• David Stanley

Just Arms | Early Access Review

Just Arms

Alternate Title: @*%#

Developer: Frozen Helm | Publisher: Frozen Helm

#Precision #Platformer | #Indie

Early Access Date: February 15th 2020

Platforms: PC | Price: $5

How would you feel if you had woken up and no longer had legs? Would you be able to cope with this reality? Our hero clearly couldn't and you join him right as some geezer is about to explain what in blazes is going on. There's a witch, she lives on a mountain, and of course she can regrow limbs; oof.

The gameplay in Just Arms is quite simple, employ a rotating set of arms attached to a mannequin of flesh that smash the ground to leap up to platforms. The level design feels like a puzzle where precise movements and good character placement is required. During my time with Just Arms there was a learning curve in navigating our Knight, and many of the jumps certainly required finesse.

When it comes to how big the map is, well I'm not exactly sure. I've made little progress in making my way up after playing several hours of the game. One mistake could send you tumbling down to the bottom of the map. Some of the jumps are just plain unfair. Recent patch notes do say that there will be more balancing the during early access and much of my hopes rest with them.

Just Arms falls into the category of difficult precision platformers. Others include Pogostuck and Celeste whose difficulty has streamers whining on camera at any given misstep. To be honest this type of game could bring a grown man to tears. This game could easily be categorized as digital torture or, to the right audience, a challenge.

The game is in very early stages of early access with plans to full release by August 2020 at the latest. The jury is out how much content will be made for the game. Frozen Helm has a tough job in assessing what balances are needed and that will directly influences what the players will perceive is adequate map size/content. The official plans are, "Large and more fleshed out map, More and better multiplayer modes, More unlockable skins and, Improved graphics and sound."

When looking at the planned content statement its painted with broad strokes stating "more and better multiplayer" and "large and more fleshed out map". Reaching out to Frozen Helm I was able to get more clarity for the expansion of the game during early access. When asked how large will the map get FH replied, "The mountain will consist of 6 sections, starting section, magical forest, snow/ice section, haunted graveyard, the sewers and the final section, the tower."

What I would like to see is Just Arms at least reach content and quality levels that come with other games in its genre. The game hasn't yet implemented music while climbing. And I hadn't experienced any rewards when I was up on my furthest ascent. There is one multiplayer mode on the main map where knights can interact with other players on the main map. And of course the main solo climb mode. In another question to Frozen Helm we were able to confirm 6 skins for our armless caper.

My recommendation is one of caution. Additionally, If you get frustrated easily this game might not be for you. If watching the gameplay reel amounted to any stress be warned. Until I see some rewards (LOOT) for my torturous efforts, Just Arms is a wait and see.

(Disclosure: An early access key of the game was provided by the publisher.)