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Armed and dangerous!

ARMS. More than mere limbs, capital A-R-M-S can extend like springs, an unusual ability shrouded in mystery. [...] In fact, one of the ARMS fighters, Spring Man, had this to say:

"I was shocked at first, but having arms like this is actually pretty rad."
Narration from May 2017 Nintendo Direct

ARMS is a boxing/fighting game made for the Nintendo Switch from the same development team behind the Mario Kart franchise. Revealed during the January 2017 Nintendo Switch Presentation, the game (appropriately) features follows numerous characters that fight using long, extendable arms. A series of online demo periods, called "Global Testpunches," were held May 26-28 and June 2-4. The game was released on June 16, 2017.

ARMS uses motion controls, much like the Wii's Wii Sports and Punch-Out!!, though the gameplay style is more akin to Sega's Virtual-ON series of fighting games. It also has the option for traditional button controls, though Word of God says using traditional controls may limit players' skills.

In 2017, a graphic novel series based on the game published by Dark Horse Comics was announced, with Ian Flynn writing. After a teaser of the first volume, "Contenders", was given away during Free Comic Book Day 2018, it more or less dropped off the face of the Earth to languish in Development Hell; though it was stated to still be in the works as late as 2020, it turned out to have been Quietly Cancelled when Flynn updated his personal webpage the following year.

Min Min appears in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as the first fighter of the Fighters Pass Volume 2 DLC set, alongside a Mii Brawler Costume for Ninjara. Before that, the game had a good amount of ARMS content on launch; Spring Man as an Assist Trophy, he and Ribbon Girl as Mii Brawler costumes, and a number of Spirits, including Min Min herself.

Not to be confused with Wild ARMs.

ARMS contains examples of:

