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Arms guide: movement, blocking and charging

Know how to move around before throwing any punches

As always, it is important to know how to move around in Arms before throwing any punches. Remember: Punches don’t mean anything if you can’t land them. Different characters (Ninjara, Ribbon Girl and Helix) sometimes have different rules for movement, but most of this applies to every character.

Walking

To walk, simply tilt the Joy-Cons or the analog stick in the direction you want to move.

Walking is the only way to move from a position of total safety. You can block punches and if you’re fast, you can deflect a throw attempt with a quick punch.

Dashing

Press L on the Joy-Cons (motion) or Y (non-motion) to dash.

Dashing moves you around the ring a little faster and dodges incoming punches at the cost of opening you up very briefly to attack. Particularly at the end of the dash, there is a slight pause where you can’t guard. Get too predictable with your dashes, and expect players to anticipate them and hit you out of them. Dash when your opponent strikes, and not before: dodge-and-counter is a fundamental of this game.

Jumping

To jump, press R on the Joy-Cons (motion) or X (non-motion.)

Jumping will vault you over many (not all) attacks and allows you to attack from a high angle, which is a little more difficult to defend against.

However, players are highly vulnerable during jumping, especially at the moment that they land. See the “anti-jump” tutorial in Training mode to see what we mean.

Air dashing

At any time during your jump, you can dash once in any direction. After this dash, you can’t move or guard until you hit the ground, so you’re wide open to attack. Understand the risk and don’t overuse this. Mix up your movements in the air so that the opponent doesn’t call out your air dashes every time.

Guarding

To guard, either tilt the Joy-Cons toward each other (motion) or hold down the analog stick (non-motion.) Blocking a punch will cause you to take zero or negligible (five points, if the punch is charged) damage rather than the full brunt of the blow.

However, if you guard punches over and over again the blocking field starts to go from blue to red, after which point you’ll suffer a guard break and be completely open to attacks. Guards aren’t something to lean on.

Furthermore, throws beat guards completely. Because the guard animation is so flashy, many players will take a guard as an invitation to throw. Be careful of this, and try not to keep your guard up for long.

Sometimes, like when a glancing blow comes in from the side, your Arms will take the hit instead of you. If this happens too often, the arm will temporarily be weakened or disabled (denoted by the yellow or red warning signs that pop up.) Losing the use of an arm also means you’re slowed to a limp and can’t guard, so be careful of glancing blows as well.

Guard cancel dash

If you successfully block a punch, you can immediately press the dash button to go straight into a dash. This may give you the jump on an opponent by getting you around to their side, for example, or you can give yourself some space by retreating backward.

Charging

To charge your Arms, hold down the button for any of the above movement options. For example, to charge during a guard simply keep guarding until you see the charge. To charge during a dash or jump, simply hold the dash or jump button and don’t cancel the dash or jump with any other actions.

Charging will enhance your weapons in ways we will discuss in greater depth in the Attacks section.

Take advantage of the charge, but like always, remember that you don’t need to charge every single attack. In fact, mixing up fast normal attacks and slow charges is a good way to throw off your opponent.