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Mechanical Challenge

Games offer us challenges on many levels. When someone plays a game too much it’s easy to think they are taking an easy route to something entertaining, like junk food. But video games are generally hard work. It takes time to understand their systems, mechanics, objectives and worlds.

There are a small group of games that hone this challenge down to the mechanics of moving around the environment. Whereas many games simplify getting around, these games make the complexity and depth of their movement systems part of the joy of playing them.

Rather than relying on the stats of your character or player, you have to execute the moves yourself with timing proficiency and instinct. Rather than offering assistance, these games leave you to it. Whether you rise through the league tables, or just improve compared to your family, the satisfaction or getting to grips with something so monumentally challenging is really satisfying.

This might be understanding how the propulsion of your car lets you take to the air and hit a perfect shot in Rocket League. Or, perhaps, it’s using the limited running and jumping slightly better than other players to get a win in Fall Guys. Maybe it’s learning the perfect combination of angles and trajectories in Videoball. Or it could be learning the complex move lists in a game like Street Fighter.

These games all have in common, a complex control system that can be put to use in imaginative and creative ways to get the edge over your opponents.

This list includes 231 games from the last 41 years, with 1,929 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to combine dexterity and instincts.

DetailsList Details

PEGI Ratings: PEGI 3 to PEGI 18
ESRB Ratings: ESRB EVERYONE to ESRB MATURE 17+
Australian Ratings: G to R 18+
Genres: Action, Adventure, Creative, Fighting, Narrative, Open World, Physically Active, Platform, Point-and-Click, Puzzle, Race, Rhythm, Role-Play, Shooting, Simulation, Sports, Stealth, Strategy and Traversal
Total Likes: 1,929
 

 

Threes

Release Date: 06/02/2014

Platforms: Amazon Fire, Android, Web and iOS

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Threes is a puzzle game where you slide numbered tiles on a grid. When they collide they combine their numbers, like Triple Town. You can match 1's and 2's with each other, the white tiles can match cards that are multiples of 3...

Boomerang X

Release Date: 08/07/2021

Platforms: Mac, PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Boomerang X is a shooting platform game where you explore worlds and fight enemies with a boomerang-like shuriken weapon. Unusually, you can warp to your boomerang once thrown meaning you can slice, fly, and blast through arenas swarming with evil...

Get To The Orange Door

Release Date: 30/05/2019

Platforms: PC

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Get To The Orange Door (GTTOD) is a platform game where you run, jump and shoot your way through minimalist levels. Movement is parkour in nature, meaning that you use architecture, street furniture and other objects to get an advantage when getting...

Elden Ring

Release Date: 25/02/2022

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Elden Ring is a role-play game set in a fictional world created by fantasy novelist George R. R. Martin, with a focus on combat similar to Demon's Souls and an open world with real time and weather like Zelda Breath of the Wild.

Drink More Glurp

Release Date: 06/08/2020

Platforms: PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

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....

Lonely Mountains Downhill

Release Date: 22/10/2019

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Race down a mountain on a bike. Make your way through thick forests, narrow trails and wild rivers. Race, jump, slide and try not to crash all the way from the peak to the valley. You choose your route to find the fastest way to the finish line.

Cuphead

Release Date: 29/09/2017, updated in 2019

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Cuphead is a running, jumping and shooting game that looks like an old Mickey Mouse cartoon. You play on your own or with someone else and work across the screen, jumping gaps, shooting enemies and avoiding projectiles.

Osu!

Release Date: 16/09/2007, updated in 2021

Platforms: Mac, PC and iOS

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Osu is a rhythm action game where you tap the screen in time to the music similar to the Elite Beat Agents games. This starts as a simple challenge but develops in speed and complexity. At higher levels the games is an esport with people competing to...

Rocket League

Release Date: 28/08/2018

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

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...

Teardown

Release Date: 29/10/2020

Platforms: PC

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Teardown is a strategic game where you plan and execute a heist in a fully destructible environments. Your objective is to claim the key cards that are hidden around the map. However taking one triggers the alarm, giving you only sixty seconds before...

