I was never good in fighting games, and they rarely interested me. Even though I am a big nintendo fan, not even Super Smash does it for me personally.
However, Arms brings interesting concept of motion controls of boxing like gameplay that made Wii Sports Boxing fun 10 years ago, to the next level.
Controls method options are available. If you despise the "gimmick" of motion controls, you may play the game entirely with Pro Controller or docked JoyCons using buttons only. This will render a little bit better precision in timing of some inputs.
However, motion controls are the highlighted option. In this fighting game, you actually have the camera behind (third person view) of your character. Motions with JoyCons imitating punches will make your character punch, though their spring like arms extend the punch.
Moving your arms with the controllers, will make your character's spring arms curve in the direction you want. It is a surprising fidelity of motion control that makes the game very fun and engaging.
The character can move around in the arena to anywhere you want. You may punch, jump, dodge, block, and grab.
These simple mechanics work around the logic that: punches beat/cancel grabs, blocks cancel punches, and grabs beat blocks.
Simple enough. Though superficially only. As you bump up difficulty, you will learn of further intricacies, such as counter punches, combined with the variety of Arms to be unlocked.
The game has 10 characters. More coming through confirmed free DLC. Each character has their own stats of speed, defense, and power. Additionally, each has a unique ability. They vary from Regenerating health when blocking, to multiple air jumps, and even auto charge arms attack when low on health.
Each character has a pre-set of 3 arms to choose. The arms are rather like boxing gloves that have unique stats/abilities, that range from fire to burn for extra time damage, freezing to slow down opponent, even creative ones such as boomerangs that make punches extra curved, or slapping arms that make punches more like whipping attacks.
You may charge your punches to enable the element/power attack of chosen gloves.
As you fight, you get credit points that can be used in a fun arcade game to unlock additional arms for all characters.
Stages are few for now, but more may come through DLC. They are well designed and creative, ranging from beach day park, to dynamic changing terrain of a dance stage.
There are several game modes. Championship which is a story-less career mode, where you choose difficulty and go through all characters fight in a typical fighter arcade run. V Ball, where a bomb inside a volley ball is thrown around, if ball stays in you court side for too long it explodes granting opponent team a point. Basketball mode, where you literally must grab enemy and throw him/her to a basketball hoop for points. Target practice. And team fights.
All of the modes can be played locally single player, locally with up to 4 friends, in between local Nintendo Switch consoles, and Online.
Online has additional 1 v 1 mode for ranked serious matches.
Online mode also benefits of a dynamic party lobby that rearranges you and online contestants in various modes and fights. Something very fun and interesting to see as matches diagrams keep moving around live as you wait to join a match.
Visuals are great as expected of true nintendo franchises. Full HD 1080p 60 frames per second gameplay for single player locally or online. Visuals drop to 900p 60fps for 2 players locally or online. And for 3 or 4 drops to 720p 30fps.
If you aren't into fighting games like me, this may still interest you for the unique twists of modes and manner of actual fighting.
It is fun for both casual players and hard core fighting gamers.
I won't be surprised to see serious tournaments or eSports for this game in near future.