Review: ARMS (Nintendo Switch)

I was lucky enough to attend the media Nintendo Switch press event before the console was launched and had an absolute blast and great time. There were so many games to play from Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Breath Of The Wild, Splatoon 2 and many more gems. However there was one game that for me really stood out among some of these AAA titles and that game was ARMS, a unique fighting game developed by Nintendo that brought something new to the fighting genre. Now that I’ve spent time with a final copy of the game, I can safely say that it’s a ton of fun!

The game itself has a few different modes from Grand Prix, Versus, Party Match and Ranked Match. There’s also an option to duke it against people in your Friends list or you can also fight against nearby players as well. You start with 10 combatants who all vary with vastly different appearances and fighting “gloves”. More on that in a minute. There’s a nice spread of male, female, robot and even a mech combatant. You can choose to hold a joy con in each hand and simulate boxing which is actually really intuitive and loads of fun and no, you don’t need to know how to fight to enjoy it this way. You can also play in portable mode and just have the joy cons attached to the Switch in normal fashion.

 

At the start of each fight, you can choose which “glove” or weapon each hand will hold. All the fighters have different weapons to choose from for the most part but some are shared between them and they all have different abilities from temporarily freezing your opponent to even shooting rockets at them. The fighters are beautifully drawn and the detail in their design is absolutely gorgeous with brightly coloured clothes, hair and arms. See, this is where it all starts to come together. The battles take place in stunning locales with detailed backdrops which all vary from circular, rectangle and square. The fighters arms are basically curly elastic bands which spring out and with some leaning on the L stick even bend towards your opponent giving the game an extra element of strategy.

What I love about it is that it doesn’t play play out like similar 3D fighting games and by having these crazy arms that can do these bendy tricks, ARMS makes you really think how you’re going to handle each opponent. Do you just charge it with a 1, 2 combo, do you circle around the arena throwing a combination of straight punches and twisting jabs? It’s all up to you and there are endless combinations on offer when you take into account the different behaviour of each fighter and the different weapons they can take into each fight.

Fighting games can get a bit samey as you progress through and take on fighter after fighter after fighter…but ARMS has that magical “just one more” feeling which you can’t put down. Throw in some awesome sound effects, fantastic music and a a special move that each fighter has and this is one well rounded game that will bring hours of fun. I wasn’t able to test the multiplayer aspect but that will just open up more to the game and will definitely foster a competitive community online. I’d be surprised if there weren’t contests built around this game in the future, it’s that engrossing a title that’ll keep you and your friends going for many battles to come.

Final score: 9/10