Master Archer Game Review
Hundreds of years ago, a farmer who was locally famous for his hunting skills, defied a brutal tyrant and was punished by being forced to shoot an apple on top of the head of his son who stood 120 paces away. This story of William Tell, a Swiss national hero, has resonated throughout the centuries, and is the inspiration for Master Archer, the subject of our present game review.
We thank the cool people at PlayCanvas for giving us this new Instant Games title. PlayCanvas is a game engine known for producing spectacular 3D games, but Master Archer is compelling proof of its potential for creating beautiful 2D games as well.
Master Archer is a game that tests a player’s timing skill and sense of distance. William Tell used a crossbow, but in this game, the archer uses a longbow to shoot at the fruits on top of a boy’s head.
The boy’s name, by the way, is Bob. We know this from the PlayCanvas guys, not from playing the game, and certainly not from reading Switzerland’s history books. We haven’t been informed if Bob is the son of the archer or just some poor bystander who happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Unlike other target shooting games, this one doesn’t let the player adjust the angle up or down. Instead, the player presses on the screen until the desired angle is reached, and lets go to shoot the arrow. Worry not if you miss the target, because you are given 3 arrows to attempt the shot.
Successfully shooting a fruit allows you to proceed to the next stage. Each stage increasingly becomes difficult, with stages featuring moving targets.
Buffs and Bonuses
Doing certain things increases your chances of getting higher scores.
First, landing an arrow at the exact center of a fruit will multiply your score. You get 2x points for Perfect shots (low targets) and 5x for Amazing shots (high or moving targets).
Second, hitting at least 2 fruits in a row without missing any shot will start your streak. The streak activates a fire arrow, which gives you double points when it hits a target.
And last but not the least, hitting a fruit with a fire arrow lights up one of the letters in the word BONUS. Once all letters are lit (i.e. you’ve hit 5 fruits with fire arrows), you get a fourth arrow in your quiver, which you can use once you need it. After using, the BONUS will have to be earned again.
Graphics and Sound
The artwork has a certain charm to it, in a subdued kind of cartoony way. The characters were drawn in a distinct style reminiscent of illustrations in the more interesting children’s storybooks.
Bob is one heck of a tough kid, stronger than an ox, and can take up to 3 arrows without dying. And without changing his facial expression. That’s one thing that would have been a nice touch—changes in facial expressions. A look of relief when the target is hit and/or an increasingly worried expression as the arrows run out would have been neat.
We did like that the atmosphere changes to a more ominous one, accompanied by a firing squad drum beat, when there’s only 1 shot left.
And the different types of fruits that were used, instead of just the classic red apple, was also appreciated.
The background music is a nondescript tune that we won’t even bother commenting on. (Please correct our ignorance if the choice of music has some actual significance).
Fun Factor and Replayability
40% of Facebook Messenger users use the app only to play Master Archer. Of course we made up that statistic, but that the game is highly addictive is as plain as day. Because you know you’re getting better at aiming and you’ll get a higher score the next time you play it, right?
But other than the itch to outdo your previous score, there’s probably nothing else that would make a player want to come back for more. We’re pretty sure though that that’s enough for a significant number of players.
Target shooting games aren’t really the most popular genre of games (we could be wrong though, but ask the person next to you how many target shooters they’ve played, and they probably won’t be able to enumerate more than 2 or 3.). Despite this, PlayCanvas has created one that has tickled the fancy of Facebook Messenger users, and has currently placed them at the second place on the charts.
At the moment, it is a few thousand players shy of hitting the 3 million mark, just a little behind Endless Lake. But keep in mind that it was not a launch title, unlike the latter.
Master Archer is a very good game. However, in our opinion, it’s not one of the greatest on the Instant Games platform. Considering that PlayCanvas made it, we were expecting a bit more. We give it an 8/10.
Someone thought the game would be more exciting with a little blood/gore involved. What do you think?