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Motion Controls Better Than Joysticks on PC

Growing up playing video games has taught us that controllers with two sticks are a good way to move around a game. One controls looking and the other controls movement. Or maybe you prefer a mouse and keyboard?

However, the prevalence of these somewhat awkward schemes (similar to the prevalent but inefficient QUERTY keyboard layout) means that motion controls are often overlooked. This was made worse when the Wii failed to offer many high-end games and made motion synonymous with kid’s games.

The reality of well-implemented motion controls for aiming can make a profound difference to how approachable and accessible the experience is -- especially if two sticks don’t work for you or are unfamiliar.

We’ve worked with Jibb Smart on this list of games that offer motion controls that work as a viable (and often enhanced) replacement for stick control. He is pioneering well-executed motion controls and has created open-source tools JoyShockLibrary and JoyShockMapper to help explore the potential offered by the gyroscopes in these controllers. His website GyroWiki teaches developers how to implement these features well. In this list, we highlight games that put motion controls to good use in a way that is effective and well-executed.

Much of Jibb’s work focuses on the potential of gyro aiming. “It replaces the mouse with gyro controls. And since mouse control is a core pillar of PC gaming, it bridges a significant gap between PC and console players.” But motion controls is a very broad category. It’s worth breaking it down into more specific types of control that can help players in different ways:

  • Motion Aiming: Can use small movements of the gamepad to fine-tune aiming or as the main aiming mechanism. This is sometimes known as Gyro-Aiming. Games like The Last of Us Part II and Rogue Company provide this ability to replace one of the sticks or mouse with gyro controls. This usually requires the ability to calibrate these controls to taste. Search database for Motion Aiming games.
  • Motion Pointing: Can use the direction of the gamepad to move a cursor-target around the screen like a mouse. Games like Ghost Squad, World of Goo and Boom Blox use this to offer a light-gun experience. Search database for Motion Pointing games.
  • Motion Tilting: Can use movements of the gamepad to replace steering or left/right movement with sticks. Games like Forza, Mario Kart and Wipeout offer this to enable you to steer left or right by tilting the controller. Search database for Motion Tilting games.
  • Motion Gesture: Can motion with the controller to direct an in-game action. This can be a nuanced one-to-one motion for analogue sword (Zelda Skyward Sword) or bat movement (Wii Sports Resort). It can also be a simple shake to trigger a one-off action, like in Super Mario Galaxy. Search database for Motion Gesture games.

This list includes 6 games from the last 13 years, with 194 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to use motion controls rather than sticks.

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DetailsList Details

PEGI Ratings: PEGI 3 to PEGI 18
ESRB Ratings: ESRB EVERYONE to ESRB MATURE 17+
Australian Ratings: G to MA 15+
Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative, Open World, Platform, Puzzle, Role-Playing, Shooting, Simulation and Stealth
Total Likes: 194
 

 

Boomerang X

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 10-15 year-olds

Release Date: 08/07/2021

Platforms: Mac, PC and Switch

Genres: Action, Platform and Shooting

Accessibility: 37 features

Developer: Video Dang (@VideoDang)

Players: This is a single player game

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...

Alba: A Wildlife Adventure

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 5-10 year-olds

Release Date: 11/12/2020

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

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Simulation

Accessibility: 31 features

Developer: Us Two (@UsTwo)

Players: This is a single player game

Alba: A Wildlife Adventure is an adventure game where you play as a young girl who starts a wildlife conservation club. When Alba visits her grandparents on a Mediterranean island, she is excited for a summer of exploring with her friend Ines. But when...

Rogue Company

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Release Date: 30/06/2020

Price: Free

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Open World and Shooting

Accessibility: 1 feature

Developer: Hi Rez Studios (@HiRezStudios)

Players: You can play this with 10 players online

Rogue Company is an online shooting game where players compete in teams to win rounds. You play as one of the elite agents of Rogue Company, each with their own individual set of skills, and go to war in a variety of different game modes.

Days Gone

Content Rating: PEGI 18

Release Date: 26/04/2019, updated in 2021

Platforms: PC and PS4

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Open World, Role-Playing, Shooting, Simulation and Stealth

Accessibility: 29 features

Developer: Bend Studio (@BendStudio)

Players: This is a single player game

Days Gone is a survival adventure game set in a post-pandemic Oregon. You roam an open world pulsing with life (and zombies). It's unusual for its scale and sheer number of enemies. Add to that the changing light and weather and Days Gone creates a...

World of Goo

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 7-11 year-olds

Release Date: 13/10/2008, updated in 2017

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, Switch, Wii, Wii U and iOS

Genres: Puzzle and Simulation

Accessibility: 14 features

Developer: Tomorrow Corp (@TomorrowCorp)

Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room

World of Goo is a puzzle game where you use balls of goo to create bridges that span increasingly large chasms and obstacles. The game simulates real-world physics to determine if structures are strong enough and when they collapse. This means that...

Enter The Gungeon

Content Rating: PEGI 7

Skill Rating: 10-15 year-olds

Release Date: 05/04/2016, updated in 2020

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

Genres: Action, Adventure, Platform and Shooting

Accessibility: 19 features

Developer: Dodge Roll Games (@DodgeRollGames)

Players: You can play with 2 players in the same room

Enter the Gungeon is a shooting game where you use one stick for running around and the other to aim. These twin-stick controls combine with loads of enemy bullets to dodge to create a tough challenge. You play four adventurers descending into the...

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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