Hello, everyone! It’s your voice from up north in Canada, here today to review developer Code Avarice’s “Quake meets Duck Hunt” bow and arrow shooter. Arkshot, described on its official website a cross between Unreal Tournament and Smash Bros., pits you against up to 3 of your friends in 5 game modes on 14 maps. It’s like a low stakes Hunger Games.
Before I review a game, I go into the process as blind as I can so that the experience is real and unbiased. That being said, I was excited, after I saw the trailer. Arkshot is a game that involves killing things with bow and arrow; that is how we Canadians get our food (not really…only sometimes). Arkshot pits the player versus other people with a bow in a variety of classic game modes such as Team Deathmatch or Capture the Flag. But is the premise as interesting as the execution?
The design of Arkshot is rather fun and retro. Everything looks like it was taken from an old school videogame and therefore has a unique look to it. Levels are simple, and you can customize your character with funny bows and masks. But if you’re looking for a game that forces you to pause midway through a firefight to gaze at a perfectly rendered babbling brook, then this game is not for you. The goal of the design is to create a nostalgic environment that works well structurally and adds to the old school vibe.
Arkshot has no real story. You shoot people with arrows…and yeah, that’s pretty much it. You could pretend to be Legolas from Lord of the Rings while you play but short of inventing a backstory for your character, there is no plot. This is meant to be a arena party game, but even a cursory bit of world building would have been appreciated.
The mechanics are where Arkshot shines. The goal is simple, to kill your opponent with your bow so that you can complete various objectives. When shooting your bow, you simply hold down the left mouse button to charge your shot. The longer you hold, the more powerful the shot. However, the direction your character moves also affects how the arrow flies. Moving forward while shooting increases the speed of the arrow, moving sideways makes the arrow curve.
There is also a myriad of power-ups available that augment your bow. You can get a concussive arrow which pushes enemies back, smoke cloud arrows, and a bunch of other nifty little augments. As far as maneuvering around the game, the game is well built and I did not experience any major bugs. All-in-all, pretty sound but overall simplicity and lack of diversity prevents me from rating this any higher.
Now you might be saying, “Dane, you’re telling me that Arkshot is a game that is well built, has a fun atmosphere, and engaging combat? Well, I guess I am getting Arkshot!” But wait just a second; the game does have serious drawbacks. The biggest issue is that the game is multiplayer only. Normally that isn’t a problem, but I sat in the game’s matchmaking queue for 20 minutes (switching regions throughout) and did not find another player. There is no option to play against AI, so the game is pretty much useless unless you can convince your friends to buy so that you can all play together. I would not recommend buying this game just yet; wait until the game goes on sale, gets more popular, or allows you to play against some AI. Arkshot has the bones for a great game, but until they add some other elements the game falls short.
This review is based on a retail copy of the game provided by the publisher.