Wallop your opponents with these primo tips, secrets, and strategies for ARMS, the debut fighting game on the Nintendo Switch.
There’s plenty we’ve picked up while exploring the many features, abilities, utilities, and characters that are available in ARMS. There’s a lot to take in, and before delving too deep into the hidden depth of ARMS, it helps to better understand the wacky (and totally unique) world of ARMS in all its flailing glory.
That’s why we’ve put together a quick list of 10 tips, secrets, and other sundries to help explain what ARMS is all about — and how you can tailor the experience to suit you even better.
[Updated [6/16]: Updated for the full release of ARMS!]
There are Multiple Modes In Party Match
While playing the party mode on the main menu, you’ll do more than just battle one-on-one. There are tons of different types of battles you’ll take part in.
There’s one-on-one, a three-fighter free-for-all, two-on-two, and ARMS volleyball — and that’s not it either. The free-for-all fights are the toughest so far. Don’t wander into the middle of two brawling opponents, or they’ll focus all on you!
The most bizarre modes are ARMS volleyball or basketball. In the volleyball mode, you’ll need to knock the ball into your opponent’s side of the court. Basketball, instead, is about grabbing and dunking your opponent. This mode is all about grapples. Finally, there’s the boss battle mode, a cooperative battle pitting three fighters against an unruly robot head. Defeat it for a big prize.
Getting Hand Cramps? Ditch Motion Controls
Motion Control is the best and most fun way to play ARMS (in this author’s opinion) but you’ll be getting hand cramps fast if you don’t use the included wrist straps. The extra extended buttons (and extra plastic) make using the joycons alone much more comfortable.
But, if you’re not into the motion controls, you can play without just as easily. Attach your joycons to a grip or the sides of your Switch and you can continue punching from there and give your aching hands some relief.
Selecting Your ARMS Can Change Everything
At the start of the fight, you’ll be able to choose three different ARMS for each character. These ARMS are unique to each, and you can assign regular punch-gloves or other strange contraptions to your left or right ARM.
For most of us, the basic punching gloves are all you’ll need. The optional ARMS can be shields (that don’t even punch!) or projectiles. Some will split into multiple little fists, or fire lasers at your opponents that you can control. It gets pretty complicated, so its worth checking these ARMS out.
Check Out Extra Tips & Help From The Main Menu
There’s one place on the main menu that’s always chock full of useful information. Select the tiny option at the bottom of the main menu to access tons of tips and explanations for just about every aspect of ARMS, including stuff that’s not even in the game yet.
You Can Select Alternate Skins
Normally, you’ll only see these optional, extra skins when there are multiples of the same character in a battle. But, you can select the skin you want at any time during character select. Here’s how it works.
When selecting a character, press down and hold on the left thumbstick, then move the thumbstick left, right or down (while holding down!) to select your skin. Choose the character you want, and you’ll choose one of three alternate skins for that character.
Every character comes with three skins — four, if you include the default. This is a feature most of us are probably going to miss.
Every Character Is Unique
And we don’t mean that each character comes with special ARMS. No, every character has special character-specific abilities no one else has.
For instance, Master Mummy won’t flinch when attacked, and heal when guarding. Ribbon Girl can jump multiple times mid-air, and Ninjara can block punches and followup with a warp.
There are tons of character abilities, so it’s worth experimenting with everyone to learn which is your favorite. Min Min can repel punches with her air-dash. Mechanica can hover, and Helix can extend or shrink his body. The list goes on!
Use a Simple Punch to Repel Grabs
When pressing both ARMS and punching simultaneously, your gloves will glow green and attempt a grab. You’ll see opponents attempting to grab you all the time, and grabs go through your guard! Annoying, right?
Well, there’s an easy way to escape. Just send a single punch directly into their green glowing grab attempt to repel it. It’ll temporarily leave your opponent flinching too, meaning you can use your other ARM for a quick wallop.
Curving Is Key!
What’s so special about curving? You can follow your opponents when they try to run, or punch around corners or objects. Curving your punches is how you’ll land most of your hits, because everyone (you included!) is probably jumping, dashing, quick-stepping and scampering around every arena like a billy goat.
Inversely, you’ll want to change up your directions to avoid getting curved. If you’re moving right, wait for your opponent’s punch, then rush left instead. It’s a basic strategy, but one that works pretty well this early in the game.
Hold Your ARMS Punches To Charge Up
In the heat of battle, it feels like there’s never enough time. You’ll want to start swinging right from the get-go. But, you can increase the power of your punches just by holding down.
Hold down dodge [Left Shoulder / ZL] or hold down jump [Right Shoulder / ZR] to charge your ARMS. The longer you hold down, the more you can charge your punches and unleash elemental effects.
And don’t forget, while charging your right hook, you can always unleash a fast left punch to repel grabs or keep a quick opponent off your back. Each punch can be charged independently — it all matters when you let loose.
Use Arenas To Your Advantage
Every arena features a unique layout that changes how you’ll play. The Ninja College features a length set of stairs — you’re always better off on top. Spring Stadium has trampolines around the edge, giving you a huge jump boost. The DNA Lab is full of breakable tubes you can hide behind or send curved punches around.
While not every stage is available yet, some future ones will feature their own gimmicks. The Mausoleum has a breakable floor, Ribbon Ring’s arena changes shape, and the Snake Park has snakeboards you can ride around on.
There’s so much more to ARMS, but we’re only just scratching the surface. Check back soon for more tips and strategies on The Escapist, and let us know all about your best moves.