Two games not titled Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Nintendo really pushed when introducing the Nintendo Switch, officially, were 1-2 Switch and ARMS. From the very beginning, I was never all-in on taking either of these two games seriously. 1-2 Switch looked like a game that should have been packed with the system similar to how Wii Sports came with the Nintendo Wii, and ARMS looked like nothing more than a glorified tech demo that could have also been thrown in the box with the Switch. Well, I finally got my first taste of ARMS during Nintendo’s ARMS Global Testpunch, and I am comfortable saying already I may have sold the game a bit short.

Keep in mind a few things as we go any further. First, this is just a taste test of the demo for ARMS with only a brief intro level to teach you the basics of the game and online play all contained within a short time period. I participated in the Friday night global demo event and was thrown into the mix in an assortment of head-to-head battles with others trying out the demo online.

The gameplay is easy to get going, but I found it to be a bit more challenging to master some of the moves in order to time and use them to my advantage. Or, I should say, I lacked the ability to pick up and master the techniques as quickly as some of my online opponents.

As for those head-to-head matches, the online session I participated me in didn’t just keep me in one-on-one brawls, much to my surprise. The online system held me in a virtual lobby until able to pair me with another fighter or two for one-on-one battles, a three-fighter battle royale, or even 2-on-2 team matchups. There was some good variety in the matchups, and I’d be curious if that will continue to be the case. I found the three-man matches to be fun because you could charge up your punches while watching the other two fighters duke it out, and then pounce when the moment is just right to snipe a KO. Teaming up on one fighter also seemed to be a thing, although it is no fun when you are the one being teamed up on!

During the course of the one hour demo period, I played at least one battle with each of the available fighters. Nintendo was kind enough to make available a good number of fighters with different looks, options, and moves, and the characters showed off the range of fighters the game will include. There were the standard fighters, a ninja, and a big burly brawling mummy. The ninja had some quick move sets and the massive mummy was slow but more difficult to knock around. As I mentioned earlier, you can hop right in using any of the fighters, but learning each fighter’s strengths and weaknesses and master the motion controls and new way to hold the controllers takes some time.

And let me mention the Joy Con grips in this one.

This is more advanced than in Wii Sports boxing, because the Joy Cons and their HD rumble features make you pay more attention to how you are gripping, holding, and moving your controllers. Get ready for a new way to hold your joy cons, because that is critical in ARMS. For a brief second in the intro, the grip may feel odd to you, but you quickly forget about the awkwardness because it’s time to fight. The button layout for the buttons you will use (the shoulder pad buttons) might take some slight getting used to, but it comes along naturally fairly quickly. Once you get down the movement of the controllers and your character and remember which shoulder buttons you need to press, it all then becomes about your in-ring strategy, so to speak.

And you need some strategy. This isn’t just a punch and wail game. You need to combat your opponent’s punches with blocks, dodging to your left or right, jumping in the air and more. It is also imperative to aim your punches on target, otherwise, you’ll be like me and just frantically swinging your hands and Joy Cons without any chance of doing any damage. Once I realized this game needed me to be a bit wiser with my punches, I learned what separates the chumps like me from the fighters who have taken the time to really learn what they can and cannot do.

There were some fights I could tell who was thinking about their moves more than other rookies like me. If I saw another fighter walking toward me and setting himself or herself in position, I figured they were taking more time with their moves. If a fight got started and the other fighter is immediately launching long-range punches in my direction, odds are probably pretty good they are playing care-free as well and just hoping something lands. Much to my chagrin, one fight like that did not end well for me as I tried to maneuver myself and hone my skills a bit.

Upcoming Global Testpunch Events

Nintendo will have more opportunities to try ARMS for yourself if you have not been able to just yet. After five more sessions over the Memorial Day weekend in the United States, Nintendo will hold global events next weekend. Here are the dates and times for the remaining global testpunches:

Overall Thoughts

ARMS looks like the kind of game that could be fun in groups of people. The game does look colorful, and the character designs are splendid. I am just not sure how much replay value there is in the game from a solo gaming experience, even with the online features. Maybe that’s just me. Based solely off the gameplay I was privy to during the global demo, I come away having played it thinking it is fun but nothing I would plan to make room in my budget for, especially at the manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $59.99. There will be more modes available in the full game of course, but I cannot in good faith recommend anyone spend that kind of money on this one unless you are either dead set on getting ARMS to add to your collection right away.

You can preorder ARMS on Amazon using this affiliate link. Purchasing through Amazon links on this site helps support my blogging. Amazon Prime members can save $12.00 on the game at the time of this posting. If you are into keeping your game library completely digital on the Switch, you can purchase the ARMS digital download code on Amazon as well.

ARMS is scheduled to be released on June 16, 2017 for the Nintendo Switch.

For more gaming commentary like this from me, check out the official website for The McGuire Code, my gaming YouTube channel and Twitch channel.

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