  • Achievement System: Badges were added in Version 3.2, which are rewarded for everything from beating gameplay modes with certain characters and/or under conditions, to as simple as performing an action X number of times. There are 359 Badges, with an extra rewarded for 100% Completion, but due to over 70 of these Badges only being obtainable via the time-limited Party Crash events that took place periodically through the game's update cycle, the most anyone playing the game after April 2020 can hope to nab is 286 Badges.
  • All There in the Manual: The gallery added in 5.0 contains a group of "ARMS Secrets" images which is mostly used to explain various things about the world of the game. It also adds a caption to any Grand Prix image to help put things into context.
  • Always Night: The Mausoleum, Snake Park, and Sky Arena during the Hedlok fight always take place at night. Sky Arena is otherwise taking place at sunset.
  • Ambiguously Human: While most of the humanoid cast are normal humans who one day woke up with ARMS abilities, Master Mummy seems to actually be one of the undead, while Kid Cobra's general body shape and movement is very snake-like.
  • Anime Hair: Spring Man and Ribbon Girl's hairstyles definitely do live up to their names. The same can be said for Ninjara due to his ponytail looking a bit like a shuriken. Min Min's hair looks like ramen noodles, and Twintelle's hair is so long that she uses it in place of her arms. Lola Pop also has a bun that looks like a piece of hard candy. Dr. Coyle's hair is a pompadour with very long bangs covering her eye.
  • Bait-and-Switch Boss: In Grand Prix, Dr. Coyle will launch Max Brass out of his arena when the player reaches him on Level 6 or 7, taking his place in the process.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Min Min, in spades:
    • Her Chest Insignia is a stylized version of "麺", the Japanese kanji (and traditional Chinese character) for noodles.
    • While her given name in English is "Min Min", the Japanese pronunciation takes care to add a separate sound to her name, making it sound more like "miàn miàn", the Chinese word for noodles that would evolve into "ramen".
    • Some of her victory lines are in Chinese (Mandarin, specifically) as well:
      • "好吃!" (Hǎo chī!) — "Yum!"
      • "我愛拉麵!" (Wǒ ài lāmiàn!) — "I love ramen!"
      • "谢谢!" (Xièxiè) — "Thanks!"
  • Boring, but Practical: Bubb and Buff ARMS have no special attributes or elemental attacks, but will still fly straight at an opponent and come back quickly.
  • Boxing Battler: Every single character, even the ninja, due to this being a boxing game. (Though, there are some non-boxing moves, including kicks.)
  • Break Meter: Doing repeated damage to a player's block shield will eventually break it, leaving the player vulnerable.
  • Bullet Time: Twintelle can slow down an opponent's attacks when they approach her.
  • Camera Fiend: Twintelle's home stage has a cameraman in the background, and they're definitely determined to record every angle of the battle.
  • Capital Letters Are Magic: Used to distinguish between actual limbs and Extendable Arms.
  • Casting Gag: Donna Burke plays Dr. Coyle, a mad scientist woman in a fighting game who experiments for personal gain. Dr Coyle wants to make herself into the best ARMS fighter. Burke was also in Rumble Roses, where she played Dr. Anesthesia/Cutter, who uses the DNA from wrestlers she tricked into joining the fight in order to develop the ideal super soldier.
  • Censored Title: Dr. Coyle's stage is "[NAME REDACTED]", complete with brackets and capital letters.
  • Chained Heat: In the 2-on-2 team fights, you and your partner are connected to each other at the waist by strings.
  • Character Customization: You can change the boxing gloves for each character to different ones with various properties, from elemental abilities to different weight classes.
  • Character Roster Global Warming: At launch, the game had two heavyweights: Master Mummy and Mechanica, both having anti-flinch by default. No pure heavyweight fighter was added post-release: Max Brass is only heavy when fully charged (or after throwing or when low on health), and Misango only has a heavy mode as 1 of 3 options.
  • Chest Insignia: Each character has their individual symbol displayed on their upper body.
  • Color-Coded Characters: Spring Man is sky blue, Ribbon Girl is red, Ninjara dark blue and teal, Mechanica yellow, Master Mummy violet, Min Min orange and green, Kid Cobra purple and cyan, Barq & Byte both blue, Twintelle white and light pink, Helix dark green, Max Brass royal blue, Lola Pop yellow-orange, Misango blue, Springtron red and black, and Dr. Coyle green and purple.
    • The themed background colors for these characters are as follows: Spring Man blue and scarlet, Ribbon Girl red and yellow, Ninjara navy and aquamarine, Master Mummy purple and white, Min Min bright green and orange, Mechanica yellow-orange and orange-red, Twintelle gold and magenta, Byte & Barq bright blue and yellow, Kid Cobra violet and teal, Helix dark green and pink, Max Brass dark blue and gold, Lola Pop cyan and yellow, Misango forest green and orange, Springtron dark gray and red, and Dr. Coyle black and dark green.
