Arms has a lot of extra modes on top of the core fight modes, and unlike other games’ bonus modes, these are cleverly designed to teach you core concepts of the game without your noticing.
This is volleyball, alright. This mode is about teaching you punches with very slight, subtle curves to hit the sides of the ball, getting it in the right direction. Straight punches will eventually get the ball over the net, but hitting that sweet spot at the side will do it faster and at a tougher angle to return.
Don’t pick slow weapons for this one. They’ll prove useless. Gloves are good for V-Ball. Generally speaking, stay conservative with one-handed punches. Eventually there’s going to come a point where the ball comes flying at you and one of your fists is already out. If both of them are out, well, you’re not hitting that ball back, are you?
(Making sure you’re always ready to defend with a punch is, of course, a major defensive concept in the real game, too!)
You can “set” the ball by using a grab on it. At the top of its ascent the ball will shine green. Time your punch to hit it at that moment and you’ll get a fast spike. Keep in mind that due to the long-range nature of Arms, either side can wind up spiking the ball. As soon as players see the “set” animation, they’re going to race to be the first to hit the ball. Usually, the second person to hit the ball winds up hitting it over to the other side, though!
Keep in mind that you also have all the time in the world between volleys to reposition and charge your Arms. You may as well do so, especially in team matches where you’ll want to keep one play in front and the other in back.
Hoops is a game entirely about teaching you to evade and connect with throws. The b-ball hook just obscures that this a mode where only throws (and Rush attacks) count. It’s kind of a silly rule, but again, the idea is to teach players how to deal with throws, not to be a legitimate competitive mode.
Typically, both players go wild with throws immediately. Take this as an opportunity to practice defending against a throw strategy. Take it slow and learn to evade throws or react to them with quick jabs. Remember that if one player plays nothing but rock over and over again, all you need to do to stop them is to play paper.
Don’t punch before you see their throw come out, but do punch the moment you see green. Completely missed throws leave the other player open for a long time, and your chance to counter-throw will come then.
Try and stay past the three-pointer line so that when you do connect a throw or Rush, you get more points. There doesn’t seem to be any downside to this, and “missing” also appears to be random.
This is a mode about learning just the right angle for your curve shots, while also dealing with an opponent who’s trying to do the same thing faster. Also, you can beat each other up.
The key point of Skillshot is taking out multiple targets with a single punch. Your score increases with every target a single punch hits, and it’s by far the best way to get points. Hitting your opponent is of course annoying to them, but score-wise it doesn’t do much for you.
Obviously this mode doesn’t call for weapons that have a narrow flight path. Boomerangs and gloves are best. Stop bringing missiles into Skillshot, guy in the party lobby. I see you.
The period before targets actually pop up is a quick-draw moment. The player who identifies the pattern and makes the correct shot first is the one who’s going to hit the targets. Throw out your punch just as the targets pop, so that it’ll pass through the targets before the other players can get to them.
When you get Arms coins, the Arms Getter minigame is almost exactly like Skillshot, but with no opponent and only gloves allowed. For the sake of your weapon unlocks, try practicing your aim in Skillshot a little bit before you unlock weapons.
In 1-on-100, 99 Helix prototypes spawn and gang up on you, but luckily for you each Helix goes down with one clean hit. There is a final boss in this mode, so be careful.
This is a rapid-fire test of all of your understanding of the game up until this point. Aiming, blocking, evading, even weapon choice plays a big role here.
We beat this mode with Min-Min (so in the Ramen Bowl) using two Ram-Ram chakrams. Here’s our rationale: We want a wide-open space to make sure we can hit enemies without any obstructions and have a good amount of room to run away if we’re getting surrounded. In the smaller stages you’ll get piled on, and in the stages with obstacles you’ll start to miss.
As for the weapon, we used chakrams. It only takes one hit to take a Helix down in this mode, so a light weapon that does low damage is no problem. Enemies don’t dodge too actively, so we decided on a weapon that covers a lot of space and is tough to miss with. The chakram’s curved flight path will typically cut the enemies in this mode down with just a single straight punch.
In the early game, particularly when enemies have just spawned, throw shamelessly. Enemies typically don’t attack for a moment after they spawn, so it’s very likely you’ll get the grab. If you’re lucky, one Helix will hit another at some point during the throw and you may get two or three enemies down. If you miss the throw the first time, don’t try to keep going for it: You’ve lost your momentary grace period, and the Helixes are going to start attacking in earnest soon.
Eventually the waves get more aggressive, and once the enemies have gained a footing, it won’t be so easy. Work from the closest enemy to you using the target switch button, and keep your guard up as you dash around the stage and throw a quick punch at a time.
Don’t forget your Rush: when you’re surrounded by enemies with weapons that are particularly disadvantageous (like your chakrams versus the enemies’ heavy Megawatts), just blow it. You will probably have two or three Rush uses in the whole mode. Save your last Rush for the 90-enemy mark, where the Helixes become significantly smarter and more aggressive.
At the very end, Hedlok (the final boss of Grand Prix) comes out to play. This surprise second round is a little obnoxious after clawing your way to 99, but that doesn’t change matters. As usual, wait for Hedlok to leave himself open. You are not going to win a direct fistfight against a guy with six arms. Luckily for you, Hedlok mostly flails wildly and you should be able to find his openings.