Political parodies have existed in the form of video games for a long time, although most of them were amateur Flash games that you play once and never look back at.
Election Year Knockout gives off the same impression due to its simple art style, but once you begin playing it you realize that it’s much more than that.
It’s a surprisingly polished boxing mobile game built entirely around a parody of political debates. Since it’s not realistic, it incorporates many fun elements within the gameplay such as super moves and giving special powers to your opponents – which can be both intense and hilarious to play against.
So, does the game manage to remain consistently entertaining? Let’s find out.
The gameplay of Election Year Knockout is very simple.
There are two difficulty settings to choose from, one is called Casual which is a bit easier to play in. And the other one is called Classic, in which opponents use their special abilities more often and it enables on-screen buttons for attacks on the left and right sides.
There are four types of punches. Two of them are attacks that target the lower portion of your opponent’s body, and the other two target the upper portion. If you hold both left and right sides of the screen, you raise your guard and block enemy attacks that aren’t too powerful.
Additionally, swiping backward, based on which angle you swiped in, allows you to dodge in different directions which is very useful for attacks that cannot be blocked.
Your opponents usually have far more attack options, such as the Ted Cruz parody character using giant scorpion stings to attack you, or at times, splitting himself into two people who take turns in attacking. Fortunately, it does not feel unfair since you do have the tools to counter almost everything.
The game feels more like an action beat ‘em up than something about boxing since your opponents become more and more ridiculous in time and there’s even a pirate character that throws literal cannonballs at you that you need to dodge. But that’s not a bad thing, as the game knows how to keep itself fresh and it’s very fun to play.
Whether you’re attacking your opponent, blocking, or dodging their attacks – it’s an intense experience and you have to mix up your strategies to win the fights.
You can’t simply throw money into the game to auto-win, and that’s a remarkable thing to say about a mobile fighting game as most of them don’t require skill anymore.
There are some extra things, of course. You can buy power-ups to gain minor advantages in fights if they’re too difficult for you - but again your skill is still going to be the determining factor here. And lastly, you can unlock new outfits with the use of in-game money or by watching ads.
Election Year Knockout isn’t too generous with its currency, but it still gives a decent amount to the player if they’re willing to grind enough. And in addition to the main campaign mode, there are a few extra challenges you can play too.
Aside from the entertaining and addictive gameplay, the humor in the game is pretty decent.
There are no jokes that are in poor taste, but the game manages to throw in the usual references you’d expect to see, such as Ted Cruz talking about killing people and being the Zodiac killer – which is a very common reference to real-world conspiracies.
All in all, it’s a very enjoyable mobile game that would surprise anyone with its competency because political parody games usually have very little effort thrown into them.
The graphics of Election Year Knockout have a simple art style that resembles most Flash games that we’ve seen in the genre before – but they’re far more polished and have very fluid animation here.
The detail is pretty decent and all of the politicians still resemble their real-life counterparts despite the cartoonish recreations.
There are a few extra touches that really make the game feel great, such as the characters having short intros before a fight begins and news anchors discussing your progress in the campaign.
The ads are also placed very tastefully, as the news anchors say you will see a word from their sponsors and that is something that happens on real-world television too.
The UI of the game is pretty good and manages to present everything in a manner that isn’t confusing or oversaturated. Although it feels slightly slower than it should, the developers at least did a good job of giving it a bit of an American aesthetic with the map, flags, and other small touches.
The polish of the game is excellent and I did not run into any issues. Aside from the slightly slow menu, the gameplay itself runs very smoothly and it’s pleasant to see how everything functions so well.
The sound design of Election Year Knockout is great. The background music is good and fits the theme perfectly. And the sound effects in terms of fighting, cheers of the crowd, and other small things are all high quality.
There is also the language in which the characters talk, which is basically gibberish but in a way that you can almost hear words of English here and there. It’s a clever way to not have to record a lot of dialogue but still make the characters feel alive when you read the text speeches.
The only things the game can improve on are giving the player more tools, adding a few more customization options for the controls, and either toning down the difficulty of the modes or offering the player cheaper add-ons. But even without these potential improvements, it’s still a great experience.
Election Year Knockout is an entertainingly addictive fighting game that has themes of boxing and US politics thrown into it. Whether you take an interest in politics or not, it’s a solid fighting game with over-the-top mechanics that anyone would enjoy.