Divine Knockout hands-on preview – 3D Smash Bros

Divine Knockout Preview Thumbnail

Hi-Rez Studios gets a lot of flak for riding on trends, whether it’s MOBAs with Smite, hero shooters with Paladins (which unfortunately was announced shortly after Overwatch came out), or battle royales with Realm Royale.

However, they also generally do a good job at avoiding being a mere clone with their titles, and they’ve done it yet again with Divine Knockout, their new 3D platform fighter which is a spin-off of Smite.

Taking it to the third dimension allows it to stand out compared to recent games hopping on the crossover platform fighting scene such as Multiversus, or Nickelodeon All-Stars Brawl. The end result so far is actually really good during the playtime we got in the game’s closed alpha.

Divine Knockout is able to balance that line between a party title that Smash Bros. is known for targeting, while also giving more hardcore players something to work with competitively.

Starting things off is the game’s presentation. As a spin-off of Smite, all the characters in the currently very limited roster are all gods based on their incarnation from the MOBA. Though unlike Smite’s more realistic appearance, Divine Knockout goes for a cutesy chibi style look for all their characters.

This extends to the game’s multiple stages, where things are bright and cheerful to attract a more casual audience. This is fitting as the gameplay is also very casual compared to many others in the genre and against fighting games in general.

Basic attacks have a strong amount of auto aim to them, likely to allow forgiveness now that attacks are able to be done with 360 degrees of motion where enemies could be anywhere.

The same goes for each characters skills, which have a wide area of effect – meaning it’s fairly hard to miss as long as you’re pointing in the general direction of an opponent.

The skill floor for Divine Knockout is very low, which it plays greatly as a strength for a title not meant to be taken seriously. In a world where balance changes are constantly made, it’s refreshing to see a game where no character felt notably stronger or weaker compared to the others.

This casual nature also extends to the game’s three modes. While the 1v1 and 2v2 are much more competitive and skill intensive, the 3v3 mode really shines by allowing the game to embrace its casual nature. There’s a good divide between allowing those who want to take it seriously to prove themselves, while also giving casuals a place to just have fun.

And the 3v3 mode is a lot of fun, it contains rounds where objectives aren’t simply knocking out opponents off the stage more times than they knock you out. There’s coin collecting, oddball, and king of the hill to mix things up across the game’s handful of maps. So there’s a need to focus on multiple factors beyond comboing people off the map with insane technique.

This is an overall fun experience that those looking to mix things up after playing the many other platform fighters can hop on to kick back and relax a bit. But as with any multiplayer game, the support will be crucial, even more so when it comes to Divine Knockout.

The game has a very limited roster at launch, with only 10 gods to select, and over half need to be unlocked. Player count may also be an issue at launch, as it’s not a free-to-play title, unless you’re playing through PlayStation Plus.

Instead, getting access into Divine Knockout requires purchasing the founder’s edition, which costs around $25 and does net a couple skins and unlocks some of the game’s characters.

It just seems strange for a game that’s styled like a free-to-play title, to not actually be free-to-play. Hopefully Hi-Rez with Red Beard Games can give Divine Knockout solid support after it’s official launch, because it’s got a good foundation, but lacks a lot of content in key areas.

Divine Knockout is available now for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC (via Steam and Epic Games Store).


Got into gaming thanks to a nice old lady who lived across the street. Enjoy most genres of games.

Where'd our comments go? Subscribe to become a member to get commenting access and true free speech!