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Awkward Controls For Good Reason

Usually when you press a direction in a game, your character moves their limbs (and other parts) to go in that direction automatically. There are some games where you control your character's body directly with the controller sticks and buttons.

At first these games seem uncontrollable. But give them some time (and shouting and swearing and throwing the controller) and these controls can actually be more effective than the more helpful schemes.

Rocket League is super challenging when you start, but once it clicks there's no going back to arcade-style driving controls. Similarly, games like LocoRoco or Just Pogo seem overly limiting at first. But keep trying and you discover that there's much more control than first appeared.

This list includes 33 games from the last 16 years, with 519 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to grapple with thumbs and limbs. We break them down into the following areas:

DetailsList Details

PEGI Ratings: PEGI 3 to PEGI 16
ESRB Ratings: ESRB EVERYONE to ESRB MATURE 17+
Australian Ratings: G to MA 15+
Genres: Action, Adventure, Creative, Fighting, Narrative, Open World, Platform, Puzzle, Simulation, Sports, Stealth and Traversal
Total Likes: 519
 

 

360 Degrees

360 Degrees is a sports game where you play a skateboarding bunny. Using only the mouse, you perform tricks, grinds, and jumps as you knock over bins to cause havoc and score points in the streets of Melbourne. It combines these unique controls with...

Direct Limb Control

Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy

Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy is a strange game about movement and momentum. You are tasked with climbing a mountain. However, your only means of locomotion is a hammer that can stick to objects and drag you forwards.

Freddy Spaghetti

Freddy Spaghetti is a running and jumping game. But you play a piece of spaghetti rather than a person. The game simulates the pasta’s physics as you use two trigger-buttons and a joystick to steer the main character across a wide variety of levels,...

Drink More Glurp

Drink More Glurp is a wacky sports game where you take turns to play athletic challenges. The twist is that you have to control your over-long arms with a separate joystick and your body is a wheel you can roll along on if you lift your arms right up....

Heave Ho

Heave Ho is a game where up to four players try and swing themselves across a level. But you can only hang on to certain points and must dangle and swing with both arms to progress. The twist is that you can also hold hands with other players and make...

I Am Bread

I Am Bread takes the malleable, real-world physics gameplay and applies it to a slice of bread. By controlling each corner with a different stick or button you make your way around the kitchen and other rooms of the house. Playing a slice of bread is...

Biped

Biped is an adventure game where two players closely collaboration to walk through levels, solve problems. It has unusual controls and friendly cute characters that make it great to share in the family.

Brunch Club

Brunch Club is a cooking game where you possess and move food around the kitchen to complete different recipes. This unusual way to cook creates a unique and silly challenge you take on with up to four people.

Snake Pass

Snake Pass is a puzzle game where you move around objects and through the world like a snake. Rather than running around the levels like you do in games like Mario games, you have to slither along the ground and coil around...

Super Pole Riders

A cross between the high jump, jousting and basketball, Super Pole Riders is a simple game where four players must get a ball hanging from a wire to the opponent’s goal using long poles. It’s the controls that make this game so much of a giggle to...

Robotry

Robotry is an unusual platform game where you don't have a jump button. Instead you use two analog sticks to control each leg of your robot and in this way you take on a range of puzzles and challenges.

Wobble Frog

Wobble Frog is a game about a toy frog traversing a simple world to collect coins. The controls are simple, so simple that you can only control either your foot or your head. This makes it a joyously frustrating game where you work with the limited...

Grapple With Momentum

Rocket League

Drive futuristic cars to score goals with an oversized football. It’s another game that sounds ridiculous but is actually a huge amount of fun to play and requires a lot of expertise. What’s not obvious from the start is the level of control that...

Carrion

Carrion is a horror game where you play the amorphous alien as well as human protagonists. This reverse-horror scenario puts you in control of an organic tentacled monster to make your way through the facility, stalking and killing humans in your path.

Goop Loop

Goop Loop is a traversal game where you control a sticky lump of goo stuck inside a concrete loop. You can use the momentum of your goo and the world's gravity to get the loop to roll through the level. In this way you face all sorts of physics...

