I think I’m not the only one who raised their eyebrows when ARMS was shown off in the Nintendo Switch direct. In concept, it looked interesting enough; a cute almost Splatoon like aesthetic mixed with Wii Boxing. But as every fighting game player will tell you, it rarely matters how it looks, it’s how it plays that makes it worthwhile. This obviously got a lot of discussion going, the main one being just how good could this game be with the motion controls?
As I faced my opponent and strapped the Joycons to both my hands I mused the same thing. You control your character by tilting your hands in specific directions i.e. both left to move left, both inward to block etc and then punched like normal to fight. You can tilt the controller(s) to direct and angle your punches, which gave the game a lot more depth then you would believe it could have, and allowed for some cool looking combos.
Like most fighters, ARMS follows a triangular based system of combat, punching beats out a grab attempt, grabs get past blocks and blocking cancels out incoming punches. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before; even the super moves you can unleash in flurry of punches makes the whole experience eerily reminiscent of Pokken Fighters. Though ARMS does not have as much going on as Pokken does, the use of the motion controls as the main method of combat give it the means to stand out.