Mechanically Unusual Fighter

Meta Knight doesn't do 'standard attacks.'
A tip from Super Smash Bros. for 3DS/Wii U

While Fighting Game characters often have different attacks and playstyles, they usually still share the same basic commands. Pressing A results in a light melee attack, back results in blocking, double forward results in a dash, and so on...Except this character. This character has bizarre mechanics going on compared to other fighters. Maybe this character cannot jump but instead can float around. Maybe this character's crouching actually makes her taller. Whatever it is, playing this character won't be anything like playing the others. Mastering these gimmicks is a major part of this character.

The result of this weird control scheme can vary. Sometimes it makes the character a difficult to learn but very satisfying to master one, and sometimes it makes the character nigh-impossible to play instead.

This character often uses variations of Confusion Fu. May invoke Damn You, Muscle Memory! if one is too used to other characters.

A good way to determine if a character fits this trope is to ask "If the character lost his gimmick, would he still play similarly or very differently?" If the answer is the latter then it is this trope.

Different from Fighting Clown, which is about the character's wacky appearance rather than the actual mechanics (although the two may overlap). Different from Joke Character, Lethal Joke Character or not, as this character is intended to be a viable option without resorting to an obscure tactic. Also compare Mechanically Unusual Class, the more RPG-like sister.


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     Fighting Games 
  • A number of original characters for M.U.G.E.N can be like this. An example is Omega Tiger Woods, who could deal heavy damage and attack the foe with a crosshair that dropped missiles (and a claw arm) on them, in compensation for being unable to block at all.
  • Some of the Touhou fighting games:
    • Suwako Moriya from Hisoutensoku. Her standing is actually crouching, and her crouching is conjuring a lily pad underneath her, making her taller. Her regular walking is slowly hopping like a frog (and while hopping she counts as being in the air), and her ground dash is swimming underground, making her invincible to all attacks. Her air movement is her flapping her arms around, and is limited to several directions. Her attacks are relatively normal, though. This lead to a variation on a popular Touhou meme from the community:
    "Suwako mains do their best now and are preparing. Please wait warmly while they figure out what the hell they're doing."
    • Koishi Komeiji is the whacky fighter of Hopeless Masquerade. To start, like Suwako, her dash is her prancing around while invisible, making her immune to all attacks. Unlike Suwako, her main whackiness is in her attacks. For most of her attacks, she doesn't instantly perform them when you input the commands. Instead, she "stocks" them and uses them automatically when certain conditions are met. For example, her 8B is performed only when she's under the opponent, and Catch and Rose is activated only after you hit the opponent with another attack. Also, she needs about 1-2 seconds before the moves are ready to activate, so you really need to predict the situations beforehand.
      • Koishi is still like this in the sequel, Urban Legend in Limbo, but a patch has slightly changed how Koishi's automatic attacks work. Now, more of her attacks are performed when the command is put in, but putting her in the right position with a stocked move causes her to use a powered up version of that move. For example, her 6B is normally a slow-moving horizontal polygraph wave without much hitstun, but if she's on the same horizontal plane as the opponent a few seconds after using it, 6B's used again automatically, and it becomes a projectile that crosses the screen absurdly quickly and sends her opponent hurtling into the opposite wall if it hits.
    • To a lesser extent, Byakuren, who needs to charge her specials first before being able to actually use them.
  • Shadow Labrys from Persona 4: Arena. Other characters' Personas only appear for a short while to perform attacks, and then disappear. Shabrys' "Persona" Asterius however, stays on screen the entire time, follows Shabrys around, and can attack concurrently with her. To compensate for being around all the time, Asterius has armor so it can't be broken easily, and Shabrys' heavy Persona attack is actually telling Asterius to block. Playing Shadow Labrys is effectively controlling both her and Asterius at the same time.
    • Ultimax has two versions of new character Sho Minazuki. One version does not have a Persona, unlike the rest of the cast, and instead fights more like a character from BlazBlue in terms of normal attacks. Because of this, not only is he immune to Persona Breaks, he is also not heavily affected by the Silence status effect, which normally disables the affected character's Persona (the only thing it disables for Sho is his ability to Burst). He can also cancel most of his special moves into each other (or into a dodge animation in order to bait attacks).
    • Junpei, also from Ultimax, has a complicated baseball-themed Magikarp Power system. In simplest terms: he starts off very weak. However, upon reaching 10 or more runs, he gains the permanent Victory Cry buff, which increases his stats by a large amount, gives him HP and SP regeneration, and gives his baseball bat attacks additional properties. Every 10 Runs thereafter give him additional stat increases, up to 55 Runs. He gains bases by hitting opponents or reflecting projectiles with his bat. If Junpei fills up three bases, then every successful bat attack he makes will give him a run. Every time he misses an opponent with his bat he gains a strike; three strikes and he gets an out, resetting everything but his runs and bases. Get three outs and everything but the runs reset. Having his bat attacks blocked by the opponent gives him balls; four balls give him one additional base. In addition, once Victory Cry is active, hitting opponents with the sweet spot of his bat counts as a Clean Hit, which increases the damage and hitstun of the affected attack (and may give it additional properties, like being able to cancel from a special move into another special move). If this is done with a super move (and with the proper followup button), Junpei can get a home run, which increases his Runs by the amount of bases he has filled plus 1, but also resets his loaded bases. Got all that?
  • Marvel vs. Capcom 3:
    • Frank West has a Magikarp Power system - his moves aren't so impressive at first, but he can rack up "EXP" by comboing the enemy with enough hits and then takes a snapshot with his camera, in order to "level up." He has 5 levels; higher level means improved moves as well as unlocking certain moves to use.
    • Phoenix Wright plays entirely around "evidence" and Stance System: Investigation Mode (his weakest form) is mainly to find evidence, the Trial Mode is used to use the evidence as weapons. When he has 3 pieces of evidence ready, during this mode he can pull off an OBJECTION! which, if it hits, will allow him to go to Turnabout Mode, with improved normal and special attacks, as well as his Lv 3 hyper, which is the second most powerful attack in the game.
  • Guilty Gear: Robo-Ky has to manage two different meters: A thermostat, which builds up as he fights and can only be vented via a certain command or risk a damaging explosion. He also has a power gauge which, unlike everyone else, cannot be charged conventionally and can only be charged via a laid-out power mat. His special and Overdrive attacks drain from this power gauge.
    • In Xrd Sin has an Appetite Gauge which can be filled with a special move, allowing him to eat. If he has the Appetite Gauge filled, he can cancel his special moves into his other specials, but if the meter is empty when he does a special move, he has a much longer recovery period afterwards, making him vulnerable to attack.
    • Since Zappa is basically a hive for ghosts, he has the ability to completely change his moveset mid-match, depending on which ghost is in control at the moment.
