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ARMS Review

Posted on Jun 16 2017 - 12:26am by Jordan Cundiff
  • Gameplay
  • Display
  • Content
  • Fun Factor

While the Nintendo Switch was made famous for creating a seamless gaming environment wherever you go, it still maintains the motion control capabilities of their past consoles. We not only believed that the feature would ultimately go unused, but if it was used it wouldn’t feel right. Needless to say, ARMS proved us wrong in so many ways. Not only does ARMS perfectly use the motion controls, but ends up creating an incredibly fun experience that could place it with other Nintendo greats.

ARMS is an intense fighting game with characters who have special arms. Each character has their own special arms that carry special abilities such as becoming shuriken, becoming explosive homing birds, and much more. To match the diversity in the arms, the game offers a fun group of characters that have that colorful Nintendo feel. Whether you play as the lovable mech suit controlling Mechanica, the cop/ canine duo of Byte and Barq, or any of the other 6 characters the game offers, you’re sure to instantly fall in love. With each character having their own special perks, players must strategically combine the right character with the right arms to win.

While gameplay for ARMS is easy to pick up and play, but don’t expect to master the game immediately. For those who’ve played Wii Sports (Wii), gameplay feels much like an evolved version of the boxing sport. Players hold joy-cons in a fighting stance with the ability to attack by punching the joy-cons forward, with character movement being controlled by the position of the joy-con (tilting forward moves the character forward type movement). While you can go straight into a slobber-knocker, intelligent use of the games jumping and dodging features turn the pace of the battle. Though ARMS’ controls are simple to get grasp, mastering the execution of the controls is another story. Understanding how to correctly time punches, dodges, grabs, and jumps takes a bit of time to fully put together as the AI will constantly beat you mercilessly even on the moderate difficulty.

When you first start ARMS you’ll most likely play Grand Prix mode to not only get a hang of the gameplay, but also to unlock the ranked online mode which opens after completing Grand Prix on level 4 difficulty (moderate). Combining a variety of gameplay modes including volleyball, basketball, tradition fights, and more, Grand Prix offers a great way to hone your skills while still offering a fun variety of gameplay modes. While ARMS attempts to give characters a backstory to add depth, the game does little to elaborate which feels like a letdown.   

Though you can enjoy the variety of game modes offered through the Grand Prix in free battles (with the addition of an endurance mode) for fun, ARMS offers vary little else for those looking for a single player content. Luckily, ARMS comes with enough multiplayer options to keep you playing.

For those looking for multiplayer fun, ARMS offers both local and online multiplayer to enjoy. Local multiplayer allows players to either play on a single Switch device, or connect multiple consoles together to play. Battles against friends are not only tense, but extremely fun; and ultimately end up being a decent workout if you really get into it. Surprisingly, connected play between two Switch consoles is just as easy to set up as playing on one console; which is a plus if you’re looking to play with more friends.

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As we stated earlier, to succeed in ARMS you must mix and match characters and ARMS to make a powerful combination. From the start, each character only has access to 3 different ARMS which isn’t ideal if you want the best combinations. Players can unlock new ARMS through the Get ARMS mode, which places you in a target hitting minigame. These minigames are played by playing in-game currency, currency that you earn from various game modes including online modes, to start; the amount of currency paid changes the amount of time you have to compete in the minigame. Sadly, this way of earning new ARMS is clunky and cumbersome, with it being possible to miss target and leaving you with no earnings.

ARMS not only perfectly embodies the look that Nintendo has for all of their first-party titles, it might have done it better than any other Switch title so far. ARMS bright and vibrant appearance is not only upbeat and invigorating, it looks pretty realistic at the same time. The soundtrack matches the upbeat feeling that you get from the game’s visuals, creating an overall impressive presentation.

ARMS not only surpassed our expectations, it may be our favorite Switch game thus far. With fast-paced, addictive, and ultimately fun experience ARMS provides you hours of enjoyment. While we hoped for more in terms of single-player content, the multiplayer fun made up for the lack of solo content. ARMS not only does a great job presenting a great first showing for Nintendo’s new project, but also has us looking forward to more ARMS titles in the future!



  • Great Presentation
  • Incredibly fun, simple, yet complex fighting experience that is fun for everyone
  • Characters are diverse, and perfectly embody everything you’d want from Nintendo characters
  • Multiplayer offers hours of fun whether online, or just with friends


  • ARMS unlocking system is clunky, and rather annoying
  • Grand Prix opponents can be overly difficult on even moderate difficulty
  • Single-player content is lacking

*Complimentary pre-release review copy was provided by the developer for review purposes.