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Easier Than Easy

Everyone has encountered games with difficulty levels ranging from "Easy" up through several flavors of "Medium", all the way up to "I Own Your Ass" Mode. A small handful, though, include one extra difficulty level. The Easier Than Easy mode, where failure is simply not possible. For the most part, such levels are there to allow younger children (ages 3 to 5, mostly), your grandmother, and the hopelessly uncoordinated to play and enjoy the game, or to allow a casual gamer to get really casual and play just for the fun of it, since there's no real risk involved.

For some gamers, the Easier Than Easy mode is a good thing, because it allows newcomers to learn the game without having to face the frustration of the regular game. As the argument goes, not many people enjoy starting out on the "Absolute Futility" setting.

For other gamers, making a game easy is the darkest form of video game heresy, regardless of who you are doing it for, even if they themselves never have to pay any attention to the existence of such an option, much less use it.

Sometimes features Easy-Mode Mockery. Compare Sequel Difficulty Drop. Polar Opposite of Harder Than Hard.

Please note: This is for when a game has a difficulty labeled as easy, followed by a difficulty that's lower than that. If it's an easy mode that's extremely easy, or just a very easy game, it is not an example of this trope.


Examples:

  • Rock Band 2 has No Failure Mode, in case you find Easy mode too hard. In The Beatles: Rock Band and LEGO Rock Band, it's automatically activated if you play on Easy. Rock Band 3 makes No Fail Mode more convenient to turn on and allows records to be kept with it on.
    • LEGO Rock Band has Super Easy. Guitarists and bassists only have to strum, drummers don't have to worry about which drum they're hitting, and singers just have to produce sound. The developers have stated this was for the little kids who want to join their older siblings in the game, but aren't much for timing yet.
  • Guitar Hero: World Tour and every game in the series subsequently released have a "Beginner Mode", where as long as you hit any button at all at the right time, you succeed. The penalties for missing notes are also reduced; you can win with an average of 13% of notes hit on Guitar. It is technically possible to fail, but only if you wait through half of the song without touching the controller.
    • The DJMAX series from DJMAX Portable Black Square onwards has this feature...in ALL modes, with no way to turn it off (allegedly in order to avoid legal troubles with Konami). You get full percentage and 80% of the points for a note for hitting the wrong button at the right time.
    • As singing works differently from the instruments, Beginner mode when singing is even easier: the pitch does not matter at all and you get full points as long as the microphone detects any sound. A favorite trick is to place the microphone in front of a fan to get an automatic 100% on any song.
    • The DJ Hero games also have the same Beginner mode, but they somehow managed to make the game even easier than Guitar Hero. It is not possible to fail in any difficulty in this game, but the Beginner mode does Guitar Hero one better and stretches the timing windows. Not only can you hit any button for any note, you can also do it way out of rhythm and still have it count.
  • Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 for the PS1 both have a "kid mode", which not only makes combat easier, but also changes the level design, puzzles and controls (for example, on other difficulties, the player can web swing by pressing X and L2; On Kid Mode, all you have to do is press X twice).
  • Um Jammer Lammy had an Easy Mode that plays like the Guitar Hero example. As long as you do something at the right time, you're doing it right.
  • Tap Tap Revenge Kids has a Very Easy mode that most people use to just listen to the songs rather than play the game.
  • Metal Gear Solid: Integral offers a Very Easy difficulty setting, which is just the Easy mode, except Snake starts off the game with a silenced MP 5 submachine gun with unlimited ammo.
    • In Metal Gear Solid 2, the Very Easy mode results in guards being practically blind, Snake being Made of Iron and the tranquilizer gun giving Instant Sedation.
    • Metal Gear Solid 3 notches this up a bit by giving the player the EZ Gun, which drastically increases your camouflage level, has infinite ammo and a laser sight (which is otherwise exclusive to one gun you find in the last thirty minutes), and the silencer doesn't wear out. The EZ Gun is available on higher difficulties as a New Game+ bonus.
  • New Super Mario Bros. Wii has the "Super Guide," which is, essentially, an optional Walk Through starring Luigi built into the game for people who have trouble playing it. The mode doesn't unlock until you die eight times in a single level and Star Coins cannot be collected in this mode. You also can't save. Worse, even seeing the block that activates it will prevent you from getting the glittering stars on your save file, permanently.
  • Super Mario Galaxy 2 has it too. You'll only get a Bronze Star when it's finished, not a Gold Star, which doesn't count towards the crown obtained for collecting all stars (though you can go back later and get the Star properly). You can also view a movie of someone getting the Star, and you don't get anything when it's finished.
