Follow TV Tropes


Immobile Player Character

Go To

Not to be confused with Controllable Helplessness, a rising trope becoming common in modern gaming (especially indie horror) is where the Player Character is incapable of moving a muscle, other than their heads.

While some examples have an in-universe explanation for this, most are because it's easier on the developer to make as opposed to a free-roam game, and, in the horror games' cases, because such limitation of movement makes the player feel helpless or vulnerable, enforcing what exactly Survival Horror is meant to do; make the player feel oppressed and weaker than the antagonist(s).


The Point-and-Click Game genre appears to examplify this trope in spades, but most don't truly qualify because constant player character movement is actually happening in-universe, it's just not seen due to engine and/or stylistic limitations.


  • In the first three Five Nights at Freddy's games, your character is completely bound to their office chair, making them vulnerable to the Hostile Animatronics hunting them. Five Nights at Freddy's 4 partially subverts this, as you're still technically immobile as all movement is just pre-rendered gifs, but movement is still a big part of the game. Five Nights at Freddy's: Sister Location subverts this more; while there are sections where you'll be standing/sitting still, others parts have your character move around the facility.
  • In turn, most FNAF fanworks like Five Nights at Candy's, One Night at Flumpty's, Five Nights at Treasure Island, Five Nights at Wario's, and Five Nights In Anime play this trope dead straight.
  • Advertisement:
  • Frosty Nights zig-zags this trope. The player is stuck in bed during the nights, but can move around the room when daytime rolls around.
  • Nearly played straight in Welcome to the Game. The player is almost exclusively bound to the chair in front of their computer, as most of the game's content lies within the Deep Web, but they can get up in a pre-rendered mini-cutscene to turn the light-switch behind them on and off.
  • Outside of some cutscenes at the beginning, the player of Poker Night at the Inventory and Poker Night 2 doesn't move an inch from that poker table once they're there.
  • Rides With Strangers is mostly this trope. While the game does open on very limited free-roam, the meat and majority of the game has you completely immobile, as you're in the passenger's seat of a moving car.
  • Boogeyman, being a FNAF-inspired game, plays this perfectly straight, as Young Thomas is bound to his bed. Though as the game got updated, you got to explore the house in-between nights.
    • It's the same in Boogeyman 2. While the Player Character is stuck in her bed at night, she can move around the room in the pre-game menu.
  • Advertisement:
  • Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin revolves around this. During the mission to rescue the Grand Head of the Psychonauts (as seen at the end of the original game), Raz is immobilized and separated from his friends. He must use his powers of Clairvoyance (along with other psychic powers such as Psi-Poke, Telekinesis, and Pyrokinesis) to find his companions, defeat the villain, and save Mr. Zanatto.