Nintendo had a few surprises saved up for the big Switch event. We knew a couple of big name games would appear but did not expect some of the smaller, in-house products. One of which is a brand new IP titled Arms. The general premise of the game is to duke it out with an opponent similar to boxing. In fact, much of it may look and feel familiar to Wii Sports fans.
Arms builds upon the basis of the Wii game to give it more potential. It introduces us to skilled fighters with a number of unique attributes. Five characters have been revealed as competitors all with one thing in common: their arms stretch to incredible lengths. We have Spring Man, Ribbon Girl, Master Mummy, Ninjara and Mechanica. Each of their arms are obviously made up of different materials allowing them to extend and reach the opponent whether it’s chains, gauze wrapping or the more obvious springs. It’s a fun gimmick that hopefully won’t be limited allowing more characters to be introduced. The art style is appealing and designs of stages, people, and weapons look smooth and fun.
Gameplay comes in a rock, paper, scissor format. However, in Arms you have throws countering blocks, punches which beats throws and blocks over punches. There is also dodging which allows you to receive no damage but also doesn’t deal any– it’s more of a reset for the cycle. Before a match you will select different arms to attach to your body. There are regular boxing style gloves, a boomerang fist which arcs its attack and other choices depending on your fighter. The controls are similar to the aforementioned Wii Sports as you hold the left and right Joy-Con controllers in your hands. Tilt both in the direction you wish to walk and tap a button to dash. Flick your hands forward to throw a punch and twist them which guides it toward or away from the opponent. Punch with both to grab the opponent in order to bring them in closer for a more personal beating. Block a shot by turning the controls inward allowing a shield to appear.
In addition to cool moves and arms are different stages to get ready to rumble. Each location will have features only found there and it’s up to you to take advantage of them. A standard place to fight has trampoline platforms which will help give you a bit of height. Another stage has indestructible columns that can be used for cover but your opponent could be skilled enough to swing their punch around it for a knockout. One more shows higher and lower ground which could be the difference maker depending on your style of play.
So far the controls are simple to learn — the challenge lies in developing a strategy and moving around the stage to gain the upper hand, or fist. You can play Arms against the computer by yourself or against a friend in two player mode as long as there is another set of Joy-Con controllers. Then, hop online to face rivals around the globe to take the fight international. Hook up with another Nintendo Switch system as well using local wireless to see who the real champ will be. It will take time to develop your own winning technique, but it will surely pay off.
Arms is shaping up to be a real winner for the Switch and hopefully gains a loyal fan base. New creations are always a gamble since there is no previous game to base it on, but it’s showing a lot of promise. Arms is set to release this Spring after the console launches.