  • Donkey Kong Country Returns continues the "Super Guide" tradition with a silver gorilla known as "Super Kong" optionally taking over for the player. As with the above examples, you don't get to keep any items collected. Of course the Super Guide is to make up for the fact that the game is actually very difficult.
  • Space Invaders Extreme 2 has an Easy mode which gives the player infinite lives, but they can't use the level-select feature - they can only play the 'A' versions of the stages.
  • The Serious Sam games have the "Tourist" difficulty mode. The actual Easy mode already doubles your maximum health and armor, lets you carry more ammo, and makes you immune to your own rockets' splash damage. Tourist mode takes all that and makes your health slowly regenerate when not full.
  • In somewhat a jarring contrast compared to harder levels, the "Daydream" difficulty level in Painkiller has most if not all of the monsters deal damage of a single hitpoint.
  • Beginner mode of Dance Dance Revolution up to DDR Extreme has most songs at the difficulty level of 1 and never higher than 3 (out of 10) and shows a character performing the steps instead of a video in the background, albeit with very poor form. Draining your dance meter does not end the game in Beginner mode until the end of the song, and if it was your first song, you still get to continue.
  • Endless mode in Katamari Damacy is simply the Prince, a ball and all the time in the world to collect anything he can find. There is no time limit or goal. These are Bonus Levels, however, that are unlocked by beating certain levels with much more size than necessary.
  • Battle Arena Toshinden 3 has, below "Very Easy," the "Stress Relief" difficulty.
  • DoDonPachi: Dai Ou Jou has "no bullet" mode, in which enemies don't fire at all. Its purpose is to allow players to learn enemy placements, which is important in scoring combos.
  • Pop N Music has Enjoy mode, which has specialized charts for beginners. Within Enjoy mode are its own "Normal" and "Hard" sub-modes, though the latter's charts are still nothing compared to what lies in Hyper and Expert charts. However, the game won't show your score, and you cannot use any modifiers such as Hi-Speed.
  • Kids' Tetris has a mode in which all of the pieces have only two blocks. And you don't even have to match colors.
  • Streets of Rage 2 has a "Very Easy" mode, unlockable through a code.
  • The Japan-only Expansion Pack of Sega Super GT SCUD Race, SCUD Race Plus has a "Super Beginner" course that take place in a house, with your car reduced to the size of a toy car. Your opponents in this course, rather than being the usual supercars, are toys. And on the back straightaway, you get to play a little bowling Mini-Game where you crash your car into a set of 10 pins.
  • In Duke Nukem 3D, according to what appears in the saved games menu, the Easy "piece of cake" mode was numbered "1". With the DNSKILLn cheat code which set the difficulty to n-1, it was possible to set the difficulty to 0 and even -1, the latter having no enemies at all.
  • It was possible to run Doom with a parameter that prevented monsters from spawning, allowing the player to explore the levels without having to fight. However, some levels require you to kill specific monsters, and since they won't spawn with that parameter that makes them unwinnable (the final level of the second game is interesting in that, while the thing that lets you hurt the boss won't spawn, the one that spawns other monsters still functions, making it a sort of Bolivian Army Ending).
  • Silent Hill 2 has a "Beginner" mode where all the enemies, including bosses, die in very few hits of a handgun. With the exception of the first boss's instant death attack (which you can STILL kill very easily in only A FEW handgun bullets in seconds), it is practically impossible to die in this mode.
  • Raiden Fighters Aces has Easy...then Very Easy...then Practice. None of these difficulty modes can be used in the Xbox Live mode.
  • Backyard Baseball has tee-ball mode (only for single game).
  • Played straight in Street Fighter IV with Easiest as the lowest difficulty where you can get to the end by Cherry Tapping, but horribly inverted with Seth who can pummel even experienced players unfamiliar with his cheap tactics... After you beat him in the first round. Though this apparently was only a problem with the Easiest mode AI being mixed with Hardest yet even after the patch he's still Cheap.
  • Toejam And Earl 2 had Li'l Kids Mode, which only lasted five (out of about 17) levels, gave you invincibility, and had a different, shorter, celebration for winning.
  • The Atari 8-Bit Computers cartridge versions of Dig Dug and Ms. Pac-Man have a "teddy bear" level, in which the action starts slower than normal.
  • The "Settler" level in Civilization IV not only gives the player a huge advantage in build/research times, but also skews the combat probabilities so much that you'd have to try very hard to lose. Additionally, AI players are much less aggressive, and barbarians are extremely rare.
  • Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man for Atari home consoles (2600, 5200 and 7800) let you choose the number of ghosts, up to 4. Unsurprisingly, it's pretty easy with one ghost.
  • The Xbox 360 port of Mushihime-sama Futari brings us Novice Mode, which is an easy version of the already-easy Arrange Mode. In fact, Novice Ultra (yes, there's an easy version of the game's Harder Than Hard setting) is easier than Ver 1.5's Original mode. In an aversion of It's Easy, so It Sucks, Novice Ultra is actually popular amongst players.
