Nintendo updated Arms, a fighting game in which people with stretchy arms duke it out, with support for LAN play and a new Arena Mode.
Arms is the first new Nintendo franchise to debut on the Switch console. It's a character-based fighting game wherein you equip various arms, each of which has its own attributes and abilities, to beat the snot out of your opponent. You can play with the Pro Controller, a single Joy-Con, or a pair of Joy-Cons with motion controls, depending on how many people are playing and how comfortable you are with flailing your own arms.
The game debuted on June 16. A little over a week later, Nintendo introduced Arms version 1.1 with the following changes:
”LAN Play” support added. You can now battle against players via LAN. On the Top Menu, click and hold the Left Stick and then press L+R to switch between “Local” and “LAN Play.””Arena Mode” added. This mode focuses on serious 1-on-1 matches and can be played via “Friends,””Local,” or “LAN Play.” Up to 4 players can be in the arena, and players not currently fighting watch as spectators. Fixed issue where Kid Cobra was able to repeatedly do a charge dash while riding snake boards.Fixed issue where Barq would warp a great distance away after Byte & Barq perform a rush attack while on a snake board.Fixed issue where ARMs such as the Chakram would pass through the purple light boxes in the Ribbon Ring stage.Fixed issue where Biff referred to the “ARMS Grand Prix” as the “AMRS Grand Prix.”
These features drive home Nintendo's hopes for the Switch and its games. You can play Arms, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and Splatoon 2 by yourself, sure, but part of their appeal lies in playing with other people right next to you. Besides harking to a time when people fought over who got what controller back in the NES days, this emphasis on group play also makes Arms and Splatoon 2 in particular well-suited to esports.
Nintendo knows this. That's why it built LAN support into Arms and Splatoon 2 and why it hosted tournaments for both games at E3 2017. The company also knows people want to play games with their friends without having to pay for an online service, which makes the support for local multiplayer in its first-party titles welcome. (Its focus on single-player gaming makes The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild an outlier.)
This update to Arms also highlights Nintendo's growing comfort with patching games after their release. It's done so before, but it seems to be more willing to update Switch games. Breath of the Wild has received numerous patches and has multiple expansions planned; Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has been tweaked; and Arms got LAN play and Arena Mode, both of which seem like features that should've been in the game all along.
Arms version 1.1 will be automatically downloaded and installed the next time you launch the game. Nintendo said you have to run this version of the game to play online.
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Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.