ARMS is not like a traditional fighting game - characters do not have special moves, nor do they have unique strength, health or defense stats. That doesn’t mean, however, that there’s no more to ARMS’s unique cast than their looks. Each character has abilities all their own which can make all the difference in the right hands.
We’ve checked out the entire roster and figured out how to best use their abilities, and we’re here to give you the lowdown on what each character can do along with the best situations in which to use them. Let’s get right into it.
Default Arms: Toaster, Boomerang, Tri-bolt
First Ability: Deflection
Spring Man’s first ability is the one you’re most likely to make use of, in that it deflects any punches coming his way. To activate this ability all you have to do is charge your punches. For a brief time after you charge, you’ll see Spring Man is enveloped by a swirling blue energy. While this energy surrounds Spring Man any punches that attempt to make contact will fall flat. Use this opportunity to throw a counter punch for a much easier hit.
Second Ability: Perma-charge
When Spring Man‘s health drops below 25%, red energy will start radiating from his body and all his punches will be fully charged, no dashing or jumping necessary. The benefits of having fully charged punches are obvious, but use the fact that you can throw punches with extra power to your advantage. Take the opportunity to turn the tide against your opponent.
Default Arms: Sparky, Popper, Slapamander
First Ability: Multiple Jumps
Ribbon Girl is one of the most mobile characters on the roster. Her signature ability allows her to jump as many as three to four times in mid-air. In between each jump you can dash as well, giving you opportunities to mix up your opponents with tricky mid-air movements. Try to trick your opponent into throwing a punch in the wrong direction, then take the opportunity to capitalize and throw a counter their way.
Second Ability: Quick Drop
Ribbon Girl‘s second ability is deceptively powerful. Rather than stick in the air, by holding down the dash button in mid-air Ribbon Girl can drop like a sack of bricks. This ability is immensely useful when combined with her multiple jumps as a way of getting around an opponent that’s trying to ground you and sticking it to them while their arms are still airborne.
Default Arms: Buff, Chakram, Triblast
First Ability: Warp Dash
Rather than dashing in mid-air, Ninjara instead vanishes and reappears. This ability is great for sticky situations when you don’t know how to get around a particularly nasty punch. The benefit to this ability is that while Ninjara is vanished he is completely invulnerable to damage of any kind. With the right timing, Ninjara could theoretically give any attack from any opponent the slip. The warp dash also serves as a great setup for a throw.
Second Ability: Block Warp
Ninjara‘s second ability allows him to warp out of harm’s way when blocking. Rather than take five points of chip damage from an incoming punch, Ninjara will simply vanish out of the way of the blow. This move doesn’t protect Ninjara from throws however, so stay sharp. This move is great for setting up counters against unsuspecting enemies as well as keeping out of the way of an opponent’s rush. At the right distance Ninjara can warp out of the way of even the fastest of repeated punches.
Default Arms: Megaton, Retorcher, Phoenix
First Ability: Unflinching
Master Mummy’s a big character, and because of that he has the innate ability not to flinch when hit with uncharged punches. This means you can take hits without worrying about your opponent knocking you back, thus allowing you to counter their attacks with little regard for whether or not theirs will land. Of course this makes the ability a double-edged sword in that you’ll need to keep a constant eye on your health to make sure you’re not allowing yourself to get hit too often.
Second Ability: Healing
Master Mummy’s second ability helps offset the extra damage he might take while trying to land those counters. While blocking, Master Mummy will regenerate health. The longer you block, the faster the regeneration, too. All normal blocking rules otherwise apply, so your opponent can hit you for five damage per punch, and you’re still completely susceptible to throws, so be careful and pick your opportunities. This ability is best used after knocking down your opponent, throwing them, or getting them caught in an explosion.
Default Arms: Dragon, Megawatt, Ram ram
First Ability: Dragon Arm
When Min Min reaches full charge, her left arm transforms from noodles into a dragon. Having the dragon arm means that any punches from that arm are fully charged, without the need to actually charge first. This ability lasts until Min Min is knocked down, so use it to your heart’s content.
Second Ability: Kick Parry
When dashing in mid-air, or moving backwards on the ground, Min Min will unleash a kick which can bat away punches and throws aimed at her. The timing required for these is a bit more precise than Spring Man’s repel skill, but the kick drops the opponent’s arm to the ground, leaving you a great counter opportunity. One of our favourite tactics is to use the kick to dash toward our opponent, thus bringing us closer and within striking distance.