Dead Cells

Release Date: 10/05/2017, updated in 2018

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Dead Cells is a running, jumping and fighting game where you are escaping a prison. In a bright pixelated world you must accurately time attacks and dodges to defeat a wide range of enemies. It's intentionally hard, and you will die a lot. But each time...

Forza Horizon 5 (Series)

Release Date: 05/11/2021

Platforms: PC, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Forza Horizon 5 is a fast-paced racing game where you drive all manner of different vehicles in races and across the vast open landscape. Building on Forza Horizon 4, this fifth entry to the series is set in Mexico,...

Apex Legends

Release Date: 04/02/2019

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Apex Legends is a shooting game where you work with two other players landing on an island and searching for weapons and supplies. You mission is to defeat the other 50 players to be the last team standing.

Crab Game

Release Date: 29/10/2021

Platforms: PC

Crab Game is a competitive action game where you play mini-games based on the Squid Game Netflix show challenges. Similar to Fall Guys, each requires you to be the last player standing to claim the win. Here however, the game has a darker feel with...

BedWars

Release Date: 19/01/2017

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Bed Wars is a game played on Minecraft servers. It's a game similar to the official Minecraft minigames but created by independent developers.

The Long Dark

Release Date: 22/09/2014

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

The Long Dark is a thoughtful exploration-survival game where you have crash-landed in the icy Canadian wilderness after a global disaster and must find a way to survive. Through exploring, crafting and fighting you must look after your body...

Geometry Dash

Release Date: 13/08/2013, updated in 2017

Platforms: Amazon Fire, Android, Mac, PC and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Geometry Dash is a running, jumping game. It features over 20 stages where you play as a customisable small cube, which you used to dodge 2D obstacles to the rhythm of electronic music using a single button to control the cube. If you hit any of the...

Free Fire (Series)

Release Date: 29/10/2018

Platforms: Android and iOS

Garena Free Fire (also called Free Fire Battlegrounds, Free Fire, Garena Free Fire-New Beginning) is a shooting game like Fortnite but only played on mobile phones and tablet devices. It is highly popular for its online battles where 50 players search...

Freddy Spaghetti

Release Date: 15/12/2020

Platforms: PS4, Switch and Xbox One

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,...

Fancade

Release Date: 30/04/2020

Platforms: Android and iOS

Skill Rating: 4+ year-olds

Fancade is a collection of simple games played on smartphones. It offers simple running, jumping, puzzle, shooting challenges depicted with simple pixel visuals. Like Roblox, these offer simple versions of other commercial games. Unlike Roblox, these...

Skyblock

Release Date: 01/01/2011, updated in 2020

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Wii U, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Skyblock is a game played on Minecraft servers where you start on a bare island floating in the sky and must gather resources to thrive and reach other players. It's the Minecraft equivalent to being washed up on a desert island and is hugely popular....

Escape from Tarkov

Release Date: 27/07/2017

Platforms: PC

Escape from Tarkov is an online shooting game set in the fictional Norvinsk region in Northwest Russia. You play during a war between two private military companies and join matches to fight others for loot, survival and ultimately escape.

Kill It With Fire

Release Date: 13/08/2020

Platforms: Android, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Kill It With Fire is a fighting game where you kill spiders. Lifting objects, looking under things and generally exploring the houses means you find spiders. The challenge is then to kill them with increasingly ridiculous weapons.

Descenders

Release Date: 08/05/2019, updated in 2020

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and iOS

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Descenders is a downhill mountain biking game with a focus on skill. In each downhill run, your goal is to score as many points as possible by completing skill based challenges and executing as many tricks and flips as you can, all while you try to...

Squad

Release Date: 14/12/2015, updated in 2020

Platforms: PC

Squad is an online-only shooting game where you fight in a team of 50 players against an opposing team. It is unusual because of a deep emphasis on teamwork, co-ordination and strategy, as well as being as realistic to real modern day warfare as...

