During a Nintendo Treehouse livestream, members of the company’s team demonstrated how players will use the console’s new Joy-Con controllers to fight enemies. Holding the controllers vertically, players can hit buttons to unleash attacks, but must also use physical movement to block and evade attacks. Players need to move their arms from left to right to dodge punches from an opponent, and perform physical punching motions to hit the other player.
“It’s all about reading the other person and seeing what they’re doing,” a member of Nintendo of America’s Treehouse team said.
Players can use boxing gloves for a more traditional fight, or they can equip their fighters with more advanced weaponry. Tridents, boomerangs and an electrically charged glove are some of the weapons that can be attached to fighters’ hands for a stronger attack. Players will have three types of moves: throws, punches and blocks.
“It’s kind of a basic staple in fighting games. It’s like a game of rock-paper-scissors. Hits win over throws, throws win over blocks and blocks win over hits. If you dodge, you move out of that rock-paper-scissors game,” one of the Nintendo reps said.
During the presentation, Nintendo showed off some of the characters players would be able to use. Each fighter has their own special move, like other characters in traditional fighting games, and players can learn how to use those special moves to their advantage mid-fight.
Springman has one of the best jumps in the game and is “springy,” according to the Nintendo team. Ninjara will disappear when a punch is thrown at him and will reappear on the other side of it. Ribbon Girl is extremely hard to hit and agile. Master Mummy has super armor and can take more damage. He’ll also begin to heal himself when given enough time. Mechanica can steer herself in midair to deliver a more accurate attack from higher ground.
Players will also be able to choose from multiple arenas. During the stream, Nintendo showed off a couple, including a temple-looking arena and a more traditional fighting arena.
Arms will be available to play on the Switch this spring.
Update: It’s worth pointing out that although Nintendo has been showing off Arms with the Joy-Con gamepads’ motion controls, it’s possible to play the game with buttons and sticks.
“You’ve been playing with the Joy-Con — one in each hand — using motion controls,” said Morgan Ritchie, localization producer at Nintendo Treehouse, to product marketing manager J.C. Rodrigo on last Friday’s livestream. “But obviously, if you’re a purist and you like button controls, and you’d rather use a more traditional controller, you can of course do that as well.”
You can see the relevant clip if you scrub to 7:15 in the video above.