When Nintendo first unveiled ARMS, it seemed like little more than a slightly more flushed out Wii Sports boxing game. The game featured the use of the joy-con’s motion controls for the fighters’ arms and a simple looking one versus one game mode. At the time, it was hard to be excited for this strange new title with games like Zelda:Breath of the Wild, Splatoon 2, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Super Mario Odyssey stealing a lot of the spotlight. Since then, more and more about Nintendo’s new fighting game has been revealed and the underlying complexities of the gameplay are slowly showing themselves.
Since its initial announcement, we have learned that ARMS fighters do more than just throw long distance punches at one another. Each character within the game has their own set of skills and passive traits that can alter the way contestants fight one another. One character gets a big offensive buff when they are at really low health, while another doesn’t flinch when hit. In addition to differences between the characters themselves, each fighter chooses two “ARMS” to use in battle. These arms all act differently when used and allow players to augment their playstyle in unique ways. Not only can players choose different types of ARMS, but each archetype can have different elemental effects on it. Between the elemental effects and variety of ARMS, players will have lots of ways to change how they play individual characters.
This amount of options to how a player builds the best fighter to fit their playstyle is certainly refreshing and adds a lot of depth into a game that is going to incorporate online competitive play. In addition to the surprising amount of depth, each of the characters are vibrant and colorful and do a great job of standing out from one another. The most recent character revealed is named Minmin and has ramen-noodle arms. With endearing character designs like that, hopefully all players can find a fighter they enjoy.
Between complexity in gameplay and fun character designs, ARMS has a chance to be Nintendo’s fighting game equivalent of Splatoon. If Nintendo can foster the games community from launch with updates and additional content its sure to have a strong following. If the game includes a good ladder mode and ranked system, competitive gamers could very well find themselves a new fighting game to love. If the games players are passionate enough, we could one day see ARMS side by side with Smash Bros. at events like EVO.
ARMS still has another couple months before release, so the games capacity to become an eSport is impossible to determine for now. Hopefully the game can become the next sleeper hit for Nintendo and find a comfortable niche for itself within the fighting game community.