Overwatch: 18 custom Workshop games you should check out

Overwatch is celebrating its third anniversary, and to mark the occasion this year the popular team shooter has added one of the most impressive new features imaginable. The Overwatch Workshop has made its way out of testing, and is now available on all three platforms. The Workshop is an incredibly flexible creation tool which allows Overwatch players to construct custom game modes and rulesets, and even change the behavior and abilities of its cast of characters.

One of the best features of this new mode is how easy it is to share the custom game modes with other players; all you need is a five-digit code which will work no matter if you’re logging in on a PC, PS4, or Xbox One. What’s even better is that these codes will carry over, so everyone on all three platforms can benefit from the work players have put in during the testing phase.

Importing a game is a little complicated, but begin by selecting “Play” from the main menu, then head to “Game Browser.” Once there, select the “+Create” button on the upper right, and then choose the “Settings” button marked with a gear. From here you’ll choose the “Import Code” button underneath the word “Summary,” second from the left.

Of course, every Overwatch event also brings with it a load of special cosmetic items, and the Anniversary event is no exception. Every hero can equip a unique Dance emote, and the character skins from this event tend to be wilder and more far-out than the themed costumes released during the rest of the year. What’s more, Anniversary loot boxes can contain items from every other annual event, giving players a chance to earn skins they may have missed out on.

Past game modes also return, including Uprising, Retribution, Storm Rising, Lúcioball, Junkenstein’s Revenge, Mei’s Yeti Hunt, and more on a rotating schedule. Players who log in between now and the event’s end on June 10 will receive a golden Anniversary loot box, which is guaranteed to contain a legendary skin for one of the game’s 30 heroes. The game is free-to-play until May 28, so those who haven’t bought a copy yet can still check out everything the Workshop has to offer. We’ve been playing around with the mode since it launched on the test server, and while this is by no means a comprehensive list, the following are a few of our favorite custom games spawned by the community.

All codes were tested and accurate at the time of publication, but it’s always possible a newer version exists. We’ve added links to the creators wherever possible, so if you can’t get a game mode working, try checking to see if there might be a more recent update available.

Traffic Dodger (Code: PAGTH, created by Beerknight#11945)

This mode takes the unusual environmental hazard found on Oasis and turns it into an entertaining homage to Frogger. Players start at the center of the busy hovercar freeway and must make their way to the tunnel behind them with 24 different characters, dodging both speeding automobiles and other players’ abilities. Completing a run with a character will spawn you back at the start as a different hero with a different skillset.

Some will spawn with their Ultimate ability ready to go, and others will have certain abilities disabled. Most attacks are turned off, but a few are still active just to let you mess with other players. The winner is whoever can complete the entire cast list first. It shares some similarities to the “Gun Game,” which was added as an official mode called “Hero Gauntlet.”

Aim Training (Code: J29D2, created by HeroCod#2365 and Kunomori#1653)
(Code WRP63, created by PMAJellies)
(Code EY9J6, created by Harambe)

It’s no secret that Overwatch’s built-in training mode doesn’t really do a good job of teaching you how to play the game. With that in mind, several people have taken it upon themselves to build advanced aim trainers which can help players learn how to flick their aim, how to hit a small moving target, practice rapid turns, and more. One of the most impressive so far is HeroCod’s Advanced Training Range. It does require a bit of setup to use, and you’ll need to add some Bots to get the most out of it. Fortunately, there are detailed instructions included regarding which heroes you should place on the enemy team. This one has been updated frequently since the first iteration and is now on version 11, but codes for prior versions of this trainer should still bring you to the latest update.

While the Advanced Training Range lets you choose from a variety of different exercises, sometimes it’s better to work on a single specific skill. For those who really want to sharpen their aim, PMAJellies created a training course with several exercises designed to quicken reflexes. This one even has multiple difficulties programmed in, so you can increase the challenge once you’ve mastered easy mode.

Finally, McCree is one of the tougher heroes to master due to the heavy recoil on his revolver.  With this in mind, Harambe designed a course for those who want to truly excel with the cowboy. Several modes are included including a speed course, a “threat mode” where the target will despawn if it isn’t hit in time, and a “Chase mode” which trains players how to better track a moving target. If you’d like to know more about any of these three modes, YouTube channel Blame The Controller explored each in detail.

