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Arms (Switch) Review

June 16, 2017 | Posted by Adam Larck
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Arms (Switch) Review  

While Nintendo may still reign as top tier in platforming games, there’s another genre that the company has always had success in as well: fighting games.

I don’t always mean your standard 1v1 side view fighter either. Look at Punch-Out! for an example of that. Plus, look at the monumental success of Smash Bros. over the years. They may not make a ton of fighters, but Nintendo has quality when they do.

Now, we have Arms, an interesting take on fighters by not focusing on getting close to an enemy to fight, but by staying back and trying to plan punches ahead to hit your enemy. Think of chess, if chess used spring loaded pieces for quick attacks across the board.

Arms features 10 unique and new fighters for Nintendo, each complete with a few different sets of arms to use in fights. Eventually, all fighters can unlock other’s arms to use, as well as new type of arms to use, but it will take some time and coin to get them all unlocked. Fighters range from Spring Man and Ribbon Girl, the original announced characters, to Helix, duo Byte & Barq and more.

The arms are just as unique to equip. Plus, you don’t even have to equip the same arm on the left and right hands. So, the left hand could have a standard boxing glove, while the right shoots out a boomerang. Or, you could have a “Megawatt” wrecking ball equipped on your right hand and a “Dragon” laser on the left. There’s plenty of combos to try out to see what you like the most.

Additionally, each fighter has specific moves as well, such as disappearing in mid-air, double jumping, health regen and more. This allows for quite a bit of freedom in trying to build a character you really want to use in fights.

Also pretty unique are the levels the game features. Arenas range from a standard ring to fighting on tops to a cemetery with a trampoline and fighting on stairways. Plus, items fall into the arena as you fight, dropping bombs, health regen, Rush regens and more. These can help turn the tide of a fight, or at least cause some extra damage with a well-hit bomb.

The controls in Arms are also one of the first times where I didn’t mind using motion controls. While you can play the game with a standard controller, the motion controls give more freedom when trying to curve a punch to catch an opponent off guard.

With the motion controls, you tilt the Joycons left or right to move, toward each other to guard, hit a few buttons for dash, jump and Rush attack, and punch forward to punch. Punching with both fists launches a grab attack to cause larger damage.

One thing to note that I mentioned earlier, this is a fighting game about strategy. Flailing will end in losses again and again. Instead, you need to plan punches to get through a guard or to catch an opponent landing in a different area. This can be done via curved punches or by even aiming a straight punch to where you think they’re going.

While punching, though, you really need to keep movement in mind. Bobbing left and right is ok, but as a match goes on you’ll be jumping and dashing around to try and confuse your opponent and give yourself some good attacking opportunities. If you’re standing still for more than a second without throwing a punch, you’re doing something wrong.

As far as game modes goes, you have the Grand Prix mode, which faces you against 10 fighters to win the belt. The first few difficulty levels are pretty easy to breeze through, but once you hit medium difficulty (level 4), you’ll find opponents blocking, dodging and weaving effortlessly. However, if you want to get into the Online Ranked Multiplayer matches, get ready to figure out how to weave with the best of them.

Outside of Grand Prix, there are some party modes to play online and locally with friends as well, such as four-player free for alls, two or three vs. one, and gimmick fights. Those include volleyball, where you hit a bomb back and forth, trying to keep it from touching the ground, basketball, where you grab and slam your opponent in the hoop, and Skillshot, trying to hit the most targets and your opponent as you can. Plus, there’s also a 1-on-100 fight, where you take out as many opponents you can with only one health bar.

Finally, there’s the minigame to talk about to unlock new arms. You can only play it via coins you get from matches. The more coins you have, the longer you can stay in the minigame hitting targets and trying to get new arms. Unfortunately, arms unlocked for one fighter aren’t unlocked for all, meaning you’ll be coming back again and again trying to unlock everything.

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
Overall, Nintendo has another hit IP with Arms. It may seem simplistic at first, which is great for parties, but there’s a lot of depth and strategy beneath the surface the more you delve into the game. If you have a Switch, there’s no reason not to check this out.

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Arms, Adam Larck