Top 10 classic 2D and 3D pixel voxel art video games

23.02.2023 0 By admin

Are you a fan of pixel art video games? Well, if so, look no further.

After a year away we’re once again showcasing ranking our top 10 classic 2D and 3D pixel voxel art video games that we just can’t get enough of.

How much as this list changed over time and is your favourite included? Let’s find out? Let’s begin at number 10 with Undertale, a game developed and published by Toby Fox that was released in 2015.

Even after all this time, Undertale continues to stand out due to it’s compelling story, memorable characters, it’s simple and yet charming pixel art and innovative gameplay Mechanics.

For anyone new to the game, players take on the role of a child who has fallen into a world inhabited by monsters who have been exiled there by humans.

Players must navigate their way around this World interacting with the monsters while making choices that determine the ultimate outcome of the game.

Combat is turn based although players don’t necessarily need to attack these so called enemies, players can try to befriend them which again results in different endings.

As I touched upon earlier, while the pixel art is relatively simple, its supremely effective at conveying emotion and personality.

Each character has a distinct look and feel, they all have unique animations and design traits helping them to stand out from each other Paired with this overall look and feel is Undertale’s ability to connect with players at an emotional level.

In preparing for this rundown, I played the game once more from start to finish and yet again was taken aback in how its themes of empathy, kindness and friendship are deftly portrayed with the choices you make in game feeling hefty and emotional.

Undertale is playable on just about anything and remains a standout game and is as well worth playing in 2023 as it was upon its launch in 2015.

Up next and the first new entry in this rundown of the best pixel art games to play in 2023 we have Bonfire Peaks.

Released in 2021 and developed by Corey Martin it takes its place in this showcase for its stunning visuals, emotional storytelling and its unique puzzling sections.

Bonfire Peaks sees you on an island tasked with solving puzzles and getting around obstacles in order to make your way to the top of a bonfire at the top of the island.

To do this, players must solve intricate puzzles that on many occasions require creative and lateral thinking.

The difficulty level feels well-paced with puzzles building on what players have learned from earlier in the game.

This game can be a challenge although none of the puzzles feel obtuse or designed to be frustrating.

Like all good puzzlers, Bonfire Peaks has that ability to make you the player feel smart as you progress with same of the puzzles, especially in the end game, are particularly satisfying and offer an exquisite emotional pay off.

Aside from the puzzling, another glorious aspect of Bonfire Peaks comes from its 3D Pizel art work.

The vibrancy of the colours used when paired with the stunning design and attention to detail all add to the overall feeling of immersion as does the use of the atmospheric lighting and weather effects.

While the underlying back story of the protagonist is somewhat vague, this allows players to interpret the story and associated themes in their own way which makes this game a deeply personal and emotional experience that stayed with me long after I completed it.

There’s a follow up DLC due out on the 2nd of March called Bonfire Peaks Lost Memories and I’m tremendously excited to see how the story progresses and what the developers have implemented puzzle wise in this new offering.

At number 8 we have one of the games that truly raised the profile of indie gaming to a wider audience.

Sure, it takes its inspirations from such games as Harvest Moon and Story of Seasons with its social mechanics of relationship building and such coming from the likes of the The Sims and Animal Crossing.

While it might seem an obvious choice to sit in this rundown given its almost universal critical acclaim and popularity, that’s because it is.

The importance and impact of this title on the indie gaming cannot be brushed off or overstated.

It inspired countless other farming sim games with it influencing developers to produce immersive storytelling, deep and meaningful gameplay all within charming worlds and simple but effective paired back visuals.

I hardly feel this game needs more than a cursory introduction although here goes.

You take on the role of a character who inherits a rundown farm with you looking do build the place back to it’s former glory.

The game sees you planting and harvesting crops, raising livestock, mining, fishing and socialising with the other tonsfolk you live with.

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It offers a deeply relaxing pace of gameplay that in places hides a loop that’s pleasantly addictive.

I adore how much of the gameplay is centred on socialising and building relationships with the townsfolk.

It’s just, wel it’s just so wholesome as is the beautiful pixel art that while simple, is stunningly implemented with a wide variety of environments and character design.

Stardew Valley also holds a special place with me personally.

Both my children really got into the game a few years ago when we moved to the Netherlands.

The music was always to be heard across our little home with both of them really enjoying just simply playing the game with it’s immersive storytelling.

I can’t envisage a time where I wont keep coming back to play this – it’s likely to remain a personal classic as long as I live.

Up next and at number 7 Eastward came out in 2021 and follows the story of a miner called John and a young girl named Sam as they journey across a post-apocalyptic world full of monsters, strange ruins and mysterious secrets.

I’m often on the record in saying I’m not usually a fan of co-operation based puzzlers although Eastward positively nails this kind of gameplay mechanic.

You’re able to switch between the two characters at any time each of whom have their own unique abilities and strengths you can use to explore the game’s world, battle enemies and solve environmental based puzzles.