“Tactical Crouching” (Code: Q6TYS, unknown creator)

Overwatch League viewers may be familiar with this euphemism, used during streams when one of the players decides it’s tea time (as a side note, the word “Teabag” will be censored if you try to use it to describe this mode, but “T-bag” works just fine). This game mode actually makes teabagging your enemies into a gameplay mechanic, where players can’t score a point until they squat repeatedly on top of a downed opponent. Normal killshots merely knock the defending player into a deep sleep, and players must confirm the kill by crouching on top of their prone enemy.

Players are limited to choosing between Hanzo, Widowmaker, and Mei for this mode, making long-range battles the rule rather than the exception. If you get knocked down but not out and a friendly player is nearby, they can perform the same action to revive you. They probably won’t respect you in the morning, though.

Super Smash Bros. (Code: V2HHF, creator Xefoxmusic)

This mode changes the damage rules rather considerably, borrowing some game mechanics from Nintendo’s Smash Bros. series. Rather than damage reducing your life total, it will instead add to a percentage shown at the top center of your heads-up display. The higher the percentage, the farther you’ll fly when you’re hit. Being knocked off the map or into the skybox by another player will give them a point. At high percentages, even a single stray bullet can send opponents careening across the map.

There’s also a 2D, side-view version of Busan (Code: EXF3R, unknown creator) which is often labeled as “Smash Bros.” in the custom game list, but it’s more of a technical showcase to demonstrate how it’s possible to lock different camera angles. It’s worth checking out as a novelty, but it’s difficult to control and in my opinion isn’t as much fun as this mode.

Pokémon battle (Code: SCYNZ, unknown creator)

Speaking of infringing on Nintendo’s copyrights, this mode lets players live out their fantasies of summoning Overwatch characters into a Pokémon battle. I’ve written at length about the similarities between the two games, so this mode has a special sort of appeal to me. I won’t deny this is a very silly mode, but it’s obviously had some thought and care put into it.

Both teams require one Mercy who acts as the Pokémon trainer, “summoning” the other five players one by one via her resurrect ability. Once both Mercies have selected their champions, they duel in the center of one of the King of the Hill stages. “Trainers” will have to choose wisely and think about their opponent’s weaknesses, for example choosing a Widowmaker to fight an enemy Pharah. Some abilities are disabled, such as Torbjorn’s turret, and Mercy can’t attack, heal, or affect the battle in any way. Damage taken carries over to the next round, though any healing abilities like Roadhog’s Take A Breather will still function as normal. Whichever team depletes the other side’s bench first wins, and the losing Mercy catches fire before blasting off like a defeated member of Team Rocket.

Character Racing (Wrecking Ball, Widowmaker, Lúcio, D. Va) (Code: JWY47, creator Daniel Fenner)
(D. Va code: BD9WP, creator Darwin)
(Lúcio ring course: PH0BJ, creator Waycoolway) (That’s a zero, not a capital O.)

Several user-created modes let players compete to see how quickly they can complete a race course. This one puts everyone behind the controls of Wrecking Ball, the murdersphere piloted by Overwatch’s hamster hero Hammond. Wrecking Ball is one of the more difficult heroes to control, so playing courses like this is a great way to practice your aim with his tether, maintaining momentum, and squeaking through small gaps on your way to the goal. This mode can also be played with Widowmaker, allowing her to zip around using her grappling hook, or with Lúcio making use of his passive wall riding ability. Fenner’s mode includes a “winner’s podium” displaying who placed first, second, and third during the race.

Some other characters also make for pretty good racers. D. Va’s thrusters make her a speed merchant, and Darwin’s course lets her fly around through a preset course high above Lijiang Tower. Gravity’s a little odd in this one, but it’s still a lot of fun. Missing a ring means you’ll have to backtrack to pick it up, so this mode favors precision more than just blind speed.

If you like the ring aspect of D. Va’s course, you may want to try Waycoolway’s Lúcio wallriding race. Set on Eichenwald, this mode will teach you some out of the way shortcuts you may not have realized existed on your way to the goal line. One nice touch is Lúcio speaking his equipped voice line whenever he passes through a ring… make sure it’s one you don’t mind hearing frequently before you start racing.

