By Chris Picone, 31 August 2022
Manic Archers is a top-down twinstick shooter that focuses on brawler-style multiplayer gameplay. It is has got to be one of the most frenetic games I have ever played.
Manic Archers features some glorious miniaturised retro graphics that brings to mind a combination of Street Fighter and Marty & Starsky Wong’s Little Fighter. The special effects are ultra-cartoony with lightning bolts and flashes of colour and lasers streaking across the screen constantly. It’s all very exciting.
Super simple two-button controls; dash and shoot. The aim is to race around the screen shooting your opponents while trying not to be shot yourself. What makes it interesting is that the screen is littered with ammo drops that change your shots from a simple arrow to a laser beam to chained lightning to gigantic fists thrusting up out of the ground to meteorites falling from the sky, and a bunch of others. And the whole game’s played at ridiculously high speed. It’s an absolutely wild, zany experience; very chaotic but while I love intense fast-paced games, I found Manic Archers to be just a tad too fast for me - I couldn’t keep up with what was going on or even find my character half the time. I would love to see an adjustable speed control added to the game like in Unreal Tournament; the fast-paced freneticism is part of the game’s charm but also makes it inaccessible. I’d probably run it at 90% but think just having that little bit of control would drastically improve the game. To promote replayability, Manic Archers also features a decent range of game modes. Free-for-all is the default but there’s also teamplay, conquest, king of the hill, and even “catch the duck.” There’s also quite a few maps and they really impact gameplay too, so there’s plenty of variety.
Manic Archers is an absolutely frantic experience 100% of the time. I enjoyed it but I think younger players will find it more appealing, only because their eyes and reflexes are still firing much faster than mine. If you’re looking for a fast-paced multiplayer brawler, definitely give Manic Archers a look – but it’s a very niche experience, so if that’s not your jam don’t waste your time.