ARMS Review – Written by Jose Vega
Product provided by Nintendo for the sake of this review.
Nintendo has always been known to make games that can attract an audience and they always have been for quite a long time. So when it was announced that they would be making their own fighting game for the Nintendo Switch console, people were intrigued to see if they could pull it off. In time this new fighting game would come to be known as Arms. Taking the idea of boxing and adding a twist to it, can Nintendo’s first foray into fighting games deliver a guaranteed knockout?
Arms is packed with content both online and off. There are 10 different characters for you to choose from, each providing something unique. Also, each character has access to 3 armaments or “Arms” that provide many different advantages in battle. You can pick and choose which arm to have on your character, leading to various combinations and possibilities. This also helps when they go in a powered up state and unleash heck on the opposition. It’s awesome. You can also charge up your arms to deliver powerful effects. Some have elemental properties, giving you a chance to either blow them away or shut down your foe completely. Speaking of which, the game has many modes of play such as Grand Prix, Party, and Online. Grand Prix is your traditional arcade mode where you pick a character and have to go through many battles to reach the end in order to become Arms Champion. Party is where either you battle against AI opponents or up to 4 players can have fun and play the game. It can range from either Fight or Team Fight where you can go either 1-on-1 or 2-on-2. Other game modes include V-Ball where up to 4 players have to score points by sending a large ball to the other team, Hoops for 1-on-1 b-ball action in the Arms’ sense, Skillshot where you and an opponent hit targets to get a high score or 1-vs-100 aka survival mode.
Online play really deserves a lot of praise here. They are straightforward but how you connect to matches is interesting with a hub world where up to 20 players are moving about as it chooses whom you will face. Of course, while you wait, you can take part in some activities to pass the time. Sometimes you fight 1-on-1 and other times you team up for 2-on-2. All the modes are there in online as well. Ranked matches are included too. You can also set up player matches with your friends via group and they can get hectic. Yes, a lot to take in I know but for a game offering a lot, it’s worth it. The game’s controls are well executed and precise. Sure you can use the Joycon motion controls and they’re really good but if you feel that it isn’t your thing, there are a total of four control options: Motion Controls, Joycon controller, Switch Pro or individual Joycon. So no matter what you choose, you’ll have what you need to enjoy the game.
Presentation-wise, the game is impressive. The characters look great and all of them stand out real well. Stages are well done and they each provide some atmosphere when you battle. Music is good with some songs addicting to listen to plus they help set the game up nicely. There is some voice acting and like the music, it’s good. No complaints on that. There are no microtransactions thankfully. Instead, there’s in-game currency that you earn by playing the game. You use the currency to access a mini game where you can unlock new arms for your characters. Everyone can be able to access arms that belong to other characters. Replay value is high and it’s one that wants you to come back and play another round, not to mention all the different combinations you can have for your character really offers a new level of strategy.
Although I do praise the game for being something different, I feel that there are some faults with it. The motion controls may be spot on but I feel that they can be problematic at times when you want to do something and then it does another. Thankfully with multiple control options, it alleviates this negativity. At higher difficulties, the game can be really hard and it’ll kick your butt especially when the AI can sometimes shut you down. It’s expected but in my experience playing this game, I didn’t have any problems but why would you if a game like this offers a lot at full price.
For Nintendo’s first attempt at making a fighting game, Arms delivers with its many modes, various characters, multiple control schemes, great online, high replay value and strong presentation. We hope that Arms can become the blueprint for future fighting games on how it should be done on the Switch. Only time will tell but for now, Arms delivers on some good clean fun. Put up your dukes for this game delivers and then some. It’s worth your money. That’s a promise.
I give Arms for the Nintendo Switch an 8.5 out of 10. It earns my personal Seal of Approval. Worth your money.