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Monday, September 4, 2017

Ludwig Still Hates ARMS After Actually Playing It

ByLUDWIG VON KOOPA - You think I should play games as a prerequisite to trashing them? FINE. I DID.

A bit over a week ago was another round of the ARMS Global Testpunch, this time a post-release version to try to muscle in support for Nintendo's newest franchise. You may recall the first one was announced and conducted prior to E3 2017. Then they had the ARMS Open Invitational Tournament at E3 2017 and it was a totally rigged and boring ordeal. ARMS was then released to the world and it apparently has sold over a million copies! ...And yet I don't see anyone (besides Japan for EVO 2018) talking about it. All I hear is that everyone has moved to Splatoon 2, which, hey, is fine by me.

Obviously, the managers who are in charge of ARMS over at Nintendo didn't want ARMS to just die an ignoble death, so why not hold another free Testpunch session and get that support? I figured, hey, why not actually play ARMS? It looks boring to watch, but maybe, just maybe, it's fun to play.

I picked Master Mummy (since he has the best theme music) and was on my way.

On Day 1 of the Testpunch, I played with the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, since that is how I choose to play my Switch games. Movement was done with the left control stick. Push the stick down to guard (important for Master Mummy, since he regenerates 1% of max HP when he guards). X and Y were to Jump and Dash, while A and B were right and left punches. Move the left control stick while a fist is out to curve it.

A and B being right and left punches may have worked on an NES controller when the buttons were side-by-side, but the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller has them in a diamond. It doesn't work well and the controls feel bad. The lack of feedback/rumble/satisfying sound effects when you land a punch doesn't help things, especially since PUNCHING IS ALL YOU DO. The game's main action BETTER FEEL GOOD. But it doesn't.

ARMS Global Testpunch Skillshot break the targets Master Mummy
The Skillshot mode in ARMS was all I could win at with Master Mummy and the Pro Controller.

I lost most of the matches I was in, except for Skillshot. At least, with the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, I could move, throw punches, and aim the punches. It didn't feel good and it was easy to forget about jumping, dashing, and blocking.

I got sick of playing ARMS and decided to play Splatoon 2, much like the general population.

The next day, I felt a little bad, like I didn't give ARMS a good chance. I came back to it. Maybe if I play it with the Joy-Con controllers, it would be a much better experience! That's what I did. I also thought, maybe playing as Master Mummy is a bad idea. I played as Spring Man, because he's the default beginner character, and I was a beginner.

While it IS more satisfying to throw the Joy-Con forward to punch (similar to Wii Sports Boxing?), it is terrible for gameplay. You need to tilt the Joy-Con to move, and to punch, to aim your punches, and to block. It's unplayable. The Joy-Con has a stick right there. It's unused. THE STICKS ARE UNUSED. WHY?!

I decided to go back to Master Mummy since Spring Man was crap. Master Mummy ended up being more immobile than usual, and all I got was thrown over and over by some jerk Ninjaras.

ARMS Global Testpunch Skillshot winner screen Spring Man Mechanica
With the Joy-Con controllers, I couldn't even win in Skillshot anymore. ...Not even close.

It wasn't fun. Yeah, I actually got some close matches in terms of fights (and contrary to my hyperbole, I even won some matches), but they didn't feel close because of any decision-making on my part. I was just throwing punches and fighting with the crappy control schemes. It was clear a lot of my opponents didn't know how to play properly either.

So, there you have it. I played ARMS. People who have me friended on my Nintendo Switch (see my Nintendo Switch friend code around these parts) can see in my profile that I've played the ARMS Global Testpunch for a little while. It's there. It happened. I did it.

I didn't like it at all.

Now, can we keep this shit off my website?

Ludwig only wrote about this because of a request submitted on the KoopaTV Requests Page. You too can make KoopaTV's staff write about topics they normally would not by submitting your own requests on that page's comments section! (It's great for the KoopaTV Loyalty Rewards Program — Round 16 just started a couple of days ago!)

Even though ARMS is unplayable no matter what control scheme you use, Ludwig wants the Pro Controller to be the de facto controller for the Switch.
Ludwig credits this article to Nintendo's decision to allow customisable controls for ARMS. 
Ludwig tried playing ARMS again in 2018. His opinion marginally improved.


  1. I seemed to only be able to win with Mechanica back at the first Testpunch.

    1. I thought playing as Master Mummy would be similar to playing as Bowser in Super Smash Bros..

      The problem here is that Master Mummy doesn't have any extra defence or HP that heavy characters in fighting games get. Apparently he and Mechanica get Super Armour, not that it helps when you get thrown around.


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