  • In BlazBlue, all characters have a "Drive" action that is unique to them, and which would make most of them qualify for this trope if they were in a different game. But even when going by the standards of the series, a few stand out as unusual:
    • Hakumen is the one that is most different from the game's normal mechanics: while other characters have special attacks that can be used at will and a Heat Gauge that fills up by landing or being hit by attacks and is used for Distortion Drives, Hakumen lacks a Heat Gauge and instead uses a Magatama Gauge, which fills up automatically and is expended while using both special moves and Distortion Drives, which is balanced by making these special moves more powerful than average and chainable together.
    • Carl Clover is a Puppet Fighter, and plays very differently from the other characters. He has a large "doll" named Nirvana which can perform attacks when the Drive button is pressed. Using both Carl and Nirvana's attacks together effectively is Difficult, but Awesome. Also of note is that while nearly all other special attacks are performed by moving the joystick in certain directions, followed by pressing an attack button, Nirvana's specials are done by holding down Drive, inputting the directions, and then releasing the Drive button.
    • Cental Fiction introduced Hades Izanami who lacks a double jump, instead conjuring a float in midair that allows her to perform her ground attacks while airborn. Aside from that, her Drive is also a Stance System which, when activated, disables her ability to block attacks. When coupled with her Shield of Dreams, which temporary protects her from all attacks except unblockables and throws, she gets a very strange fighting style with some very strange mechanics.
  • In Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, Gold Lightan and PTX-40A are very massive fighters (who are about 3 times the average height of other characters) and so they fight alone, as opposed to fighting in duets. They also move slowly and have to crouch often to attack and they're subject to being dizzied if hit repeatedly, but they also have a ton of range and damage on most of their attacks and only special throws can interrupt their attacks.
  • In Dissidia: Final Fantasy, most characters fight using Bravery attacks to build up Bravery, HP attacks to deal HP damage, and landing attacks generates EX Force that fills an EX Gauge, when filled the character can enter EX Mode for a temporary power boost. With Gabranth however, his Bravery attacks are slow and weak and his HP attack automatically charges up his EX Gauge. When it fills and he enters EX Mode, his entire moveset changes, turning him into a Lightning Bruiser with powerful attacks and high movement speed, but only until the gauge depletes, at which point he goes back to normal and has to charge it up again.
    • Cloud of Darkness counts as well. Whereas other fighters rack up the bravery points for a big HP hit, Cloud of Darkness focuses on rapid HP damaging attacks with bravery attacks helpful if they hit.
    • Exdeath has very few dedicated Bravery attacks, and his normal Bravery and HP attacks are slow and highly telegraphed. He also has four types of block moves at his disposal which, if used on the right incoming attack, allows him to counter using faster, more powerful versions of most of his attacks. The prequel gives him the ability to cancel his normal HP attacks into those block moves, making his normal moves more useful in baiting the opponent.
  • In the Bleach DS fighting games, Don Kanon'ji has a "Ratings Meter", befitting his TV personality, where certain attacks do more damage the better he is performing. Missing attacks or calling for certain attacks when he does not have the energy decrease his ratings, while doing damage gains ratings. Taunting significantly increases his ratings.
    • Hanataro Yamada has a weapon that heals instead of cuts, then, when enough wounds are healed, it deals damage in one attack equal to the damage healed.
  • Nariko in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale fights using a "key pose" system that momentarily places her in different stances based on how she uses her Square attacks, made for opening up unique combo-trees. What makes her odd is that the game has a number of conventions tied to the Square attacks, and this in turn influences the button-placement for other common mappings: Up Square is generally a Launcher Move (hers is Up Triangle, which is usually used for Anti-Air attacks), Grounded Down Square tends to be a sweep/tripping attack (hers is a weird ground bounce) and Neutral Circle is a Counter Attack (hers is Neutral Triangle).
  • Dracula in Castlevania: Judgment has little-to-no mobility and cannot be knocked down. His dash/sidestep moves are all changed to teleports, including a variant where he teleports directly behind the opponent. Rather than jump, he teleports into the air and can stay up there for as long as his super meter holds out. The majority of his attacks, including normal ones, are projectiles and ranging moves. Basically, he utilizes a variant of his standard Castlevania moveset, in contrast to other boss characters who are given more traditional fighter designs.
  • Shang Tsung from Mortal Kombat is capable of turning into other characters. In some games he can turn into any character at will, in others he can only turn into his opponent (at least, when used by a human player). In later games, he can also heal himself by taking energy from his opponent.
  • Super Smash Bros. has a number of characters with at least one quirk that makes them different from the standard character template:
    • A few characters in Brawl could switch between different forms that were treated as entirely different characters. Zelda (who could do it as early as Melee) could become Sheik at will, and Samus switched from her power armor to her Zero Suit and back when performing a Final Smash. Pokémon Trainer could also switch between Squirtle, Ivysaur, and Charizard at will; and all three would tire out if used for too long at a time. The fourth game dropped these mechanics; replacing the Trainer with just Charizard and treating Zelda's and Samus' forms as separate standard characters.
    • The Ice Climbers and Rosalina & Luma are both Puppet Fighter dual characters, with the player controlling the lead fighter and the secondary fighter mimicking them; along with a way to split up the two (Ice Climbers have to exploit the AI, while Rosalina has a built-in split-up move).
    • Where most characters' Up-Special moves function as a third jump, Yoshi's and Jigglypuff's do not; with enhanced regular jumping ability to compensate. Ness is similar in that his Up-Special is a remote control projectile that you had to hit yourself with to get an aerial boost. Yoshi, in addition, lacks an ordinary shield, instead covering himself in an eggshell that prevents him from jumping while shielding. Yoshi however gained a proper triple jump in Brawl, and the ability to jump out of shield in 4.
    • Olimar is a Minion Master whose majority of attacks are tied to his Pikmin.
    • Solid Snake has unusual attacks with unusual timing to them, including the ability to plant a mine instead of a downsmash, an extremely high recovery but very vulnerable triple jump, and numerous odd projectile attacks which don't attack instantly or which control strangely (such as grenades and fly-by-wire rockets).
    • Mega Man has several basic attacks replaced with projectiles in order to mimic the run-and-gun playstyle of his original games. And while all other characters that perform their standard attacks will stay in place or travel a short, fixed distance, this doesn't apply for Mega Man. He can walk forward while doing so. In turn, this means he doesn't have a proper forward tilt attack.
    • Wii Fit Trainer has a Status Buff move that increases his/her attack power, and a fully charged Sun Salutation will slightly decrease his/her percentage when used, but is otherwise mostly normal.
