The Nintendo Switch has been an unprecedented success story so far delivering hit after hit with titles like Zelda Breath Of The Wild and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Launching a new IP on the hybrid console is always exciting and the campy and cartoony look of Arms may put some gamer’s off. But don’t be fooled, it is a rich and vibrant game with many differing modes, battles, fun characters and tournaments, Arms is a new IP worthy of the Nintendo brand. Using a simple premise of boxing with crazy stretchy arms that you can customise for each character and then mix and match with crazy confetti cannons and other hilarious weapons that make this game punch above the rest (I’m sorry about the puns they will not slow down!)
Control wise this game has a lot of options, you have no doubt seen the motion controls using the joy cons detatched from the Switch console, and as someone who hasn’t played with motion controls since the Wii console, I found the joy-con controls to be extremely intuitive and the response time combined with the HD rumble was impressive. It is worth nothing that you can also play Arms with the pro controller or the joycons attached to the Switch. The combination of the different control types in itself offer variety to play.
Perfecting this game commands the perfect combination of offence and defence. After playing through the roster of characters you find your favourites and what different cannons work with what characters. For me Ribbon Girl and Master Mummy were my go to characters. Each character has its own unique voice and move sets and the gameplay reflects the size and reflexes.
There are several different game modes with Grand Prix offering a single player mode that sees players square off against the other 10 characters of the game in the different modes that involve traditional fighting, volleyball in which the ball is a bomb and things get quite intense, Basketball in which you grab your opponent and slam dunk them through a hoop (it is as hilarious as it sounds) and target practise where you knock down targets to score points before your opponent can.
Online multiplayer is where this game shines. Anyone can jump into Party mode at any level and be teamed up with a different combination each time like 1v1, 1v1v1, volleyball, 2v2 in which two players are tied together with a piece of elastic eliminate the other 2 characters. The constant surprise of what mode you are going into is a great way to ensure longjevity of this game’s online mode and had me spending hours playing random strangers. The wait times are incredibly short and you can watch other people’s status while they are playing so there is still something to look at while you are waiting. For the more competitive and advanced players you can head to a ranked match, but only when you reach level 4 on Grand Prix mode before you can access it.
Graphically the game is extremely beautiful, the outlandish cartoony characters shine in the different arenas. The interactive environments in each set piece stood out on the Switch’s beautiful screen. Similarly it looked flawless transitioning to the dock and on the big screen. A strong roster of diverse characters offers something for every type of gamer helps solidify this as Nintendo’s next big IP following in the footsteps of Splatoon from the Wii U console.
Overall Arms is a fantastically fresh take on the boxing genre and offers complex or simple gameplay depending on what you want from the game. The many modes and characters will keep you coming back to this time and time again. With plenty of online players and variations of modes ensures the longjevity of this title. The game glows on the beautiful Switch screen and works just as well using the pro controller or motion controls. Arms is Nintendo at its best and we look forward to many more matches on its release date tomorrow.
Arms is available exclusively on the Nintendo Switch 16/06.
Review by Alaisdair Leith