It’s hard to believe that ARMS burst onto the scene three years ago today, pushing forward new gameplay ideas and mechanics that in theory couldn’t have been done on the Wii U, although you could possibly have got away with two Wii Remotes with Wii Motion Plus but let’s not get into that now.
When I first got a go at it back at the UK Nintendo Switch premiere event in London it wasn’t high up on my list of interests; it seemed gimmicky and needlessly ‘motioncontroly’ at first glance. After getting my head around it just a little bit more, I was looking forward to the inevitable preview event which too was held in London, hosted by Nintendo. After such a lukewarm beginning and once I’d finally got the ideas in my head that I needed, I was officially hooked. I even hung around longer than I originally planned to and ended up missing the last train home before the peak ones starting running. So, I holed up in a train station pub with the most expensive tonic water I’ve ever purchased, and I couldn’t hold it in any longer.
Nintendo had given me a code, you see, and naturally I had my Switch, and ARMS wasn’t of a huge download size, so could I get away with downloading it over my phone’s hotspot? Three hours later I hopped on the train with a whopping 40% downloaded, arrived back home, and downloaded the further 60% in about 15 minutes. It’s no exaggeration to say I was desperate to get this game going despite the muggy weather.
I wasn’t alone either, ARMS seemed to somehow strike a decent chord with the general Nintendo public. Was it the excellent character designs? The original gameplay? The allure of a new console? The unique and balanced blend of many different factors that can’t be easily distilled without things getting tedious? Whatever it was, ARMS came out swinging, and to date remains within the top 20 best-selling Nintendo titles for the Switch, which is no mean feat, especially for a brand new IP.
So then… why has everything gone quiet? Obviously we have the lovely news of an ARMS rep appearing in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate which made me ludicrously giddy, but apart from that and a few smatterings of Party Crash here and there, the ARMS front has been decidedly quiet, and what’s more it got quiet quite quickly.
It’s hard to know exactly what it was that caused the general interest to fall off despite new characters and stages and the like being released regularly to begin with, but no doubt the release of Splatoon 2 little more than a month later must have stolen some of the spotlight. And you know what? ARMS deserves better.
Just like Splatoon it’s a fresh new take on a hideously overcrowded genre, it runs perfectly, it looks stunning, it makes the most of the console it’s running on, and it’s just so much damned fun to play. To this day I still fire it up every so often genuinely surprised at how much it sucks me in and makes me sweat should it happen to be balmy outdoors. This is a winning formula right here, and with the right angle it could easily rival Splatoon in popularity.
And it doesn’t look like Nintendo’s given up on it either, primarily due to the aforementioned Smash Ultimate Fighter Pass 2 DLC Turbo Edition that’s going to get some ARMS action. Three years on and ARMS needs a boost, it needs (and deserves) to get some more attention, and more importantly it needs a sequel. In light of what’s currently happening throughout the world we’re not holding our breath just yet, but somewhere on the horizon we don’t think ARMS 2 is much of a stretch.
Feel free to share your warm fuzzies about ARMS and let us know if you'd embrace a sequel (and what you'd like to see) below.