There are 10 playable characters in ARMS for the Nintendo Switch. As people start to get into the game, the question of which is the best character in ARMS has come up quite a bit. This article discusses the various play styles of the ARMS characters to help you find the best characters in ARMS for you. There are some significant differences between the ARMS characters, so it’s not just about the best character in ARMS, it also needs to be a character that you’ll be comfortable playing. This complete ARMS character list covers each character, and provides a good overview so you know which ARMS character you want to play, even if it's not the best character in ARMS.
First off, don’t worry too much about the default Arms for each character. It takes some time to gain access to every Arm in the game for every character, but eventually you’ll have all Arms for all characters. Instead of focusing on the Arms each character has by default, focus on what makes each character unique, then we’ll help you determine which Arms you should go with to round out your character selection.
There are a few different ways you can play Arms. While the game is generally a bit more defensive than other fighting games, you can play super defensive, letting the opponent attack first as often as possible (which we highly recommend), take the initiative and play aggressive when needed, or play a combination of these two styles. How you want to play Arms will have a direct effect on which character you should be using. Now let’s take a closer look at the characters.
It should be noted that our evaluation of the characters is based on playing skilled opponents. Against new or novice players, almost any character and play style can be used to win. These four characters can win even against some of the best players and strategies, but we’ve also taken a look at the rest of the cast as well, just in case you aren’t into these four characters.
- Play Style: Aggressive Defense
- Best Attribute: Highly Evasive
Arguably the best character (alongside Ribbon Girl) in the game Twintelle has the ability to slow down physical attacks when you charge (hold the dash button). This can be done on the ground or in the air and even allows her to charge her Arms while in the air, which very few characters can do. These two combined abilities means she should have a charge almost all the time and any reckless attacks will be slowed down and easily evaded. Her high mobility and evasion make her difficult to hit while easily evading opponents and punishing their missed attacks with a counter punch.
- Play Style: Open
- Best Attribute: High Aerial Evasion
Ribbon Girl is arguably the most evasive character in the game and some would even call her the best character in the game. She can extend her jump up to four times in the air if you continually press the jump button. This allows her to attack in mid-air, then use an air jump to evade any counter punches from her opponents. While most characters are vulnerable once they take to the air, Ribbon Girl excels at aerial combat with her highly evasive air jumping.
- Play Style: Super Defensive
- Best Attribute: Super Armor and Healing Ability
With a high learning curve Master Mummy may not seem like the one of the best characters off the bat. However, if you take the time to learn how to play as Master Mummy he can be very deadly. His main assets are his super armor, which allows him to take a punch and keep on moving if it isn’t charged up, and the fact that he can slowly heal while holding block. ARMS is a very defensive game, but Master Mummy is the only character who can actually heal while playing defensively. This gives him a huge advantage, but only if you’re good at reading the opponent and knowing what they’re going to do next.
Ideally you want to get a life lead then sit back and heal. This forces your opponent to come in for a throw. As soon as you see this throw you need to interrupt it with an attack, or preemptively jump or dash to evade the throw, then attack with a throw or punch of your own. He has very slow movement speed and one of the shortest dashes in the game, which doesn’t make this strategy and easy one to work with. If you can’t pull this tactic off you won’t be good with Master Mummy, which is one of the reasons why his learning curve is so high.
- Play Style: Aggressive Defensive
- Best Attribute: Super Armor and Aerial Hover
If you like bigger characters but don’t like Master Mummy’s lack of mobility, Mechanica should be go-to. She has super armor like Master Mummy, which means any non-charged punch will bounce off. It will still inflict damage, but it won’t stop her movement or attacks if she gets hit. In addition to this super armor, she can hover in mid-air, giving her far more mobility compared to Master Mummy. Simply jump and continue to hold the jump button and Mechanica will hover for a short time.
If you jump in any direction and hover, Mechanica will slowly float in that direction. You can also air dodge at any time to immediately change Mechanica’s direction of movement. This gives her quite a few evasive options that make her difficult to pin down. She also gets an extended dash on the ground if you hold the dash button (similar to her air hover). Unfortunately, her movement without the added dash or hover is somewhat limited which means you need to be proficient in using the hover and extended dash if you want to have the highest chance of winning.
While the characters we’ve already mentioned are the best in their respective play styles, that doesn’t mean the characters below are bad. ARMS is a game that’s designed to offer a fairly equal playing field no matter which character you’re using. Some characters may have to work harder than others, but with the ability to mix and match Arms at will, the difference in character strength is much closer than many other fighting games.