  • Conlang: Played with. While Biff speaks in Voice Grunting, and there appears to be a mostly-fictional writing system in place, several characters have victory lines where they speak in real-world languages such as French, Mandarin Chinese, and English.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: A very unique example resulting from the game's use of motion controls. In actual boxing, the proper form for throwing a punch is to rotate it from a vertical to a horizontal position. Here, this twisting motion is only done to put "spin" on a punch, meaning anyone who was experience boxing or fighting in general will find their punches swinging widely off to the side.
  • Die, Chair, Die!: The Scrapyard, DNA Labs, and Temple Grounds all have structures that can be destroyed with enough hits or with a character being tossed into them. After the Version 4.0 update, destroying all of them for each stage yields a badge.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: Ribbon Girl is an idol; she sings the game's main theme and the theme for her own stage, the Ribbon Ring.
  • Domino Mask: Most of the human cast wear these as their normal attire, and so do their fans. Apparently the mask is part of how they control their ARMS power; when they take it off, their arms become much less stable.
  • Downloadable Content: New fighters, stages, and ARMS were added through free post-launch updates, with the last significant update being Version 5.4.0 in September 2018, which added support for Nintendo Switch Online alongside the usual balance updates.
  • Don't Try This at Home: What one of the tips say when entering Hoops mode.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: Playing Grand Prix on a difficulty setting of 3 or lower won't net you the staff roll or an ending image. In addition, the game will end at Max Brass, as opposed to giving you an additional fight against Hedlok afterward, with Dr. Coyle taking Max's place on Level 6 or higher.
  • Elemental Powers: Equippable Arms can have one of eight attributes: Fire which burns and knocks down your opponent, Electric which briefly disables their arms, Wind which blows them back, Ice which freezes and slows them, Stun which paralyzes them, Explosion which explodes them, Blind which throws gunk on their screen, and Poison which slowly damages them over time.
  • Ensemble Cast: Despite having clear mascots in Spring Man and Ribbon Girl, according to Masahiro Sakurai in the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Min Min presentation, the developers consider everyone to be "the main character" of the game.
  • Evolving Title Screen: Each major update came with a new title screen that is seen at start-up, each focusing on one of the newly-introduced fighters. Version 2 focuses on Max Brass, Version 3 focuses on Lola Pop, Version 4 focuses on Misango, and Version 5 focuses on Dr. Coyle.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: ARMS is a game about arms. Enormous, springy arms.
  • Excuse Plot: You have some Extendable Arms because you Just Woke Up That Way. Go fight in a tournament!
  • Exotic Eye Designs: Humans with the ARMS power have a unique "vortex" design to their eyes. The only one who doesn't is Mechanica, due to being a regular human who uses a mech suit to fight.
  • Extendable Arms: The main theme of the game. The fighters use their coiled arms to blow fisticuffs at each other.
  • Fanboy: Biff and Mechanica are noted to be fans of Ribbon Girl. A piece of official artwork puts this into action by having their idol autograph the yellow fist-head's shirt resulting in eye sparkles. Meanwhile, Mechanica is peeking from behind a wall watching the scene with a shocked on her face and tears in eyes.
  • Fictional Sport: ARMS does not hide its fictional sports roots, with a presentation similar to sports coverage, commentary between matches, and throngs of fans wearing the colors and logos of their favorite athletes.
  • Genre-Busting: It's a boxing game, but one where fighter's arms can extend ridiculously long with all different kinds of crazy weapon attachments.
  • Gone Horribly Right: The gallery reveals that Hedlok was originally intended to act as a sparring partner/sandbag to train ARMS fighters. One scientist notes that technically, they have fulfilled the stated goal of the project once he escapes to hijack that Grand Prix.
  • Good Colors, Evil Colors: The more heroic/Face characters like Spring Man, Ribbon Girl, and Byte and Barq have bright color palettes such as red and blue, while the more Heel/rival characters like Ninjara, Master Mummy, Kid Cobra and Dr. Coyle darker color palettes such as navy, purple and black. Quite downplayed in that none of the characters, except Coyle, are actually "bad guys".
