7 games with ridiculously satisfying movement systems

Forget the end result and just enjoy the ride.

Look, we don’t want to spend our time walking in video games – we can get enough of that in real life. When a game’s movement mechanics give us something delightfully different, though? Even the simple act of getting about is enough to trip a satisfaction short circuit in our brain. So ditch tedious trudges and join us instead as we sail through seven games with some of the most ridiculously enjoyable movement systems around.

7. Tiny Wings’ smooth slopes

Most satisfying movement systems tiny wings - a small bird flies in the top left over a 2D field of sloped hills. In the bottom left an icon shows the time of day and current score
© Andreas Illiger

You know those video montages of extremely satisfying clips? Tiny Wings is basically that as a mobile game. As a tiny bird attempts to take its first flight across rolling green hills, your only input is to press the screen to make it drop faster. The aim is to hit the perfect tangential path, dipping into each valley before rocketing back into the air on the other side. There’s nothing more to it, but it’s hard to beat the simple pleasure of chaining together perfectly plotted paths across each run.

6. Just Cause 2’s grappling hook

most satisfying movement systems just cause 2 - rico fires a grappling hook mid-air onto a water tower in the middle of a green tropical jungle
© Avalanche Studios

Has the addition of a grappling hook ever made a game worse? We doubt it, but we’re also not sure if there’s a game out there which has been improved more by one than Just Cause 2. The tool permanently attached to protagonist Rico Rodriguez’s arm was a ridiculous, physics defying thing. It could launch you into the air when linked to the back of a car, or save you from a deadly fall by connecting to the floor. Linking together ground hooks while paragliding allowed you to stay forever airborne, basking in the setting sun over the game’s beautiful tropical island. It’d be a place of pure bliss, if only there weren’t so many people trying to shoot you out of the skies.

5. Counter-Strike’s surfing

Smooth, satisfying, and speedy movement in your competitive, tactical FPS? Believe us, it’s there. But only if you know where to look. Born from a quirk of sloped surfaces in the original Counter-Strike and reliant on custom servers with tweaks to factors like airspeed, surfing is a hidden gem that’s returned with each installment in the series. 

Surf maps see players sliding through obstacle courses of 45° slopes, shifting down to pick up momentum before rocketing upwards and curving through the air. They can be immensely challenging but, with a bit of practice, just as rewarding too. At the time of writing, CS2 doesn’t yet support community servers (and therefore surfing), so for now you’ll have to settle for lo-fi YouTube montages instead.

Get IRL satisfaction on the go with the Cirro Buds Pro

most satisfying movement systems cirro buds pro - a woman smiles at a phone, with a cirro bud pro visible in her ear
© HyperX

If these marvelous movement mechanics are making your real-life travels seem all the duller by comparison, then it’s time to give them a boost. Slot the HyperX Cirro Buds Pro into your ears and you can enjoy full wireless freedom with hybrid active noise canceling to cut out clutter from the outside world. The Cirro Buds Pro utilize Bluetooth 5.2, and you can activate Game Mode to swap to a 90ms low-latency connection. Ideal when you’re looking to enjoy more than just music on your commute.

4. Assassin’s Creed 2’s freerunning

Most satisfying movement systems in games assassins creed 2 - a man in a white hooded outfit dives off a roof between the streets of venice. Crowsed are visible on bridges and sidewalks below
© Ubisoft

The Assassin’s Creed series has changed dramatically since its inception, and you could argue that some later titles honed the parkour systems to higher levels. But we have to start with a shoutout to the game that fans remember most fondly. Assassin’s Creed 2 coalesced the free-running concepts introduced by the original into a complete package of wall-scaling, rooftop-leaping freedom. For its time, it was unparalleled. 

3. Titanfall 2’s wall running

Titanfall 2 most satisfying video game movement systems - several players point guns at each other while running along walls. The player closest to the camera  is firing an energy-based weapon which narrowly misses a robotic player on the opposite wall
© Respawn Entertainment

With so many mechs stomping across the battlefield next to them, humble pilots were easily overlooked in the original Titanfall. But thanks to a dedicated campaign in the stellar sequel, everyone got to see what these future-soldiers were capable of. Bouncing between moving walls in the middle of a gigantic sci-fi factory production line delivered a cool factor few shooters have ever come close to matching. And when you needed a break from all that fine maneuvering, you could just hop inside a giant mechanical monster and wreck house for a while. Blissful.

2. Halo: Combat Evolved’s Warthog

Most satisfying movement systems in video games halo - three blue spartans ride a warthog over grassy terrain. The rear player shoots from a gattling gun mounted on the vehicle. Another car is visible in the distance
© Bungie

The Warthog may go down in history as the most beloved video-game vehicle of all time. There’s something about the uneven heft of the machine, the way it’s back swings out on the verge of fishtailing as you arc around of corner, that makes bouncing across the ringworld’s hills more gratifying than peeling the plastic film off a brand new console. Halo is packed with entertaining vehicles to commandeer, but hopping behind the wheel of a Warthog with your mates stands at the pinnacle of them all.

1. Marvel’s Spider-Man’s web swinging

Most satisfying movement systems marvels spider-man 2 - miles swings toward the camera in a black and red suit.
© Insomniac

Over the years, we’ve been treated to a wealth of open worlds with stylish superpowers to help us get from A to B. Games like Prototype, Saints Row 4, and Crackdown were an utter blast to get about in. But truly sublime superhero traversal? Only the Marvel’s Spider-Man games can lay claim to that. Looping through the streets and alleys of Manhattan felt so glorious in the 2018 original that we genuinely didn’t think it could get any better. 

Then 2020’s Miles Morales introduced haptic feedback and adaptive triggers to each and every webshot, amping up the immersion. Now, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 has thrown a wingsuit into the mix. Alternating between soaring and swinging, both Peter and Miles move with unprecedented pace and freedom. Combined with the PS5’s ultra-fast loading times, it’s the ultimate endorphin booster. Saving the world can wait – we’re busy losing ourselves in web-swinging vibes.

Associate Editor

Henry Stenhouse serves an eternal punishment as the Associate Editor of AllGamers. He spent his younger life studying the laws of physics, even going so far as to complete a PhD in the subject before video games stole his soul. Confess your love of Super Smash Bros. via email at henry@moonrock.agency, or catch him on Twitter.


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