Arms Hands-On Nintendo Switch Preview

Arms Preview

One Game Rant writer goes hands-on with Arms, an upcoming Nintendo Switch title which features a colorful roster of wacky fighters with spring-loaded arms.

The Nintendo Treehouse event from two weeks prior revealed that two new games, 1-2-Switch and Arms, would be making their way to the Nintendo Switch. As a debut fighting title, Arms received a pretty warm reception upon its announcement, and initial impressions of the game revealed that the wacky exaggerated boxing title has plenty of potential up its spring-loaded sleeve. This week, Game Rant went hands on with Arms to get a feel for just how entertaining the boxing title could be.

To play Arms, players wield a single Joy-Con controller in each hand, utilizing both motion controls and button combinations to fight. The 1 to 2 player game quickly shows new players an interactive tutorial, but the jist of the control scheme is pretty intuitive: Players can nod their Joy-Cons left or right to move in that direction, pull them back to step backwards, press button combinations for ranged and special attacks, and to punch move the controller forward. It's an easy concept to master.

Before stepping into the ring, players will have to select a character. There are currently five announced characters for the game, although more may be included at launch. For our demo we chose Mechanica, because she looked like a robotic Twinkie. The wacky ensemble can be customized with different arm-related accessories, which change attack animations and add a customization element that didn't exist in previous staple Nintendo fighting games like Wii Boxing. Each character has their own strengths and weaknesses, so players will have to pick whether they want a quick and nimble fighter, or a massive warrior with gigantic fists.

Once players have armed themselves and entered the ring, the fighting can get hectic fast. Dodging and weaving while throwing spring-loaded punches across the map can be a tiresome affair, so gamers who wanted a little boost to their cardio exercise routine will be pleased with how much of a workout Arms offers. Beyond its sheer physicality, there is a surprisingly decent element of depth to the fighting title as well.

Players must choose wisely when to time their special attacks, which reward massive damage for connecting a blow just after activation. Arms lets players do everything from jumping over extended arm attacks to curving fist attacks like a bullet from Wanted, although the first few matches are more likely to be a race to simply smash the opponent at a faster rate then they can smash you - but in any event, the game does have depth to it, and therein lies the real potential of Arms.

In contrast, gamers may find themselves occasionally frustrated at the game's sometimes imprecise interpretations of Joy-Con movements. Since moving and punching both involve some quick Joy-Con motions, there were several instances where a punch motion was interpreted as a dodge. In the same manner, we took quite a few hits because our characters punched forward aimlessly instead of dodging as intended, so it'll be interesting to see if Nintendo can work on making the controls more precise by the time the game launches this Spring. If it wants to be taken seriously as a strategic fighter, improvements will need to be made.

All-in-all, Arms provided an entertaining experience and a colorful, albeit small, roster of characters. The game has easily achieved the level of wackiness that one can expect from a Nintendo product, and the surprising depth to the fighting process gives Arms more credit than one might have originally predicted. While the controls still have a few kinks to work out, it's still an easy title to pick up and play with a friend, and should do well to reinforce the Nintendo Switch lineup when it releases.

Arms is scheduled to launch sometime in Spring 2017, exclusively for the Nintendo Switch.

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