ARMS Review

Disclaimer: The Fandads were provided with a downloadable copy of ARMS for this review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

ARMS has been in heavy rotation around the studio for the past couple of weeks. When I found out we were going to have early access to the game it was an awesome and unexpected surprise. Our access came along the same time that the Global Testpunch was happening and it gave me a good chance to try out the game with a lot of other people.

There are a variety of modes to check out online!
My first impressions were that it was a unique game. It’s kind of hard to describe and/or compare to anything else. Yes, it’s a fighting game, but it’s also something else. Grappling? Wrestling? Not quite, but there are elements somewhere in there.
The learning curve seemed to be tough, especially in “thumbs up” mode, which I assume is the way the game is meant to be played. (Thumbs up mode is basically having one Joy-Con in each hand and controlling your fighter by moving your hands and punching to attack.) I got my rear handed to me pretty easily and frequently, even on lower difficulty settings. Master Mummy is the only character I’ve actually gotten to be somewhat proficient with. Seeing as how I was having some difficulty with the game, I thought I’d give the next generation a try.
I let my girls play for a while, with an extra pair of Joy-Cons they were both able to experience the game in “thumbs up” mode, and they had wildly different experiences. One of my girls was frustrated and couldn’t get the game to do what she wanted it to. Unfortunately she ended up being upset and quickly gave up on the game. Daughter #2 though, couldn’t get enough. She was sticking and moving like a pro and quickly decimated her sister. She then moved on to me and it wasn’t pretty. I can 100% assure you that I wasn’t trying to let her win and she mopped the floor with me.

Although it was fun for her, I believe that this is one of the issues I have with the game. My five year daughter was able to beat me to a pulp by essentially button-mashing with the right character. Again, it might be me and my lack of experience with the game, but it didn’t interest me enough to want to keep playing it so I could actually get better.
The Hoops, V-Ball, and Skill Shot modes offer some depth to the game, I actually found those modes more enjoyable than the fighting, but the “story” mode, or Grand Prix, didn’t hold my attention. The characters aren’t very interesting either. Yes, they look cool, and ARMS is definitely different, but it still wasn’t wowing me.

Determined to give it more of a chance, I let my “focus group” AKA students at school, try it out. Well,  it turns out maybe this game isn’t for me. The kids loved it. the characters, the colors, they really got into it. They also didn’t seem to be having too many problems learning the controls. I’m sure part of it was because kids are so quick to pick up games these days, but it also could have been that they were playing “traditionally” with the Joy-Cons. I didn’t want any kids accidentally punching themselves so I had them play with one Joy-Con each and it seemed to work out well. I actually started playing this way and with the controls attached to the Switch and the game seems to be a bit more bearable this way. I guess it’s just not my cup of tea.
So my final verdict is that Dads could probably give this one a pass, if you’re into fighting games there are definitely better options out there. That being said, this might be a good pick up for the kids. There isn’t any blood and the characters are pretty abstract. It’s rated E 10+, so it’s good for anyone 10 and up but my kids, both under 10, seemed to be fine with it.
Until next time, thanks for reading.
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