recalculate eveyrthing once more. If you’re stuck in a ditch for example then the ball won’t really want to travel very far so you’ll have to overcompensate by hitting it extra hard. Sometimes it’s worth just doing a small pop up to get it out and then going for the real strike.

After each hit you get nice little cinematics where your player will shake his head or celebrate a bit depending on what you just did. No worries, these little scenes are entirely optional, but I think it’s a pretty nice effect. It makes the game feel a little more cinematic for sure. It’s the kind of thing that’ll be fun if you’re playing multiplayer since everyone can banter and chuckle it up for a while between plays. The 18 holes took me around 30-40 minutes to play so ultimately it felt a little longer than most of the other sports. It really depends on how quickly you can get the ball in the holes though.

As expected the graphics are really good. This is especially important for a sport game like Golf because the greenery should look amazing. I enjoyed just taking in the sights between plays. Even when losing you don’t feel all that bad in Golf. This is because the game is just so peaceful and it works out quite well. I haven’t played a game this peaceful in quite a while. Meanwhile I can’t recall a soundtrack. Just enjoy the sounds of nature instead and become one with the game.

There’s a lot of replay value here of course since you can keep playing golf games at your leisure. There isn’t any kind of story mode here so there doesn’t ever have to be an ending to the game. Just keep going ahead full speed and you’ll be quite fine. As always you will just have to decide if you want to keep playing this game because while the price is great, you could get a newer golf title for almost the same value. It’s just something that you may want to consider is all I’m saying.

So in my normal match I had a score of around 36-39. I know that’s a pretty bad score, but surprisingly the game didn’t show me the score of anyone else so it’s hard to say just how bad it was. Who knows, maybe I still would have made top 5 or something. I think it would be nice to have computers playing against me there. Most games have them in every mode, but here it looks like I would have needed to enter tournament mode or season mode. Perhaps I’ll try a match for that in the next Golf game I play, but if not I’ll still do my best to sink all my shots. Then I can feel more confident in my golfing abilities.

Overall, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 isn’t really for me. I’d have some fun messing around here as I enjoy the view, but I wouldn’t really be playing the game the way it was intended. Perhaps as I play I would gain a lot of skills and gradually get to the point where I would be playing Golf again. More likely though I would just be along for the ride. It would be incredibly difficult for any golf game to really suck me in to be honest. It would have to start messing with the rules and naturally I don’t think that would be a really good thing for actual Golf fans.

Overall 5/10

Super Soccer Review


We’re getting closer and closer to knocking out all of the SNES games. Only 5 remain which include an RPG, a LOZ title, and 2 side scrollers. It’s been a good run, but this tells me that Nintendo needs to hurry up and start adding more games to the lineup. I don’t want to have to go back to the NES games just yet, but I will if necessary. That one still has a whole bunch that I haven’t checked out to be honest. This Soccer title isn’t all that good. Of course the controls were limited for its time, but even so it just doesn’t age too well and you won’t be playing it for very long.

The film throws you onto the soccer field and the camera angle is from above so think of it like playing Foosball from the old arcades. Instead of flipping the pieces you still do run for the ball, but everyone moves like one unit. When you’re on defense you are controlling all of the players on screen at the same time which is definitely pretty interesting. It means that there is a lot of team unity here, but at the same time it also means that it can be difficult to cover multiple people. Defense was pretty challenging here and I lost my first game 6-1. It’s definitely not like the other Soccer games where I barely even allow 1 goal.

Then we’ve got offense gameplay. On this side of the ball it really feels like you can’t do anything. You can move, shoot, and pass and that’s it. Without a way to accelerate the other players would always trip me up from behind. I’d try to pass it away, but they steal the ball in midair. The defensive players really were not playing around at all and just kept getting in the way over and over again. They were all like perfect players. I appreciate the A.I. being pretty sound but it was getting out of hand. I don’t even begin to guess what the answer to this would be. How do you get around such gameplay? The gameplay doesn’t even seem that bad, it’s just not all that balanced.

I scored a total of one goal across two games. After this I figured I should at least try the Penalty Shootout mode. I played that one twice, but still couldn’t score once while they made all of their shots. Super Soccer is definitely not for casual soccer players. I definitely see that now as I was completely crushed in the end. The computers just aren’t playing around here.

As for the graphics, they look pretty good. It’s not going to be something to write home about but at least you can always tell what is happening. There isn’t really a soundtrack, but that should come as no surprise. In terms of replay value there isn’t a whole lot to do in the game after you play a few rounds. The same can be said for most sport games, but especially one as old as this. There are just better soccer games to play whether you like the realistic FIFA titles or want something more like Ubisoft soccer. Either way this one wouldn’t make the cut.

