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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 54 games from the last 18 years, with 809 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:

Related Lists
 

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 forward.

Human Fall Flat

Human Fall Flat is a movement platform game with rag-doll characters. 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, often with comedic timing.

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...

Freddy Spaghetti

Freddy Spaghetti is a running and jumping game where 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...

To A T

To A T is a lighthearted narrative adventure game about a teenager with a unique posture that makes parts of their life in a small coastal town challenging. With your arms permanently stretched out, you explore the beautiful town with your dog and...

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 as you do in games like Mario games, you have to slither along the ground and coil around...

Baby Steps

Baby Steps is a tongue-in-cheek traversal game where you play Nate, an unemployed failing son who sets out on a journey of putting one foot in front of the other. The twist is that you must control and place each foot individually while ensuring you...

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.

Super Adventure Hand

Super Adventure Hand is an adventure game where you are an anthropomorphic hand traversing levels that challenge your finger-based movement. It plays a little like other action platform games, but here your movement and interactions must contend with...

Super Pole Riders

Super Pole Riders is a cross between the high jump, jousting and basketball. It's 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...

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...

Oblin Party

Oblin Party is a silly fighting game where you use your oversized hands to push opponents off the levels. The catch is that you control each hand with one of the sticks. In this way you use them to grab, punch, wield powerful items, swing, slingshot and...

Turnip Mountain

Turnip Mountain is a traversal game about climbing up a mountain as a turnip with arms. You control each of the turnip's limbs with separate sticks, using momentum to complete big jumps between the mountain's edges. It's a simplistic, pixelated...

Grapple With Momentum

Rocket League

Rocket League is a sports action game where you drive futuristic cars to score goals with an oversized football. It's a 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...

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.

I Am Fish

I Am Fish is a physics-based traversal game where you help four fish get back to the ocean from their tanks. You wrestle with the purposefully awkward controls, fighting against your own momentum and the multitude of hazards as you search for paths to...

Mars First Logistics

Mars First Logistics is a traversal game where you build robots to move awkwardly-shaped objects across the surface of Mars. It's a simple concept, but to contend with the cumbersome objects and rough terrain you need to use every tool at your disposal...

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...

Shield Cat

Shield Cat is a collecting adventure where you rush around an animal world to find all the treasures and save the king. As you spin and roll around the world you interact with puzzles, collect and uncover secrets, and even fight enemies. It's a game...

Slapshot Rebound

Slapshot Rebound is a sports hockey game where teams battle to control the puck and score goals with real-simulated physics, like the classic football game Kick Off. Play is as you would expect, however, interaction with the puck is all through...

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...

Roto Force

Roto Force is a shooting game where you battle enemies as a slug who is permanently attached to the inside wall of each box-like level. As you frantically dash through the stages the whole room twists and turns accordingly, meaning not only do you...

Rubato

Rubato is a running, jumping and collecting game where you play a frog on a quest to save the world. It's a familiar concept for a game, but Rubato leans into the wacky end of things as you drive clown cars around a track, use your tongue to attach...

The Drone Racing League Simulator

The Drone Racing League Simulator is a simulation game where you build and race drones. Developed by the official Drone Racing League (DRL), it offers incredibly realistic physics, weather, flight controls, and drone creation. It takes a lot of learning...

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...

Esophaguys

Esophaguys is a running and swinging game where you control an old person with an extending neck. You move through the weird and surreal stages, extending your neck to bite and hold onto trees and creatures so you can swing across chasms and grapple up...

Indirect Controls

LocoRoco

LocoRoco is a traversal puzzle game in 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...

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 explore...

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...

Clumsy Rush

Clumsy Rush is a wacky obstacle course where you compete against friends and family to claim the crown and finish first. In addition to the bizarre obstacles, you must overcome the (intentionally confusing and finicky) controls, where each button moves...

Golfing Over It

Golfing Over It with Alva Majo is a traversal game where you try to hit a golf ball to the top of a mountain. It's an intentionally tough, discouraging game that you will fail at over and over. Like Getting Over It (Bennett Foddy has played this game...

Regular Human Basketball

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

Summer Trip Cruise

Summer Trip Cruise is a traversal game where you guide a cruise ship on sightseeing missions. Play is like a fairground boat game where you steer left or right with the wheel/rudder and throttle. It stands out for the simple controls and forward...

Kaiju Super Datetech

Kaiju Super Datetech is a robot dating simulator where you create a machine from simple parts with the unusual aim of attracting a monster date. You run around the simple level to pick up components and place them on your robot. It stands out for 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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