Arm your Switch with ARMS, a quirky four-player fighting game
by Matthew Whitaker
On June 16th, Nintendo released a new intellectual property titled ARMS for the Nintendo Switch. Why am I reviewing it in November? Well, Nintendo is following Splatoon’s model of releasing free DLC updates after launch, thus ARMS has grown much since its launch in the summer. ARMS is a three-dimensional fighting game where you play as a colorful cast of characters who all can shoot their extendable arms at each other. The game can be played with either the Joy Cons’ motion controls or the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller. Overall, the game is a very fun multiplayer experience, as its unique take on the fighting game genre and large amount of customization options make it engaging to play. It is very accessible to new players, especially players who have never played a fighting game. Despite its accessibility, ARMS is a competitive game with much depth and several layers of play. While mashing buttons will work at a beginner level, seasoned players will have to utilize many techniques and must truly understand the game’s mechanics to defeat their opponents. ARMS is an excellent new intellectual property by Nintendo, and it is a must-have for Nintendo Switch.
The gameplay in ARMS is a very unique take on the fighting game genre, as the camera mainly stays behind the player and the game promotes long-distance combat. As opposed to most fighting games, which require the player to be close to the opponent to deal damage, ARMS encourages the player to keep his or her distance. As the characters’ arms can extend across most of the stage, keeping your opponent at a distance is necessary. Characters shoot their arms, extending them towards their opponent, and can curve the path of their arms during the extension. Curving your characters’ arms correctly is crucial to hitting your opponent, as your opponent has plenty of time to maneuver while your arms extend. Characters may also dash in any direction, jump, and shield, creating a plethora of movement options to avoid incoming punches. A different arm can be used on either of a character’s hands, allowing for an endless series of combinations and strategies. Arms come with different weights, speeds, and elemental effects which can be used to gain an advantage on opponents. In addition to the many different types of arms, the game currently features twelve characters, each with their own special abilities. For example, Spring Man’s arms become permanently charged when his health drops below 25%, and Ribbon Girl is able to jump four times in the air. The varied cast of characters and massive amount of arms allow for a new experience during every play session.
The game truly shines in its visual display and character design. Each character is incredibly unique, with designs ranging from a burly mummy to a robot cop and dog pair. Their colorful and playful designs along with their expressive animations make each character very fun to play. With each character comes a stage to fight on, all of which are greatly detailed and varied. From a classic fighting ring to an eerie laboratory, all the stages offer new game mechanics and plenty of beautiful scenery. Spring Stadium has springboards for characters to bounce on, while DNA lab has destructible stage objects to hide behind. The abundance of characters, stages, and arms keeps the ARMS experience fresh with every new play session.
ARMS is a great addition to the Nintendo Switch’s library, and offers a fun multiplayer experience for up to four friends. If you have a Nintendo Switch, this game is definitely worth picking up. The game is also receiving free DLC updates, including new characters, stages, and game modes. Overall, ARMS is a blast to play, and is a great start to a new Nintendo franchise.