    • Little Mac is a boxer, and so his power meter and focus on ground combat make him closer to a traditional fighting game character. While charging his forward smash, not tilting the directional stick, tilting upward, or tilting downward can cause him to perform up to 3 different smashes, which consists of a straight punch (not tilting), uppercut (upward), and body blow (downward). Other characters, like Mario and Ganondorf will only change the angle of their forward smash diagonally thanks to the tilting mechanic.
    • Robin's home game has Breakable Weapons, so his/her Levin Sword and large variety of tomes have limited uses before they have to recharge. Robin is also the only character to have "Smash" Air attacks. The Smash versions use the Levin Sword (and consume its uses) while the standard ones use Robin's Bronze Sword. His/Her standard attack can be very limited if used carelessly, because of the Breakable Weapons mechanic. 2 slashes with the Bronze Sword is the beginning of his/her standard attack, then it can end with a small explosion from the Arcfire tome or a multi-hit combo with the Elwind tome, depending on how the attack button was pressed. If both tomes ran out of power, all Robin can do are the 2 slashes. Also, multi-hit combos for every other character can be performed indefinitely, but keeping up Robin's Elwind combo will eventually drain the tome's power and he/she will automatically toss it aside.
    • Shulk has a Stance System composed of 5 sets of different combinations of buffs and debuffs.
    • Ryu's specials can be used with their inputs from Street Fighter, which results in stronger versions. In addition, his Final Smash changes depending on his distance to an opponent (Shinku Hadoken at a distance, Shin Shoryuken up close), referencing his Ultra Combo Double from Ultra Street Fighter IV. He also has weak and strong attacks depending on how long the attack button is held and can even Lag Cancel into Combos which no other character in Smash can do. Even his Jump Physics are uniquely abnormal, being relatively stiff with little ability to change direction in midair. In essence, Ryu, the archetype for the Fighting Game character, plays exactly like a Traditional Fighter transplanted into a Mascot Platform Fighter!
    • Lucario's damage output increases as he himself takes more damage, making him a character all about managing risk and taking advantage of bad situations.
    • Cloud has his Limit gauge, which fills as he takes damage. When it maxes out, his next special move will be enhanced for better damage, speed or maneuverability. He can also manually fill it as his down-B; if it's full, down-B performs Finishing Touch instead.
    • Bayonetta is very unusual. She has a large focus on combos involving her special moves, and she also carries over the "Bullet Arts" mechanics from her home series, where she can fire bullets with no knockback if the player holds down the attack button after some attacks. Depending on when her opponent attacks her while dodging, Bayonetta will perform Bat Within, where she'll receive less damage, while avoid flinching and knockback. It isn't advised to initially double jump, then use her up special for a third jump for recovery, as it doesn't cover enough air. You'd actually need to use her up special first, then jump, then you can use her up special again. Bayonetta's forward aerial and forward tilt attacks both consist of 3 consecutive attacks, each attack happening on input as opposed to being automatic. Lastly, her up aerial and neutral aerial attacks will be extended if you hold down the attack button, which is coupled with the aforementioned "Bullet Arts" mechanic.
    • Some characters have basic attacks (e.g. standard attacks, smash attacks, aerials, etc) that stand out more than others, because of their unique properties. Several have been mentioned above, but here are some others:
      • The forward smashes of Ness and Lucas can reflect projectiles.
      • There are several characters that can perform multi-hit combos during their standard attacks. First, they'll usually initiate with 1 or 2 attacks, then perform said combo. However, Meta Knight performs one right off the bat. One of the Hints in-game even states that he "doesn't do 'standard attacks'."
      • Corrin is normal for the most part, but has one minor, yet odd mechanic. Standing directly in front of him/her while he/she charges a forward smash will cause the opponent to receive weak, multi-hit damage, courtesy of his/her sword Yato.
      • Down smashes are low attacks where characters either swiftly attack one side, then the next (e.g. Luigi, Captain Falcon, and Cloud) or attack both sides simultaneously (e.g. Mr. G&W, Fox, and Wii Fit Trainer), which helps defensively. However, Zero Suit Samus, Robin (only with the Bronze Sword), Mewtwo, Lucas, Ryu, and Bayonetta have one-sided down smashes, attacking only in front of themselves.
  • Both Voldo and Dampierre's from Soulcalibur main attacks largely involve being unable to block due to their stances, be they facing away from the enemy or being downed on the ground.
  • Tekken: Dr. Bosconovitch (only in the third game) spends his time prone to the ground and (at his best) crouching; he never jumps or indeed stands still. It's tricky both to play and fight him.
    • As any fighting game boxer of note, Steve Fox is an Extremity Extremist, only opting to use his fists. To that end, the kick buttons don't attack. Instead they let him bob and weave, which gives him additional punching moves. He has a select few foot attacks but you will be doing all your work with your fists while deftly dodging and evading enemy strikes.
    • Akuma's addition to Tekken 7: Fated Retribution also brings over his Super gauge from Street Fighter (giving him the power to EX his special moves and perform a super combo) and his ability to use jumping attacks. Since Akuma also retains his special moves from Street Fighter, he becomes mechanically unusual in spirit since his specials are command based as opposed to move strings, as per usual for Tekken. Eliza uses a similar two-bar super meter with the ability to EX attacks so technically Akuma is in similar company.
  • Killer Instinct 2013 gives us Fulgore, who does not have a Shadow Meter. Instead, he has a Reactor meter, which is divided in 10 parts unlike the aforementioned Shadow Meter, which is divided in 2. The Reactor meter determines how much energy Fulgore can spend on special attack cancels and shadow moves. During Season 1, the meter can either be charged manually with an special move, or by doing auto-doubles. It also makes Fulgore move faster. His Instinct Mode charges the meter automatically, and also allows Fulgore to spend the fully charged meter by firing a powerful beam that can take up to 40% of damage to the opponent.
    • Fulgore's meter was reworked in Season 2, but it's still different from others. His meter was changed to charge automatically at a set rate, and gain meter faster by playing aggressively. His Instinct Mode increases his charge rate to maximum (a later patch also adds the ability to perform a manual charge during Instinct, similar to Season 1, in order to gain a single pip of energy on command).
    • In all his appearances Spinal has had the unusual property of his floating skulls, which are earned by absorption and consumed by performing special moves. He is less effective if he doesn't have any skulls to cash in. Kim Wu in the 2013 game has a similar system with her ethereal dragons. Aganos also has a similar (albeit unique as it does not require something to be done in combat to power him up) resource management system in the form of stone chunks.
    • For Maya in Season 2, her daggers enable her different special moves and can be leveled up each time a successful attack is made with them. As a result, if you lose a dagger, your moves become temporarily cut off (to the point that even tapping the punch button that would normally invoke a dagger attack will give you the kick of that strength instead; she has no hand attacks that can be done if she's not holding a dagger in that hand).
    • Season 2 bonus character Omen can stock three Shadow stocks as opposed to two. He also has an attack that will use all three stocks at once (no one else on the cast has an attack like this, Fulgore being the exception but also a Mechanically Unusual Fighter in his own right so he doesn't count).
