The series began receiving recognition in 2014, when it appeared in Kono Light Novel ga Sugoi! and had its volumes placed as one of the top thirty selling novels in Japan. It was reported in May 2017 that over 3 million printed copies are in circulation. The English localization of the manga and anime were also well received: the manga adaptation appeared on The New York Times Manga Best Sellers; meanwhile, English reviewers were generally turned away by the first episode of the anime, though reviewers who have completed the series generally praised the character dynamics, game strategies, and animation, while disliking the fan service featuring the underage Shiro.
Anime News Network had four editors review the first episode of the anime: Carl Kiminger, Rebecca Silverman, Theoron Martin, and Hope Chapman. Opinions summarized: Kimlinger enjoyed the premise and the concepts of games as battles; Silverman and Martin disliked the characters; and Chapman expressed absolute disdain, writing \"nothing has made me roll my eyes, gag, or feel more irrationally angry this season than this insulting self-insert pandering trash heap\". Carl Kimlinger continued the series, and published a positive review for the anime. He wrote that the premise presented many flaws but were balanced out by other aspects: Sora and Shiro's \"over-powered hero\" archetype is balanced out by their flawed lifestyles, motives, and their \"visible delight in crushing their enemies\"; Stephanie Dola's mistreatment with gags and Sora and Shiro's growing respect towards her; and the harem aspect with Sora's apathy and interesting female characters. Regardless, Kimlinger praised the plot's \"big games\", calling them the reason to watch the series and described them as \"steeped in trickery and strategy\"; he added that despite knowing the protagonists would win, the fun is seeing how they do it. Kimlinger wrote the over-saturation art style will be an acquired taste for most viewers and praised how the animation really shines during the \"big games\", calling it an impressive display of fluidity and timing. 781b155fdc