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|
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!