Welcome back everyone for another fun filled edition of Games and Gimmicks Reviews. This time we bring you my thoughts on the latest Nintendo game, ARMS. I find it kind of funny describing the games I like to people, especially these days when video games always have some weird hook that would turn off normal gamers from playing. “So it’s a game about Rocket powered cars that play professional soccer, it’s also one of the biggest eSports around”.
In the case of ARMS it’s more of, “So are you old enough to remember Rock-em Sock-em Robots?” Yes? Well this game is vaguely familiar in that context in that there are two fighters who are boxing each other. When it comes to the character design, that is where things are drastically different. Each fighter is uniquely different, but each is equipped with springy arms (GET IT?!? …ehhh I digress) that allow you to fight your opponent from a distance. In explaining this, I can only say, it has to be seen and played to understand how fun and open this fighter can be.
Let’s get right to it: how does this arcade type fighter work on a Nintendo Switch? I have to say, pleasantly well. I’ve spent a lot of time playing this game over the past month, and here and there I pick up the Switch off the base and get in a quick game. I’ve graduated, all be it a bit slower than I had initially expected, to at least qualify for Ranked Matches (this is accomplished by getting through the full Grand Prix on level 4 difficulty). Truth be told, I have only played ARMS on the go a few select times, but I did find that the game does translate well enough to the mobile feel of the Nintendo Switch.
You all know me though, I wouldn’t recommend anything else but the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller. You must have this controller to really get a feel for how this game plays. Truth be told, I felt the Joy-Con grip configuration felt small in my hands after playing hours with the Pro Controller alone. That being said, the Pro Controller does have obnoxiously large buttons. Basic attacks in this game are as follows: A and B are punching buttons (pressed together a grab), Y dodges and X Jumps, ZR and ZL double as punching buttons, L3 blocks, and R activates your Special attack move. It all sounds very simple but trust me, as you progress through the Grand Prix modes and join up in a Party lobby, you’ll find there is a surprising amount of depth to this weirdo game. This game is not without it’s Nintendo charm though, as with anything Nintendo, its got to be a little weird.
All and all the button combinations and the timing in this game feel pretty solid, it reminds me of open arena type games like Power Stone. Then again I am pretty partial to that game so ARMS really does feel at home in the world of other traditional fighters. This game does take a little bit of time to hone your skills, but you’ll find the time is well worth it in the hours of enjoyment you’ll receive from playing.
If I could give any tips for playing this game, find a good configuration of weapons to switch up for each character. Then, choose your favorite character. I landed somewhere between Min-Min, Ninjara and Ribbon Girl.
The video below gives a great demonstration of each weapons individual power ups and abilities. I really like how after spending enough time getting used to the rhythm of the fight, that as I unlock more coins, I can spend those coins on a little mini game and unlock more of those weapons for each character. This really added to endless combinations and play styles for every character.
I will say in general that I did feel the pain of more than a few losses in this game. Sometimes, it did feel like the game either gave me a break and let me win, or would just simply continue to punish me until I made every single strike count. I don’t know if I came out a better fighter in the end, as some instances did make me feel like never turning the game back on again. I did like how Grand Prix’s let you save and exit after a loss. I ended up making changes to my weapon load out after Grand Prix match losses, this way I could come back with a better combination which I think was actually a pretty cool feature.
Some of the other game types, like Volley ball, Hoops, and the scrunched in and hectic 4 person Yapapi strap match (thanks Hogan) are a little less inspired. I liked that these match types break up the monotony of traditional one on one fights, but sometimes these match types came off as a bit thrown together. I do like Hoops in particular though, Volley ball, not so much.
All and all, as the way this game plays and evolves as you do, I’m happy with ARMS.
What can I possibly say after all those lovely photos? Well, truth be told I have one other tid-bit that I think is important to mention: this game runs pretty well on this system. For all the nay-sayers down playing Nintendo’s ability to release interesting games in 2017, well, I think they pretty much proved you guys wrong this year! Nintendo again, adds a little weird with a little polish, but also adds some strong performance from this little game. I really can’t recall a frame rate problem, or an issue with the game slowing down, it just runs very smooth.
I haven’t spent a lot of time playing much of the Ranked matches, I’m a bit too honest in saying that I will likely get my ass kicked. I think the game has it’s challenges staying competitive with the traditional eSports fighting game scene, mostly because the game has some challenges in terms of the games AI and ground rules for competitive games. Time will tell if ARMS stands the test of time against fighting game juggernauts like Tekken, Street Fighter, and Infamous 2. Im hoping out of everything that this quirky little game should be a continuous series for Nintendo. Thepoorassgamer thinks this game has a fighting chance.
P.S. If you made it this far, take a look at my previous post with some footage from the ARMS demo, the game plays exactly the same.