You might not know the title but you’ll definitely know the game. ARMS is that new Nintendo Switch game where you swing your arms about and hit people with boxing gloves on the end of massive springs.
“Oh, so it’s the latest version of Wii boxing?” you say. Woh, now. Hold up! You there, are incorrect. ARMS is nothing like the hypersensitive, jiggly and sometimes frustrating Wii boxing. I’m not sure if you know, but the technology inside the Joy-con (the Switch controllers) is amazing. Your jumping, dashing and punching is pretty accurately translated onto the screen.
Each Joy-con acts as your hands in game. You punch with your left hand and your character punches with their left. You can also move around the arenas in a 3D space by tilting both Joy-con in any direction – which leads to a lot of circling and fighting over the high ground and shouting memes.
The whole 3D space makes the game feel like a real arena battle, which makes it fun to play but, more importantly, fun to watch. The intensity that arises when two people are vying for the next slam, trying to get into certain areas that boosts health or attack, is magnificent to see. When I first heard that Nintendo wanted to make an eSport out of it I was like “It’s okay, you be you, Nintendo.” But now that I’ve played it I’m saying, “Oh. Yes, please!”
After playing the tutorial I stepped into the “campaign” of the game, the Grand Prix. The Grand Prix was when I found that this game is a lot more difficult than I thought it would be. I lost three matches in a row. Oh man, I’m surprised my neighbours didn’t call the police after all my yelling and frustrated cries. To be honest I nearly threw in the towel. But I’m glad I didn’t because once I reset, I got an easier game. I blame the difficult map I was on. But the moral of the story here is that ARMS can be a nicely challenging game. Nintendo’s favourite advice is: “If you flail, you fail!” Just don’t expect easy wins against the AI. That’ll trip you up quick.
Now, ARMS is definitely at its best when played with friends. The real bonds between soldiers are created in the 2 v 2 versus match as you and friend (or an AI, you loner) go up against either two more friends or AI.
“Now, do I have to pay another $140 for a second set of Joy-con to enjoy this with one friend?” You ask. That, sir/madam, is a very valid question and one you will very much like the answer to. The cool thing with the Joy-con is that the controllers can be used as two. Obviously, you can’t do the whole motion thing and punching-in-real-life thing, but ARMS supports button and joystick control so you can still play with a friend without splashing out for a second set of controllers. Way to go, ARMS!
ARMS, as you may have inferred already, is an excellent party game. The intensity of the matches and quick turn-around allows for great spectatorship and the solution to any disagreements between friends. But the arena isn’t the only mode you can play. There are three other modes: Volleyball, Hoops, and Sharpshooter.
Volleyball speaks for itself; there’s a net, a giant ball, and you have your springy ARMS. Hoops is sort of like Basketball, except there’s no ball. You fight it out to see how many times you can dunk your opponent! And Sharpshooter is about punching the most targets. All of these modes provide variety while still being competitive and just fun to watch.
ARMS is definitely one of those games that you’ll want in your party game stash and will be one of the first you pop out alongside Mario Kart 8. Much like other Nintendo games, it supports up to four players in splitscreen. The people I’ve played it with, even my super non-gamer friends who don’t know the difference between an Xbox and a PlayStation, have seriously enjoyed this game. Just remember the basic principle of ARMS: if you flail, you fail!