Just Pogo (Dreams)

Just Pogo is a jumping game you control with one button. You are a man on a pogo-stick and must get to the exit in each of the 18 levels. The quirk of the challenge is that you not only control the game with one button, but that button rotates your...

Indirect Controls

LocoRoco

This creates a world of plants and creatures to investigate. The novelty, besides the character’s singing and cute aesthetic, is that you control the game with just two buttons, tilting and bumping your characters through each level.

Soccer Physics

Soccer Physics is a super simple football game you play by pressing one button. Made by Otto-Ville Ojala who also made the similar one-button games Wrestle Jump and Tank of Tanks, it's designed to be silly and fun. The matches are 2-on-2 and you time...

Phogs

Phogs is a game where you control a stretchy dog that has a head at both ends of its body. It sounds a little strange, but is actually an endearing adventure where, on your own or with another person, you control each end of the dog separately to...

Skate 3 (Series)

Skate is a skateboarding series with innovative controls. One stick is used to control the skater's body and the other his feet. This resulted in the need to quickly motion different patterns to intuitively achieve different tricks - what become coined...

Regular Human Basketball

Regular Human Basketball is a very different sports game. You play basketball by jumping around inside the robot players to control their moves. It sounds both strange and hard work, but in reality it's a lot of fun.

Rag Doll Physics

Gang Beasts

Gang Beasts is an over the top brawling game where you play wobbly characters who kick, throw, push, pull and pummel up to seven other rivals to win. The game models real physics so you have to work with the grappling and jelly-like bodies to both get...

Human Fall Flat

Human: Fall Flat takes the idea of rag-doll characters and movement in the direction of a platform game. You run, jump and solve puzzles with your elastic character, either on your own or with another player. Get it wrong and you fall flat on your face,...

Totally Reliable Delivery Service

Totally Reliable Delivery Service is a package delivery game, where you use different means to get parcels to their rightful owners in the time limit.

Octodad: Dadliest Catch

Most games design their controls to be easy and accessible. Octodad: Dadliest Catch takes a different approach. Using a combination of sticks and buttons, it creates an awkward, stomach-churning feeling of having too many limbs that you can’t directly...

Party Animals

Party Animals is a fighting game where wobbly animal characters go toe-to-toe. Like Gang Beasts, the novelty is in the game physics that recreate realistic movement and impact with a cartoon rag-doll feel.

Silly Walks

Silly Walks is an adventure where you control household-objects by tapping the screen to get them to walk. Each tap switches legs so you can control their direction as well as their speed. It sounds simple but takes some considerable skill. The...

QWOP

QWOP is a sports game with a difference. You have to control each limb of your virtual athlete. This changes it from a challenge of hitting buttons to using the touch screen or keyboard to deftly co-ordinate movement to gain forward motion. It's really...

Exhausted Man

Exhausted Man is a puzzle game where you play an ordinary, but clinically exhausted, person who must complete everyday challenges, and earn a better life. The twist is that you have to do all this with your character lying down.

Heavenly Bodies

Heavenly Bodies is a puzzle exploration game about cosmonauts working in space. You use one controller stick for each arm and a button for each leg. In this way, you navigate around the space station and complete tasks that would be relatively simple if...

Fight Crab

Fight Crab is a fighting game where you battle with weaponised crabs. But rather than pressing buttons to pull off moves, you have to work with the game’s over-the-top physics. This combines with giant crustaceans, insane weapons and claws to create...

Test Tube Titans

Test Tube Titans is a fighting game where you create monsters in a lab, before taking them into the city to wreak havoc. It is intentionally awkward to control your monster's legs and arms, which adds an incentive to create different types of creatures.

Pro Gymnast Simulator

Pro Gymnast Simulator is a game about gymnastics, parkour, and obstacle courses. You control a gymnast who can achieve amazing feats, however you have to pull them off by controlling your limbs and body directly. The result is a game that's unusual to...

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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