Arms, Nintendo's bonkers 3D smash fest, might still be a couple weeks away, but Arms2d is the fanmade 2D demake that you can play for free on your computer right now.
As reported by Polygon, Arms2d is a fan game from developer William Josiah Jones, who previously made a 2D demake of Splatoon. Jones set off to try the same with Arms2d, making a pretty fun, pixelated brawler reminiscent of Super Smash Bros. His website has a pretty tongue-in-cheek rundown of the differences between his fan game and the actual Arms developed by Nintendo.
Arms2d can be played either by yourself or with some friends, all on the same computer. As a stripped down demake, the controls are pretty simple. Using a few movement controls, a jump button, block button, and left punch, right punch action, your job is to pummel the health out of your opponent – whether it's an AI or another player. Obviously there's no motion-controls here, but that will probably save you some muscle strain over time.
The game actually plays pretty well and, as Jones writes, "is a fun little distraction that keeps you occupied until the real Arms is released."
Despite Nintendo's penchant for shutting down high-profile fan projects, Jones' Splatoon2D and Arms2d are still standing, though Jones himself has expressed some regrets about how his fan projects began development, which he writes were partly designed to help draw attention to his own projects after Splatoon2D received more than 12,000 hits on his blog.
"If I played my cards right, a neat looking fan game could generate a lot of traffic my way[,]" Jones wrote on his blog. However, a change-of-heart forced Jones to rethink his development of Arms2d, and what began as an admitted attention-grab, Jones decided to focus instead on just making the best demake of Arms. "If you see my fan game as a shameless grab for attention, I can't blame you - because you're correct. I hope you can forgive me though, because, I don't want to spend my game development career known by anyone as an attention grabbing hog[,]" Jones finishes.
For what it's worth, Arms2d is a really well made fan project that got off the ground pretty quickly, and I doubt people will fault its craftsmanship. It's interesting to see how exposure on the backs of a larger company like Nintendo can become a burden, though at the same time fan projects like Arms2d also help keep the community at large engaged and in-conversation with the game developers they love.
The Global Test Punch for Arms (proper) begins today in North America, so be sure to check that out if you're in the mood for more Arms.