    • Hisako has a secondary meter that automatically regenerates and turns her attacks into counter hits if the meter is at least half-full.
    • Mira (Maya's sister) has some attacks that require she drain her own health in order to use them.
    • Season 2's final character, ARIA, has three health meters as opposed to two. The other life bars belong to her alternate bodies, which exist as assist drones when ARIA's AI is not inhabiting them and ARIA gains different attacks depending on what body she is currently using. If a drone's vitality is drained (either because ARIA was wearing it when it expired or it was hit too many times when acting as an assist), then ARIA can no longer call on that drone for assistance or to inhabit for the rest of the match. Triggering Instinct Mode will cause all her drones to form on her at once, giving her a complete set of powers but exposing all her drones to damage at the same time.
    • Season 3 Guest Fighter Arbiter has his Type-51 Covenant Carbine rifle bound to the Hard Kick button. Pressing HK by itself will have him shoot it. However he only has 18 shots for the entire match. Once HK is pressed 18 times, that's it, he no longer can use his rifle (so no reloads). Instead he will swing the rifle as a bludgeon instead (this can also be done on command before he's out of ammo by pressing forward and HK together).
  • Many characters in Dragon Ball FighterZ have very unique fighting styles that separates them from one another:
    • The Weak, but Skilled Krillin can confuse his opponents with curving ki attacks, and also possesses two assist moves: Senzu bean tosses (of which he is limited to three per match) which can heal the player that picks it up, and his curving attacks.
    • Android 18 is a Puppet Fighter with several moves summoning Android 17.
    • Captain Ginyu is another Puppet Fighter, but with four puppets in the form of his fellow Ginyu Force members. He also has a last-ditch super move which allows him to perform a body change on the opponent, placing the victim in Ginyu's battered body while taking control of the victim's body. This only works once, and the victim can't use it if they've been body-switched, leaving them at a severe disadvantage.
    • Adult Gohan's basic super move increases his Potential Unleashed level up to a maximum of seven levels. At Level 7, Gohan's gains unique combos and block-strings.
    • Goku Black has a second variation of his Kamehameha attack; by inputting a backwards fireball motion, Zamasu will appear to restrain the opponent, giving Black a free shot.
    • Similar to Venom from Guilty Gear, Beerus can summon orbs of destruction that he can push around, attacking opponents from multiple angles.
    • Piccolo doesn't have a ki blast like other characters. Instead, his standard "ki attack" is a long-range grapple with stretching arms.
    • Hit has no long-ranged attacks whatsoever. His standard "ki attack" is actually a frame-perfect counter attack that can work from any distance.
    • Yamcha's hard attack is a counter move, so aerial combos work differently for him.
  • Gundam Extreme Vs. has the Crossbone Gundam Full Cloth, which only really has two weapons (a beam crossbow and a BFS), but also has two temporary super modes. One grants the crossbow's projectiles homing properties, turns its spread shot into a barrel-rolling Beam Spam attack, and grants protection from enemy beams that come at it from either the left or right. The other makes its melee attacks stronger, faster, and able to cancel into one another almost freely. A player able to carefully manage these two modes (along with their cooldown times) can rip through just about any opponent.
    • Also worth mentioning is Gundam Epyon; in a game built around ranged combat, it has absolutely no guns, instead fighting with a segmented whip and giant beam sword. However, its melee is very fast, damaging, and can be cancelled freely, and the rest of its moveset includes a mobility move that lets it dodge enemy attacks or quickly rush into melee range, and a move that empowers its sword even further at the cost of draining its boost gauge more quickly. Even though it's generally ranked low in the Character Tiers, in the hands of a skilled player Epyon can be an unholy menace.
    • Along the same lines is the Susanowo, which is similarly melee-centric. Unlike Epyon it does have a couple of ranged attacks, but neither is a standard move and its shot button instead slightly boosts its melee power for the next few attacks. It also has a one-time use Super Mode that gives it a massive speed increase on an already very speedy unit.
  • Decapre, the newcomer in Ultra Street Fighter IV is an interesting example. While she doesn't have any unique resources, she combines two well-established fighting game concepts into something that's rarely seen. On the surface, she's definitely a aggressive rushdown character with excellent mobility and mix-up and terrific Ultras make her viable threat. However, she's also a charge character, which contrasts her playstyle as charge characters in just about any fighting game typically lean toward the defensive side. The biggest draw with Decapre being a rushdown charge character is that while her tools are effective, they're not readily available, especially if you want to walk up to your opponent.
  • In Street Fighter V, one of the newcomers, Ed, doesn't use motion inputs for special moves. Instead, all his specials either use multiple button presses or require holding a button. The only exception to this is his Critical Art.
  • In the Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm series, the Long Range Fighters have a slightly different control scheme: The button all other characters have assigned to Shuriken, which normally has those characters throwing minimal-damage shuriken as a quick projectile and cannot be comboed into anything, becomes a general projectile button for whatever energy blasts, ammunition, or other signature projectiles these characters are known for. Unlike the standard shuriken, these deal a lot more damage and can be comboed into other projectiles. A more extreme difference are the puppetmaster characters in these games: The puppetmaster does not do any fighting whatsoever, leaving it entirely to the puppet(s). Even blocking is left up to a puppet. The puppetmaster and his or her puppets can be moved around the battlefield independently of each other too. Until Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3, these puppetmasters were considered Game Breakers (except for Kankuro) because the puppets themselves cannot be defeated, meaning opponents had to deal with getting beaten down by an invulnerable being while the character they actually have to defeat is usually standing safe and far away.
  • Injustice 2 has the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, who are listed as one character, but in practice is actually four distinct characters. The turtle you play as depends on what weapon you equip, and each turtle plays distinctly from one another: katanas yield Leonardo, a mid-ranged fighter; a bo staff grants Donatello, who fights at a range; sai switches to Raphael, a close-ranged brawler; and nunchaku grants Michelangelo, a tricky high-risk high-reward combatant.
  • The tabletop fighting game Burn Legend - which is basically "Exalted Mortal Kombat" and is in Shards of the Exalted Dream - has the Okami and Tennin as entire splats of mechanically odd fighters. The Okami gimmick is that they can shift between human form to use their martial arts moves and beast form to use their native techniques with a minor bonus to one stat; under normal circumstances, Okami generally shift to beast form and stay that way until the end of the fight, not even bothering with martial arts, but it was a decent effort even so. The Tennin, meanwhile, have powerful moves but have to use them sequentially - apart from martial arts styles, their Overdrive and Prayer Strip, their moves are divided into "Terrestrial", "Celestial" and "Sidereal" tier, with Celestial only working the turn after you successfully use a Terrestrial and Sidereal only working the turn after Celestial.