  • Hartman Hips: Ribbon Girl, Min Min, and especially Twintelle sport very broad hips.
  • Home Stage: Every fighter has their own stadium associated with them and their theme.
  • Immune to Flinching: Master Mummy and Mechanica have this trait, and hitting them does not disrupt their current punches or grabs.
  • In-Series Nickname: Rasen Ninjitsu University is more known to the public as "Ninja College".
  • Just Woke Up That Way: Many of the playable characters are just normal folks who just suddenly woke up with Extendable Arms. In-universe, no one is sure why this happened and falls back onto this for the reason why they got them.
  • Mini-Game: There are a few mini-games within ARMS: V-Ball (a mix between volleyball and hot potato), Hoops (basketball, but with your opponent as the ball), Skillshot (breaking as many targets as you can), and 1-on-100 (a full-on Multi-Mook Melee). The first three mini-games are played in Grand Prix and ARMS Test, and they must be won to continue a streak.
  • Mirror Match: While this can naturally occur in Pv P matches, as part of the Grand Prix, this can only happen with Max Brass and Springtron.
    • Every Grand Prix on levels 1 through 5 ends with a fight against Max Brass, including if you're playing as Max Brass himself. The explanation given is that you were playing as the fake Max Brass... except, once you beat Grand Prix, it's revealed that you were playing as the real Max Brass all along.
    • If you manage to unlock the Springtron fight while playing as Springtron yourself, Biff will confusingly declare it isn't part of the script. Though given that Springtron is a robot and Dr. Coyle's notes state that she hopes to one day mass-produce them, it isn't that much of a shock.
  • Motif: Each fighter has one, based on what their ARMS take the form of.
    • Spring Man/Springtron: Springs.
    • Ribbon Girl: Ribbons.
    • Ninjara: Chains.
    • Master Mummy: Bandages.
    • Min Min: Ramen.
    • Mechanica: Mechs.
    • Twintelle: Hair.
    • Byte & Barq: Clockwork.
    • Kid Cobra: Snakes.
    • Helix: DNA.
    • Max Brass: Championship belts.
    • Lola Pop: Candy.
    • Misango: Bracelets.
    • Dr. Coyle: Tesla coils.
  • More Dakka: Dr. Coyle can utilize this with multi-shot type ARMS, and with her signature ARM, the Lokjaw. Since she grows a third arm after charging, if all of her arms are the Popper, Cracker, Revolver, Retorcher, Tribolt, Lokjaw, Biffler, or Hydra, you can unleash a volley of mini-missiles. One of the badges even requires this (specifically, with the Revolver)!
  • Multi-Mook Melee: 1-On-100 involves the characters fighting off 99 One Hitpoint Wonder prototypes of Helix, and then facing off against a Hedlok-controlled 100th one.
  • Nintendo Hard: Even the middle difficulty, Level 4, can be extremely hard to newcomers, with AI fighters being very intelligent, defensive and evasion-heavy, with Hedlok himself bordering on an SNK Boss. This was slightly toned down in Update 5.0.0, with opponents in Levels 6 and below now growing stronger as you progress, rather than immediately beginning at the stated difficulty.
  • Non-Elemental: In the starting roster of available ARMS at launch, three of these (Buff, Megaton, and Bubb) have no attribute applied to them.
  • Off the Chart: Helix's character profile page shows that his "gross factor" is so high, it leaps past the edges of the chart and the user's web browser.
  • One-Word Title: ARMS.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: One of the main ARMS choices Min Min and Helix can use are dragon heads. Min Min's shoots a beam while Helix's specializes in ice breath.
  • Palette Swap:
    • Some of the equippable gloves are this, like Master Mummy's signature Phoenix and Twintelle's Thunderbird, but they also have different elemental attributes to change how they play.
    • The enemies in 1-on-100 mode look like black versions of Helix.
    • Clicking the left thumbstick and then holding a direction when selecting a character will swap between one of four available palettes (with Up being the default color). The fans in the background will also change their outfits to match.
  • People Jars: Present in Helix and Dr. Coyle's fighting stages, which hold what appears to be other Helixes.
  • Permanently Missable Content: While you can still get most of the Badges in the game, each Party Crash community event had a set that could only be received for participating in them, in addition to more general ones related to the limited time mode. As such, 73 out of 359 Badges cannot be achieved. 74 out of 360, if you include the bonus Badge rewarded for collecting every other Badge in the game.
  • Pink Girl, Blue Boy: The two mascots feature this. Spring Man's colors heavily feature a pastel blue while Ribbon Girl's is a pastel pink.
  • Power Fist: Each character can equip a variety of weapons for each of their arms. They all have three signature weapons.