If you’re interested in wacky modes, be sure to follow Darwin on Twitter; he’s created some bizarre mods such as a homing gun that shoots Torbjorn players at the enemy. (code: F3NVC) Another favorite is his “This is Sparta” mode, (code: NEKEV) which powers up Zenyatta’s melee kicks. It works best on Ilios’ Well stage, but can be fun on any map with a cliff or other hazard.

Volleybomb (Code: V5NKR, creator Telefrag Entertainment)

Naturally, the first thing many people did when the Workshop opened up was to try and import well-known games into Overwatch. Volleybomb is one of the best of these, a simple 2v2 game of volleyball with the twist that the ball will explode if it touches the ground. This one uses the 2D perspective and limits your choice of character to either Soldier: 76 or Genji, with the former having more speed and the latter able to jump twice for trickier shots.

Reinhardt’s slam fest, a.k.a. Reinkart 64 (Code: P8DWO, unknown creator) (That one is a capital O, not a zero.)

This game mode doesn’t have anything to do with Mario Kart, except for the sense of speed and the inevitable piles of twisted metal which result from a match. It’s not even really a Workshop game, since all the tools to create it were available before the most recent patch. But it takes the best part of playing as Reinhardt and dials it up to eleven, turning Overwatch’s burliest Tank into a semi-guided missile of destruction.

In this mode every player begins as Reinhardt, but their speed and jumping abilities are greatly augmented. It’s Deathmatch, and the first player to 25 wins the game. The twist here is that Rein’s Barrier Shield, Fire Strike, and Hammer are disabled, so you can only get eliminations by charging into opponents or damaging them with Earthshatter. Charge’s cooldown is greatly reduced in this mode, so you’re basically trying to cause a 12-car pileup every few seconds.

Some of the normal rules apply, and two Reinhardts charging into one another will stop cold and knock each other down. The damage penalty for doing so has been removed though, so it’s usually better to try and counter-pin than take damage from an incoming enemy.

Domination: Three objective King of the Hill (Code: VVQ64, creator Kocq)

One of Overwatch’s biggest problems right now is that every game type only has a single objective, so a team which can stall the point usually has an easier time winning. Kocq’s mode takes advantage of the fact that all three areas of a King of the Hill map load into memory at the same time, and adds multiple objectives players must obtain and defend simultaneously. There are teleporters between the three sections of each stage, so this game mode requires players to keep an eye on which areas they control and which they should assault next. It’s a great improvement to the KotH map set, and something I hope the Overwatch League considers for future seasons.

If you decide to try this map type out, keep in mind the word “Domination” isn’t allowed in the game browser.

D. Va dogfight: Star Battle (Code: W2ZMG, unknown creator)

This mode places a pack of D. Va pilots high in the skies above Horizon Lunar Colony and gives them a few extra tools to make sure they never need to come down for a landing. It’s not quite a 3D space shooter like X-Wing Vs. Tie Fighter, but it’s about as close as you’re going to get without buying a copy of EA’s Star Wars: Battlefront. Protip: Pilot D. Va doesn’t last too long in the vacuum of space, so try not to let your MEKA take too much damage.

Multiplayer Flappy Pharah (Code: P3DNC, creator Thriver9)

Flappy Bird was a strange phenomenon when it stormed mobile devices in 2014. Undeniably simple, it’s deceptively addictive to try and beat your high score while avoiding as many obstacles as possible. It didn’t take long for someone to bring the game to Overwatch, but as far as I know this is the only version which allows up to six players to challenge the same course simultaneously. Instead of a pixelly cyclops canary, you control Pharah, the jetpack-wearing rocketeer. Apart from that, the rules are pretty similar. Avoid the green bars and get as far as you can without crashing into something or falling off the map.

These are just a few of the many, many modes already available to experiment with. New ones are being added all the time, and you can browse through the entries at https://overwatchforge.com/, or just load up the custom games menu and try a few out.  We’d love to give credit where it’s due, so if you know who came up with the game modes which weren’t attributed, please tell us in the comments. And if you have a favorite Workshop game mode we missed, let us know! The sky’s the limit, and there’s no telling where the next great game idea might come from.