Over the years there has been many boxing style games released on Nintendo consoles. Punch-out featured the iconic Little Mac as the underdog boxer working his way through the championship series. Fond memories for this gamer thats for sure! So I was really looking forward to this ARMS review for Nintendo Switch. In a gamer that has moved away from tradition and brought new characters and ideas to the boxing genre.

If you played Wii Sports you will remember the manic fist pumping boxing game which utilised the motion controls of the Wii-motes and nunchucks. Skip forward a decade and Nintendo is bringing full motion controls in ARMS to simulate the typical movement of throwing punches, blocking and surprisingly grappling.

So stay tuned fight fans and stick around for my thoughts on this interesting game from Nintendo.

But, first I REALLY want this answered as I had a few evil thoughts on this reviewing the game. If you could get anyone in this game really and give them a good punching… who would you choose?? Let me know in the Disqus or Facebook Comments at the end of the article. And don’t forget to Share This as you do!

Look and Feel – “This ain’t a Scene it’s a…”

ARMS has a the typical hallmarks of a Nintendo game. Lavish, bright-coloured fighting stages; crazy looking characters who use their spring like arms to send their ARMaments smashing into their opponents. The whole design of the game utilises a simple Rock-paper-scissors approach and avoids the over complicated combo’s that many fighting games typically use.

ARMS Review Image 1You choose your fighter and have the choice of different ARMaments to fit on the end of your extendable ARMS. These attachments vary in design and function between characters along with some different styles of movement, jumping and sidestepping.

Where this game really shines is in customisation, no fight is the same as you can mix and match your hands to suit your play style.  Each of the ARMaments could have easily come from a wacky professors lab featuring, rocket propelled boxing gloves, whirling blades and strange inventions such as confetti blowers and chakras.


Depending on which character you choose, selecting the ARM-aments can affect the agility and movement. For example certain devices are heavy and slow which are better suited to stronger characters. There are plenty of opportunities to try out different combinations and see what suits your fighting style.

ARMS Review Image 2

One extra feature of the ARM-aments are that use elemental attacks which come it play when using a super move which is acquired by successful hits filling a power bar. These use one of the 7 elements which have different effects, for example wind will send your opponent flying of their feet and fire will engulf them is a cloud of fire.

The whole experience in ARMS feels very familiar and I can’t help remembering Splatoon 2’s (review) catchy tunes, bright colours, logos and wacky weapons.

ARMS wants you to use the motion controls and I’ve got to say, I initially thought about Wii-boxing which was introduced to the Wii Sports game over a decade ago.  However it’s not the case of pummelling your opponent by trying to throw as many punches as quickly as possible then collapsing on the floor breathless.

Tactics and timing

Punches, side steps, jumps, dodges and grapples all have to be done with thought and standard attack punches can be thrown with a curve to swing the punches around blocks and hit from the side.

These features really change the meta of the whole game and as i discussed earlier each attack can be countered in a simple rock, paper, scissors method.

The game may seem relatively simple from the onset but under the bright colours and simple controls there’s a whole world of number crunching possibilities when selecting your ARM-aments.Think chess with boxing and you are in the right thought!

Game modes and Gameplay – “The price of victory is high, but so are the rewards”

ARMS best shines as a multiplayer game, local or online. Nothing is better than facing down your opponent and feeling the adrenaline, punches and excitement of the fight. There are plenty of opportunities to fight your opponents in different game types and there’s even 3vs3 rumble style event.

ARMS Review image 3

Don’t have online? You won’t be disappointed, local wireless battling is available and theres a wide range of madcap events that can be played in both single player and against friends including slam-dunking your opponent in a basketball court.

For those that are looking for a one player experience there’s the choice to fight 100 opponents in the 1 to 100 matches which throws back to the era of wrestling “King of the Ring” from the 90’s. However, there’s no story mode as such but you can choose a character and enter into the championship event fighting AI controlled opponents.

Lots to play

There’s something for everyone in the game. The difficulty settings allow anyone to fight and at the other end of the spectrum provide some very difficult matches. There are plenty of game modes to try out, some you will enjoy and some you will shun. Some will have you shouting at the screen and some will have you laughing at your friends and family.

So where’s the rewards in the game?

Well apart from bragging rights for beating your friends, each character is rewards points for each match. These points then can be used to unlock a wide range of different ARM-aments. Whilst some players may find having to do this for each character rather tiresome, i enjoyed the challenge and it gave me the opportunity to hone my skills and establish which character was best suited to my play style.

Controls and Switch Gaming Modes

ARMS supports handheld and TV gaming modes. In both of these modes the game looks truly gorgeous with vibrant colours and fast gaming. Whilst both modes deliver a similar visual experience I can’t help thinking the game is best played on a big screen.

ARMS review image 4

ARMS supports joy-con and Pro controller which will suit those who don’t want the physical workout of throwing punches using the joy-cons. I tried both control methods and each have their own merits. Pro controller was much more accurate but you had to utilise more buttons and the joy-cons really made you feel like you were connected to the fight.

You also get more of physical workout from throwing the joy-con punches, this is where those who enjoy motion controls will have the most fun.  I also played ARMS in tabletop mode on the small screen using both control accessories, when playing on the train and in a cafe i got plenty of confused looks whilst throwing my punches.

ARMS allows freedom of gaming and takes the hallmark mobile gaming of the “play anywhere” that other titles have brought to the Switch!


ARMS brings fun to the fighting genre by removing over complexity, I really enjoyed trying out the different characters and mixing and matching the ARM-aments.

For me the game is one that i will be dipping back into on a regular basis, both with my serious head on and my fun seeking hat! ARMS has done for fighting games what Mario Kart did for racing games.

It brings fun to the Switch by the bucket loads and at the same time challenges you to “box clever!”

About This ARMS Review

Game Reviewed: ARMS, Digital Edition Provided by Publisher
Review Format: Switch
PEGI Rating: 7

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