     Beat'Em Up/Hack and Slash Games 
  • In a game full of melee specialists, Lady's the only character in Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition with a focus on firearms. On top of that, she doesn't have a Super Mode (with her Devil Trigger gauge instead powering a Combo Breaker that involves throwing several grenades around herself).
  • The Creator class in Dungeon Fighter Online dumps the common keyboard or game controller-based beat-em-up controls for first person shooter-style keyboard plus mouse (to the extent of redefining a hotbar to free up the 'WASD' keys for movement). In practice, you control your body like a puppet with the keyboard and fight independently with the mouse cursor. Anything you can click on you can hit with telekinetic strikes or by gating in various energies, and while your body is subject to status effects, nothing short of death can interfere with your spellcasting. While the class does have weaknesses, there's a reason it isn't available for Pv P
  • In Hyrule Warriors, the DLC character Young Link functions a bit differently. Much like the aforementioned example of Gabranth in Dissidia: Final Fantasy, his strength and range leave a lot to be desired in his normal form. However, he does have the ability to sacrifice his special attack gauge for magic, and when he enters Focus Spirit mode, he turns into the Fierce Deity, becoming much deadlier. The trick when playing as him is to enter Focus Spirit mode as soon as possible, and stay in it as long as possible.
    • While every character has a gimmick of some sort, Zant's is notable because it forces the player to pay attention to it. All of his combos end with an opportunity to mash the attack button to hit multiple times, which fills up his meter. If you try to do this when the meter is full, or just mash the button one too many times, Zant will fall over with an empty meter and end up vulnerable for several seconds. When his meter is full, you can either hold onto it for a damage boost (while trying not to forget and accidentally overfill it) or switch into berserk mode for several seconds where Zant becomes stronger, harder to control, and has only two attacks. On top of all this, nearly all of Zant's attacks leave him open for a few moments, forcing the player to choose his attacks carefully. The game never explains any of this, so most players are left wondering why Zant can't go five seconds without falling over.
  • Mercedes in Odin Sphere. While other characters use melee attacks to varying degrees, Mercedes wields a crossbow and is purely a ranged character. Being a fairy allows her to fly around indefinitely, and instead of a POW meter that acts as the character's stamina, depleting as you attack, but recharging if you idle long enough, she instead has an Ammo meter that can't be recharged until it's completely empty, and requires the player to manually reload (though absorbing Phozons still recharges it like they do for the POW meter.)
  • In Transformers: Devastation, Grimlock's Dino mode plays very different from the Vehicle modes of the other characters. He can get to full speed quickly by mashing one of the buttons, he doesn't have access to the upgraded Rush Attack, his ranged weapon is a short ranged fire breath, and he can actually use melee attacks as a T-Rex.
  • Alastor in the first Viewtiful Joe. Characters normally start out in their Henshin form, but revert to human form if they use up all their VFX and have to wait until the VFX gauge refills to transform automatically. Alastor, on the other hand, starts out in his human form and has to manually activate his Devil Trigger to transform, at which point his VFX gradually decreases until he reverts back to normal, making playing Alastor a game of finding the right time to transform and lay the smackdown in Devil Trigger form. He's also the only character who can Double Jump in his human form, and carries a sword to increase his melee range.
  • Almond in Noitu Love 2 is unable to directly attack enemies, instead requiring the player themselves to attack enemies in the style of a mouse-aimed light gun game. He can also shield himself from projectiles at will by ducking, and can be picked up and carried around with the mouse cursor.

