ARMS is a fighting sports game developed by Nintendo that uses extendable arms for battle. It's similar to boxing in that the player strikes their opponents with their fists but, the ARMS stretch to reach the opponent across the stage. ARMS can be played on split-screens, online or with Switch vs Switch.
The game is a 3D arena fighter with the goal to whittle down the opponent's hitpoints. The extendable arms mean that distance does not mean the player can avoid the attack. However, a whiffed punch results in an opening that gets bigger with greater distance. Hitting the opponents arms does not do much damage but can stun their arms, creating an opening. They can also stun arms with certain Arms that either are more powerful or have a stun property. There are 2-on-2 matches in addition to 1-on-1.
In addition to choosing the character the player plays as, the player can choose between 3 ARMS for the character and change between each round. Players do not have to use the same ARM for both arms. The ARMS can also have 1 of 7 attributes; Fire, Electric, Wind, Ice, Explosion, Stun, Blind. Heavier ARMS can go through lighter ARMS in direct collision. All ARMS are compatible with the whole cast but they need to be unlocked with the ingame currency. Each person in the cast starts with 3 arms for free. The List of ARMS can be seen to a complete list of them.
- Spring Stadium
- Ribbon Ring
- Ninja College
- Ramen Bowl
- Cinema Deux
- Buster Beach
- Snake Park
- DNA Lab
- Sky Arena
- Via Dolce
- Sparring Ring
- Temple Grounds
- [NAME REDACTED]
In casual play, there are 4 items that can come randomly into play.
- HP Bottle
- Rush Juice
- Fire Bomb
- Shock Bomb
|Move||Motion Control Input||Button Control Input||Notes|
|Move||Tilt both JoyCons||Left Analog Joystick||On motion controls, level of tilt determines speed of movement. Both JoyCons must be tilted in the same direction.|
|Punch / Use ARM||Punch forward (move or tilt forward sharply) with left or right JoyCon. A rapid tilt alone will work with little linear motion.||Bottom Button (B / A / down arrow) or Left Trigger (ZL) for Left ARM; Right Button (A / X / right arrow) or Right Trigger (ZR) for Right ARM||Selected ARM must be ready. The orientation of the JoyCon, or the position of the analog stick, at the time you punch can alter properties of the ARM's movement.|
|Steer ARM||Tilt left JoyCon to steer left ARM; Tilt right JoyCon to steer right ARM||Left Analog Joystick||On non-motion controls, if both ARMs are active, they will both steer in the same direction. Only motion control can steer ARMs in different directions. Characters are not able to move while ARM steering is available, regardless of control method. "Boomerang" type arms do not need to be steered in order to bounce back on the opponent.|
|Block||Tilt both JoyCons inwards||Push in on Left Analog Joystick||Both ARMs must be ready. Tilting other mismatched combinations of directions on motion controls will result in erratic or no motion. Blocking a punch will charge both ARMs for a brief period after the block.|
|Grab||Punch forward with both JoyCons||Press both ARM buttons at once||Both ARMs must be ready. There is a small grace period so the ARMs do not have to be used at exactly the same time. Grabs are immune to blocks, but countered by attacking either ARM.|
|Dash||Left JoyCon Bumper (L)||Left Button (B / X / Left Arrow)||If Dash is held down and no ARM is used during the dash, both ARMs will be charged at the end of the Dash. By holding down Dash for longer you can extend the charge. Note that the trailing ARM(s) will lag behind the character in this case and may be vulnerable to attack. Pressing Dash while not holding any direction will do a short dash forwards, which still conveys all the benefits of dashing and can be held down.|
|Jump||Right JoyCon Bumper (R)||Top Button (X / Y / Up Arrow)||If no ARMs are used during the jump, both ARMs will be charged when you hit the ground. It is not necessary to hold down the Jump button to charge ARMs but doing so after landing will extend the charge. Most characters can jump at least once in the air. ARMs will charge only if no ARMs were used during your entire time spent in the air, regardless of number of jumps. To extend the charge while performing multiple jumps, hold down the Jump button used for the final jump.|
|Start Rush||Either trigger (ZL/ZR)||Left Bumper (L / SL)||Rush gauge must be full. During Rush, both ARMs recover much more quickly. You cannot grab during a Rush, so ensure your opponent cannot block before Rushing.|
|Select Target (in multiplayer matches)||Directional Pad||Press Digital stick Down|
Within versus is several variations of the gameplay. In default settings, the games allow for items to randomly appear:
- Fight - Standard fight where everyone fights for themselves.
- Team Fight - There are 2 teams with members of each team tethered together.
- Hoops - Players try to throw each other into the basketball hoop.
