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ARMS for Nintendo Switch

Yay, another game to play on the Switch! I celebrate because I really do love this console, and I think the more we get legitimate games, the quicker we can get away from people thinking it's just a Zelda machine -- or in my case a Mario Kart machine.

ARMS is a completely new property developed by Nintendo. ARMS came out only a few days ago, and is already intriguing me far more than I thought it would.​

Gameplay Overview

ARMS is a fighting game, but not the kind like Street Fighter or Mortal Combat where you're fighting left to right. ARMS uses an over the shoulder type camera system where you are behind your character and the camera is stuck on your target. 

The goal, obviously, is to knock out your opponent using your various fighting opportunities and styles unique to your character and/or your ARMS (more on this later).

Movement is relatively simple as a result of the camera being quasi-fixed. You can strafe left/right, move forward, jump, punch (independently with both arms), and juke a direction. You can also independently control your arms once they are 'punched' or 'thrown' out.

​There are various modes too. There's a standard fight where you fight until the other person is out of HP, volleyball, beat the boss AI, and break targets. I sorta like them all.

Characters & Arms

ARMS gets its name from character having these freakish... arm things. Only one character actually has normal arms, but her hair ponytails are her arms.

Honestly, I really don't get why they are the way they are, and I don't think Nintendo cares to explain. Drugs were probably involved.

Each character has a unique way about them. Some characters are bigger, slower, and hit harder. Others have longer range or jump better. Some are inherently more annoying because they can keep jumping constantly and charge their fist attacks mid-air.

ARMS add a layer of complexity becasuse they themselves are all inherently different. There's the slapper hands (pictured above, far left) that can whip in from the side but hit on sort of a delay.

Then there's the straight forward huge pink ball of doom arm that will crush for a huge hit. There are even shield arms that can blog and missile arms that shoot out in wide arcs.​

Each character comes with a few default arms but the rest are unlocked by earning points. Points are earned by simply playing the game in singleplayer or multiplayer.

Arms can be mixed and matched to your heart's desire as well, so you can really find a rhythm and style that suits you. For example, Graev has this strategy with using the Mummy character who hits super hard where he uses a shocking arm and the big pink ball. It's a one-two punch if you'll pardon the pun.​

Motion Controls - Not a Selling Point

I was originally completely turned off the idea of a motion-controlled fighting game. My decision to get ARMS was reversed when I heard the controllers are actually more refined, accurate, when not in motion mode.

For the heck of it I gave the motion controls a try and find them abysmal. I hate having to physically punch in order to punch. My hands do not coordinate well in motion as they do on a controller.

Blocking is definitely more easy with motion controls since it's poorly tied to pushing in the left stick.

In general, the controls are one of the weaker parts of the game.​

Multiplayer Brawls - Intense

Multiplayer is pretty intense and highly skill-based.

Graev and I were online last night in a party together and found ourselves up against people who were ridiculously good. That's not going to get any negative points in this review, but it's worth noting how intensely competitive and skill-based ARMS can be. I prefer playing with family.

The only mode I really think I could play for prolonged periods of time is the volleyball mode. I find I win more than I lose, and that's because it's less about a gimmick and more about... volleyball. ​

Closing Thoughts on ARMS

I think I can say I am overall pleased with ARMS. 

ARMS does a few things right:

  • Lots of options for mixing and matching arms and characters
  • Multiple game modes alleviate some of that burnout feeling of just having to fight other people
  • ​A very, very different and innovative approach to fighting games where your arms extend out from your body and you can control them
  • Shows Nintendo is still thinking outside the box without striking out completely

While there's not much story, explanation or even sense to be made from ARMS, you'll at least have fun whacking each other for hours.

Definitely a buy if you have multiple people in the same house to play, or if you enjoy online fighting games.​

  • Been meaning to pick this up, thanks for reviewing. So far spend most of my time on the Switch playing Disgaea 5 Complete and Breath of the Wild.

    • Most of my time is on Mario Kart these days. Loving it.

      ARMS is a good change of pace. Pretty innovative, although quite competitive.