ARMS screenshot

ARMS – youve got to hand it to Nintendos innovative approach to fighters

A reader continues his dissection of the best fighters of the last few years, with Nintendos peculiar Switch exclusive under the microscope.

ARMS is the most innovative fighter of the generation, and by a long way. That doesnt make it the best, but it does make it the most interesting. Remember the fight mini-game in Super Monkey Ball? Nintendo obviously saw that and liked it so much they made a whole game around it!


The Grand Prix is basically arcade mode interspersed with games of basketball and volleyball, both of which have no right to be as fun as they are. There is also a shooting gallery where you can win all the unlockables the game has to offer. Its rough around the edges but fun, a lot of potential to be mined in the sequels Im optimistic it will receive. Nintendo has something they could really dominate the genre with here, if they polish it up somewhat.




Nothing extraordinary but a charming art style with some fun character designs. The stages are well drawn too and, like the Power Stone series, form follows function with exploding cannisters and other hazards that can spice up a duel. My personal favourite is Doctor Coyle, who I think is a villainess as she has poison-green hair and stiletto-heeled boots that are so high they would make Bayonetta wince. As for the sound… boing-thwack! I dont need to say anything else.


Im going to be weird and say I dont like using the motion controls in this game. Then again, I bought my Switch second-hand and it was already suffering from Joy-Con drift. So I played with motion controls and now I have a Pro Controller. Which is awesome. And I suggest you get one for yourself if you have anything like adult-sized hands. [Hes mad, motion controls are far superior for ARMS – GC]

But no matter how you choose to play, the sensation of stretching limbs followed by the satisfying smack of your boxing glove as it hits Max Brass in his stupid, smug face is fantastic. Im kidding. Max is great. So is hitting him. Youll be using throws a lot, too and it feels equally as nice.

This is all topped off by a special move that each character has that can take off a good chunk of health. Whats more, its genuinely accessible: no need for quarter-circle motions, memorising long combo strings, I really think anybody could get good at this within minutes.




There are endings, of a sort, to see in Grand Prix mode – but more care could have been lavished on them. Tekken is still the king in this area. You unlock art and new arms for you to use in the shooting gallery, which are okay – but no new stages or characters, so a little shallow. Thankfully, the journey is more fun than the destination in this case, so this is forgivable. This time. Not in a sequel. Which I really want.


Superb. From the bubbly Ribbon Girl to the bizarre Helix and adorable Byte and Bark, the characters are brilliantly designed. Which is just as well, as there arent that many major differences between them. Then again, as the environment and items play a larger role, this doesnt matter too much. If I had to complain its that there is no real big bad, as such. Doctor Coyle isnt really all that evil, from what I could gather. More sexy, femme fatale. Which is fine. But, we need somebody we can really root against, I feel.

Post-launch support

Not bad. Five characters became available, for free, after launch – the likes of Doctor Coyle and Max Brass among their number. Seems a bit quiet at the moment. A shame they didnt add any new gameplay modes. That is always a big ask, though.


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