Byte & Barq
- Play Style: Open
- Best Attribute: Barq
This pairing is difficult to win with against skilled players. They have the highest learning curve of any character in the game. Barq is controlled by the AI and will generally stay just in front of Byte to the left or right. If you try to move behind Barq he will try to move back to his present position. If you jump on Barq, each time Byte makes contact with Barq it creates a deflection barrier. However, given how Barq moves, it can be difficult to jump on him when you need to in the heat of battle.
You can use Barq as a shield by constantly moving behind him, but it only takes one punch to knock Barq out for about seven or eight seconds. Barq will attack with a single punch when Byte attacks, although there is a short cooldown between Barq’s attacks which can cause him to attack late or not at all. While Byte’s movement is average at best, if you can draw the opponent’s attention away from Barq, the little robotic dog can surprise an opponent his attack, which you can confirm in a Rush move (super move). In addition Byte’s punches are charged up, Barq’s punch is charged as well (with the fire element).
- Play Style: Defensive
- Best Attribute: High Evasion
Helix is another very difficult character to learn. His movement is arguably the best in the game, but it will take some time to master. He can shrink into a puddle, stretch his body and even take to the air. If you’re in a close quarters battle, Helix can evade attacks better than most other characters with minimal movement.
Dashing turns Helix into a puddle, and if you press and hold the dash button he will stay in puddle form until charged up. If you continually tap the dash button Helix will stay in puddle form until you stop dashing or he gets hit. Likewise, if you the jump button you can move Helix’s upper body in any direction to evade attacks. Releasing the jump button causes Helix to perform a normal jump. The biggest problem is that Helix can be hurt during all of this, so you really have to be good at using these evasive options to make Helix work well, but in the right hands he is very difficult to hit.
- Play Style: Defensive
- Best Attribute: Rapid Evasive Dashes
The best thing about Kid Cobra is that you can charge up and then perform several consecutive high speed dashes in any direction. It’s very difficult to hit Kid Cobra if you stay constantly charged, but the high speed dashes are only available for as long as Kid Cobra is charged up. This usually gives you four consecutive dashes if you charge for as long as possible.
While the enhanced movement is nice, if you use these rapid dashes to move forward, Kid Cobra goes under attacks. When properly timed this will leave an opponent wide open and give Kid Cobra a guaranteed attack or throw. Of course a smart opponent can attack with a Light Arm to bait Kid Cobra into dashing, then quickly block or evade. It’s a gamble, but one that can certainly pay off.
- Play Style: Defensive
- Best Attribute: Deflection Kick
Min Min’s best attribute is her ability to deflect attacks with her kick. She can perform this in the air or when dashing backward. While this gives her an extra defensive option, it can be very predictable if you’re not careful. When timed correctly it gives Min Min added protection when she’s in the air, but a smart opponent can throw out a quick attack for Min Min to deflect, then follow with their other Arm as Min Min drops to the ground. When compared to some of the other character’s defensive options, Min Min just doesn’t quite stack up.
- Play Style: Super Defense
- Best Attribute: Teleport Dash and Auto-Evasion
If you played in the Global Test Punch you know that Ninjara was a very popular character. Ninjara’s dash is a teleport instead of a normal dash movement. This means he disappears as soon as you dodge, then reappears when he reaches the end of what would be a normal dash animation. At first glance this may look like one of the best techniques in the game, but at closer inspection it’s easily defeated.
You have to remember that while Ninjara does disappear, he can only reappear in one of four spots, to the left or right of his starting position, or moving forward or back from his starting position. He moves just like most of the other characters, the only difference is that you can’t see the actual movement, only the beginning and end of the dash. A skilled player can wait for Ninjara to dash, then punch as soon as they expect him to appear (which is always the same speed). Ninjara’s only options after teleporting are to attack or do nothing. He can’t evade anymore after the first teleport until he hits the ground again.
On the ground it’s a slightly different story. If Ninjara is blocking he will automatically teleport to evade a punch. Now you can bait out this automatic teleport with a single punch, then follow quickly with another punch, but Ninjara can dash after this auto-evade on the ground. This makes Ninjara very difficult to catch if he stays on the ground, meaning it can often times be better to just let him attack first.
- Play Style: Aggressive Defense
- Best Attribute: Charge Deflect and Auto Charge
Spring Man is a well-rounded fighter that can be played offensively or defensively. Every time you charge and release a swirl a blue light appears that indicates any attack will be deflected if timed correctly. If you continually dash and charge you can maintain this deflect almost all the time. There will still be small openings in which Spring Man can be hit, but a skilled player can avoid most attacks.
Once Spring Man is below 25 percent health, his punches are always charged up, no matter what. This means you no longer have to focus on charging and can just worry about deflecting and going for a counter punch immediately after a deflect. You can aggressively chase an opponent once you master the deflect ability, making it very difficult to contend with a skilled Spring Man.