For example, John carries a trusty frying pan and is able to smash enemies in the face at close range.

On the other hand, Sam is armed with a laser beam so is able to deliver ranged attacks.

John’s also able to throw Sam across gaps and up to high ledges where she’s able to through switches that open doors and make a viable path for john.

All this makes for what’s intuitive puzzling where you are encouraged to think laterally and make use of your character’s abilities.

These characters are also a highlight with their relationship evolving into the core of the games emotional story which gradually unfolds with it exploring themes such as family and friendship.

It’s all fully relatable that feels natural and organic with it also using subtle humour which is superbly judged throughout.

In places the story is somewhat complex with the plot twisting and turning which kept me guessing and also wanting to play more to find out how everything ends.

Overall, I really enjoyed Eastward and would love to see a follow up at some point in the future.

At number 6, Katana Zero is another new entry for our 2023 pixel art showcase with it’s fast paced action, striking visual style and engaging story.

Players take on the role of a mysterious samurai assassin tasked with killing a series of targets using a variety of weapons and abilities.

Overall the combat here is a particular high point – it’s fast and fluid with each strike feeling solid and satisfying.

There’s also the ability to use a “slow-mo” mechanic that allows players to slow down time which affords the ability to plan your attacks in real time adding another element of strategy to the gameplay.

Beyond the intuitive combat, Katana Zero impresses with its striking visual style.

Its mix of pixel art and hand drawn animations with the garish neon’s create such an impressive immersive world that’s simply a pure joy to head out and explore.

However, for me, as has become more and more important over the past few years, the real reason Katana Zero is in this year’s rundown comes down to how the game set out and delivers on its story.

While I can’t talk about this too much for fear of spoilers, the plot is supremely engaging that’s full of unexpected twists that seconded guessed me from start until finish.

The games protagonist is exceptionally well written with a tragic back story that reveals itself over the course of the game via flashbacks and dialogue sequences with other characters.

I’m also a huge fan of the writing and dialogue which is sharp and witty with plenty of lore for players to get their heads around.

What’s more, I’m fairly sure given the ending we’re in for a follow up in the not too distant future and to be quite honest, I can hardly wait.

At the halfway point and at number 5 and while released in 2014, Shovel Knight is rightly considered one of the best modern examples of the retro-style platforming genre.

It positively drips with nostalgia of classic games from the 80’s and 90’s with it’s retro inspired 8-bit art and chiptune music easily transports me back to the era where we used to blow the dust out of our game cartridges.

You’ll often here people talk about a game that feel tight to control and that perfectly describes what it feels like to play Shovel Knight even all this time after it’s original release.

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Sure the game has received several updates over the years so any quality of life issues will have been addressed and yet even so, the thrill of how responsive the characters movement, jumps and attacks never fail to raise a smile and deliver a huge feeling of gratification.

As does the games storyline which is a classic tale of adventure and heroism which follows the titular Shovel Knight as he sets out to defeat the evil Enchantress and rescue his partner called Shield Knight.

On the face of things, that’s not particularly deep although if you look closer, the relationship between these two individuals is told in a touching and caring manor that come the endgame, you’d be one cold hearted so and so not to feel a twinge of empathy and understanding.

Likewise, the game’s also full of memorable characters with each of the bosses having their own back stories and motivations that you learn as the game progresses.

The Enchantress in another particular high point with a tragic past whom makes a compelling villain.

As I mentioned earlier, the game has received several updates over the years with additional quest lines, new characters and additional game modes which have all added something to what was already brilliant.

Overall Shovel Knight remains a must play game for anyone of any age who delights in platformers and classic games in general.

There’s little wonder with its nod to nostalgia, its tight gameplay, memorable characters and how great it looks and sounds that its considered as one of the all-time greats of indie gaming.

At number 4 coming out in 2018.

Celeste is a truly stunning and challenging platformer which blends its gorgeous pixel art, a moving story and some of the finest platforming yet seen in any video game.

The game follows the story and a journey of a young women as they look to climb the titular mountain.

Along the way she encounters her inner demons with a truly relatable tale about personal growth, overcoming self-doubt and the importance is self-acceptance in achieving our goals.

The game also doesn’t shy away from looking into themes of mental health and wellbeing.

It portrays Madeline’s struggles with anxiety and depression in a sensitive and authentic way which.

Make it a powerful and empowering experience.

It is in places exceptionally challenging although the learning curve is relatively steady.

Another area where Celeste excels comes from the implementation of a number of accessibility options which allow players of differencing skill levels the access and opportunity to enjoy the game until completion.

Such options include controller remapping, the ability to change the size of the subtitles, colour blind options and other opportunities to say remove screen shake and any flashing lights.

However, the real stork of genius with the accessibility options in Celeste comes from the addition of an assist mode.

This offers players numerous options such as invisibility, unlimited dashes, slow motion and more.