Bonkies

Release Date: 29/01/2021

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Bonkies is a co-operative building game where you construct buildings from different blocks. With a jetpack and a grab-arm you work with other players to manoeuvre the blocks into place. It starts quite simply but soon gets everyone shouting.

Karlson

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Karlson is a platform game where you take on shooting, running and jumping challenges to complete the level by getting to the tongue-in-cheek Milk prize. The focus is on skilled movement and precision shooting. As you fight your way out of the facility,...

Outward

Release Date: 26/03/2019

Platforms: PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Outward is a fantasy adventure focused on an ordinary character surviving against the odds. There's a focus on realism rather than superpowers or magical abilities. You have to look after your warmth, hunger, fatigue, illness, and thirst as well as the...

Hitman (Series)

Release Date: 01/01/2000, updated in 2021

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, PS5, Stadia, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Hitman 3 is a stealth game where you take on assassination missions and then figure out how to execute them. The dynamic situations you enter unfold as you play and you can try different approaches.

Sifu

Release Date: 22/02/2022, updated in 2022

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5 and Switch

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Sifu is a martial arts fighting game with a flowing control system and ageing protagonist. You fight with Kung-Fu combat designed with impact and authenticity in mind.

Ready or Not

Release Date: 17/12/2021

Platforms: Mac and PC

Ready or Not is a tactical shooting game, where you need restraint and discipline as much as a quick trigger finger. Like Rainbow Six Siege, you take on tactical missions with other people and must work together to apprehend suspects with minimal...

Skatebird

Release Date: 16/09/2021

Platforms: Mac, PC, Switch and Xbox One

SkateBird is a running (rolling) and jumping game where you play a skateboarding bird who performs tricks and explores skate parks. The skate parks are made of everyday objects such as pencils, books, and staplers which have been transformed into ramps...

Splitgate Arena Warfare

Release Date: 24/05/2019, updated in 2021

Platforms: PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Splitgate: Arena Warfare is a movement-focused shooting game. Building on classic quick-motion gun battles, Splitgate adds a gun that can create portals between any two locations. This combines the frantic close-quarters arena combat that was popular in...

Fugl

Release Date: 14/09/2017

Platforms: Mac and PC

Fugl is a game that simulates flying. You play a bird and launch yourself into the sky to explore a vast world. Rather than search for things, fight, or take on challenges, all you have to do is wend your way through the air currents and glide your way...

Knockout City

Release Date: 21/05/2021

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Knockout City is a futuristic sports game where rival crews take on dodgeball style battles. It combines arena battles with projectile combat. With the focus on the ball as much as the other players, this brings more strategy and a great emphasis on...

MultiVersus

Release Date: 26/07/2022

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

MultiVersus is a fighting game like Smash Brothers where you team up with or against other players. The novelty is this teamwork and the deep catalogue of characters you can fight with. Batman, Shaggy from Scooby Do, Superman, Bugs Bunny and so on.

SnowRunner

Release Date: 28/04/2020, updated in 2021

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

SnowRunner is an off-road driving simulation game that follows up MudRunner. You drive all-terrain vehicles to traverse between locations and complete deliveries. You need to use the vehicle's gears, all-wheel-drive, fuel levels and other features to...

MudRunner

Release Date: 31/10/2017, updated in 2020

Platforms: Android, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Mudrunner is an off-roading simulation where you drive ageing Soviet vehicles in extreme, muddy and unpaved environments. It's novel because of the simulated driving and that you just have a map and a compass to navigate.

Party Animals

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC and Xbox One

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.

Switch Sports

Release Date: 29/04/2022

Platforms: Switch

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Nintendo Switch Sports, is the latest version of Wii Sports. It brings the classic motion sports game up to date with new sports and ways to play. You can compete in six sports, including Tennis, Volleyball, Golf, Football and Bowling. The novelty, as...

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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