Mobile Menu

ARMS Review


Release: January 1, 1970
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Genre: Articles, Switch Reviews
PEGI: E10+


Excellent About Rating
9.0 - Gameplay
9.0 - Video
9.0 - Audio

If you haven’t heard or played ARMS yet on the Nintendo Switch, there is a good chance you’ve been living under a rock. Although initially fans were unsure what to think, recent Testpunch events have changed the opinion of many, making ARMS one of the most intriguing releases this year. If ARMS was simply a 1v1 fighting game, perhaps it wouldn’t have much mainstream success, but with the addition of many different modes and features, ARMS is poised to be one of Nintendo’s biggest hits in 2017!


What needs to be said right away is that ARMS is more than just a 1v1 fighting game. On top of that ‘traditional’ mode, you can play matches with multiple allies and enemies, sports games like volleyball and basketball, target practice matches, and much more. You can go online for fun or in ranked matches, and you can play locally with friends. There is tons of stuff to do in my opinion, so know one should complain about lack of content with this release. However, I have noticed other lamenting the lack of content, so perhaps this might come down to a perception of what was going to be available at launch. Nintendo has promised more ARMS content free of charge in the future, so hopefully this potential criticism will be a thought of the past quickly.

Game Mechanics

Overall, ARMS controls a lot better than I figured it would, and thankfully so. I’ve played way to many fighting games were movements often felt jolty and out of sync; with a new IP, Nintendo knew they had to land the fighting aspect of the game, and I can thankfully say that they did so. However, ARMS has another unique problem that other fighting games don’t: these fighters are not traditional, and making sure each mechanic – springy arms, different hand attachments, and more – are functioning properly, and are completely balanced, isn’t the easies of things to maintain.


Somehow, however, Nintendo manages to do this wonderfully. With a host of characters to choose from – which come with their own weight classes, swappable hand pieces, and more – there is likely to be something for everyone in this release. While I’ve been using Springman more often than other characters, I have tried them all and find the balance pretty strong. Where you end up focusing your funds, however, is completely up to you. If you plan to play this game locally often, having a balance across all your fighters might be ideal, to maintain fairness.\

ARMS operates in a 3D universe with the ability to move in all direction, not just on a linear plane – with an over-the-shoulder camera, Nintendo has found the perfect way to make that right hook more satisfying than it might otherwise have been. While the two arms are mapped neatly to their own buttons – and a pressing both for a for a grab – you can use the left stick to move and hook those punches to move around bostacles or to dodge an oncoming punch or block.

Everything is simple to understand, and pretty easy to master, meaning ARMS once again follows that typical Nintendo mold of being incredibly accessible to a wide audience.

Control Options Galore

One of the better features of the last few Nintendo consoles has been the options for how to play most games. ARMS is not different than titles release lately by the company, allowing the game to played with a multitude of different controller configurations. Not only does this allow people to have more options at their own fingertips for multiplayer matches – as not everyone has 8 Joy-Con controllers, or 4 Pro Controllers – but it also allows players to use the controller scheme that works best for themselves.


Of course you have the traditional way of playing Nintendo games, using the Joy-Con controllers in a grip, attached to the side of the system in hand held mode, or using a Pro Controller; however, Nintendo has also worked in motion controls, which for this game is completely understandable. While using motion controls is fun in theory – and even in practice its fun to mess around with using the Joy-Con controllers freely – it is ultimately not the ideal way to play, especially if you plan to enter competitive tournaments.

Tons to Unlock

What could ultimately prove to be a driving force behind playing ARMS is how much it will cost to unlock all the upgradeable hand pieces. Completing various fights and matches will award you coins, depending on the difficulty you have set your opponent. These coins can be used to play short mini games that will unlock new arms to be used with your fighters. Once these arms have been unlocked, you can quickly create pre-sets for when you go into fights, meaning you won’t be digging through menus to get your fighter ready for each and every match. Your most preferred arms will be available from the get go of each fight, and nice additional feature that streamlines the experience in a positive way.

Accessible Multiplayer

As mentioned previously, Nintendo has always done an excellent job creating games that are accessible to a wide audience. ARMS continues that great Nintendo ‘tradition’ by making ARMS easy enough to pick up, while also adding a bit of challenge for those looking to master the craft. Although I generally win, I can easily play a game of ARMS with my 7 year old son, and he’s never really out of any given fight. On top of that, as we play match after match, Logan’s skills started to slowly grow, and it won’t be long before we are having really, competitive fights where perhaps I don’t win every single time.

ARMS is vibrant, and the visuals and audio do a lot to draw players in. With many fighters to choose from, and a good number of arenas to fight in, there is intrigue around every corner for new players. There is a desire to play more and more, which isn’t always the case with traditional fighting titles. Each and every arena is unique, offering obstacles to maneuver around, or breakable in-world objects to use to your advantage. There is a sense of exploration in the levels you won’t find in other fighting games, and I would argue this adds to the intrigue already built into ARMS. People WANT to play ARMS.


That last sentence is really what it all boils down to, and why ARMS will be successful on the Nintendo Switch: People WANT to play ARMS. It’s a wonderful title built from the ground up, keeping bot families and hard core gamers in mind during the process. No matter what your skill level, playing ARMS with friends will be one of the must-do thing this summer if you own a Nintendo Switch. Playing solo is no slouch either, although if we have a criticism of this game, it is that multiplayer is vastly more fun and engaging. If you’re looking for something new this summer, look no further than ARMS. You cannot go wrong with this one!




Article By

blank Adam Roffel has only been writing about video games for a short time, but has honed his skills completing a Master's Degree. He loves Nintendo, and almost anything they have released...even Tomodachi Life.

Follow on:
Twitter: @AdamRoffel