Timing and movement are key when playing Nintendo’s recently released fighting/boxing game, ARMS. It’s a fine balance between the Japanese video game’s successful past and it’s promising future with the Switch.
ARMS is a rather basic third-person animated arena boxing-style fighting game where ten playable characters have extendable and detachable arms or boxing gloves. Each character is unique and they all have three changeable arms to suit your playstyle and strategy against your opponent. They also have one unique ability. At first glance, ARMS looks like it could be a game that lacks depth and character but it is actually fresh and unique.
While it won’t be winning any awards for realism, ARMS is beautiful, bright and flashy. Don’t be put off by the vibrant colours and animations of the game. It isn’t only for kids. Experienced gamers can enjoy it too. First-timers can easily pick up the joy cons and enjoy matches and modes that are readily available, while devoted gamers will treasure coming up with complex strategies. If you don’t pay attention, you’re in trouble. Furthermore, the online modes are extremely competitive and fun to play with a lot of depth.
Nintendo’s latest creation has 11 game modes in total, including ‘Grand Prix’, where the player takes on 10 opponents to become the local champion. The ‘Grand Prix’ also offers you a difficulty level of 1 to 8, 1 being very easy to get through but as the level gets higher the AI also becomes smarter performing better combinations and dodging one’s attacks as if they were Neo from The Matrix. ‘Fight Mode’ is a 1 vs 1 punch or get punched knockout fight, while ‘Team Fight’ mode is when you team up and fight 2 on 2 in the selected arena. ‘V-Ball’ is a volleyball ARMS style mode that just doesn’t seem to keep with the game’s style. It feels more like an odd gap filler. ‘Hoops’ is another curve ball mode that adds depth to the game. In this mode, the player basically plays basketball with the opponent in the game’s futuristic style. ‘SkillShot’ is a target smash game where the player with the highest score at the end wins. Last but not least, ‘1-on-100’ is a survival attack mode whereby the player must defeat a total of 100 bots to win the match.
While the single player modes are quite thin, with only 10 characters to choose from, ARMS shines brightest with its online modes. Fighting titles have long been the most competitive and often hardest for new players to get into, but ARMS centres itself extremely well to the genre. The fact that I could play with a friend in a fairly competitive match after just one practice match proves that it is an easy to pick-up-and-play kind of game.
The online game modes include ‘Party Match’, where the player fights online for fun against a random opponent, and ‘Ranked Match’, where more competitive players fight online for rank and superiority. This mode is by far the most satisfying. The lobby is easy to understand and navigate through, plus it looks attractive and kept me coming back day after day. Most importantly, the online IP works well with minimal loading time between matches.
The most amazing thing about ARMS is how the game handles motion control through the Switch’s Joy-Cons. This is by far the best use of motion control that I have ever used in a game. They are incredibly accurate and very responsive. So much so, that I have to use the motion controllers or I feel like I am dampening the experience.
Overall, the game is very good and has so much potential. If planned free updates are as good as what we have so far then ARMS is definitely punching in the right direction. If you own a Nintendo Switch this one is without a doubt worth a stretch into your wallet.