We all know the "Stamina Bar". For those who dont: Its a "Bar" (usually right below your life-bar) which prevents spamming the attacks as much as you want. Attacking will also reduce your stamina and you need a certain amount of stamina to use Attacks. Usually blocking , rolling and other things also require and reduce your stamina. Its a great way to balance the a real time action battle system. You can upgrade your stamina which is cool too because gives you a feeling of progress and add a little bit of fun there.


The Question here is:

Is this "okay" for "Casuals"?

I have a game which is open-world-ish and you can walk around and fight enemies and fight bosses too. But the game seems "too easy" now. You can basically just spam your attack button and every enemy is easy. Even the bosses.

A way the fix this is the stamina bar.

But wouldnt that overwhelm the casual players ?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you already use some form of cooldown system to make sure the player can only do the nex hit when the animation of the first hit is finished, or can you truly spam attacks in your game? \$\endgroup\$
    – Polygnome
    Commented Jun 11, 2018 at 11:10
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ The stamina bar serves as a balancing mechanic. You shouldn't ask whether it fits casuals, but rather if it fits with your design. \$\endgroup\$
    – Sidar
    Commented Jun 11, 2018 at 11:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ legend of zelda skyward sword and breath of the wild both had stamina bars and were aimed at casuals. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 12, 2018 at 8:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ratchetfreak the stamina there was for running and climbing, wan't it? Not for combat. \$\endgroup\$
    – Theraot
    Commented Feb 24, 2020 at 2:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Theraot sword attacks (especially spin attacks) drain the stamina bar. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 24, 2020 at 8:08

5 Answers 5


Just like so many things in game design: it depends on the implementation.

  • Are the mechanics surrounding your stamina bar simple enough to understand?
  • Are you able to communicate these mechanics properly during your tutorial?
  • Considering all the other mechanics you alreadey have in your game, is there space in your player's minds for another one?

If you answer "yes" or at least "maybe" to these questions, then it is worth trying. But in the end there is just one way to find out if it makes your game better or worse: playtesting with fresh people from your target demographic.

Also note that the concept of a stamina bar won't be foreign to most casual players. A lot of free-to-play mobile and web games use stamina bars. Usually though they take hours to refill, not seconds. Their purpose is to artificially slow down the player's progress and then tease them to remove that limitation through microtransactions. But you could still try to build on that familiarity to communicate the purpose of your stamina bar.


I haven't played Dark Souls, so i don't know how this stamina bar feels to play, but i would say it depends on how your combat system is designed. In my opinion using the same resource for everything does not sound like a good idea. The Problem with this is, that you can't do anything, when the resource is gone.

My idea to this Problem would be make at least two different resources. One for blocking, sprinting, rolling and other movement. The other one for attacking (like Mana in many games) and an attack skill you can always use. So it doesn't matter what happens, you can always walk and attack with a weak move. But you have to watch the resources for better movement and attacking. Ok, maybe one resource for both would work, but you shouldn't take away every possible action from the player. Thats why i would let him always a weak attack.

One or two bars shouldn't be a problem for casuals, if you explain what they do. But then the balancing gets very important. If the bars are too small it will be frustrating, if they are too bit, they won't matter.

If your only action is hit the Enemy with the sword maybe you should work at this before making a stamina bar. Running away from an enemy with 10% life because you can't attack him and you have to wait for stamina doesn't sound like fun.

For the Bosses. I always liked interesting mechanics more than resources. If they are too easy, give them a few devasting attacks with a big indicator, so it's possible to dodge them. Maybe make them only vulnerable after such an attack because if they fail, they stun themselves or something like this.

Easy games can also be fun. And remember: you designed the fighting system. Maybe attacking and blocking isn't that easy for other players. Let a few friends try your battle system and ask them what they think about it. Probably they can give you better feedback than everyone here who is just reading your question.


I have a game which is open-world-ish and you can walk around and fight enemies and fight bosses too. But the game seems "too easy" now. You can basically just spam your attack button and every enemy is easy. Even the bosses.

... And your solution is stamina. What are the alternatives?

A classic solution for this is to put a cooldown on attacks.

However, let us go back even further... You can have the character committed to an animation. Dark souls does this too. That could be enough for your situation.

Other solutions include attacks push enemies out of the way, so that spamming attack does not hit them. Also using an invulnerability period (a fraction of a second) to enemies after each attack, so that you will get hit if you try to spam.

Alright, so, this random person comes running at you and start poking you with a stick. What do you do? Block? Disarm? Run away? Hit back? Get staggered and wait until you die? You can make enemies harder by having then react smarter.

These all serve different goals in your design. You must think what kind of play do you want to encourage. Should, for example, the player be calculating every attack? Or should the player be taking more ground after each attack?

You also need to be careful to communicate whatever mechanic you pick.

The problem with stamina is the down time. You do a burst of attacks, and then you have to step back to recover it. Meanwhile, what is there to do? Not much really. It is down time. Not engaging. Boring... Oh, an enemy is attacking! Avoiding it takes stamina too? Darn you stamina!

Taking this to casual players, for some definition of casual, will probably go wrong. If your target audience is people who plays in small chunks of time, then value their time!

The same goes by giving invulnerability phases to enemies, and designing combat based on waiting for the enemy to lower its guard. Value the player's time.

If you are going to use stamina, you need to give the player something to do when they have no stamina. Better yet, give the player something to do about it.


That will depend on how you implement it.
If you aim for a casual player base you may not want to make the stamina managing too relevant, at least not all the time so the easier way is:
The sum of the damage dealt plus the needed rolls blocks etc that the player need to do, in order to defeat a common enemy should have a stamina cost lesser than a full stamina bar. This way players should only worry of stamina when facing multiple enemies or bosses.
This is of course a starting point and a lot of balance and player test is needed but it should put you in the right path.

  • \$\begingroup\$ The bolded part should only be true for the most basic enemies. For more engaging enemies and especially bosses, the stamina bar should be a very limiting factor. otherwise, why bother with having it in the first place? \$\endgroup\$
    – Polygnome
    Commented Jun 11, 2018 at 11:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Polygnome if you read carefully I've said "common enemy" referring exactly to what you say. Tell me if the text is not clear and I may edit my answer. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 11, 2018 at 11:57

As a casual gamer I despise the stamina and it seems like all the new action games have implemented this from Nioh to the Surge to Code Vein and it just stifles gameplay and this trend needs to stop! I am sick and tired of these Soulsborne clones! They've ruined the genre and I hope this fad dies off sooner than later. I'm currently working on a classic DMC/Bayonetta/Darksiders game and I WILL NOT include a stamina bar.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ This is more a rant than an answer to the question. How would the OP fix the issue they have instead of using stamina? \$\endgroup\$
    – Vaillancourt
    Commented Feb 25, 2020 at 15:33

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