Chapter One: Introduction
Arrow Tourney is a lewd puzzle game available on Steam. I sort of lost track of my playtime, but I think it’d take the average player about an hour to finish the game.
Chapter Two: Gameplay (3/5★)
Section One: Overview
To strip your opponents, you must tactfully match three or more like-pieces within the confines of allowed movement. Game pieces can only move as indicated by an arrow. But every turn, two to three more pieces will populate the board. When the playing board is full, it’s “game over”!
Section Two: Balance
I was concerned the game would be too easy, but by the end of each battle I needed to plan my moves in advance. When every “move” spawns three more pieces, you’re forced to set up big combos in a race against the opponent. Although I lost a few matches, it was more so out of carelessness than genuine challenge. The game is easy, but it’s not brain dead either.
Section Three: Controls
The game controls as expected. I didn’t have any issues navigating the game or manipulating pieces, but I wish there was some sort of “level select”. There is no way to revisit dialogue and battles without aggressively saving or starting a new game altogether.
Chapter Three: Sexual Content (2/5★)
Section One: Content
There are five “high ones” to strip and five sex-scenes. The content is technically consensual — after all, “the loser must fulfill the winner’s wish.” But it’s a bit of a grey area when the characters basically ravage each other.
Section Two: Implementation
Matching pieces increases “score”, and increasing score causes opponents to strip. After accumulating a sufficient score, a sex-scene is played before the next battle.
Section Three: Interactivity
Sex-scenes are linear sequences with skippable dialogue.
Section Four: Quality
I’m disappointed by a total lack of sexual imagery and half-assed writing. The sexual content is so quickly glossed over, the game would be better off without sex-scenes.
Chapter Four: Story (1/5★)
Section One: Overview
Dreaming of “nothing more than to enter the Archery Tournament”, the protagonist spent his childhood on “an unending series of exercise sessions in archery and magic”. Today’s the day he tests his magic and mettle against the “Higher Races” — but no human has ever won before.
Section Two: Plot
The game begins with twenty-seven paragraphs of mostly useless exposition. To the game’s credit, they thoroughly explain the actual gameplay. I was going to complain about the lack of archery-inspired gameplay, but the opening explains how gameplay translates in-universe.
The “Archery Tournament” is no test of “aiming at simple targets”. Rather, the bow and arrow is an interface to manipulate tiles using “a small amount of mana per arrow”.
Determined to “win, no matter what”, the main protagonist finds himself in an Archery Tournament. Despite bearing a scar from a previous Tournament, this detail seems to go unnoticed — and despite making a big deal about his sense of smell, I don’t recall any point in the story when it matters. There’s also big talk about some sort of “Gate”, but this Gate is never mentioned again.
The writing is so misleading, I completely lost interest in what little “story” the game has to offer.
Section Three: Characters
The main protagonist gets a lot of love at the beginning of the game, but little details from the exposition dump have an impact on the story. All that matters is that he wants to win the tournament, and he’s out of league. His opponents are nothing more than bulk bin love interests. It’s best not to think of them as anything more.
Section Three: Writing
The amount of useless fluff in this game is astonishing. There are so many details which serve no purpose, I completely lost interest in dialogue (not that it’s worth reading anyways). The game reads like a teenager’s shitty fanfiction — what the fuck does laughter that “sounds like the ringing of crystal bells” mean? Nails on a chalkboard?
Chapter Five: Sound (3/5★)
Section One: Soundtrack
The soundtrack is kind of fun! The music selection is highly discordant, but at least the tracks are high quality. But given the stakes of the story, I anticipated combat music — not music best suited for a tavern or deep, dark forest.
Section Two: Sound Effects
The sound effects are non-intrusive, but lacking in satisfaction. It doesn’t feel good to “collide” matching game pieces or to fire off boosters. I wasn’t found of the sound produced while pursuing the user-interface; it is distinctly echoed.
Interestingly, there are no sexual sound effects. No panting, squishing or moaning — just silence.
Chapter Six: Visuals (3/5★)
Section One: User-interface
Graphically, the user-interface is a mixed bag, but as a Ren.Py offering it features all features one should expect from a visual novel. It’s interesting to see a game like Arrow Tourney built from a visual novel engine, but the graphical limitations definitely show.
Section Two: Graphics
It took me a while to figure out the icons were supposed to represent arrow heads, but once I did I came to appreciate the story-appropriate imagery. Considering the protagonist is supposed to be magic-user, I was expected more interesting visual effects, but I guess players have to settle for stock stars and non-descript yellow spheres as “magic”.
Chapter Seven: Verdict (2/5★)
The gameplay is kind of fun for the first twenty minutes, but then it gets tedious. Without any mechanics to put a fresh twist on gameplay, every level is more of the same thing. The artwork is great, but the sex-scenes and writing belong in a trash can. Arrow Tourney is such a mediocre experience, it’s not worth the time even as a budget, novel twist on the “match-three” genre.