“Arms,” Nintendo’s new and unconventional fighting game, has just recently released. The game fuses traditional fighting games with “Wii Sports: Boxing”-like controls. Unfortunately, this hybrid approach means that it may be hard to market.
One perspective is that Arms should be treated like a casual multiplayer game like Mario Kart; Arms was developed by Mario Kart 8’s team. While the MK series is known for being novice-friendly, it also offers incentives for players with more gaming experience. Much like Wii Sports: Boxing, Arms’ controls are based around motion controls. While all a player needs to do for their character to punch is to throw a punch himself, the intricacies of Arms’ control system include a mild learning curve-motion controls are also involved when jumping, dodging and blocking.
The previously-mentioned variety of maneuvers make be just the thing to attract fans of competitive fighting games; how a player throws his punches affects the trajectories that his character’s attacks will fly, allowing for strategies like hooking around barriers to sneak in a hit or two. Another factor in the variety of Arms’ play styles is that each of its ten characters has a different “feel” and different weapons, the eponymous “arms,” to strike with; some arms can apply poison or blind, while others allow for projectile attacks. Ultimately, Arms has the potential to join competitive fighting games like the “Smash Brothers” and “Mortal Kombat” franchises without the need to exactingly memorize button inputs.
Yet another potential market for Arms would be as a compelling first-party title for the Switch beyond “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.” While Arms is an innovative new IP for Nintendo, its strength is in its multiplayer offerings; just like Mario Kart or any serious fighting game, very little exists within Arms’ single-player experience beyond playing “Grand Prix Mode” to learn a character and unlock items. Arms is a great game for people who regularly have company over for gaming.