Nintendo Switch Arms tips and tricks
Cunning tactics to come out on top in Nintendo's new brawler
Arms is perhaps the most major all-new Switch IP we've seen, and represents a substantial risk for Nintendo.
Featuring characters with telescopic (and interchangeable) 'arms', it's not really like any other fighting game on the market. Furthermore, it ramps up the challenge when it comes to single-player and online contests.
With that in mind, we've pulled together some hints and tips which should enable you to settle into the wild and wacky world of Arms come launch day.
Experiment with your Arms
You can select an arm for each – erm – arm before you begin a fight, but try to avoid picking the same arm for both your left and right limbs.
Try to select a pair which complement one another when you're in a battle. For example, some arms can be sent in an extreme arc which is perfect for getting around your opponent's defense, while others spread horizontally or vertically and give you a better chance of scoring a hit.
Experiment with all of the available arms to find the combination which suits your own play style – or proves to be the perfect duo for countering the strategy of a wily opponent.
Save your Rush power for the right moment
Your Rush gauge fills as you land blows and can turn the tide of a match – if used correctly.
As a rule, it pays to get close to your opponent before triggering your Rush attack as it gives them less time to either block or get out of the way, but the trade off is that some characters aren't particularly good at shifting the aim of their Rush volley once it has been triggered.
It's also worth noting that using your Rush power will automatically bat aside any incoming punches your opponent has thrown, making it the ideal last-gasp move to prevent yourself from losing a match.
Study each arena
Each fighter in Arms has their own stage, and they're all totally unique. For example, Master Mummy's level is a circular arena with a trampoline in the middle, but this isn't exposed until someone is smashed into it enough times.
Meanwhile, Spring Man's level is square, flat and devoid of obstacles, but is surrounded by springboards which allow you to get some serious air time. Each level will force you to change your preferred play style as you seek to use environmental elements for cover or trap your opponent in a corner.
Take the time to explore each level and find out which strategy works best for you; you may wish to tailor your arms load-out to suit each stage.
Score the knockout blow
You'll often find that your punches connect with those of your rival, cancelling out each attack. You can take this process to the next stage by disabling your opponent's arms for a brief period of time – look out for the telltale yellow warning sign when one of your blows glances your enemy, followed by a red sign when their arm is out of action.
Getting your rival down to a single arm – or even no arms at all, if you're using a punch which the electric elemental property – leaves them wide open to any kind of attack you wish to inflict.
Keep on moving and jumping
You might assume that throwing as many punches as possible is the key to victory in Arms, but that isn't the case – it's arguably more important that you keep moving so you don't present too easy a target for your foe.
Your character's default speed won't be enough to avoid every incoming blow so you'll need to make the most of your dash and jump abilities, which can be chained together to make things even more interesting.
These commands aren't just handy for getting out of the way of a particularly strong punch, either; they're key to powering up your own attacks.
After you've dashed or jumped you'll notice that your character's fists begin to charge up, and unleashing an attack during this period will deliver a stronger punch - often imbued with elemental properties directly linked to the arms you have fitted.
B - B - Bomb
Every once in a while you'll notice that bombs are thrown into the arena which can be used against your opponent. Explosive bombs cause damage, while shock bombs will temporarily stun your enemy and disable their arms.
To activate a bomb you have to hit it, but be warned: your opponent can do the same and hurl the bomb in your direction.
Restorative items are also chucked into the arena during combat; the green capsule replenishes your health when you're within its effective range, while the yellow capsule tops up your Rush gauge.
Keep your guard up
Guarding is one of the most vital skills you have in Arms. When you have your defenses up you can repel standard and charged punches, and it's even possible to vastly reduce the damage inflicted by your opponent's Rush attack.
Guarding also charges up your arms so you're ready to release a more powerful punch, and you can counter instantly after blocking a punch by tapping the dash button. However, don't turn turtle and guard for too long – a grab attack is capable of breaking through your defense at any time.
Roll with it
Getting knocked down isn't much fun in Arms, but you can use it to your advantage.
When you hit the ground, you will roll in whichever direction you're tilting the Joy-Cons (or, if you're using one of the other control methods, whichever direction the analog stick is pointing). This roll is quite swift and offers a good way of outflanking your rival and launching a counterattack, so use it wisely.
Wait for an opening
While it's tempting to rush into battle with a flurry of punches, a methodical approach is usually a better option. Wait for your opponent to throw a punch and side-step, leaving them open to a counter.
Even when your rival unleashes their Rush attack, don't panic – a well-timed grab can break the combo and put you back on top, as long as you're fast enough, that is.