Arms: How to Choose Arms and Perform Basic and Charged Attacks

Get a leg up on the competition in our guide to tips and tricks in Arms.


Arms is a fighting game and Nintendo's newest intellectual property. However, Arms is vastly different from traditional fighters like Street Fighter V and Injustice 2. Not only do you choose a character, you choose a left and right arm, and each arm offers powers and other benefits.

This guide will get you started with tips and tricks such as how to charge your arms, when to throw punches and when to guard, and more.

How to Choose a Character in Arms

While the arms you choose go a long way in determining your abilities, each character boasts unique skills and attributes as well. When you're first starting out, stick with easy-to-learn characters such as Ninjara, Spring Man, Kid Cobra, or Ribbon Girl.

How to Choose Arms

The intricacies of what separates one arm from another is best saved for a separate, larger discussion. There are some fundamental rules that apply to all arms, though. For one thing, each arm sports a unique weight and speed. Furthermore, every arm includes an elemental abilities such as fire, which deals extra damage, and electricity, an elemental ability so shocking it stuns your opponents, leaving them open for hits.

Every character starts with three arms by default. You'll unlock more by playing the game, earning in-game currency, and playing a mini-game that randomly adds extra arms to your arsenal. As you get your feet (or arms) wet in Arms, stick to deciding whether your play style favors slow but powerful attacks, or lighter yet faster blows. The heavier an arm, the higher the damage and slower the attack. Going with light attacks means you'll need to land more hits to deal more damage, but the trade-off is that your attacks end sooner than opponents equipped with heavier arms—meaning you'll have time to evade attacks and can often get in two or three punches to their one.

How to Punch

There are two basic attacks in arms. The first is a basic punch. The second and more effective method is to charge one or both of your arms beforehand. Charge an arm by holding the dodge/dash button—"Y" in most control schemes—or put up your guard and hold it. Whichever method you choose, your arms will begin to glow. That luminescence signals that the next attack you execute will be charged.

When to Punch

Knowing how to punch in Arms is less important than knowing when to throw a punch and when to put your guard up and weather a storm. New players hold to the mistaken impression that the elongated reach of each character means they can stand back and mash buttons to win from afar. A skilled player will quickly disabuse them of that notion by abusing them.

The most important aspect of knowing when to punch is to only use one arm at a time. Unless you're assured a hit, such as after using a stun move, you'll want to punch with one arm and keep your other fist free to follow up if the first attack hits its mark.

If your opponent swings first, be ready to counterattack when they're open. Watch to make sure they attack with one fist or two; if they attack with both, they're practically begging for you to exploit their vulnerability and launch a counter.

Distance plays a huge part in every Arms matchup. You don't need to be in your opponent's face to land a hit. In fact, it's best if you keep your distance. Getting closer affords you less time and space to evade or throw a counter punch. At the same time, you can't be too far. Your arms are stretchy, but they can only reach so far.

Along the same line, remember that heavy arms are slower, which means they take longer to reach their mark.

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