Overall, Super Soccer is not a game that you will remember very well. It’ll get lost to the ages of time, but it’s still nice to have been able to play it at least once. If you’ve got the Switch online then you should check it out. It really can’t hurt to play it for a while since the game is free right? That being said, you’ll quickly move on to the next title as I have. This was the last SNES sport title I hadn’t played so next time it’s back to more of the side scrolling type!

Overall 5/10

ESPN Sports Connection Review


It’s time to look at a fairly recent Wii U game I got to play. I haven’t had a chance to play a true cash-in title in quite a while so it was nostalgic to an extent. That being said, the game was pretty underwhelming and falls for most of the traps that the Wii U games tend to sink in. The Gamepad and Wii Remote are both mandatory which is an issue since the Wii U should be able to play the game with its own controls. It’s like asking you to have a Gamepad while playing a Nintendo Switch game.

There are 6 games here and they range from okay to downright bad. It’s really something that Wii Sports has aged a lot better with the controls and pure gameplay. ESPN is just not on the same level and that’s really a bad sign. None of the games feel like they had any real care in them and they were simply slapped together for a quick profit. There is barely even a main menu as the only options are to click into the games or look at your in-game achievements. Those are your only options so the game is incredibly quick as you have probably already begun to suspect. Well, lets look at the games.

First up is Football which should have been great, but unfortunately the game messed this up by making it all motions controls. Throwing the ball is actually very difficult because the game won’t read your commands and by the time you are able to toss the ball it is usually too late so your guy will drop the ball. A lot of the game also boils down to luck as you pick 1 of 4 directions and hope that the other player picked a different one. If you pick the same one then the defender ends up stopping the attacker. It just doesn’t feel like Football, especially since you can’t run the ball at all even after catching it. All you can do is throw the ball which doesn’t even work well. Thumbs down on the first sport.

Then we have Tennis which has controls that are worse than the Balls of Fury game for the Wii. It’s made to be like Wii Sports as you swing your arm around and try to connect but the sensors aren’t perfect for this one either. You’ll have a very tough time hitting the ball and an even tougher time trying to get it to go where you want it to. The points all last way too long and so do the matches. It may be fair to say that this is the worst version of tennis that I have played in a game.

Not to be outdone, the Golf game here isn’t any better. In fairness to this minigame, it’s no worse than most Golf titles. It’s just that Golf isn’t for me and this is not the game to change that. You will have a hard time hitting the ball just right because you’ll end up swinging too hard to compensate for the sensor not reading your light hit. That means you can expect to get a Bogey instead of a Birdie.

Then you have Karting which is the best game almost by default. It’s not great or even that good, but at least it feels like a real game. You can actually accelerate accurately and the stages had a little effort put into them. By now it’s a pretty small bar, but I’ll take what I can get. This was probably the best game out of the 6 and it shows that racing games are still the foundation upon which everything tries to get built. It’s just easy to at least give you the impression of being in control here.

Next is Baseball and this one has the same issues as the Football game. It doesn’t feel much like Baseball because so much of the game is completely out of your control. There’s just no fun to be had here which is a real problem. Pitching feels pretty OP while batting isn’t satisfying. This leads to a poor balance for sure. Finally we have Soccer. Admittedly this one isn’t too bad. It’s up there with the Kart game for at least being entertaining. The controls are simple and you can actually score. It feels like soccer which is the important thing. So, all in all the game got 2/6 of the games right. I can’t really give it a ton of praise for that, but I’ll at least give it some credit.

Not enough to recommend the game though. When you see the name ESPN slapped onto something you expect a certain level of quality. This game did not fulfill that at all. It just went through the motions and ultimately gave you a title that you can’t really be all that proud of. The graphics are okay, but nothing special. They’re going for an art style like Backyard Football, but with less of a budget. It’s all colorful, but not very impressive. The soundtrack and presentation are basically nonexistent here so that isn’t doing the game any favors here either.

There is some replay value through the achievements that the game gives out. Each sport has 40 achievements and there are 28 social ones. Completing all of these achievements will be very difficult unless you have another player to cheese them with. I got a reasonable amount of achievements, but since they don’t unlock anything there really isn’t much point to them either. There isn’t even a mode to play all of the sports at once. It’s like playing Mario Party but without the party mode and knocking the dozens of minigames down to 6. Even if these minigames were amazing (which they aren’t) it would be tough to hold my attention for very long with such a limited selection.

Overall, ESPN Sports Connection is not a good game. It’s probably the most disappointing game since Star Fox Zero. There just should have been so much more to this title but it could not deliver on anything. Even the karting, while okay ends up making Mario Kart Tour look good. You could just buy a game that specializes in one of these 6 sports instead of buying the mini version. It can be done well like Wii Sports, but for the most part I tend to see a pattern of these kind of games being low quality. The game is only 2-3 dollars so it’s not a big loss if you buy it, but I would recommend going for something else instead. This one just won’t last you very long at all.

Overall 3/10