- V-Ball - Either 1-on-1 or 2-on-2. Similar to volleyball, players try to get the ball to land on the other team's side.
- Skill Shot - Players hit targets to earn as much points as possible. More points are scored when targets are hit consecutively. Hitting the opponent is not necessary but stuns them, preventing them scoring points.
- 1-on-100 - A Horde mode where 100 helix-like enemies attack you in waves of 10 each. Over time, the enemies gradually become more intelligent and use more effective combinations of ARMs. If you defeat 99 enemies, the 100th will be Hedlok. At the end of the stage, you will be given a rating based on how many enemies you defeated; these ratings are also different for each character.
- Hedlok Scramble - 1v1 fight in which Hedlok's mask appears as an item. Any player who collects it gains the powers of Hedlok until they are hit, whereupon the mask switches to the other player. After a certain amount of total time of the mask being available (regardless of who is wearing it or how many times it switched), it disappears.
Within Versus. Fight using a random combination of ARMs each round. ARMs can be selected from all those available in the game, even ones you have not unlocked.
Appears within Versus. Allows you to practice by fighting against a dumb or scripted AI.
- The Basics: Provides a walkthrough of the controls using the currently active controller.
- Beginner Punching: Face a Helix who moves slowly and will not block. KO him before time runs out.
- Intermediate Punching: Face Kid Cobra who moves at regular speed and will jump off the edges of the arena and block. KO him before time runs out.
- Advanced Punching: Face Ribbon Girl who moves at high speed, blocks, and dances in the air. KO her before time runs out.
- Guard Breaking: Face Master Mummy who constantly blocks. Grab him repeatedly.
- Trading Punches: Face Min Min who constantly punches using Megaton ARMs. Dodge her blows and KO her (the instructions just say to dodge, but the win condition is the usual one)
- Don't get thrown: Face Ninjara who constantly tries to grab you. Counter his grabs by punching his ARMs out of the air, then attack him with your other ARM.
- Rush practice: Face Byte & Barq. Both their and your rush gauge constantly recharge. If you punch, they will Rush. If you Rush, they will block as soon as possible. Wait for them to attack then Rush them.
- Jump practice: More like anti-jump practice, but still. Face Mechanica who constantly throws jumping punches.
- Anti counter practice: Face Twintelle who waits for you to attack and then blocks or counters. This is a notoriously difficult training mode. It is necessary to punch once and then quickly use your other ARM to respond to Twintelle's counter.
This is the main single-player mode. The player fights 10 fights in a row, ending with a fight against Max Brass. If the difficulty level is at least 4, this is followed by a second fight against Max possessed by Hedlok. The third and sixth rounds will usually be variant modes; usually Hoops, V-Ball, or Skillshot..
This mode is the casual online mode with a lobby featuring up to 12 players. Players randomly enter fights between each though it seems it prioritizes players that have not been fought yet. In between matches, players can warm-up on the Helix-like dummies. Players can go online with a local buddy with the players alternating between fights, except in team ones.
This mode requires players beat Grand Prix at difficulty level 4 before getting access. Players compete in 1-on-1 matches with no items with similarly skilled players. The matchmaking takes place in the background so players can play other modes in the meanwhile as they are hooked up with another player.
Players can play in a lobby with their friends in this mode. It opens up a menu where all your friends are listed and you can invite them. Players may choose to set a passcode for access to the lobby but it isn't required.
This mode is similar to Skillshot except players spend a game currency (30, 100, or 200 coins) to get time in this mode. Each time a Skillshot level is made, an ARM will appear at the back of the area. Punching this will unlock the ARM for that character. The currency is acquired through playing the games in other game modes. The first ARM available in a round will always be for the character you are playing; after that, ARMs may be provided for any character in the game. If the player manages to get an arm for the same character twice, that arm is upgraded in damage for the character they got it for.
Party Crash is an event mode similar to Splatoon's Splatfest, added in the 4.0 Update. Over a few days, this mode becomes available. Like the Party Match mode, the player gets put is random matches but, certain fighters are chosen for the event with certain ARMS chosen for the current activity. The match type changes every few hours. The objective of the event is to earn points for the respective fighter with the player earning badges corresponding to the event.
During the Nintendo Direct focusing on ARMS broadcasted on May 17, 2017, a demo named Global Testpunch was announced, the demo was made available the following day but the servers would only be opened later. This demo featured only the Party Mode
The first session went from May 26 to May 28 and featured the modes Fight, Team Fight and V-Ball. 3 player matches defaulted to Fight
The second session went from June 2 to June 4 and featured the modes Fight, Team Fight, Hoops and Skill Shot. 3 player matches defaulted to a Hedlok battle.
