In Party Match, you drop into a small lobby for random, casual fun. Half of the time you’ll be in a normal single or team fight, and the other half you’ll be playing one of the minigames (V-Ball, Hoops or Skillshot). If you win too much, you’ll suffer a HP handicap, and if you lose a lot you’ll get a the huge handicap of a free Rush move.
This is a good place to mess around with characters and weapons that you aren’t necessarily familiar with — no pressure if you screw up. Also, if you can’t unlock Ranked Match, it’s the best way to pile up Arms coins with which to unlock weapons.
Ranked is the only locked mode in Arms. This is done for your own safety.
To unlock the mode, you need to prove your worth by beating the single-player Grand Prix mode at level four difficulty or higher. In this mode, the computer-controlled opponents will act a lot more like a reasonably experienced human player, and you will need to really understand how the game works to win.
Once you get Ranked Match, it’s a pretty straightforward affair: Queue up and wait for a match. You’ll gain a lot of ranked experience for winning a match and lose a little bit for losing one. As you move up the ranks, you’ll get more for a win and lose more for a loss, so you have to bring your very best game. It’s around levels six and seven where your losses really start to weigh against you. (We made it to eight.)
Ranked wins are also the single fastest way to get Arms coins, so that’s your immediate reward for getting good, as they say.