  • Primary-Color Champion: The lead (or at least default) character Spring Man's color scheme is mostly red and blue. Pastel red and blue. His boxart rival Ribbon Girl is primarily red and blonde, with blue eyes and a dark blue top, or breastplate, on her shirt.
  • Pun-Based Title: The title refers to the arms the characters box with, and the arms that the boxers arm themselves as fist weapons.
  • Quietly Performing Sister Show: Compared to Splatoon and Super Smash Bros., Nintendo's other competitive multiplayer franchises. While ARMS sold well enough for a new fighting game series and even made a main stage appearance at Evo Japan 2018 (with a side tournament at Evo 2018), it became heavily overshadowed about the newest entries in the aforementioned series. The final Party Crash (signifying the end of any new content or online events) came and went without much fanfare in 2020, and though it maintains a small fanbase, the online community mostly went unactive shortly after.
  • Randomly Gifted: In-game lore reveals that the ability to have stretchy arms has been known since ancient times but its exact mechanism of who obtains this ability is unknown. Some theories suggest that it's a random quirk of evolution or the result of alien experimentation.
  • Recurring Riff: Most of the game's music incorporates bits of the game's main theme; the instrumentation varies from song to song. For example, Ninjara's stage plays it on a violin, Helix's stage uses a warbly synth, and Twintelle's stage uses a triumphant horn section.
  • Robot Athlete: Several fighters fill the niche completely (Barq & Byte, Springtron, Hedlok) while an arguable case could be made for others (Dr. Coyle and Helix).
  • Rocket-Tag Gameplay: A few of the Bonus Rounds in Party Crash become this. Big Time ARMS (your ARMS are huge and do triple damage) and SO MUCH RUSH (the Rush meter fills instantly) both greatly increase the rate of damage you can dish out and make getting hit much easier and much more detrimental. But the true embodiment of this is One Hit Wonder, where the first attack to land is an instant KO.
  • Rubber-Hose Limbs: Being made of coiled springs, the arms of the fighters are capable of extending out quite far and ways that are impossible with bones and joints. However, these arms appear to be capable of coiling back up to resemble normal arms.
  • Shoryuken: Spring Man's grab move has him throwing his opponent with a shoryuken.
  • Something Person: Spring Man and Ribbon Girl, the faces of the game, fall under this name scheme. There's also Helix's Japanese name, DNA Man.
  • Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors: Blocking, punching, and grabbing moves have this relationship between each other; punches are negated by blocking, blocking is useless against grabs, and grab attempts can be canceled out with a single punch.
  • Touched by Vorlons: One of several in-universe theories for how some people develop ARMS.
  • True Final Boss: Hedlok controlling Dr. Coyle.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: Completing the Grand Prix at difficulty 4 and above nets an image depicting what the fighter used does after getting their championship belt:
    • Spring Man: Shown at his ceremony with multiple belts adorning his arms.
    • Ribbon Girl: Back to her pop idol business, with multiple fans possibly part of her troupe.
    • Mechanica: Teaching a group of people about her mech, the champion's belt hanging on her wall.
    • Master Mummy: Shown being interviewed by Biff, having had finally found his family.
    • Ninjara: Back at Ninja College with the belt in tow.
    • Min Min: Serving ramen at her parent's shop to adoring fans.
    • Twintelle: Performing in her next movie.
    • Byte and Barq: Byte is shown relaxing at a beach, Barq playing in the background.
    • Kid Cobra: Taking a selfie with the fans and basking in his newfound popularity.
    • Helix: Alone in the ARMS lab, smiling happily over his prize.
    • Max Brass: Admiring all the belts he has won that are framed and hanging on a wall while his newest part to the collection lays on a nearby desk.
    • Lola Pop: Is shown with a poster that reveals she opened up the circus she always dreamed to run.
    • Misango: Having a meet with Biff while his fellow Misangans explore their weird new friend.
    • Springtron: A photo held by an unknown person depicts him connecting with a young fan of his, while the rest of his fans look on in horror.
    • Dr. Coyle: A torn, old, but re-taped photograph of her and Max Brass in happier times.
  • Wind Is Green: The Wind attribute's main color is green.

Biff: As another TV Tropes article draws to a close, I'd like to thank all the tropers and the fans at home. See you next time, folks!


Video Example(s):


Min Min ARMS Herself!

Min Min activates her ARMS to claim the invitation to Smash Bros. for herself.

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Example of:

Main / TransformationSequence

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