Whenever a new video game genre emerges, Nintendo is sure to follow, but making sure that same feel is present in their game. For 2D fighting games, Nintendo has Super Smash Bros. For shooters, Nintendo has Splatoon, and now for 3D fighters, Nintendo has Arms. But, does this game reach for the trophy, or is it stretched to far from its roots?
Like any good fighting game, Arms doesn’t have a story. The only thing classified as a story is the Grand Prix, where you choose one of the ten characters and fight against ten other characters, with a final battle against the champion Max Brass. The reasons for each character range from being the best to a graduation project, but in the end, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is the gameplay however, as that is what gives the game its own identity.
This is the meat and potatoes of Arms, and where it really shines in creativity. The characters all have stretchy arms or hair, allowing punches to fly across the many stadiums. If your arms are thrown at the same time, they will be used in a grab, which is powerful, and launches the opponent at the end. Not only do you have multiple characters with unique abilities like double jumps and healing, you can change your arms themselves.
The way arms are changed, is by changing what type of fist you’ll have. Some arms shoot lasers to keep your opponents away, while some can shock or burn them, and others can stay like a shield. Adding on top of the previously mentioned uses, the arms can be charged, not only making them stronger, but giving special effects to stun or blow away enemies, and many more. Every character has access to lots of arm choices, allowing many personal sets to be made catered to your fighting choice. The left and right arms of a character can also be different, so you could have the left arm freeze, and the right and act as a shield. However, the options to stop or get away from punches are plentiful as well.
Each character can block, dash, and jump, along with their personal ability. These simple options cause lots of strategy, causing a layer of mind games with you and your opponent. If you jump to dodge one of their arms, you might get hit by the other, but if you block, you could be grabbed. It makes Arms into a much deeper game than it would be without it.
But Arms is just about fighting 1 on 1, or alone in a Grand Prix. There is a two player Grand Prix, 2 on 2, Basketball, Volleyball, Target Smash, 1 vs 100, and that isn’t even mentioning the online modes. This game is packed to the brim with modes, and the originality of the gameplay mechanics help keep those modes fun and interesting. However, Arms is a game best enjoyed with friends. It’s fun on your own, but when I was playing with three of my other friends the game showed its true colors, and it was the most fun I’ve had with the game.
The graphics of Arms are the same as most Nintendo games, light, friendly, and cartoonish. However, the characters have realistic bodies, something like you might find in Breath of The Wild, except with stretchy arms. The stadiums look nice, and as there is one stadium per character, each stadium fights the characters very well. The background is also filled with fans, but they will be wearing unique outfits depending on where you are and what characters are fighting.
Arms is another successful entry in Nintendo’s “Original Spin on Successful Genre.” Its unique characters and gameplay give it an identity, and keep the would be repetitive fights fresh. However, this game will get stale, especially if you’re playing alone. This is also a game you should not play in spades. It gets better with friends, but with all fighting games, the same thing does get boring over time.