A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Entertains via cartoonish combat, but also promotes social play among friends, family.
Positive Role Models
Characters clearly love fighting but have hardly any distinct personality beyond whatever might be suggested by their distinct appearances.
Ease of Play
Range of interface options, from motion control to standard gamepad, should let most players find a control method that works best for them. Matches against AI characters aren't too hard, but success against human opponents is almost entirely dependent on skill, practice.
Violence & Scariness
Characters punch each other with long, extending arms. Some arms fire weapons, such as bursts of energy, spinning blades. Characters don't bleed, suffer grievous injury, die, but can be knocked out.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Arms is a cartoon-style boxing game where fighters punch each other with long extending arms made of springy coils. There's no bloodshed or serious injury; defeated characters are simply knocked out. Play is focused squarely on fighting, though part of the fun is derived from playing with others in the same room and the social interplay that results. The single-player portions of the game shouldn't prove too hard for kids within the target audience, but finding success against humans locally or online depends largely on skill and practice. Under the CCPA law you have the right to protect your personal information. Make a Do Not Sell request to Arms.
Is It Any Good?
There's a lot of potential in this fighter, but players will need to rely on Nintendo to roll out plenty of free post-launch content to make it worthwhile. Arms' combat mechanics are solid. It doesn't take long to learn how to punch enemies, throw them, or take advantage of unique elements within each arena, such as parked cars or glass containers. But there's also a good deal of strategy and skill involved when selecting the sorts of arms you might want to use against specific opponents and working out when to dash, block, and attack. A skilled player will always have an advantage over someone relying on mindless aggression, which ought to help the game appeal to seasoned fighter fans.
That said, some players may not take to the motion controls, which can be finicky if your movements aren't precise and measured. Using standard gamepad controls (by sliding the Joy-Cons into the Switch's charging grip) is a good alternative, but in doing so players eliminate some of the charm of the experience, which is founded on players physically throwing punches in the real world. What's more, the content available at launch seems paltry compared to other modern fighting games. Just ten characters, a handful of arenas, a single-player mode that most players will finish in under an hour, and a system for unlocking new arms that dishes out rewards too slowly. Free DLC -- including new characters -- promises to expand the game in a manner similar to how Nintendo's Splatoon grew during the year after it launched, but at the moment Arms is a fun game that seems a little light around the midsection.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.