    Platforming Games 
  • Milla in Freedom Planet. While Lilac and Carol are speed-based melee characters to varying degrees, Milla's is noticably slower than either of them, and her fighting style revolves around Attack Reflectors and conjuring and throwing blocks. Her HUD is also noticeably different than Lilac and Carol's, with only half the health and no Power meter. Also, though Torque is not officially playable as of yet, the game data reveals that he'll most likely be a ranged character in the vein of Vectorman

     Puzzle Games 
  • Meteos is a Falling Blocks puzzle game in which matching blocks of the same color will launch it and all blocks above it away. Each planet has its own playfield size, gravity, ignition strength, Planet Impact, and even which colors will be available and in what frequency. The result is that there are plenty of exceptions among the planets:
    • For most planets, chaining ignitions together creates stronger rockets to clear blocks by pushing them up offscreen, but on Hotted and Megadom, ignitions after the second become weaker, requiring the player to pace his or her gameplay slower than most other players.
    • Mekks, Gigagush, Grannest, and Wuud have fixed-height ignitions, requiring players to use the risky technique of letting their fields pile up to clear blocks.
    • Hevendor and Gravitas are at the extreme ends of gravitational force; Hevendor requires only one ignition to clear blocks, making it play more like a traditional puzzle game, whereas Gravitas has such intense gravity that first ignitions are totally ineffective, requiring two ignitions to launch blocks away.
    • On most other planets, the Speeder speeds up the game, but on Bavoom, the Speeder will slow down the falling blocks but will send far more of them down at a time.
    • On Vubble, vertically matching a set of blocks has no effect, requiring players to only match them horizontally.
    • On Ranbarumba, the strength of an ignition depends not on the rocket's size or number of ignitions like how all other planets work, but by the total width of the blocks matched.
    • And while it would otherwise play normally, Arod's gravity is so feeble that the entire playfield moves in slow-motion—while this means Arod takes longer to accomplish anything than most other planets, it is also largely able to shrug off attacks from most other planets.