  • DJMAX Portable Clazziquai Edition offers a 2-button mode in which you only use 2 buttons and the analog nub, as opposed to four in the next easiest setting (4 buttons).
  • Old sandbox fighting/commercial game Hardwar used to only have four starting options, all of which were fairly hard, as you were only given the starter ship and limited weapons and gear. Presumably due to complaints, a patch introduced several more options which would give you better ships and gear. The last such option would give you the best ship in the game (normally only obtainable through complicated commerce routes), equipped with advanced gear and an experimental power cell that, in a normal game, you wouldn't get until halfway through the plot. If you died in that, you deserved it.
  • The Mega Man Zero games have "Ultimate Mode", which starts you off with every single upgrade in the game from the beginning, making death nearly impossible. It entails a Gotta Catch Them All-style prerequisite (cyber-elves in the first two, in addition to fully upgrading and using them, secret disks in the third, and finally, enemy parts in the fourth), but by the time you've gotten all the needed parts and unlocked Ultimate Mode, you've pretty much proven that you don't need it, making it relatively pointless.
    • The Updated Re-release has "Easy Mission Mode", which is Ultimate Mode applied from the start in addition to playing each game in order, back-to-back, on one save file. And it actually unlocks 1/5 of the E-reader bonuses from Zero 3. Nice for a warmup or to get used to the new controls (and find a good setup), but otherwise is Ultimate Mode with zero initial effort.
  • SWAT 4 requires a certain minimum number of points to be scored to unlock the next stage. But on Easy mode, that number of points is zero, meaning you advance as long as you completed the mission. The points are awarded primarily for adhering to SWAT's procedures for preserving lives (even the lives of the bad guys). Low scores earn you titles like "renegade" and "outlaw", so Easy mode just allows you to break rules and kill hostile targets without mercy.
  • Forza Motorsport 3 has a variety of easy mode concessions, including line indication and automatic braking. Probably the most infamous, however, is the ability to rewind time, on any difficulty, without limit or penalty.
  • Some Neopets games have Zen Mode, in which you'll never lose, but you'll never earn any Neopoints from it.
  • The Dual Shock version of Resident Evil 2 for the PS1 has a "Rookie" setting in addition to the Normal and Easy settings that starts the player off with the unlimited sub-machine gun already in their character's equipment, and the two other unlimited weapons (the gatling gun and rocket launcher) in the item box.
    • They also added an infinite ammo code. In a game like this, that's practically God Mode.
  • The old Apogee shareware Mario Kart clone Wacky Wheels has Kid Mode. The computer handles the throttle, so all you have to do is steer!
  • The console version of Alien Hominid has TS ("Thumbsucker") mode, in addition to Easy, Normal, and Hard. You get infinite lives and grenades but if you beat the first three levels you're presented with a screen of your character in a diaper, admonishing you to grow up and play like an adult.
  • XOP has Very Easy and Easiest difficulties below Easy. Since XOP is a Bullet Hell game, this doesn't mean much.
  • One could consider the title screen of Scribblenauts an example. Except, yeah, you can actually die, but there's no real repercussions- you just go back to a cleaned-off title screen.
    • Interesting to note is that in the actual game, if you get hurt three times (or blow yourself up, or hit yourself with a natural disaster), you die. In the title screen, you can only die if you blow yourself up or hit yourself with a disaster (tsunami, meteor, etc.)
  • DJMAX Technika's Lite Mode originally had 4 lanes of notes. A Platinum Crew update reduces it to 3 lanes of larger notes. Ironically, those used to harder modes tend to get thrown off by 3-late Lite due to the larger notes resulting in some spatial screwiness.
  • Freedom Fighters has the "Demonstrator" difficulty setting, in which the player character has even more health than the game's Heavy Armor Giant Mook enemies, and can survive 75 assault rifle bullets before dying (which, combined with the ability to heal at any time using inventory medkits, makes you pretty much invincible).
  • In "Easiest" mode in Age of Empires II, it's not impossible to lose, but you have to be very new to the game to lose in it, especially in non-campaign games. The AI is stupider: it advances slower, produces fewer units, and resigns after less provocation. It also never advanced in Age on its own, always waiting for the human player to do it first. This allows players to take longer getting used to the game without having to worry about the AI getting its hands on high-tech units that would crush them.
  • In Kingdom of Loathing, the easiest Ascension mode is Casual: You start with full access to inventory acquired in previous ascensions, but you don't get any karma for the run.note 
  • Persona 3 Portable gives us Beginner mode, which further nerfs enemy attacks and gives you thirty continues. This mode is ridiculously easy, and you'll probably only need about five of those continues.
  • Viva Piņata: Pocket Paradise has Playground mode. In that mode, you don't need money, there are no Ruffians and no Professor Pester, and you don't even have to worry about predators. You can just fill your garden with whatever plants, animals, and buildings you so desire, without concern for anything else.
