Sadly, modern games with pixel graphics are far and few to come by. Because of the industry’s focus on cutting-edge graphics, we must rely on indie developers to keep the style alive. But that isn’t to say that great pixel art games are not still being made. Because indie developers do not have the same limitations as big companies, they can take risks that have resulted in some of the best games with pixel graphics ever made.
Best Modern Games With Pixels Graphics
10. Shovel Knight
Shovel Knight is a 2D side-scrolling platform game that uses 8-bit sprites to pay tribute to retro gaming. As the name would suggest, you play as a knight that uses a shovel as his weapon on his quest. The game lovingly combines several popular games’ best features into one amazing masterpiece. Many gamers consider it to be one of the best games of all time, partially due to the nostalgia factor. It has gone on to release three additional campaigns and has two spinoff games in the works. Any fan of 8-bit graphics will love Shovel Knight because of its retro look and modern feel.
Honesty, Broforce was going to be number 10. But I thought people would see it and think ‘O, it’s that type of list” and stop reading. As you can see I think of BroForce as a guilty pleasure because it is such a ridiculously dumb game. Action gameplay filled with dodging bullets and wasting enemies It’s hard not to have a good time. The best part of the game is the large selection of playable characters. Each one is a sprite-based version of a classic 80s movie action heroes making it hard to pick a favorite. Over the year they have continued to add new heroes, with over 35 being in the game as of today.
8. Dead Cells
Dead Cell is an exploration filled pixel game that was released in 2018. Its mixture of rouge-lite and Metrovania gameplay has to lead to it being called the first ‘Rougevania’ game of the genre. It has beautiful pixel graphics and a nonlinear progression system that both allow for fun exploration. Dead Cells also sports unforgiving gameplay and tough combat. Due to the game not having checkpoints, the player will have to learn from their mistakes and restart from the beginning whenever they die. As you learn new skills, levels that once slowed you down will now be flown through like a breeze. Dead Cells makes the list of best modern games with pixel graphics because of its frustrating yet fun gameplay.
Littlewood is a big city building game made with tiny sprites. The game follows a hero after he saved the world from an evil dark wizard and must return to mundane life. As you start your own town you must collect the things needed for your community to thrive. This means you will harvest, mine, explore, make friends and so much more. This game really packs a lot of stuff into such a small package.
6. Hyper Light Drifter
Hyper Light Drifter is a fast-paced action-adventure RPG made with eye-catching pixel graphics. The contrasting colors pay respect to 16bit classics while the game itself uses modernized mechanics to maximize enjoyment. The game embraces its classic roots while using today’s technology to bring ideas to fruition that were not possible 30 years ago. The fast gameplay will make you forget that it is actually nothing more than a Legend of Zelda clone. As you explore the 2D map, you encounter enemies, fight bosses, and unlock additional skills. These skills will allow you to unlock new areas of the map and explore even further. Everything considered it is a great game for any fan of pixel art and action-filled gameplay.
Undertale is an eerie role-playing horror game created by indie game maker Toby Fox. It follows a young boy trapped in a supernatural realm inhabited by monsters known as the Underground. While looking for your way out you encounter all types of various monsters, each with their own motives. Strangely, the game’s combat is reminiscent of bullet-hell games as opposed to standard turn-based combat. What makes this game really original is that you can beat it without killing anyone. Unlike other games where the player is forced to rake up a body count, Undertale allows you to finish every fight peacefully. For being a horror-themed game, it is really quite wholesome.
Owlboy is a game that was released in 2016 after nearly ten years of development. It has been described as a “strange masterpiece” because of its generic but lovable gameplay. The game has very detailed sprites making it beautiful to look at while playing. We added the game to our list because of the dedication behind the creators. They had an idea in mind and worked on it until they knew the game was ready to be released. I believed the final product was well worth the wait. Any gamer will enjoy flying around the decaying chunks of landmasses while carrying friends and objects.
3. Hotline Miami
Hotline Miami is a high-speed action game popular because of its violence, intense gunplay, and grotesque close combat. Being set during 1989 in an alternative dimension version of Maimi allowed for a very unique pixel art style. A sequel named ‘Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number’ was released three years later featuring family action and sprite work. Since its debut, Hotline Miami has become a cult video game with a large and loyal fanbase. Hotline Miami is a great example of how classic gameplay and art styles can still make for great games.
Terraria is an extremely popular game that has sunk its teeth into millions of gamers. My girlfriend has bought the game 4 times already(Switch, iPhone, PC, Tablet), and I’m sure she isn’t done. Because of its simple sprite work, Terraria can be confused with being a simple game. But after you spend some time with it, you understand why it is one of the best freeform games ever made. With intense boss fights, biomes to explore, and crafty base-building, Terraria can be described as the perfect game. All in a 2D pixel style. They say the best gifts come in small packages and, with a file size under 100MB, Terraria proves that to be true.
1. Stardew Valley
Stardew Valley is a great little game that gave us gamers something we wanted for a very long time. A Harvest Moon style farming game for the computer. And aside from being a faithful recreation, Stardew Valley was able to add new elements that improved the genre as a whole. Along with the generic farming and town life gameplay, Stardew Valley added small elements of combat and exploration. The refreshing gameplay and beautiful pixel sprites made it easy to place as number one on our list of modern games with pixel graphics.
Do you have any of the games on our list? Do you know of any games that should have been included but weren’t? If you said YES to either question, let us know in the comments.