    First Person Shooters 
  • Overwatch has several.
    • Mei is the only character who can create a physical impediment with Ice Wall ability. While other shields can be walked through, hers must be destroyed in order to be broken. This also means she can block off her own team if one isn't careful enough (or is trolling).
    • Lucio is the only character who can buff his teammates' movement speed, which requires timing his movement buff and coordinating with his team in a much different way than the more-common health or damage buffs of other characters.
    • Sombra is the only character with a true stealth ability, and can interact with the map differently than any other character by hacking health packs to deny their use to the enemy and cause them to respawn more quickly for her team. She's also the only character that can directly lock other characters' abilities so they can't be used at all, as opposed to stunning the character altogether or physically blocking or otherwise countering them.
    • Reinhardt is the only character who lacks a gun and must rely on one of his specials for ranged attacks. Being a melee character, he instead has a recharging shield and deals about 3 times as much damage as a normal character with his melee attacks that is assigned to primary fire instead of the melee button.
  • While every champion in Paladins has different abilities, some have skills that particularly stand out from the others.
    • Unlike the other Front Line champions, Inara uses deployable walls to protect her team instead of shields. This means that she can block attacks that would normally pierce through shields and cannot be walked through. When faced against her, it is recommended to buy the "Bulldozer" burn card (which increases damage towards deployables) instead of the "Wrecker" burn card (which increases damage towards shields).
      • She also relies heavily on increasing her durability with damage reduction to protect herself. Her Earthen Guard ability is her primary source, but with the right build, Warder's Field can also grant her damage reduction.
    • Torvald is the only champion who has a permanent personal shield, making him appear that he has ridiculous amounts of health at first glance. Pre-rework, he's the only champion that can drain enemy shields to replenish his own.
    • Strix is the only champion to have two main weapons that he can switch between. Unlike other stealth champions, his stealth can be toggled and has an energy resource instead of a cooldown.
    • Ruckus & Bolt used to be able to shield allies, but they were reworked and had lost their ally shielding ability in favor of missile launchers. Now they are the only Front Line champion who cannot shield allies. They can still shield themselves, though.
    • Terminus is the first champion with a melee-oriented main attack, the only Front Line who uses a forcefield that absorbs damage instead of a shield, and can instantly resurrect where he died instead of respawning at base.

