Last night Nintendo ran a special ARMS Direct that revealed a flurry of new features, characters and game modes ahead of the game’s 16 June release.
Nintendo have been doing their best to pitch the game as their big new IP, slowly drip feeding us new content and characters as the weeks have gone by in a bid to prove the game’s depth. ARMS is reportedly being developed by the same team who made Mario Kart 8, which isn’t surprising seeing just how polished and nuanced the game is now looking.
There’s a lot to go and I’ve listed the details below, but fundamentally this is a game you need to play to get a feeling for. To that end, Nintendo have announced a “Global Testpunch” event – essentially a beta demo – that will take place on the weekends of 27 May and 3 June, offering players the chance to try out a limited number of stages and characters.
Here’s the ARMS Direct itself.
New AMRS Fighters
First things first, the ARMS Direct saw the unveiling of three new fighters. Kid Cobra is a snake-themed, selfie stick-loving fighter who can use a charge up dash attack. In Nintendo’s own words:
“A fan of selfie sticks and livestreaming, this hip fighter pounces on opponents with a charged-up dash”
Twintelle in a glamourous celebrity-themed fighter who, rather using actual arms, fights with her extendable pigtails. When charged, she can cause opponents to be ‘star struck’, which for a few moments slows down time.
“As an A-list actress, Twintelle uses her celebrity status to render her opponents utterly star struck as she walks the red carpet to victory.”
Inevitably though, it was the robotic Byte & Barq that managed to steal the show. Byte & Barq are an Ice-Climber style tag team duo that can work together to defeat opponents. Byte is a robotic cop, and Barq is his robotic dog companion who can attack opponents, and even act as a platform to allow Byte to get some extra height.
“Two fighters in one! This robot fighter and his robot canine companion battle together to unleash devastating combo attacks.”
We already new that players would be able to mix and match their favourite ARMS before a match. The ARMS Direct unveiled that fighters have three default weapons that can choose from, with more available to unlock and upgrade with in-game-currency at the ARMS Getter. Nintendo have stressed that fighters will eventually be able to choose from any of the game’s ARMS, bringing the total amount of character/ARMS combination possibilities to 4000+.
Nintendo went to great lengths demonstrating the various weapons available, showing us things like the Toaster, which fires a flaming punch, and the Tribolt, which fires three shots horizontally. Nintendo also gave suggestions on the best way to use certain ARMS, for example using a shield to block an attack, then using the Boomerang to take your opponent out from the side.
Adding greater depth to the gameplay are seven attributes which infuse each of the game’s ARMS. These include fire, electricity, wind, ice, stun, explosion and blind, and each of these have their own special effect. ARMS also have different weights which effects things like momentum and if your punches can ‘block’ incoming punches. All things considered, there seems to be a good deal of strategy in choosing what ARMS to equip your fighter with.
Here’s a quick run-down of each of the game modes ARMS offers.
The main local multiplayer mode in which players battle each other one-on-one to claim victory. During the battle, items, healing items, and bombs will drop the sky to make the fight even more intense.
Same as the above, except the match is two-on-two. Interestingly teams are attached by a string which steps them straying from too far apart. It also means that if one player goes flying, so will the other one. Oh, and attacks can hit allies, so be careful of friendly punches.
The main single player mode. Progress through 10 fights before facing your final opponent. Grand Prix can be played single played or via local multiplayer.
Battle online with up to three other players, either on your own, or locally with a friend (Smash Bros Style). Lobbies can hold up to 10 systems, but if the systems have two people then lobbies can potentially hold 20 players. There’s no ranking system in this mode, so no worries if you lose.
Similar to Splatoon’s ranked matches, Ranked Match are 1-on-1 battles where winning increases your rank, while losing causes it to go down.
Local Wireless Mode
Up to eight players with eight separate systems can gather together in a local lobby for local 2-on-2 battles.
A volley ball game that involves punching an explosive ball over a net. It looks fun, although it’s been reported that Ribbon Girl’s multiple-jump ability gives her an unfair advantage.
Basketball, ARMS-style. The idea is to force your opponent through a basketball hoop, either form grabbing and dunking them, or throwing them in from a distance for a three-pointer.
Basically target-practice mode that sees you punching targets in the distance. Combos earn you more points, and for an added twist your punches are able to disrupt your opponent on the opposite side of the stage.
ARMS’s multi-man melee. Weaker enemies are spawned in hordes, and you have to defeat them as quickly as possible.
ARMS Test and Training
ARMS’s test mode which allows you to try out randomised sets of ARMS combinations, and practice a number of test drills.
In order to prolong the game’s lifespan, Nintendo will release a series of free updates in the future. Similar to Splatoon, Nintendo have promised free stages, ARMS and even fighters, so expect some pretty significant content to become available further down the line.
New Splatoon 2 Trailer
Finally, the end of the ARMS Direct showed off a brand-new Splatoon 2 trailer that gave us a glimpse of the game’s single player.
As hinted with the Squid Sister Stories, it seems Callie has gone missing after the original game’s final Splatfest, and her tentacled sister Marie tasks you with looking for her. The original Splatoon’s single player was surprisingly good, and Splatoon 2’s looks even more ambitious, with a number of towering bosses and tricky obstacles that aim to teach you tips and tricks that can transfer over to the single player.
All-in-all then, it was a pretty beefy Nintendo Direct, and in all honesty it’s done just enough to convince me that ARMS is probably going to be a success, both critically and commercially. It also helps that after the Direct Nintendo have been holding preview session, with critics giving glowing feedback on their first few hours with the game.
There was also a very quick announcement for a couple of Splatoon accessories, including a colourful pink/green pro control and fetching Splatoon 2 carry case, both of which will an released 21 July. There will also be a Splatoon 2 Switch bundle with neon red and blue Joy-Con (also 21 July), as well as a pair of neon pink and green Joy-Con, which are set to be released this autumn in Europe and Japan.
Have you seen the ARMS Direct? Will you be getting the game on day one? Let me know in the comments below!