The first of two ARMS’ TestPunches took place over the weekend with seven fighters and one of the main modes, Party Mode available for those eager to check out Nintendo’s newest IP.
To say I had a good time would be an understatement. After previewing ARMS at a recent event, I was fairly optimistic for this unique brand of fighter. But I was blown away by how much fun this game is over the weekend and this is largely due to the lobby system in the Party Mode on offer.
In Party Mode, several players a placed in the same pool to partake in various modes including 1v1, free for all, team fights (in which you are tied to your team mate) and a volleyball mode (which is way more fun than you’d think).
There are two key functions to Party Mode which makes it so addictive and fun though. Firstly, you will stay in the same pool of fighters endlessly unless you leave intentionally. Secondly, you accrue points each match (3 points for a win, 1 point for a lose) and have an overall score tracker. More importantly, you can see everyone else’s score while you are in the lobby, waiting to be placed in your next match.
The best deciding it all with a volleyball match.
Often, I was in competition to have the highest score against one or two other people in my pool. If they ever dropped a point after their own match my spirits would lift. When my two main rivals fought each other, I’d eagerly await the outcome to see who was my new number one nemesis, and when it came to showdowns with them, my nerves were through the roof.
However, there is no specific ranking system, no visual ladder. These rivalries where built up just by showing an overall total for each player’s score in a pool. At its heart it is a simple system, which leaves players to make their own stories and build up the tension themselves and boy did I love it.
At the start of one pool I lost to a player called Turtledog. At the time it seemed insignificant, but as time went one and we emerged as the two best players in our group, that loss was a scar on my perfect record. A one up that they kept over me for so darn long.
Finally, when we did meet after various rounds against other players we were only a point apart. Going into that match my nerves were shot and I’d built up so much anticipation within myself. It ended up being one of the closest, most tactical and fun fights I had during the TestPunch. It was also my first game where the timer ran out and I won via having more health left.
What a feeling that victory was. It was incredible, I was fist pimping the air in joy.
But in a reminder of Nintendo’s silly and child friendly nature, the next match I was placed with TurtleDog again, but in a game of volleyball. It felt so weird hitting a ball around in a light hearted game of volleyball after one of the most intense multiplayer matches in my recent memory. But it was actually a nice palate cleanser. A bit of fun after a serious showdown.
But my exhilaration was taken to a whole new level in the next match. As to my absolute delight, we were placed on the same team for a 2v2 fight. I was honestly ecstatic to be playing with my rival after trying to chase them down for so long. We went on to win that game in another epic battle. At the end, I wished more than ever I could have given them a high five.
The first TestPunch for ARMS has risen my expectations for it to a whole new level. I can’t wait to try out the campaign mode, ranked matches and other unique game modes such as a basketball dunking mode in the full release.
But I also can’t wait to jump back into Party Mode come June 16th, to build those quick rivalries all over again with a new group of strangers. I really hope I see TurtleDog out there again…