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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 are a very broad category. It’s worth breaking it down into more specific types of control that can help players in different ways:
Release Date: 03/03/2017
Out Now: Switch and Wii U
Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds
Components: 3D Third-Person, Cartoon, Day and Night, Open World and Weather
The Legend of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild departs from the previous Zelda formula with the scale and depth of its world. You walk, fly, ride and climb your way through a landscape that varies in climate, terrain, inhabitants and vegetation. Weather and...
Release Date: 11/12/2020
Out Now: Apple TV, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS
Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds
Components: 3D Third-Person and Cartoon
Alba: A Wildlife Adventure is an adventure game where you play as a young girl who starts a wildlife conservation club. Play involves exploring the island, using the bird song you hear to find and photograph all manner of real-world birds. It stands out...
Release Date: 28/04/2017, updated in 2022
Out Now: Switch
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a go-kart racing game where you race against Nintendo characters around different circuits, picking up power-ups, attacks and speed boosts. It is frantic and chaotic but still requires skills to do well.
Release Date: 19/11/2020
Out Now: PS5
Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds
Astro's Playroom is a running and jumping game that launched with the PlayStation 5. It not only showcases the PS5's new DualSense controller but offers a loveable adventure with novel interactions and considerable substance.
Release Date: 01/10/2011, updated in 2018
Out Now: Switch and Wii
Skill Rating: 4+ year-olds
Components: 3D Third-Person, Cartoon and Open World
Go Vacation is a resort exploration adventure where 50 mini-games can be discovered and played. The mini-golf, skating, surfing, volleyball, car racing, tennis and other games use the Wii and Switch motion-sensitive controllers and are simple fun for...
Release Date: 19/06/2020
Out Now: PS4
Skill Rating: 16+ year-olds
Components: 3D Third-Person and Day and Night
The Last of Us Part II is an action-adventure game set five years after The Last of Us. You control two characters in a post-apocalyptic United States. Ellie is out for revenge after suffering a tragedy, and Abby is a...
Release Date: 08/02/2006, updated in 2014
Out Now: Wii and Wii U
Components: 3D Third-Person
Wii Sports, Wii Sports Resort and Wii Sports Club offer motion-controlled sports. Although these games are well known, the depth each of them offers is a best-kept secret. Games like bowling, tennis and boxing are easy to pick up but require...
Release Date: 08/07/2021
Out Now: Mac, PC and Switch
Components: 3D First-Person and Hand-Made
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...
Release Date: 25/07/2017, updated in 2018
Out Now: Android, PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and iOS
Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds
Fortnite is an online multiplayer shooting game where 100 people compete to be the last player standing. You stealthily traverse the world to collect weapons, out-maneuvering and out-gunning your opponents, while a storm gradually shrinks the playable...
Release Date: 23/11/2011, updated in 2021
Out Now: Switch, Wii and Wii U
Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds
Components: 3D Third-Person, Day and Night and Open World
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is an adventure game in the Zelda series. You navigate the floating island of Skyloft before diving down to explore, escape dungeons and bring balance back to the world. It stands out not only for the cleverly designed...
Release Date: 13/10/2008, updated in 2017
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, Switch, Wii, Wii U and iOS
Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds
Components: 2D Side-On and Cartoon
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...
Release Date: 21/07/2017, updated in 2022
Components: 3D First-Person and Cartoon
Splatoon on the Wii U, Splatoon 2 and Splatoon 3 on the Switch are games where you shoot ink rather than bullets in this deeply skilled combat game. As well as taking out opponents, teams work together to cover the arena with their colour of ink. This...
Release Date: 30/06/2020
Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds
Components: 3D Third-Person and Open World
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.
Release Date: 12/08/2012
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS3 and Xbox 360
Components: 3D First-Person
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (commonly abbreviated as CS:GO) is a competitive first-person shooting game. You play either a counter-terrorist or terrorist. The objective changes based on the game-mode you play but generally, game modes are...
Release Date: 09/02/2012, updated in 2017
Out Now: PS Vita and PS4
Gravity Rush is a running, jumping and exploration adventure game. You play as Kat, an amnesiac with the power to manipulate gravity. She uses this ability to help her community and uncover the mystery of her past.
Release Date: 16/06/2017
Arms is a fighting game where you brawl other players with your abnormally long arms. The play is simple with motion and button controls to move around and attack the enemy player in a boxing-style arena. It's like Wii-Sports Boxing but with many more...
Release Date: 26/04/2019, updated in 2021
Out Now: PC and PS4
Skill Rating: 15+ year-olds
Components: 3D Third-Person, Day and Night, Open World and Weather
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...
Release Date: 20/01/2008
Out Now: Wii
Skill Rating: 2+ year-olds
Wii Music is a rhythm-music game where you use Wii Remote motion controller to play different instruments. Unlike other music games, here you collaborate on playing arrangements of existing songs. The result is a super-approachable music game that's...
Release Date: 23/10/2007
Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure is a point-and-click adventure where you play Zack, a young pirate, and his golden monkey companion, Wiki, as they embark on a quest to find a legendary treasure. To play you explore the colorful levels solving...
Release Date: 04/05/2006
Out Now: DS and Wii
Elebits (also known as Eledees) is a light-gun shooting adventure. To play you point at the screen with the Wii Remote and use your gun to move objects around and solve puzzles as well as shooting things. It's an unusual combination of hide-and-seek and...
Release Date: 05/04/2016, updated in 2020
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One
Components: 2D Overhead and Pixels
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...