On the surface, ARMS may seem like a casual experience designed to lure in those that aren’t really into the fighting game scene. However, as we touched on in our review, there’s a great deal of strategic depth to Nintendo’s new fighter. The key to a great deal of that depth is in the weapons for which this game is named, arms. We've spent the last few weeks grinding our way to unlocking all the game has to offer so you can start Arms with a leg up. 

Choosing an Element

Most arms have some kind of special effect when charged up, and those effects are tied to the element associated with the arm in question. These are the six elements in ARMS and what they do:

  • Fire - Knocks your opponent down and engulfs them in flame.
  • Electric - Disables both your opponent's arms for a short time.
  • Wind - Sends your opponents flying.
  • Ice - Freezes your opponent, making them move much more slowly.
  • Stun - Stuns your opponent.
  • Explosion - Sends your opponent flying back a short distance, does extra damage.
  • Blind - Obscures your opponent's vision.

There are a couple of elementless arms in the game as well: Buff and Bubb. These two look normal boxing gloves; when they're charged they grow a bit in size and get an increase in power. It's important to pick an element that will give you the advantage you think you need, and don't be afraid to mix and match. There's no one configuration that's going to be your key to success. Try all the elements and find the arms that best suit your fighting style. If you're the type that likes to keep your opponents grounded, we would suggest wind. If you're big on throws, electric may work better for you. The only one that doesn't make a ton of sense in every situation is blind, as that is obviously geared toward multiplayer rather than single player. Just like the squid in Mario Kart, blinding the CPU isn't going to do much for you.

Punch at Your Weight

Elements aren't the only strategic consideration you'll need to make; there's also the weight of your arms to consider. ARMS features three weight classes: light, medium and heavy, and they work about how you'd expect. Punches using light arms come out the fastest, but traditionally don't do tons of damage, medium arms are a good balance between speed and power, and heavy arms are slower but have tremendous strength. The rules don't end there, however. In the event two fists collide, the heavier fist will always win the exchange. That means your quick light arms won't be able to slip past a punch from a medium or heavy arm, so you'll have to avoid any head-on exchanges if you're going for speed. 

Crunch the Numbers

There's a lot of different options in ARMS: 30, to be exact. There are literally hundreds of combinations to choose from, so we've put together this handy table to help you make the hard choices. You can click on any of the headings above to sort the table to your liking. 

We're still gathering data on all the arms, as they're unlocked in a random fashion. We have the base damage and the charged damage for each arm in its unimproved state. As you unlock duplicates however, it's possible to increase the strength of your arms. Once we have conclusive data on how each arm fares in the upgrade process, we'll add it to this chart. 

ARM Element Weight Base Damage Charged Damage
Toaster Fire Medium 90 130
Boomerang Wind Light 80 90
Tribolt Stun Light 70 110
Sparky Electricity Medium 90 90
Buff None Medium 90 100
Retorcher Fire Medium 70 110
Megawatt Electricity Heavy 110 110
Triblast Explosion Light 70 70
Revolver Electricity Medium 70 70
Blorb Blind Medium 100 100
Whammer Stun Heavy 100 120
Parasol Wind Heavy 90 100
Cracker Fire Light 70 130
Ice Dragon Ice Medium 90 100
Guardian Electricity Heavy 80 80
Dragon Fire Medium 90 130
Slapamander Fire Medium 80 120
Thunderbird Electricity Light 80 80
Chakram Stun Light 80 100
Megaton None Heavy 110 130
Chilla Ice Medium 90 100
Slamamander Wind Medium 80 90
Phoenix Fire Light 80 120
Hydra Fire Light 70 110
Ram Ram Fire Light 80 120
Seekie Electricity Heavy 70 70
Homie Explosion Heavy 70 70
Bubb None Medium 90 100
Coolerang Ice Light 80 90
Popper Wind Light 70 120

Did this guide help you find your new favourite arms? Are you hunting for a specific one to unlock? What else would you like to know about Nintendo's newest IP? Let us know in the comments below, and we'll see you in the ring!