Aside from being great time-killers that draw us in with their fun gameplay and engaging storylines, video games are also visual masterpieces. From the days of simple and basic pixels to the now shockingly unique and realistic graphics, video games have truly become a canvas for digital art. And the most amazing thing is, each game expresses a different art style, evoking different emotions and feelings that enhance our overall experience. To really share our appreciation for video game artists, today we’re going to look at five video games that have unique and stunning art. Let’s see if any of your favourites are on here!
Limbo is an independent game developed by the company, Playdead, that pulls you into a beautiful monochromatic world with an unforgettable aesthetic. Completely drenched in shades of black and white, the art presents a haunting, dreamlike atmosphere that feels like a gothic fairy tale brought to life. This choice of minimalist visuals is perfect for the game, helping to enhance the game’s underlying themes of loneliness, fear, and the fragility of life. But amidst all the shadowy landscapes and silhouetted figures, it’s the small change in subtleties, like a glint of light or sudden movement, that really captures the player’s attention; it’s such a clever way to build a sense of uneasiness in the player. Wonderfully capturing the phrase “less is sometimes more”, Limbo proves that simplicity and a limited colour palette are definitely enough to create a compelling and visually beautiful game.
If Limbo is a grim, black-and-white masterpiece, then Journey by Thatgamecompany is a vibrant and fluid watercolour painting. In this game, players travel through a sweeping desert landscape as they slowly journey toward a distant mountain peak. Although the art style is minimalistic, it’s visually striking and is able to evoke strong emotions and convey narratives without uttering a single word. There’s a warmth to the graphics, with the saturated hues of the desert sand creating a mesmerizing experience. What’s really amazing in Journey though is the dynamic wind and cloth physics - it completely elevates the overall visual experience.
3. The Last of Us
Developed by the company Naughty Dog, The Last of Us combines emotional storytelling with the power of detailed and realistic art. This popular post-apocalyptic saga takes players through a broken world infested with zombies. As you watch the cut scenes throughout this game, the art is so good it’ll feel like you’re watching a movie. The visuals alone are able to craft a chilling atmosphere, with the artists demonstrating their masterful talents by using lighting and texture to invoke a sense of desolation and eerieness. Every scene and every moment of this game is a meticulously crafted visual story, bringing fear and anxiety to the player, but also hope. Despite its grim setting, The Last of Us manages to find beauty among all the destruction, painting a realistic picture of true resilience.
A fantastic tribute to 1930s animation, Cuphead is a run-and-gun platform game developed by Studio MDHR. This game mimics the aesthetic of vintage cartoons, utilizing beautiful hand-drawn animation, watercolour backgrounds, and original jazz compositions. Completely different from anything else on this list, Cuphead is a work of art for any big fan of retro culture. The visual appeal lies in its authenticity, with every frame echoing the exaggerated expressions and movements of early Disney and Fleischer Studios cartoons. Despite the game’s notorious difficulty level, the colourful visuals and fluid animations keep players coming back for more. As a spectacular fusion of old and new, Cuphead proves that traditional art styles can still be revitalized within the digital age of video games.
Marrying classical mythology with a modern, vibrant art style, Hades, created by Supergiant Games, is a roguelike game that’s a feast for the eyes. Boasting bold and unique graphics that feel reminiscent of comic books, the intensely saturated colours, crisp lines, and exaggerated character designs add to the addictiveness of this game. As players traverse through the Underworld fighting for Zagreus’ freedom, they’ll notice that every element is carefully designed. From the fiery pits of Tartarus to the lush gardens of Elysium, there are so many little details added to the environment that make the visuals pop. The greatest artistic accomplishment in Hades though is the character art - the artists were able to showcase the diverse personalities of the gods, heroes, and monsters just with their appearance.
Like any other form of art, video games also offer artists an opportunity to express their creativity and imagination. Thanks to these brilliant minds, we’re blessed with these five games that have the most mind-blowing, stunning, and beautiful artwork. Each offers a distinct visual experience, but they all share one thing in common: the ability to enhance your gaming experience.