Nintendo is running some tests of their servers before the release any major titles with online service and after Splatoon, their newest fighting game, Arms is up next. I was very on the fence about this game going into the TestPunch. At its essence, it is a 3D fighting game and the gameplay revolves around punching and turning your extendable fist toward your opponent. You can jump, dash, lean, grab, block, and punch with each hand just like a virtual boxing match.
There are several characters to choose from when you first start and there will probably be one to match you! Each character in the roster plays differently and has different abilities that mix up the way they are played. I ended up going with Ribbon Girl because she had a lot of mobility but there are others that are focused on taking hits and hitting hard. Not only can you choose the character but you can also choose their arms. In the test, you could mix and match from three different arms, each with a different property. Some became three smaller arms, some chase opponents slowly, and others even have a chance to hit on their way back. It really mixes up the way you throw your punches. You can essentially customize to play exactly how you want and develop your own depth or keep it simple and get good.
Now, I can’t attest to the motion controls. I hate them generally so I chose to just go straight to standard control. Honestly, I think that is why I dominated when it came to most one on one fights. Just punch with each trigger and move the punch with the left analog stick. But one on one wasn’t the only mode. The TestPunch would put you in a lobby with a couple other players and you could either be playing a one on one, two on two, three versus an AI, basketball mode, or a target hitting mode. I didn’t really like a lot of the modes other than the standard fight because I didn’t feel like I was getting any better. There were also items that would drop like health potion, bombs, shock balls, and rush building potion. Overtime in a match, you build a meter called rush that allows you to shoot your arms out really quickly and deal a lot of damage but it isn’t guaranteed. I will say though, overall it was fun.
I had a good time playing the two different hour slots I was able to and it felt pretty natural to me. I think I would get pretty tired of the gameplay quickly though. There are only a few stages to play on which don’t do anything too crazy and the characters are so different that it would be hard for me to branch out much. I would probably just doing the same thing every game and slowly getting better. I think if you have a lot of time on your hands and were looking to get competitive, the possibility is definitely there. I just don’t care enough about fighting games to want that but I could see how someone might really enjoy their time with Arms. Overall, my impression is (if you have time to practice and get good): buy it.