Default Arms: Homie, Revolver, Whammer
First Ability: Unflinching
Like Master Mummy, Mechanica’s bulky, armoured body makes her able to take uncharged hits without flinching. This is a great advantage to her as she’s generally much faster than Master Mummy and thus can close in on her opponents with greater ease. If your opponent isn’t taking the time to charge their arms, take a few hits and close the gap before unloading on them.
Second Ability: Hover
By holding the dash and jump buttons together, Mechanica can hover in mid-air for a brief amount of time. While hovering Mechanica has complete freedom of movement, including the ability to abruptly change direction mid-flight. Use this to trick your opponent into throwing punches the wrong way before switching direction on them and making them eat a counter.
Default Arms: Chilla, Parasol, Thunderbird
First Ability: Time Slow
When Twintelle’s arms are charged she creates a time distortion field around her which slows any incoming attacks for a brief time. You can use this window of opportunity to either dash out of the way or throw out a counter. It’s important to note that you still have to act quickly, as standing around will just get you nailed in slow motion, but with quick reactions you should be able to dodge most of what’s coming your way.
Second Ability: Air Charge
Twintelle’s second ability allows her to charge her arms in mid-air. This ability is among the best in the game as she also gains the benefit of having her first ability, time slow, while in the air as well. Combine this with the fact that Twintelle can cancel out of her air charge into a dash in any direction she chooses and you have a deadly combination. Try starting out a charge moving left to bait an attack out of your opponent, then cancelling the charge with a dash in the opposite direction to leave them wide open while their punches are slowed down.
Byte & Barq
Default Arms: Bubb, Cracker, Seekie
First Ability: Barq
Byte’s first ability isn’t so much an ability as it is a partner. Barq joins Byte in battle and will randomly throw out attacks at your opponent. Unfortunately there seems to be no way to force Barq to attack, and as such sometimes those attacks will be wasted opportunities, but it’s still a third arm where the rest of the crew only has two.
Second Ability: Springboard
Barq isn’t just for randomly attacking; Byte can also use him to jump off of, giving him some much needed verticality. It can be tricky to line up a jump onto Barq at times, but when you do it pays off well. Jumping off of Barq not only gives you a boost, but also sends out a small shockwave of blue energy that will deflect any attack. With the right timing you can use this to set up some attacks that will pay off big. In our experience the best setup for this is to use the shockwave to disable your opponent’s arm briefly and immediately activate your rush for big damage.
Default Arms: Slamamander, Coolerang, Hydra
First Ability: Quick-step
Kid Cobra is focused on evasion and speed, so it makes sense that he has the ability to charge his dash. When you charge your arms, you can either use them to go on the offense, or use that charge to dramatically increase your dashing speed for a limited time. With these charged dashes, Kid Cobra is able to slip under most attacks and is fast enough to outrun even an opponent’s rush attack. It’s a great way to put some space between you and your opponent, or to flank them while they’re still punching at thin air.
Second Ability: Quick-jump
Kid Cobra doesn’t jump as high as the rest of the cast, but he does get into the air much faster. This is, as with his first ability, a skill best used for keeping yourself out of harm’s way. Most of the rest of the cast has very similar jump speeds, so using Kid Cobra’s jump sparingly may just be enough to give you the drop on an unsuspecting opponent.
Default Arms: Blorb, Ice Dragon, Guardian
First Ability: Sway
Helix is one of the most technically demanding characters in ARMS, and his abilities reflect that. His first ability allows him to stretch his body vertically and sway back and forth to dodge attacks that would otherwise require a dash or jump. In fact, some early videos show Helix using this technique to dodge full rushes. We still haven’t fully mastered this technique, but in the right hands Helix’s sway could make a huge difference.
Second Ability: Shrink
Holding down the dash button as Helix allows him to melt into a puddle, thus ducking under just about any attack. This would on its own be a completely overpowered evasive option if not for the fact that Helix cannot attack during it and the amount of time you can use it continuously is limited. It’s enough to sneak away from an attack or two, but beyond that you’re going to need to find your way around. The best use we’ve found for this skill so far is to duck under a punch then pop up and throw a few attacks of your own. We’re confident others will find much more effective uses for Helix’s unique skills in the future, however.
That's all the characters in ARMS, for now, but do bookmark this page as we'll be updating this guide every time a new character is introduced, starting with Max Brass in July. Do you have a special strategy you use for any of these characters? Care to share it with your potential rivals? Let us know in the comments below.