New grounds are now being explored in the world of shooting things. Whether it's Skyrim or playing Hanzo in Overwatch, it seems that the bow and arrow in the FPS genre is being rediscovered. While it had been there since the 90s with titles like Thief: The Dark Project, it seems that more developers are now finding new ways to making archery fun in video game format.
This is where Arkshot comes in. A first-person archery game, or an "online bow FPS" developed by Code Avarice and published by Digerati Distribution, Arkshot is described as "Quake meets Duck Game." It's online multiplayer only with region selection. The concept itself isn't entirely new, but this is perhaps one of the few times that a developer ran all the way home with the idea.
It comes off with the look and feel of a party game, with a retro look and feel that befits its indie origins. Perhaps there could be a bit more polish to look more attractive, but it may grow on you -- if the bright colors aren't too glaring. Everything else is also pretty much bells and whistles, including simple levels and characters, with the latter being customizable with different bows, funny masks, and taunt sounds. Just imagine Heavy Bullets with a bow and arrow instead of a six-shooter, complete with limited ammunition that you can pick back up.
The tutorial level is alright at letting players get a hang of the gameplay. There's a section that teaches basic movement, including jumping, sprinting, and quick dashing. The middle section is for shooting, letting players get used to the physics of the arrows and how your movement can affect trajectory. Finally, there's a section that lets you try out all the power-ups. Just make sure you don't stand in one place for too long or you'll get hit by a sky arrow that spawns over your head every 20 seconds -- a mechanic designed to discourage camping.
Each game supports up to 4 players with 5 game modes and 14 maps to choose from. Players may find the gameplay to be surprisingly fun once they get the hang of the multiplayer action. Movement is easy enough to learn, but it's the shooting that may require a bit of practice. If you go right into a match as a newbie, expect to not hit much due to the absence of a targeting reticle and the mechanic of having to draw the bow before releasing, as well as the various physics that affect the trajectory of the arrows.
If you ever get a hang of it, you'll find it to be quite fun, as hitting something with an arrow from long distance can be rather satisfying. It's like shooting a basketball or getting a strike in bowling. However, you can't just camp and fire away as the aforementioned sky arrow can hit you from above, so you have to keep moving while trying to shoot your opponents. The need for moving while shooting and the lack of a crosshair make up most of this game's difficulty.
While much of it seems like innocent fun (or as innocent as shooting people with arrows can be), there are some things worth noting before considering the game to be "child friendly." There's some hints of profanity in the user interface, and some of the taunts you can select are "penis" and "orgasm." That shouldn't really discourage people from getting it, but just take note of that if you're a parent buying a game for your child.
While it may seem rather rough and unfinished at first glance, there is much potential in its gameplay. Its simplicity belies the subtle depth of its gameplay. Perhaps it can be made better with bots or challenge modes to make it more attractive, but it must rely on a consistent player base for now.
If you and three other friends are looking for some fun on multiplayer, then you may want to try Arkshot, available on Steam right now.