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Rocket League’s new Knockout Bash is Super Smash Bros for cars

Rocket League looks to channel Nintendo’s hit fighting game Super Smash Bros. Ultimate in its next limited time event, Knockout Bash

Rocket League: A car can be seen driving while another is one a field

Rocket League, a game famous for its superb blend of football and rocket-powered battle cars (or ‘soccar’ – still an all-too excellent pun), has never been one to shy away from a fresh game-on-game mash-up. We’ve had cars do basketball, we’ve had cars do ice hockey – basically, we’ve had cars do anything other than racing. Well, while it’s still not quite cars-do-Mario Kart, we now have the next best thing: cars doing Super Smash Bros.

“Knockout” is an upcoming limited time mode coming to Psyonix’s vehicular soccer game next week, as part of the “Knockout Bash” in-game event. The goal of the mode is simple – you hit your opponents with your car hard enough that they either fly out of the arena, or into a deadly hazard. Deaths are limited and the last car standing wins.

The event will run from April 27 to May 10 and offers players a chance to win golden gift baskets, which net you classic rare items from past Rocket League events. The mode launches right in the middle of the animation-themed Season 6, which boasts plenty of unique Rocket League ranks and rewards itself, so it seems as good a time as ever to fire up the ol’ rocket cars and take ‘em for a spin.

Knockout does add a few twists to your usual Rocket League experience, even beyond the fact that you’re now incentivised to hit the other cars (though you always could, and you always should). For one, there are no teams in this mode – instead, it’s an 8-player free-for-all, not unlike Super Smash Bros Ultimate’s 8-player smash mode. Or, indeed, a battle royale – if one forgets that we use that term for games with a large number of players on big open maps, not just anytime there’s a deathmatch mode included.

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Another change is the shake-up to the core gameplay, as a rock-paper-scissors combat design has been implemented. Depending on whether you’re dodging away or towards an opponent, you will activate an attack or a block that can send your opponent flying. Plus, if you hold down the ‘grab’ button (whatever that might be), you can pick up an enemy car and toss them – so long as you don’t grab into an attack, in which case you can kiss the sky.

Other changes, like the ability to triple jump (like Pit from Super Smash Bros), stun (like Zero Suit Samus from Super Smash Bros), and multi dodge (like… well, actually, nobody in Smash can multi dodge in the air, so this one goes to Rocket League). The game mode will also introduce three purpose-built arenas just for the mode, each of which will have hazards and pitfalls placed throughout to keep players on their… wheels.

With the new mode, new season, and the Rocket League Championship Series gearing up for a return in June, it will be exciting to see whether it will pique interest once more in the evergreen esports game. Thanks to the latest performance upgrade on consoles, Rocket League made our PS5 best multiplayer games list, so we’ll certainly be keeping an eye on it.