Games for Non-Gamers: Low Dexterity Recommendations

I’d like to collect and share a list of recommended games I’ve put together that require little to no real time or mechanically complicated interactions while still being a good time.

When I see people trying to get non-gamers into my favorite hobby, I see a lot of overly ambitious suggestions that will likely turn complete beginners off. Games like Portal that are fun and narratively charming, but require dual stick controls, 3D spatial awareness and real time physics based platforming. Or players may give something like Mario which while cognitively straight forward, still requires quick reflexes and timing which can be hard for older folks or people with physical disabilities. New players or older gamers often feel overwhelmed because of difficulty adapting to controls or having to perform real time actions. So this list is for the noobies with performance anxiety who just want to be able to play something engaging at their own pace, and how you can get some friends to try

Rules: These games should be at about a 1/5 or 2/5 on the dexterity complexity rating. I define those as:

  • ★☆☆☆☆- This game is not played out in real time at all, no timers are present so players can select their actions at their own pace
  • ★★☆☆☆- This game may require character placement to perform certain actions, or may require some real time based activities, however overall the game allows players to make decisions at a more leisurely pace and does not require too many complex finger movements

This list is my recommendations, but please post below your suggestions and a little bit about what makes your game fun so I can keep this list growing.

(I acknowledge that almost any turn based RPG could fit this list, so I’m focusing more on diversity of experiences rather than being encyclopedic)

Obra Dinn has real time 3D first person movement, but like other games on this list have no time limit on performing actions and requires no tricky navigation or movement.

Animal Crossing does require avatar navigation across your island, and does have some reflex tests (fishing, bug catching) but the game is not dependent on those activities and can still be broadly enjoyed even to players who find those difficult.

Super Mario RPG is turn based, but does have timing based attack and defense bonuses. These are somewhat limited and not strictly necessary to win, and may be a good introduction to real time gameplay. (Super Mario RPG in this list also represents the many other Mario RPG’s like Mario and Luigi and Paper Mario)

Although Mario Kart 8 is entirely real time, the Switch port has extremely forgiving accessibility settings that prevent the player from driving off course and even help the player move forward, meaning even players with major dexterity issues can still have a good time with more conventional players.

Some low/no stakes platforming sections, but the game does not restrict progress based off you being unable to perform real time actions.

Rail based movement helps players focus purely on aiming and snapping, removing an entire axis of movement makes this game digestible, as well as a lack of failure states,


This is a great idea for a list :grinning: I also think games like Portal and Super Mario are unrealistic recommendations for complete beginners.

Also any visual novel, most puzzle games… I’ll just give a few more that I happened to play.

Florence is like a sentimental graphic novel, but in game form. It’s very sweet, doesn’t require any skill, and can be done in one sitting.

Gone Home and Life is Strange both have 3D movement, but with an emphasis on story and narration. LiS has some sections where you need to react quickly, but they are pretty rare.

I didn’t play this one (I used to play the 2 though), but I know for a fact that’s it’s a popular franchise for non-gamers. The game can be paused if one needs time to take an action.


Appreciate these additions. I did think about adding Telltales The Walking Dead and others in that genre but observing my girlfriend some of the quick time events really stressed her out when she first started playing. Is Life is Strange better at those? Do they require any two-step, ‘move the cursor the press the correct button quickly’ actions?


Life is Strange does have some stressful quicktime events - I only specifically remember the scene in the second to last chapter, which does require quick two-step actions. Players might have grown familiar enough with the controls in that time, but it’s important to note I think.

I love this list! So many of the titles you’ve both suggested are ones I was already considering, so this bumps them up my wishlist! Here’s some of my own:

2D sidescroller horror-lite with some no stakes platforming elements, and you can’t die during the game, but unfortunately all of the dialogue choices are timed, which is frustrating.

Practically a walking simulator, there are some complicated actions but there’s no timer and the game always tells you what to do and how to do it.

Old classic, uses the point-and-click walking mechanism which works awkwardly at times but I don’t remember anything ever having a timer or fail state. There’s some two-step actions

Another old classic point-and-click, it’s been a while and I know there’s some quick two-step actions, but I don’t remember there being a fail state (other than the ten minute drowning puzzle).

Visual novel a la Ace Attorney, but with birds!

Another visual novel, almost a love letter to 80s style arcade games (but there’s no arcade minigames to worry about), which may or may not appeal to nongamers.

It’s been a while, I don’t remember this one having any complicated actions, and I know it’s mostly not real time.

(I also wanted to add, last year an old high school friend of mine who never played video games told me she played and beat Ori and the Blind Forest, a game I myself had given up on because the keyboard controls were too difficult to manage. I have to assume she used a controller.)


I didn’t play any TT game so I can’t tell :thinking: LiS does have sections like that, yes. But my girlfriend finished the game, and she only mentioned some sections by the end she had difficulty with. I can think of a few more too. Although, the fact that you can rewind time at will may help make them less stressful (with one exception in the last chapter).


@Adef I would say it’s fair if the frustration comes mostly at the end, since although we are talking games with Low Dex requirements, it’s also about games who have MOSTLY Low Dex requirements, and maybe getting their foot in the door for a good portion of the game will help some people less familiar with the controls more likely to push through some trickier end sections.

@KennaM Some great recommendations here, and you’re right about some genre’s just being more friendly than others, so it’s good to see which of those games you’d also personally recommend.

I would definitely add The Inner World series to the Point and Clicks.

Really great, unique-looking games filled with lots of humor and heart.


Good Info Suggestions for someone like me (Who is an old gamer) but is no suffering from mobility problems (peripheral neuropathy), and can no longer play the games that they once did.

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