ARMS (Nintendo Switch) Preview

By Adam Riley 15.01.2017

Review for ARMS on Nintendo Switch

There is no question that Wii Sports will forever remain lodged in the minds of the masses, perhaps not for its overall long-standing quality, but for the fact that it completely changed the face of gaming, bringing more immersion into the videogame realm and appealing to a wider than normal audience. Many an evening was occupied by tennis, bowling, golf, baseball, and boxing. It is the last of those that has been picked up for ARMS, but not just for a copy-and-paste affair, for something far deeper and enjoyable. Welcome to the next generation of sports combat.

ARMS may or may not be Nintendo's attempt at another pun, following on from its semi-successful naming convention for Splatoon that combined the regimented army Platoon concept with the 'splat' noise that comes with whacking paint all over the place. ARMS involves an armoury of weapons and… long arms. Simple, but effective? Well, what is in a name when the content is pure gold, right? ARMS is thoroughly engrossing, and a superb workout at the same time. What better way to keep fit than by having fun at the same time?

In the demo tested during the Nintendo Switch Premiere event, two combatants took to a large arena and had to dodge around, punching at each other like crazy. Except there was far more skill required to break down the opposition's defences, or else losing was inevitable. This is not the sort of game that works best by just simply punching like crazy.

Screenshot for ARMS on Nintendo Switch

The controls were extremely intuitive and even watching some journalists that were not particularly classed as 'hardcore gamers' having a go, they seemed to be picking up and playing with the greatest of ease. Why? Since the main controls were rudimentary motions that anyone could take to, with left and right tilting resulting in changes of direction, tilting the Joy-Con inwards to face each other attempting a block, and punching forwards leading to the main form of attack. Throw in some dashing and jumping with the trigger buttons, and the possibility to arc punches by thrusting forward not just in a straight line manner but in a round-the-corner fashion, and all havoc ensued, especially after the special ability meter was filled and go-crazy-punching mode kicked in for a short time.

ARMS is an intriguing beast because, like with many brawlers or fighters, there will be people that punch like mad in the hopes of winning rounds, whilst others will take the more nuanced approach, subtly bending punches, throwing double-punches to grab opponents, and blocking carefully before countering with style before the timer reached zero. There is no question at all how engaging it all was, and that competitive edge did get triggered after losing the first round, but then fatigue also eventually crept in towards the end. Will gamers really want to play for long sessions when it involves such exertion? This is one for those that want to get fit without the boredom of a strict exercise regime. Whether there is enough meat to keep coming back, though, is currently in question.

Screenshot for ARMS on Nintendo Switch

Final Thoughts

ARMS seems quite basic in nature, and the hands-on demo experience offered exciting bouts yet in a limited arena, so it will be interesting to see how this is fleshed out. Will there be missions, new special weapons and moves to unlock, online battle elements, and so on? For now, it was an extremely enjoyable (and colourful) fitness session…but just that. Wii Sports had a lot of variety for what it was (a free pack-in game), so ARMS being a standalone retail release means it has a lot more to prove it is not just an extracted Wii Boxing with funky characters and extra colour. Hopes are high, though.

Developer

Nintendo

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Fighting

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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