We’re still waiting on any real news of a Nintendo Switch port for the fourth installment of Super Smash Bros., but Nintendo recently released another fighting game that might hold your attention until then.
Nintendo’s ARMS is a unique fighting game concept that brings new life to the idea of console-based, motion-controlled games. Honestly, it’s a little like what we might have wished for in the boxing from Wii Sports.
ARMS is, typically, a two-person game, though there are online modes that include up to four players, and it is possible to play with up to four players locally. Generally, however, ARMS pits two players against each other in a ring of sorts where they duke it out boxing-style. You know, if boxers had springs and ramen noodles for arms and the ability to switch out their hands between almost two dozen options. It’s loosely based on traditional boxing, but ARMS puts its own creative spin on the concept to keep it fresh and exciting.
ARMS allows you to choose between one of ten characters to play, with each character having their own special abilities and characteristics. Min Min, for example, blocks punches while dashing and another character, Mechanica, can hover for a short period. In addition, each character can use any variation of arms (the name given for the weapons), provided you unlock them for that character first; though each character starts with three special variants of arms. There’s a lot of variety to the stages as well, though I sometimes wish that there was just a plain flat stage, like the Final Destination of Super Smash Bros. Spring Man’s stage includes bumpers on the sides, which characters can jump off. Cobra Kid’s stage, as another example, has spinning tops that the characters can ride for a high boost to speed and mobility.
ARMS also includes other game modes beyond your standard duel, but I found most of these to be a little trying. Grand Prix is probably the best of them, presenting a story mode of optional difficulty that’s great for earning credits to unlock more arms. Not so stellar, however, are the game modes of V-Ball and Skillshot, which present games of volleyball and target practice, respectively. Skillshot isn’t too horrible (but it isn’t really fun, either, as it favors the person ahead), but V-Ball is universally disliked among the people I know. The volleyball in V-Ball tends to move in a weird fashion. It’s more like a beach ball than a volleyball, and the lock-in mechanic of your character can be very frustrating to control. There were plenty of times when I would be set up to hit the volleyball only to have my aim be thrown off by a sudden jerk of my perspective, as my character re-adjusted automatically. In addition, simply hitting the volleyball is much harder than one might expect; a miss means waiting for your arm to return, as well as more time for the ball to fall toward your side.
It should also be mentioned that ARMS allows you to play in all of the traditional Switch ways, ranging from controller to two-piece motion controls. Picking up the motion controls has been a bit difficult for me, though this may be because I’ve done real boxing, which is precise in a different sort of way. While I believe the controller to be vastly superior to the motion controls, I still think that the motion controls present a more fun experience, though it is one that is fraught with many frustrations. But if you’re looking to seriously play ranked mode, then it’s probably best to stick with the controller. ARMS presents a fun motion-controlled experience, but it’s still far from perfect.
That being said, I would recommend ARMS to anyone with a Switch, particularly those who like motion-controls, fighting games and the intersection of the two. You could do much worse, and you’re bound to have a lot of fun even just struggling to learn how the game’s unique system works. I haven’t played anything quite like this before, and the new experience alone is well worth the try.
ARMS is available on the Nintendo Switch for $59.99. DLC will be coming to the game in the future in the form of free downloads.