What are the best games for aim training, and why should you be bothering with them in the first place? Speaking as a washed-up competitive FPS player and a still pretty-active competitive fighting gamer and professional writer, I think I’m in a good spot to tackle these topics and walk you through them. So let’s get into it, together!
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Wait, There Are Games For Aim Training?
Yup! Anything becomes an industry if it tries hard enough, and professional FPS gaming has been up there for a pretty fair amount of time now.
Not all FPS games have particularly good training tools, though, and the ones that do only do so as a happy result of supporting community-made content. For example, CS:GO has plenty of aim training maps sourced from the Steam Workshop that can be run on community servers, but Valorant and Overwatch, which don’t have such easy mod support, do not.
This gap in the market leaves a pretty good spot for dedicated aim training games to pop up, and the solutions that have come out have proven surprisingly capable. While the value of just hopping into your game of choice and practicing your raw aim and movement against other human players shouldn’t be understated, great training tools can help you make the most of your gaming time and start really developing the results you’re looking for.
I’d know- I used to spend hours upon hours in a TF2 aim training map to work up my aim in the days leading up to matches, and it did give me a tangible improvement in my results. This was before dedicated aim training games became as popular as they are now, though- and these games have much more in-depth training tools and a variety of tests than any single custom map ever could.
So, let’s get into it. What makes a good aim training game?
What Makes a Good Aim Training Game
Easy Sensitivity Transfer
This is by far the most important feature. While tools exist for transferring your mouse aim between games, this is a case where you want your game aim and your training tool aim to be 1:1- otherwise, what’s the point?
Fortunately, the leading aim training games, and the two that I’ll be suggesting later in this article, support this feature right out of the box.
However, this feature is lacking in many free aim trainers- especially those that are browser-based.
In-Depth Customization Options
Beyond carrying over your sensitivity, an abundance of customization options is also nice to have. This means customizing your crosshair, field of view, and even changes to your training room’s map and targets. Ultimately, an abundance of customization options allows you to make a comfortable training environment that is properly tailored to your comfort and needs.
This one’s important- if you can’t keep track of your progress over time, it’ll be a lot harder to know when you’re improving besides when you go on big killstreaks in your game of choice. Any competent aim training tool will at least give you scores following your training runs, but how they handle and chart those scores over time can differ from application to application.
Plenty of Tests
Last but not least, you need plenty of tests! The leading aim training games will offer plenty of these, but the way they’re made, sourced, and organized can vary quite a bit. More on those specifics below!
Best Free Aim Training Game: Aim Lab
If you just want a competent, free aim training tool, Aim Lab is pretty easy to recommend. It meets all of the basic requirements outlined above, and even directly collaborates with developers in order to nail that 1:1 feel that gamers are looking for. While free, however, the game is in Early Access- and has been for some time, so technically it isn’t a “complete” game yet.
What’s there is fairly promising, though, especially once you factor in built-in Workshop support. It can be difficult to find tests that are actually worth practicing your aim with, but once you do, Aim Lab works pretty much exactly how you expect it to, mirroring your original game’s sensitivity without issue and providing a wide variety of customization options.
The best feature of Aim Lab, I think, is actually its metrics tracking. Not only do you get results after each run charting how you did, you can get results spanning back weeks tracking your improvement-over-time at a given aim test. It’s already pretty hard to beat “free”, but Aim Lab is fully-featured enough that being free isn’t even the best thing about it: it’s just…good.
Best Paid Aim Training Game: Kovaak’s Aim Trainer
Beyond the free Aim Lab, there’s also the premium Kovaak’s Aim Trainer alternative. And I won’t mince words here: for the most part, it’s just…better. While the community aspect of Aim Lab is certainly nice, Kovaak’s aim training tests are generally of a higher quality and much more well-organized for the end user. There are also many more developer-made tests before you need to start looking to the community workshop to fill in the gaps.
Plus, customization features like changing map and target colors can be done mid-game, whereas with Aim Lab you have to exit and reload to make bigger changes like this. If you’re a power user, Kovaak’s UI and minute adjustment capabilities should definitely appeal to you.
The only real downside of Kovaak’s compared to Aim Lab is that if you want to track long-term improvements, you’re basically gonna have to get a spreadsheet or a notebook and do that part yourself. But overall Kovaak’s has the better library of high-quality aim tests, stronger graphics, and the superior map editor.
Train Your Reactions: Human Benchmark’s Reaction Time Test
As a bonus little recommendation that isn’t an aim trainer, I recommend checking out Human Benchmark’s Reaction Time Test. It works fine in a browser, and instead of training aim, is meant to help you gauge (and train, if you so please) your raw reaction time. There is more that goes into aiming in an FPS than raw reaction time, of course, including crosshair placement, map knowledge, and game sense- but reaction time still makes a difference.
If you want a straightforward tool with which to hone in on your raw reaction time, this tool should help. You should definitely spend more time in your aim trainer or game of choice, though.
Other Things To Consider When Training Your Aim
Keeping Your Framerate as Consistent as Possible
An oft-underrated element of competitive FPS is consistent FPS. Many FPS pros will simply push uncapped framerates as high as they can go without considering things like screen tearing and frame pacing as the real, gameplay-impacting issues that they are.
I can’t recommend enough to any competitive FPS player: cap your FPS! While exceeding 200 FPS when nothing much is going on feels nice and all, having variable frame times (especially when things heat up and your FPS starts dropping) will have a noticeable impact on the consistency of your inputs. Aiming for a stable in-game FPS cap of at least 120 FPS should improve your performance aiming and shooting in just about anything.
Even if you can get higher averages than that, a slightly-lower-but-more-consistent framerate is better than a usually-higher-with-major-dips framerate. Consistent frame times ensure your visuals always look as smooth as possible, that your input latency stays consistent, and even that your CPU and GPU are able to get actual room to breathe in low-usage scenarios.
If your in-game FPS capping tool isn’t good, I recommend falling back on RivaTuner Statistics Server. While the in-game capping tool will almost always be better, I’ve found that Team Fortress 2’s is actually worse than using RTSS. Only fall back on RTSS if the in-engine tool is giving you performance or latency issues, though.
Developing Game Knowledge and Game Sense
Last but certainly not least, don’t neglect your actual development of game knowledge and game sense in favor of raw aim and movement.
Raw aim and movement are key to success in any competitive shooter, it’s true- but they are only tools that you use for success. A player with worse aim and movement can easily kill you and your team if they get the jump on you with better positioning, teamwork, or tactics. And especially if you’ve been training your aim a lot, that can be pretty infuriating!
So, watch invitationals and pro players competing. Listen to pro players giving gameplay insight and strategy. And, of course, never stop getting actual, real-world practice in your game of choice.
As long as you keep your game knowledge and game sense trained alongside your aim, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a beast.
And that’s it!
I hope that this article gave you a solid starting point if you’re looking to train your improvement in an FPS game. Having recently become fond of fighting games, fighting games are definitely more niche and less accessible than your average FPS- but also have much better and more in-depth training tools. Stuff like Aim Lab and Kovaak’s helps close that gap, at least in my eyes.
Have fun training!