Steam Deck’s best button is its software

Steam Deck has a lot of buttons. There’s a D-pad, all the typical face buttons, and a joystick that also responds to capacitive touch And the They can be pressed down like buttons, two trackpads with haptic feedback also Pressure-sensitive buttons, two shoulder fenders, two analog shoulder triggers, and four buttons on the back of the device behind the handles.

In a way, they all feel in the right place while you’re holding the device, and in writing our latest find long ago. month series buttonYou might think I’d wax my hair around just one of them. But for me, the real magic of Steam Deck is that Which The button can be cool, thanks to the excellent device software.

The Steam button on the Steam Deck is your ticket to control endless customization.
Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales/The Verge

Take my experience with Cuphead’s new DLC, Delicious last course, which contains a new challenge from mind-bogglingly difficult bosses. like al Qaeda Cuphead Game, Delicious last course It requires quick reflexes and quick button presses to survive, and Steam Deck’s highly customizable controls help push a button is part of that equation.

During a fight, I usually keep my right thumb stuck to the shoot button (on Steam Deck, X) while using another part of my thumb to press jump (A). But when every millisecond counted, I found I was reluctant to even raise my thumb for a moment to press the dashboard or the special shooting buttons. This infinitesimal interval could mean the difference between surviving another barrage or dying and having to start a fight all the way from the start. With just a few tweaks and 30 seconds in the Steam Deck menus, I’ve changed the controls so I can jump, dash, And the Shoot private shots without having to lift my thumb.

I could reset the Special Attack just about anywhere on the Steam Deck, but I chose one of the four unusual buttons on the back of the console, which are located roughly under my third and fourth fingers when I hold the device. As buttons, I don’t think they are fun to use. It is very shallow. But I also think it’s a good thing that the buttons require deliberate pressure to be clicked. This makes them great for actions you don’t want to do when an accident occurs – like, say, Cuphead’s Special shots, which can change the course of the battle but take some time to reach full power.

Two back buttons for Steam Deck.
Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales/The Verge

I also turned the trigger R2 into a parry button and assigned the trigger L2 to the new Dodge Roll set for Mrs. Chalice, the new character introduced in the DLC. The roller usually requires pressing down and the Y button at the same time, and I had a lot of problems while nailing it Delicious last course Frantic boss fights. The combo mode on the L2 made the lap a lot easier to use.

Using shoulder triggers in movement actions so that you can keep your thumb on the joysticks is a technique I learned next Explore better custom layouts for back on PS5And the It made a huge difference in Cuphead, very. And I turned the L4 back button into an instant screenshot button so I could take pictures Delicious last course Deceitful boss designs. (One of the later presidents is frankly nightmare fuel.)

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales/The Verge

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales/The Verge

I didn’t just mess with the buttons. in Vampire survivors, I have the right stick left mirror so I can switch between them. (I make the game think I have two analog sticks left.) The game generally requires you to hold down a joystick for 30+ minutes to survive against hordes of bad guys, so being able to switch sticks helps my left hand feel tired.

And you don’t have to come up with these ideas yourself: if you want to see other people’s thoughts on control schemes, you can browse them directly from the game menu in SteamOS, which means you don’t have to search for them. I replied as I did back.

There is a wealth of options for just one button.

Steam Deck’s incredible customization ability and ease of access to alternate controls opens up a more philosophical question: Who should decide what the button does? In most video games, this is out of your reach (pun intended). But with Steam Deck, you can do all kinds of wild things that lead us to traditional thinking that a particular button should be used.

in half life 2There is, for example, a runaway layout that lets you touch the top of the right joystick to trigger the gyroscopic sight, and tilt the system to move your grid with much more precision than the joystick alone. This is something you can play for it Any game With a few clicks on the deck. You could theoretically make low-lift multiplayer couch games work on a single deck by setting one half of the deck to duplicate the mouse and keyboard and the other half to use the gamepad controls.

It helps Just a few clicks of a button To access the menu that allows you to change any button you want. You can use this menu to choose what any button for any game in your Steam library does, and it will automatically remember what you set for each game. And since every Steam Deck comes with the same set of buttons, you don’t need to buy things like Extra control or separate accessory To get around less common input options like back buttons. Steam Deck really lets you decide how you want to play a game, and this flexibility quickly makes it one of my all-time favorites.

as such more people Get their hands on Steam Deck, I can’t wait to see how others think of new and creative ways to customize the controls for my favorite games. For now, I will continue to use my controls for specials in Cuphead – I’ll try to take a screenshot After you finally beat the awful Dragon Boss.

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