Arms' latest update is a damn good one. Overnight, Nintendo added a new and seriously fun South American fighter, three pairs of arms, a great map, and the game's first community event, a competition in the style of Splatoon's Splatfest.
Guided by the power of temple spirits, the newest fighter Misango has a "mysterious entity" companion that "grants him special effects such as protection from flinching and increased speed," Arms' website reads. As it floats around, its colour changes from yellow to blue to red. Whenever Misango holds his guarding pose, the spirit presents itself to him as a yellow, blue or red pillar. It can block enemy punches. And stepping into it, each colour grants him different powers: Red buffs damage, blue buffs movement and yellow buffs his special Rush attack.
If you've played Super Smash Bros. 4, Misango will immediately remind you of the fighter Shulk. In appearance, he rules. The detailed and popping textures of his clothes and his painted toenails balance how stern he looks.
After the initial learning curve of memorising each colour's effects, it's apparent that Misango is a winning idea in a game that might not accommodate him so well. He's fun as hell to play, but when it comes to competitive play, Arms is all about anticipating what your opponent will do and exploiting whatever vulnerabilities crop up as a result. It's a very reactive game. In the time it takes for Misango to change colours, dodge an opponent's grab, and punish it with the right spirit attack, that opponent could land two more attacks.
It's really engaging to fiddle with Misango and change up his fighting style, but on a moment-to-moment basis, this kind of flexibility is hard to take advantage of. What it may be more useful for is selecting a strategic colour buff when Misango's paired against a hyper-slow or hyper-fast enemy to gain an edge. Or grabbing that Rush buff when you have a Rush attack ready (however, Rush attacks are easier to pull off when they're a surprise!).
That said, I love Misango's arms, all of which have a new-to-the-game poison effect, especially his super-powerful and super-speedy "Skully" poison arms. His stage is a gorgeous temple with the perfect ratio of clear area to environmental impediments, and I'll definitely be playing there a lot.
Also new is Arms' Party Crash, which will debut on November 22. Riffing on the subtle insidiousness of Arms' world - that the fighters are essentially science experiments - the event has players battle for Spring Man or Ribbon Girl's supremacy and earn badges while they do it. The description reads:
Here at the ARMS lab, we're eager to see certain pairs of test subj - er... fighters in action. Use one of those featured fighters to earn extra points. After the event, the results of the experi - sorry... PARTY, and each fighter's point totals will be announced!
It's like Splatoon's Splatfest, but without the mayonnaise.