Nintendo has proven it can hook its fans with games based on its familiar Zelda and Mario Kart franchises. But the new brawling title Arms for the Switch will be a major test about whether Nintendo can attract new fans to its game console with a brand new idea.
From what I’ve seen in a hands-on preview, Arms is surprisingly fun for such a simple idea. In the third-person fighting game, you get into a punchfest with another player using extendable arms. At a preview event in San Francisco, Nintendo showed off some new game modes and characters that show that Arms has gameplay depth. The final game debuts on the Switch on June 16, and I think it will be a hit.
You start a match with your arms coiled. You hold the Switch’s Joy-Con controllers vertically in your hands. Then you physically punch forward with your own arms to launch a blow at your opponent. The coiled arms spiral outward at your opponent, and if you have calculated correctly, the blow will land on your opponent’s body or face.
Image Credit: Dean Takahashi
But you can’t just slug straight at your enemy, said JC Rodrigo, manager of product marketing at Nintendo Treehouse, in an interview with GamesBeat.
You have to anticipate where your enemy, who can dodge, will be. You also can’t just flail or swing over and over like you could in other games like boxing on the original Nintendo Wii.
Above: Nintendo Arms Hoop
Image Credit: Nintendo
Rather, you can continue to guide your punch as it uncoils toward your opponent. You have more fine-grained control of the punch through your own motions.
Arms has 10 characters, including a few Nintendo is revealing today. The new characters include Kid Cobra, who rides a hoverboard. Each character has three different arm types, and you can mix and match those types at the beginning of the match.
Each type of arm has a different payload. One may simply be a boxing glove that packs a solid punch. Another may be fan that spins around and blocks other blows coming from…