“While Nintendo's game is a complex over-the-shoulder fighting game, my simple fan project is a free-for-all Super Smash Bros. style beat-em-up,” wrote creator William Josiah Jones on his Blogspot.
The free download simplifies Arms’ central conceit — motion-controlled, range-based boxing — so that it works on a keyboard. Each character has a single set of gloves; there’s one stage to play on; up to four characters duke it out in one big ring until they run out of lives, whereas the actual Nintendo Switch game includes a variety of modes and customizations. (Arms2d also has some classic Nintendo characters thrown into the mix.)
What Arms2d does have going for it over the real thing is that it’s browser-based, works with a mouse and keyboard setup, and “is a fun little distraction that keeps you occupied until the real Arms is released,” as Jones wrote.
But Nintendo’s developed a reputation for shutting down fan games as soon as they reach an audience, which members of the Nintendo Switch subreddit fear could soon happen to Arms2d. This doesn’t seem to concern Jones, who instead admits that Arms2d was born of “self-service and opportunistic intentions.”
Jones said he first garnered attention from Nintendo fans with a similar demake of Splatoon, called Splatoon2D. The free game’s release in 2015 led to “more than 12,000 hits” on his website, he said. (For what it’s worth, that game is still up for download.) After its success, Jones began looking for ways to further increase his traffic.
“If you see my fan game as a shameless grab for attention, I can't blame you — because you're correct,” he wrote in an earlier post about the motivations behind Arms2d. “I hope you can forgive me though, because, I don't want to spend my game development career known by anyone as an attention grabbing hog. I want to create new things, share new ideas, and be a representative for love and the Truth.”
The response to Arms2d is positive thus far, although it doesn’t look like it’s crossed the desk of Nintendo’s legal department yet. The download links for the Windows PC game are still live at time of writing, so check out this cute, simple project while you have the chance.