  • Raiden IV has Very Easy and Practice mode, where bullets are disabled, as well as the Harder Than Harder Than Hard Ultimate difficulty.
  • The first Tokimeki Memorial has a character extremely easy to finish with: Rei Ijuin, who simply needs you to phone her at least 75 times during the game, and not having any other girl you can finish with; how high are your stats is completely irrelevant in her case.
  • System Shock included 4 levels of difficulty that could be independently set for combat, puzzles, cyberspace and plot, with the lowest being 0 (indicating that aspect of the game was a non-starter, essentially). Setting all the options to 0 basically means you're in it for the plot (combat 0 means enemies don't even acknowledge you and die in one shot from anything, puzzles 0 means that all puzzles are solved for you, and cyberspace 0 means that you cyberspace time is extremely generous and control is much easier), but if you set mission to 0, all the plot elements are removed as well, making the game a matter of getting to the last level only.
  • Minecraft has Peaceful mode, which removes all mobs capable of harming you (except Wolves, which will only hurt you if you attack them first). You never need to eat, and your life constantly regenerates. However, with no monsters, you'll miss out on a lot of loot, including Bones, Enderpearls, Blaze Rods, Ghast Tears, and Spider Eyes. You'll also have a much harder time acquiring String, Gunpowder, Slimeballs, and Music Discs.
    • Minecraft also has Creative Mode, which entirely removes your life and hunger bars, makes you fireproof, impossible to drown, invincible to all damage, and capable of spawning in any item in the game from an in game editor menu. Officially it's meant for people who create custom level maps, to save them the time and trouble of gathering up all the resources to make the sprawling dungeons you may have seen, but it can be quite therapeutic to go into a world with it and wander about, with no concern for almost any damage, even from Creepers.
      • You still can die via /kill command or the Void, though, as you technically have health in Creative mode. You're just immune to all but one (Void type; which is also dealt by command) type of damage.
  • After complaints that the initial release of Science Girls was Nintendo Hard, an update added two more difficulty levels: one adjusting the amounts of damage done to make things a bit easier, and one which on top of that refills your health at the end of every combat as well as adding regeneration DURING combat.
  • Bayonetta has a Very Easy Mode, which is basically easy mode, except your health regenerates a bit faster and enemies have even less health. Otherwise it's pretty much the same. Ironically, when you are used to Infinite Climax Mode, the ridiculous slowness of enemies in Very Easy can actually screw up your dodge timing and get you hurt.
  • The Uncharted series has Very Easy Mode; the biggest difference being that Nate will have auto aim. Enemies also have less health and do less damage, Nate's health will regenerate faster, and you can sustain more damage without dying.
  • Sandbox mode in Railroad Tycoon 3 has all the economics turned off, no competition, free building, and free terrain modification.
  • The lowest difficulty mode in Galactic Civilizations isn't "Easy"; Easy is the second. The lowest is Cakewalk.
  • Castle of Illusion has one of these. It's essentially a heavily abridged version of the normal game—you meet the Final Boss after the third level, and large chunks of each level are omitted.
  • In the Mass Effect franchise, the lowest difficulty is "Casual", which ramps down not only the enemies' stats but their aggression and use of special powers. Mass Effect 3 added a difficulty below that, "Narrative", which is for people who struggle with other difficulties but still want to experience the story and/or party interactions. It also helps offset the fact that each other difficulty level is tougher than its counterpart in previous games.
  • Freeciv has Novice difficulty below Easy.
  • One Must Fall 2097 has 'Punching Bag' below 'Rookie' on its difficulty setting. 'Veteran' is the default normal setting.
  • In Kid Icarus: Uprising, the difficulty runs on a scale of one-tenth increments from 0 to 9. Levels 1.0 through 1.9 are Easy, levels 0.0 through 0.9 are Effortless. You have to pay hearts to play levels on these difficulties and you don't get very good rewards, but at least you'll have no trouble winning.
  • River City Ransom EX, in addition for the standard Easy, Medium, and Hard, has "Wussy" and "Crazy".
  • Judgement Silversword has a "Training" diffculty level. The catch? You have to unlock it by racking up points throughout playthroughs.
  • In The Groove has Novice mode, where not only are the charts very simple, but the arrows are also forced to a locked constant speed, so new players aren't exposed to confusing tempo changes and stops.
  • Hitogata Happa, the third game in the Gundemonium Series has "Euridice" as its easiest difficulty setting below "Nobilimente", "Allemande", and "Doomsday". On "Euridice" mode, you're given unlimited dolls for the first mission, while the other difficulty levels start you off with 10. The only way to lose on the opening mission is to die after the timer runs out against the boss.
  • Radiant Silvergun has Very Easy mode. Even on that, the game retains arcade-standard difficulty.
  • Jinni Zeala has "Lollipop" mode specifically for beginners to learn the game.

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