    Role Playing Games 
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 2 has an unusual example of this trope in how one of the playable characters can be used after a certain point in the game. In the heart of the Spirit Crucible Elpys, Nia reveals that she is, in fact, a Flesh Eater Blade, something that she had kept to herself up to this point (though Mythra saw her core crystal while they were in the hot spring back on Mor Ardain, and promised to keep her secret). Nia had been fighting purely as a Driver up to this point, which means she, like any other Driver, was supported by her own Blades as she used the weapons they granted to fight. From this point on, however, she can be swapped in as either a Driver or as one of Rex's Blades.

    Shooting Games 
  • In Touhou mainline games:
    • Each playable character usually have two different shots: focused and unfocused, which can be different shots or just changing position/direction of the bullets. Marisa-B in Subterranean Animism, however, has five different shots. Instead of being tied to focus/unfocus mode, she can switch her shots by pressing certain buttons together.
    • In Imperishable Night, you play as a team of a human and a youkai. Each team has a Youkai Gauge, which goes from -100% (human) to +100% (youkai). That is, except for the Netherworld Team of Youmu and Yuyuko, whose gauge only goes from -50% to +100% due to Youmu being a Half-Human Hybrid. When you unlock solo characters, all humans only have -100% to +20% gauge, except Youmu who goes from -50% to +50%. The Netherworld Team is further unusual for having a wide shot while focused and a narrow shot while unfocused (the opposite of most characters), and for Youmu's externalized soul acting as an Attack Drone that fires in the opposite direction to her movement.
    • In Ten Desires, Youmu does not have a focused shot at all. Instead, holding the focus button causes her to charge up a Blade Spam attack that inflicts heavy damage to enemies directly in front of her.
  • In Star Control and its sequel, the Arilou Skiff is unique in that it ignores gravity and inertia, unlike every other ship. This allows strategies such as camping next to a planet, where other ships can't approach easily due to the gravity.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Battlecon lives off of this trope. Every character has a unique ability, and no two are the same. Some notable examples are:
    • Bryon Krane has 5 mask counters. Each turn, his health goes back up to it's maximum, but that maximum can be lowered by depleting his masks. Each successful hit you land on him shatters one of his masks. When he finally runs out, he can be killed by any attack. His attack style plays a little differently from other characters, able to punish players for being at certain ranges.
    • Cesar Grist is a heavyweight character with a twist. He doesn't start out strong, but each turn, he gains threat level counters. These tokens give him boosts to his power and stun guard, maxing out at +3 power and stun immunity. However, the next time he gains a counter, he crashes and can't fight for a turn. You need to make every hit count with this character.
    • Lesandra Machan has 5 familiars she can summon. Each gives her a passive bonus, and a one-shot bonus when she dismisses it. Her unique part comes with getting more familiars. If she dealt damage equal to the familiar's blood cost this turn, she can summon it for free. If not, she has to pay life equal to that cost.

    Turn-Based Strategy 

     Real Life 
  • Most Martial Arts styles that involve punching do so with the top two knuckles. A staple Wing Chun punch, however, uses the bottom three in a combination between a punch and a scrape.