Retronauts: "It was strange, watching Nintendo cleanse Switch of its own heritage, especially as the NES Classic mini-console was selling like gangbusters. Millions of people have just revisited Punch-Out!! via that device (and millions more long to do so, an experience now forever denied by Nintendo’s decision to kill the NES Classic before it ever truly lived). Why not capitalize on the brand’s reappearance in the pop culture mainstream with a modern-day sequel?
But no; ARMS instead introduces an entirely new cast of 10 fighters, not including bosses and future downloadable add-on brawlers. Despite revolving around a premise that could potentially elevate the Punch-Out!! concept to the next level — motion-based fisticuffs, a brilliant advance over the Wii Punch-Out!!‘s great Balance Board support — there’s not even a hint of that storied arcade/NES favorite to be seen here. No Little Mac cameos, no cheeky text callouts that I’ve seen, not even a fuzzy-looking Bald Bull hiding in the crowd scenes. ARMS completely divorces itself from its obvious spiritual antecedent, and as someone deeply invested in the history of video games and the observation of landmark works, I have to say… it was probably the smartest move Nintendo could have made for the game. What I initially pegged as a senseless and irresponsible decision has proved to be anything but."