It’s time to look at a fighting game Nintendo churned out a while back. It was one of the big titles for the Switch since it utilized the Joy Con features a lot. That being said, it got quiet very quickly after it came out. It was seen as pretty gimicky but those who stuck around with it did enjoy the game a lot. Well, now it is currently free on the Nintendo Eshop for a few days so I decided to check it out. This way I’ll save myself 60 bucks from actually buying it. It is a great fighting game and there’s a lot of fun to be had here.
When you boot the game up you will notice one thing missing from the start. There is no Story Mode. I was pretty surprised to see that there wasn’t even an Arcade Mode to play through with unique openings and endings. There is 0 story in this game and I think that’s pretty inexcusable for a modern day fighting game. You have to at least do the bare minimum which is have some still images while there is some dialogue about the character. We don’t actually know anything about these characters as a result which is pretty iffy. We’re literally just fighting for kicks now.
So the main modes here are the offline tournament mode and battling people online. The former is fun enough for learning the controls of the game. You get to face off with the computer in traditional fights as well as some minigames like basketball and punching through the rings. The basketball game is very fun and it’s something people have made stages for in Super Smash Bros all the time. The fact that it’s an official mode here it pretty awesome. I can see people having a lot of fun with it here. The shooting though the rings is not quite as fun. It’s basically just a normal fight since the rings barely seem to matter. Landing hits on the opponent is still the best way to win.
As for the main gameplay, it’s a 3D brawler with a similar setup to Pokken. All of your attacks are long range though. You can punch from one side of the stage to the other. You can also try to grab an opponent which will go through the guard. It’s a pretty straight forward fighting game so you’ll get the hang of it quickly. Once you store up enough energy you can use a final smash as well. You’re also given the option to switch your punching equipment between every round. It affects the range of your punch and how strong they are. Test out each weapon until you find one that you really like.
With the points you earn you can then head to the shop and buy some new weapons. It’s a little different than most traditional shops though. You don’t actually pick the equipment that you want. You’re put into a level where you punch at boxes and such. Occasionally a big box will show up containing a random equipment. You have to punch it to obtain this piece. Based on the length of time you chose for this minigame will determine how many items you get. It’s a bit of a roundabout way of unlocking things but it’s fun enough. I’m fine with it as long as duplicates don’t show up. It’d be annoying to play through the whole thing and find out that you just got an old piece.
The character roster isn’t amazing, but it’s decent. It’s big enough where you can’t call it small, but at the same time it could have benefited from a few more characters. I can see how people would like using motion controls for this, but I definitely like traditional for the best. It’s still pretty interesting to use the mechanics since punching with one arm at a time isn’t something you usually do in fighting games. It helps to keep the game a little more fresh and that’s never a bad thing. Particularly since the gameplay is all you will be here for.
The graphics are top notch. It looks and feels a lot like Pokken to me. I wonder if some of the same people were behind this one. It’s all very vibrant and that’s a good thing. The soundtrack is also very lively although a little less memorable. It works well enough while you’re fighting which is the important part. You always want some fast themes to fight to since it helps you keep your speed and tempo up. A slow theme would absolutely defeat the purpose if you ask me.
Really the only thing holding this title back from being better is the lack of content. It really feels like there is nothing to do here beyond fight people online. While fighting people is the main draw in the first place you should really have something else to do as well. I’ve mentioned this a lot in the review but a quick arcade mode would have done wonders. The replay value here is technically limitless but it’s very narrow and as I result I can’t imagine spending 60 bucks on it. I would have felt quite ripped off. You just can’t make a game without any kind of story and sell it for 60 bucks. Even all of the sport games have stories and franchise modes nowadays.
Overall, ARMS is pretty fun. It’s the kind of fighting game that has a lot of potential and automatic replay value. You can keep on busting people online and have fun learning new tricks and strategies. It can be a bit bare bones in terms of offline content though which keeps it from being further up on the list. If you don’t have the Nintendo Switch Online then you need to avoid this game. There is almost literally no reason to buy it if you can’t go online. Still, I do love fighting games and on a technical level this one succeeds quite well. Hopefully when we get a sequel Nintendo remembers to add online this time.