King of the Hill allows players to observe and react to the match going on between the champion and the next challenger as they wait to play the defending champion. Spectators can display different reactions based on the fight taking place. Kombatants earn Respect Points based upon the recently played match, with spectators given the opportunity to rate the winner of the battle 0.0 out of 10. After the ratings have been awarded, the loser leaves the stage and joins the spectators while the next challenger in line fights the defending King.
In between games, players are able to join King of the Hill rooms. Players are able to jump in and out of King of the Hill rooms easily, without interrupting gameplay.
Both players and spectators also have the option to toggle in and out of fullscreen mode simply by pressing BACK or SELECT on the Xbox and PlayStation systems, respectively.
In Mortal Kombat (2011)
In the mode's debut in MK (2011), the King of the Hill room had a theater-like overlay with character avatars watching over the fights in it when not in fullscreen. Xbox 360 owners are able to import their Xbox Live avatar directly into the mode, while PlayStation 3 owners use the default character avatars. If a player joins a King of the Hill room whilst a match is taking place, their avatar will not be seen until the round is over.
During fights, players can control their avatars to perform different actions and reactions to the fights currently taking place:
Spectators are capable of entering a certain input that would have their avatar react to the battle. The normal actions are: Cheer, Approve, Disgust, and Boo.
Aside from the basic four actions, there are different variations of the actions that include clapping or yelling "FIGHT!" These "Special Actions" require special button input sequences to activate, similar to special moves in-game:
- #1: Down, Up, Y / Triangle
- Curse: Up, Up, B / O
- Yell "FATALITY!": Up, Up, Right, Right, X / Square
- Yell "FIGHT!": Left, Right, X / Square
- Yell "FINISH HIM!": Left, Right, Left, Right, Y / Triangle
- Laugh: Down, Up, Down, A / X
- Say "I'm not worthy": Down, Down, Y / Triangle
- Clap: Right, Up, Y / Triangle
- Cheesy: Left, Up, Down, B / O
- Cover face: left, right, B / O
- Devil horns: Down, Up, X / Square
- Summon diamond: Up, Down, Left, Y / Triangle
- Double devil horns: Up, Down, Y / Triangle
- Summon ice: Right, Right, Right, Left, Y / Triangle
- Hop: Up, Up, X / Square
- Lighter: Down, Down, Up, Up, X / Square
- Point/look away: Right, Right, X / Square
- Raiden pose: Left, Left, Right, Right, X / Square
- Shake head: Left, Right, A / X
- Sleep: Down, Down, Down, B / O
- Stink wave: Right, Left, B / O
- Stretch: Up, Down, Down, B / O
- Throw tomato: Down, Down, Down, Up, A / X
In Mortal Kombat X
During the mode's return for the 2015 title, many changes and improvements were added. The new King of the Hill room adds the AFK mode, it allows players to spectate fights to their leisure without engaging in them. The new room also saw the addition of a Practice mode that allows players to touch up on their kombat skills before the fight. If a player in line is close to their turn to challenge the King, they will be taken out of the Practice mode automatically.
The mode's windowed mode now features a much more simplistic overlay and it no longer counts with the presence of character avatars for any of the systems it is featured in. Players can now display their reactions to the currently on-going fights with Emoji featuring many Mortal Kombat characters. Additional Emoji can be unlocked through the Krypt. In addition to voice chat, a text chat room has also been made available within the King of the Hill rooms.
- King of the Hill is not featured in the PlayStation Vita version of MK 2011.
- In the PlayStation 3 version of MK 2011, Sheeva and Kratos are not selectable as avatars in the mode.
- None of the downloadable characters are selectable as avatars as well.