All of this helps make Celeste a wonderfully inclusive game where difficulty isn’t a gate keeper for consumption.

Then finally, we can’t ignore how all of this looks.

The pixel art is impressive throughout with the characters and environments stunning from the get-go.

Everything is a visual treat accompanied by an atmospheric soundtrack that perfectly sits alongside the visuals and aforementioned themes of the game.

If you haven’t yet, Celeste is honestly a must play for any indie game fan, I cannot recommend it enough.

At number three another new entry in the form of the 3D voxel pixel art rendered a Short Hike.

For a little piece of contextual information, A Short Hike is the only game I’ve ever Platinumed on the Play Station so that should give a little indication on how much I hold this game in regard.

Released in 2019 players take on the role of a bird called Claire who while on vacation sets out to climb to the top of Hawk Peak Provincial Park.

Along the way players can explore a rich and colourful world filled with interesting characters, hidden secrets and some wonderfully delightful mini-games.

One of the reasons I’ve gelled so well with a Short Hike and something that sets it apart from other games stems from its emphasis on self-guided exploration and game induced relaxation.

There’s only one section of the game where I’d say there’s any real sense of jeopardy involving one of the mini games which sees you race a speed boat against the clock.

The rest of the game simply asks you to potter around, explore the environment and get to know the people you meet along the way.

Apart from exploring and the afore mentioned speed boat mini game, you can have a go at fishing, beach stick ball and if you fancy it.

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take on one of the parks visitors at parkour.

I also really appreciate the games non liner approach.

Players can set out and explore the park at their own pace and their own way.

I liked the lack of hand holding although some may find the games lack of structure and guidance a frustration with players potentially getting stuck with what they should be looking to do next.

If that’s you, well I’d simply suggest getting out and about and taking in all of the utterly stunning 3D pixel art work and sound track which together with the associated sound effects bring out the parks vibrancy and personality.

Overall, a Short Hike is a triumph one I keep coming back to when I fancy something light hearted and wonderfully, unashamedly casual.

At number 2 having lost its place as the pixel art game we’d like to play the most if asked right now, Dead Cells is yet another staggering achievement that’s seen many updates and DLC since it first came out in 2018.

For a while, I considered this the greatest indie game ever made having since been bettered, in my personal subjective opinion by Hades and Sam Barlow’s Immortality.

In places and depending on a number of possibilities, Dead Cells can be a staggeringly difficult game where the thrill of the combat keeps me coming back over and over.

The action is always fast, always fluid and usually pretty brutal.

I’m a huge fan of the weapon system where they each have their own unique playstyles, upgrades and buffs to make them even more deadly to your opponents.

All of this is also procedurally generated so each run through is different which is another attraction in picking this up for one of those, well I’ll just have another go moments.

The progression system is also a huge part of wanting to keep playing with you able to unlock new areas, new abilities and find any number of hidden secrets as you explore.

Even though the game is procedurally generated, the level designs are excuisite, I cant recall having come up against an area that doesn’t feel natural, as natural, if that makes sense, or heavily contrived.

Then of course there’s the visual art style which is again is exquisite.

All in, Dead Cells is incredible with a new DLC entitled Return to Castlevania expected out on March 6th.

So we have a new number 1 of Pixel Art games we’d rather play if asked this early 2023.

Now for me, Vampire Survivors came from nowhere.

I didn’t know it had been in Early Access since December of 2021 or there was by launch towards the tale end of last year, a dedicated fan base waiting for others to discover the game’s unadulterated magic.

Now let’s be honest, Vampire Survivors is hardly a looker, reminding me of a Flash based browser game from the Windows 98 era, and yet, it’s compelling gameplay and addictive progression system with it sitting on Game Pass has yet again shown us that looks, and art style can happily take a back seat to straight up challenge, gameplay, and enjoyment.

So, setting aside how all of this looks, what’s the secret sauce that makes Vampire Survivors so special.

To me as I play this in early 2023 it’s the sense of satisfaction this game gives me when playing it that’s elevated this one above all the other games in the run down.

I totally understand how hard it is to accurately convey this, particularly if you’ve yet to play it.

There’s some so wonderfully satisfying in seeing away a screen full of nasties with your weapons with you knowing that at this particular point in the game you are all but invincible.

It’s so utterly charming and when you do finally die or the game ends for you for reasons I’ll not spoil, the chance to have another go, to once again see what you can pull together with your weapons and their buffs is incredibly Moorish.

So yes, I love this game and in the few months I’ve been playing it, it has become my most loved pixel art game I can play at this point in 2023.

Vampire Survivors is available on Windows, Xbox and mobile platforms.

So there we go many thanks for watching.

Is your favourite pixel art game in this rundown? Let us know in the comments and likewise if it isn’t.

Please be sure to like the video and subscribe to the channel and we’ll see you all again soon for another indie game video.