So we’ve seen ARMS a couple of times and I’m stoked for this game. It’s no Splatoon in my eyes, but still looks like a real Nintendo game. Fun, flashy, colourful and full of character. But something came to me when looking at the latest Nintendo Direct, I think I can deduce how this game came about in it’s entirety.
Let’s back up a bit first. I love motion controls. I think Skyward Sword is one of best games in history. I love its controls and the immersion it brings. I love Wii Sports Resort, Skydiving, flying, the Sword fights and archery are all fantastic. Wii Boxing on the other hand never felt right to me. I couldn’t accurately throw punches as the game didn’t seem to register what I was doing, maybe the Wii U version fixed it, but haven’t played that one.
So ARMS and motion controls immediately bring Wii boxing to the mind. This may seem like a bad idea, but all of a sudden it hit me. When you throw a punch in ARMS, you actually throw a punch like 10 feet. The spring arm travels a bit across the arena and subsequently hangs around for a second before snapping back to the player character.
So what will happen when you play this game? Well you throw a punch, and presumably the arm will immediately set off in the desired direction, but then you retract your arm, and the in-game arm is still flying. You have a clear visual clue on when you can throw another punch, and the time for you to retract your arm and to register that you can throw another punch prevents you from thinking you can immediately throw another one. Which prevents flailing.
Flailing was the biggest problem in Wii Sports Boxing (and Resort’s fencing too), where people madly would be waving their arms in multiplayer until one fell. ARMS won’t have that; it gives you the opportunity to carefully react to each punch as you can’t throw another one. Also, since the punch is slow, defensive manoeuvring becomes an easier and more rewarding tactic, meaning you have to keep your eyes on the screen.
The fact that each punch counts and asks for some thought makes this a fine fighting game. And fighting with motion controls is fun because fighting games are quick and kinetic which in turn makes your movement quick and kinetic. So I figure Nintendo started on a fighting game to test the JoyCon motion controls. I wonder if the arms are the result of someone finding the time between punches too short. Which in turn would dictate character design. Subsequently world design, and finally some light lore and the rest is the product.
ARMS is most likely the result of making a fighting game on motion controls work. The idea that you are forced to take a bit of time before throwing a punch will make this thing work. And yeah, this game will probably be played online with regular buttons by most players, but for me. I’ll be playing this trough motion controls and enjoying every little moment of it.
Fun Fact, the referee character was introduced as Biff in English, his Dutch name is Armadeus (all hail the glorious pun).