Pixel art has seen a resurgence in video games in recent times. More and more indie game developers are looking to this art style in order to create retro style video games that resonate with the nostalgic feelings of gamers towards 16-bit or even 8-bit games. However, not every game is created equally and it goes without saying that pixel art is sometimes really beautiful but sometimes just really not. Just look at Undertale, it’s one of the most popular indie games ever created but it goes without saying that the overworld leaves a lot to be desired.
However, instead of looking at the ugly examples, let’s take a look at some games that did pixel art beautifully. Here are my top picks for games with most amazing looking pixel art.
This wildly successful popular takes its inspiration from 8-bit 2D sidescrolling platformers and pulls off the look astonishingly well. The great thing about Shovel Knight’s visuals is it takes inspiration from the 8-bit genre but the developers don’t limit themselves to the limitations that the 8-bit games had. Shovel Knight features a right color palette that would have never been possible on the old NES systems. Shovel Knight is available on every platform.
Despite only being released in January this year, Celeste has already found its way to the heart of many gamers. One of the reasons why definitely has to do with the game’s beautiful pixel art. The game is another perfect example of how to take inspiration from retro games without limiting yourself to their format. Besides looking beautiful, the game’s visuals also do an amazing job of conveying information, which is a necessity in such a high-paced platformer. The game is available on the Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
Enter the Gungeon
Enter the Gungeon is exactly what you would expect from a game that’s all about guns, absolutely insane. Fortunately, the developers created fantastic looking pixel art in order to convey all the information that the player needs while playing through this absurd shooter. The character and enemy designs also fit the game perfectly. All enemies have clear attack animations but also received some silly designs based on gun puns. All in all, it makes for a gorgeous visual presentation. The game is available on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
The development of Owlboy took a ridiculously long amount of time, clocking in at a total of 9 years. Luckily all the work paid off as the game looks stunning. All the pixel art is hand drawn and will blow your mind. In order to create such a visual experience, the game doesn’t jump back in time to the 8-bit era but goes for a rather modern look. While playing through the game it would be wise to take a break every now and then in order to just take in the amazing background art that you might otherwise not focus on. It’s available on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
Hyper Light Drifter
Another game that is often praised for its astounding visuals is Hyper Light Drifter. The indie game takes inspiration from old-school top-down RPGs but infuses it with sci-fi and post-apocalyptic designs. Overall the visuals are quite clear but sometimes might get a big clustered. The game also tells it’s overarching story mainly through visuals. This means that the visuals are a critical part of the game which makes the entire experience only more memorable. Hyper Light Drifter is available on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.