Developed by WayForward, RWBY: Arrowfell is the latest videogame based on the hit franchise.
With an in-canon story, original cutscenes and even a new song by Jeff Williams featuring the vocals of Casey Lee Williams, it’s about as true to the show as you can get. Though while playing as Ruby, Weiss, Blake and Yang is initially entertaining, the more you play of RWBY: Arrowfell, the more you’re likely to get aggravated by its flaws.
The story begins with the team finding a mysterious device, which is seemingly attracting Grimm. Putting it out of commission, they then seek to find out more about it, such as its origins. Soon they get caught up in yet another escapade, one which even sees them encounter a new group of Huntresses going by the moniker of Team BRIR.
Anyone familiar with the work of WayForward won’t be too surprised by the gameplay offered in RWBY: Arrowfell. It’s essentially a 2D side-scrolling action game, with light RPG and Metroidvania elements to add a bit more complexity and depth. Across numerous chapters, you’ll visit numerous areas via a world map. And in each area you’ll be engaging in a mix of platforming and combat.
The problem is, it all feels rather basic. You’re able to switch between the four members of Team RWBY at will, making use of their unique Semblances. Ruby, for example, is the only character that can dash, while Weiss can create a magical platform that doubles up as an attack. Outside of that though, they all share a limited moveset that’s only marginally tweaked for each character.
With skill points to be acquired which you can use to power up your characters, making each one more unique seems like a missed opportunity. As it is, you may as well just focus on powering up the character you like the most first, quickly making them a force to be reckoned with. The health system reinforces this: all four characters share a pool of lives, so it’s not as if you’re forced to switch between them to see through a troublesome boss fight, for example.
And there are other issues with RWBY: Arrowfell, too. Much of it feels like a series of fetch quests; you’ll be travelling here, there and everywhere to either collect a sequence of items required to progress the story, or to simply please a character you’ve met. And then there’s the fact that while you’ll be gaining or enhancing your abilities so that you can access new areas of maps you’ve already visited, there are no minimaps to help you navigate.
Still, despite all these issues, you can have some fun with RWBY: Arrowfell, just perhaps in small doses. The controls are responsive, and at times it is exciting to be exploring a new area, seeing what it has in store. It’s the game’s boss fights that are a real highlight though, challenging you to remember their patterns and employ skill and strategy to over come their dastardly attacks.
If you’re an RWBY fan, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy RWBY: Arrowfell on the whole, despite some frustrations. We’d say it’s even accessible to newcomers, too, though they might be a little less enamoured with it due to not being familiar with the characters and the world they inhabit. It’s not a bad game by any means, but it soon gets repetitive – and oversights, like no minimap being available, introduce unnecessary frustration.