Much like Nintendo reinvented the shooter genre with Splatoon, Arms is it's most recent attempt to apply that same restructuring approach to fighting games. Arms brings a unique spin to fighting games as it pits 2 distinct characters with extendable arms against one another. Players can select from a variety of arms which adds a constant level of uniqueness to the battles. Fights in Arms are exciting and dynamic. I can't count the number of fights that felt as if they were going my way only to have a few decisive moves alter the outcome.
Arms features a variety of game modes outside of the standard 1-on-1 or 2-on-2 fights to keep the game feeling fresh constantly. There is even Grand Prix Mode which sets forth a series of matches that progressively gets more difficult. While it isn't a true story mode, it adds a layer of variety and challenge to an otherwise standard experience. Grand Prix Mode also has the added benefit of being able to be played solo or with a buddy for a co-op experience.
The true strength of Arms is in its varied gameplay, and no mode showcases this better than the online Party Mode. Party Mode throws the player into an online lobby with several other players while displaying each match up between all of the various players. The UI displays the real time results of each match giving the player something to look at while their next match begins. The true joy of this mode comes from the way match-ups are handled. Players are randomly shuffled and paired against other players to compete in one of many matches.
For instance, my first match was a vanilla one-on-one fight ; whereas, my second match grouped me with 2 other players to take on a difficult AI-controlled enemy in a 3-on-1 match. The concept of having everyone in a lobby that is constantly shuffling around creates micro rivalries and interesting stories. Perhaps my favorite aspect of this mode is that it can be played with a friend. However, even the way that is handled is charming and unique. With 2 people on one Switch, the game will alternate between having a match for both players at one time (i.e a 2-on-2 match) or a match for just one of the 2 players (i.e a standard 1-on-1 match). It sounds subtle, but not having both players participate in every match takes a lot of pressure and immediacy out of the online experience and really hammers down on the “party” aspect of Party Mode. It is worth mentioning that a more refined and serious ranked online experience is still available for those who prefer that.
"Arms is a delightful game."
Arms is a delightful game. Even the act of obtaining new Arms for your character is a unique spin on a common gaming convention. Instead of using currency to purchase new Arms, the player instead purchases time in a shooting gallery of sorts where racking up a high score by destroying objects spawns boxes containing new Arms. That dynamic sums up Arms as a whole. Arms manages to make even the mundane aspects of gaming enjoyable, and with a promise of post-launch support, it seems clear that Arms will have legs. Do you see what I did there?
What do you think of Arms? Let Nerdbot know in the comments!