- Spring Man
- Ribbon Girl
- Master Mummy
- Min Min
- Twintelle (only during the second session)
Similar to Splatoon, the game is receiving regular updates in the form of new fighters, ARMS and stages.
Max Brass reveal
ARMS was updated to the 1.1.0 version on June 26, 2017. The update allow the player to access the new "spectator mode" promised in the Nintendo Treehouse live, the mode is avaliable under the name of arena mode. A new LAN mode was also added, it can be accessed by pressing the left stick, press L+R on the main menu. Other than that, the update fixes some bugs regarding Kid Cobra and Byte & Barq and their uses of the sliding boards. Another bug is fixed, this time it was a bug that prevented some ARMS to hit properly the boxes in Ribbon Ring. Text-fix for the Grand Prix story can also be noted.
ARMS was updated to the 2.0.0 version on July 12, 2017. This update brought the character, Max Brass, along with his stage, Sky Arena. The update also brought a new mode, Hedlok Scramble and introduced Records. Numerous balance changes as well as some glitch fixes were made as well.
ARMS was updated to the 2.1.0 version on August 10, 2017. The "Training" mode was moved to the top of the menu. Five exercice were added to the "Training" mode as well as indications on the difficulty level. Indication on how to change target is now displayed at the start of 3 or 4 players battle and a cursor now indicate the current target. Minor changes and fixes were also made to the game and the stats of the characters.
On August 10, 2017 the official twitter account of ARMS teased the arrival of a new character in the game, this new character should be included in the next update according to the account. On August 14, 2017. The official twitter account released an image of the new stage which is a candy-themed stage, indicating that the fighter itself is based on something candy related. On August 16, 2017 Nintendo released a new teaser in the form of a video in black and white showing glimps of the new character in action but without revealing too much about its appearance. On August 22, 2017, Lola Pop, the new character was officially revealed in a trailer posted on the official Nintendo Youtube channel along with the Version 3.0.0 of the game.
On September 13, 2017 it was revealed in Nintendo Direct that the 3.0.0 version would be released later that day and with it Lola Pop and the option to change the control scheme to suit personal preference.
On October 8, 2017 the 3.2.0 update was presented and said to release within the month of October. The update would release on October 17, 2017 and with it the possibility to collect badges by fulfilling certain condition and a new fight against a Spring Man doppelgänger.
On November 8, 2017, the ARMS twitter account teased the arrival of a third DLC fighter with a jungle themed stage. It was announced on November 15, 2017 that the 4.0.0 update would release on November 16, 2017. This update included the new fighter, Misango, his stage Temple Grounds, the addition of the Poison ARMS attribute and a new game mode called Party Crash.
On November 30, 2017, a new update was announced and released, This update allows the player to choose Springtron, a boss previously exclusive to the Grand Prix, as their character. Springtron share his unlocked ARMS with Springman. Additionally, new badges were added to the game.
On December 17, 2017, the 5.0.0 update was announced and with it the fifth DLC fighter, Dr. Coyle. On December 21, 2017, the update released and included a new secret lab stage and added Dr. Coyle as a secret boss on Rank 6 or above. Grand Prix has been also reworked for Rank 6 and below where the enemies get stronger the further in though in Rank 7 or higher, the fighters start at full strength.
The overall reception to the final game has been middling. Most are criticizing the game's lack of content at launch and feel there is a lack of depth compared to other fighting franchises. On MetaCritic, the game has received an 78 and it received a 33 from Famitsu. Meanwhile, on whatoplay.com this game holds an aggregate score (playscore) of 8.04 based on 61 critics.
On its first week, the game sold 100,652 copies in Japan, which is a strong debut for a new fighting game series. In comparison, this is more than Tekken 7's 58,736 copies it sold during launch week a couple weeks earlier. As of June 2017, 1.18 million copies were sold. As of the end of December 2017, ARMS sold 1.61 million copies worldwide. As of the end of April 2018, ARMS sold 1.85 million copies worldwide.
ARMS rise above 2.01 million copies sold as of the end of June 2018 and is the sixth most successful 1st party game on the Nintendo Switch at the time. As of September 2018, it was pushed down to the place of seventh most successful Nintendo Switch game by Mario Tennis Aces, which outdid its 2.10 million sales worldwide by a small margin.
- Nintendo's first original fighter game since the Punch Out!! series, aside from the Super Smash Bros. games which was created by HAL Laboratory.
- It is notable for being the first fighter to implement a third-person style gameplay, in contrast to most 2D-style fighter. Nintendo refers this accomplishment as "the first fighting game of its kind".
- Many music crew from Mario Kart 8, with two of its composers being Atsuko Asahi and Yasuaki Iwata, have worked on ARMS.