Like Smash Brothers, many of the stages in Arms have irregular terrain and environmental hazards. They’re fun, but many of them are also specifically unfair and exploitable in ways you may want to understand, especially if you’re looking to win in Ranked Match. (Ranked Match should really switch some of these stages off. It’s likely that tournaments will cut it down to everything but Spring Man’s stage.) In this section, we’re going to explain what kind of characters, weapons and general play styles these stages favor.
This stage is a simple square ring with bumpers on either side. Not too big, not too small.
Hop onto the bumpers for a double-jump. This also means you’re never really trapped at the edges of the stage, and there’s no “corner” like there is in other maps (or in other fighting games). This is the stage’s sole gimmick, and while some fighters can use it better than others, it doesn’t give anybody an overwhelming advantage.
This feels like the “competition” stage, and we suspect that like Final Destination in Smash, competitive players will gravitate to using it nearly exclusively.
A long rectangle-shaped map consisting mostly of stairs.
The long staircase at the Ninja College inherently gives an advantage to the player with high ground, and thus a clearer view and a better shot at the enemy. So basically whoever is assigned the top position has a huge edge. (Notice that players switch off between rounds.) Players will fight over this high ground.
From the top, play a long-range game and maintain your inherent edge. Make sure that your opponent never makes it up the stairs. Long-range Arms like boomerangs and missiles are great for this.
From the bottom, you want to get up there and even up the situation. From your point of view, you want to get on the side of your opponent and force them into fighting you on the short end of the rectangle rather than the long one, which is a much more even situation. Of course, if they give you the high ground, that’s great too.
A large, round, deep bowl-shaped stage. Wide open with no stage hazards.
The Ramen Bowl is a very large serving, so it’s particularly suited to long-range battle. Even the longest-range weapons won’t quite get all the way across this map. Aside from Ninjara’s stage, probably the map where it’s most plausible to play a long-range run-away game.
However, the deep slope frequently causes attacks from higher ground to fly over the head of the opponent on lower ground, particularly up close.
Did you notice you can hit the gong in the background?
A roomy square stage with a high ground, a low ground and columns in the middle.
Like Ninjara’s stage, this map also has a high and low ground, but as it’s much smaller it’s a lot easier to successfully fight over that ground. The covering pillars mean that the high ground doesn’t have a total advantage, but it’s still best to be up there.
The pillars take quite a lot of damage before they finally clear away permanently, so it’s not much of a strategy to try and punch through them. They probably won’t break down until the very end of the round.
A round ring with breakable ground in the center that reveals a trampoline when broken.
This is a tight circular ring, until the ground is broken and the trampoline revealed. Once the trampoline is out, the match really changes. As much fun as it looks like, the trampoline is actually a place to avoid. Unless you’re Ribbon Girl, the bounce is high, slow and predictable. If you jump onto it, the other player will swat you down.
The stage effectively becomes a donut shape with the players punching at each other from across the trampoline. Eventually someone gets knocked down, and the fight may go to close combat.
A rectangle-shaped map lined with columns.
You’ll mostly be engaging in medium to close range combat and taking cover by way of the test-tube Helixes that block the way and respawn when destroyed. Players will take cover around the Helixes. The best answer to this is slightly curving your punches so that they go around the cover.
Stay out of the corners of this map: With columns in front and your back against the wall, it’s a particularly bad position even as corners go in Arms.
A rounded rectangle with obstacles in the form of cars.
Kind of reminiscent of a map in a first-person shooter, isn’t it? The key point is that you’re going to use the cars as both cover from attacks and as platforms from which to attack. The wide obstacles force a lot of close quarters combat and block many angles of attack, so you may want to bring mid-range weapons with curved flight paths that can get around the cars.
Byte and Barq
A bone-shaped stage (get it?!) with two ends and a narrow walkway in between. One end has a slightly raised platform.
This map is sectioned off into three parts, and you’ll typically be fighting in one of them: The square donut, the hallway or the rectangle. Sometimes there will be some long-range combat between them, but it tends not to last very long before players push themselves into one spot. You’re effectively fighting at medium to close range at all times, so choose your weapons according to the expectation that you’ll be forced into close quarters.
A large square space with square platforms that rise and fall throughout the match.
This dance club looks normal at the start, but platforms rise up and down from the ground and block your vision. The trick is to try and take the high ground by hopping on top of the platforms, but they’re only around for a brief moment, and punches will go straight through them. No matter what you do, however, this stage is constantly getting in the way of the fight. It’s a frustrating, messy map that advantages Ribbon Girl and Mechanica, the characters with the best air movement, by nature.
This skate park stage is entirely about taking control of one of the two hoverboards floating on the stage. Get the hoverboard and you’re suddenly granted superior mobility, flying faster than any character in the game can move and easily dodging enemy attacks. Depending on elevation, the hoverboard will even block some attacks! A player on the hoverboard is going to beat a player off it. Hoverboard versus Not Hoverboard is a completely unfair matchup.
Furthermore, the first player to get knocked off their hoverboard is going to have a hell of a time getting back on. The movements one needs to make to get back on the hoverboard are very predictable (jump and an air dash) and it’s easy to swat another player down as they jump and dash onto it.
Ultimately, what this stage leads to is one player on a hoverboard bullying another player who’s on foot as they run around unfriendly terrain. For this reason, the stage heavily favors fast characters (Ribbon Girl again benefits from her fast-fall ability). Especially given its large size, the stage leaves slow characters like Master Mummy completely out of luck. From a competitive point of view, this is Arms’ worst stage. It’s a whole other game, and that game isn’t fair or much fun to play.
This is a no-frills stage similar to Spring Man’s but without the bouncy edges. Rather, there’s a raised square space and a lowered area outside. Players will fight to maintain the high ground. You don’t want to be on those edges, especially because you need to jump and dash back into the ring, putting you in danger.
It will probably be the other tournament “Final Destination” choice when Max Brass drops.