Welcome to a world of pixelated perfection and 2D gaming excellence! In this blog, we’ll dive into a realm of gaming where nostalgia and modernity collide, where stunning visuals and compelling stories are brought to life in the classic 2D format. From emotional and atmospheric adventures to heart-pounding action, we’ve curated a list of the best 2D games that will keep you entertained for hours.
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The indie adventure platformer Rain World plunges you into an eerie but captivating world where your mission is to survive. Playing as a nomadic slugcat, you must navigate a fractured ecosystem where you’re both a cunning predator and potential prey. Armed with nothing but your wits and a trusty spear, you’ll embark on an unforgettable journey through the industrial wasteland.
The game is visually stunning and draws inspiration from the golden age of 16-bit classics, capturing the nostalgia and charm of retro gaming. But don’t let the pixel aesthetic fool you, the gameplay is as modern and challenging as ever.
Ori and the Blind Forest & Ori and the Will of the Wisps
These two Metroidvanias hit hard, so make sure you have some tissues handy when you play them. Set in the heart of the dying forest of Nibel, the first installment weaves the compelling tale of a young orphan destined for greatness.
Brought to life with hand-painted artwork, Ori and the Blind Forest takes you on a journey through a lush, vibrant world that’s nothing short of breathtaking. With every screen you explore, you’ll be met with a cascade of vibrant colors and individually crafted backgrounds that provide a visual feast for the eyes. It’s not just a game; it’s a work of art, and you’ll find yourself pausing to take in the sheer beauty of the landscapes.
The sequel, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, is everything we hoped for and more. You’ll need the courage of your life to reunite a fractured family, repair a world in turmoil, and uncover Ori’s true purpose. The graphics and original orchestrated soundtrack are as immersive and beautiful as its predecessor. These breathtaking masterpieces are two of the best 2D games we’ve ever played and will stay with you long after you’ve put down your controller or mouse.
Let’s go from emotional and atmospheric gameplay straight to the action roguelite bullet hell that is Vampire Survivors. The game world is overrun by nightmarish creatures and your only chance is to mow down thousands of these abominations and cling to life until dawn. It’s a relentless battle where your choices pave the way to your salvation or doom.
The gameplay is minimalistic, yet incredibly addictive. As you traverse this dark realm, collect precious gold with each run to unlock upgrades and increase your chances of survival. But remember, death is inevitable; all you can do is hold on for as long as you can.
Cult of the Lamb
We couldn’t make a list of the best 2D games without mentioning Cult of the Lamb, which made it into our top 10 single-player games of 2022. This action-roguelike dungeon crawler caught our eye with its cute art style and won us over with its dark humor and addictive gameplay. Play as a possessed lamb on a divine mission to found your own devoted cult!
But the road to cult supremacy isn’t easy. You’ll need to gather precious resources, construct unique structures, and perform sinister rituals to appease the gods who watch over your efforts. With your trusted followers at your side, you’ll venture into diverse and mysterious regions, ready to spread the word and become the one true cult that will reign supreme. The fate of your cult rests in your hooves!
Get ready to lace up those iconic red sneakers and embark on an electrifying adventure through the mystical Northstar Islands in Sonic Superstars. This thrilling twist on the classic 2D Sonic high-speed action platformer will take you on a wild ride like no other. As Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, and Amy, you’ll harness the awesome powers of the Chaos Emeralds, enabling you to move and attack in dynamic new ways.
Jump into action with full 3D graphics that breathe new life into the beloved 2D Sonic universe. Sonic Superstars features a dazzling new setting and gameplay mechanics that will challenge even the most seasoned Sonic fans. You’ve never experienced classic Sonic like this, and it’s a wild, twisting, and looping journey you won’t want to miss.
Sea of Stars
2023 had a lot of amazing game releases, and the turn-based RPG Sea of Stars made it straight to our list of the best 2D games. This game invites you to step into a world where the sun and the moon hold the key to unraveling a spellbinding tale. Two children of the solstice are your protagonists, who use the powers of the sun and the moon to perform eclipse magic.
If you have fond memories of classic RPGs from the Super Nintendo era, then Sea of Stars is the perfect game for you. With a top-down perspective and turn-based combat, it evokes the nostalgia of legendary retro RPGs like Chrono Trigger. The combat system is quite unique – you must synchronize your actions with character animations to maximize damage output while minimizing incoming damage.
The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth
Get ready for an adrenaline-pumping journey into the dark and twisted world of The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, where action meets roguelike in a pixelated 2D dungeon crawler adventure. If you’re a fan of challenging games with immense replay value and a killer soundtrack, this indie gem will become your obsession.
You play as Isaac, a young boy who must navigate the labyrinthine depths of his basement while dealing with grotesque monstrosities, sibling rivalry, and a deeply unsettling quest for survival. The game’s rogue-like elements ensure that every playthrough is unique, with randomly generated levels and bizarre treasures that grant Isaac extraordinary powers. It’s a game that demands strategy, quick reflexes, and an unwavering will to survive.
If you thought Dark Souls II was hard, let us tell you that we probably struggled just as hard with the indie platformer Cuphead. This game is a hand-drawn masterpiece that pays homage to the cartoon classics of the 1930s while delivering an unforgettable (and sometimes frustrating) gaming experience.
Cuphead and Mugman, two lovable mugs with a debt to repay to the devil, are your heroes on an epic quest filled with humor and high-stakes action. Each boss encounter is a quirky, challenging puzzle to solve, requiring split-second reflexes and precision. If you’re a fan of the colorful, the hilarious, the atmospheric, and the unforgettable, Cuphead is a must-play.
Another title that shouldn’t be missing from any list of the best 2D games is Noita. This indie gem is a roguelike masterpiece that weaves together the best elements of action, RPG, and dungeon crawling, all combined with stunning 2D pixel graphics and drenched in dark humor.
Noita throws you headlong into a dangerous world where danger lurks around every corner. With perma-death as your ever-present companion, you’ll need wit, cunning, and an arsenal of spells to survive. What sets Noita apart is its magic system. Craft spells on the fly by mixing elements to create an array of devastating abilities. Freeze enemies in place, melt obstacles into oblivion, or simply burn your way to glory – the choice is yours.
LIMBO is an indie masterpiece that showcases the power of minimalism in gaming. This puzzle platformer will take you on an unforgettable journey through a haunting and atmospheric adventure. The game world is filled with surreal beauty, painted in shades of black and gray, evoking an indescribable sense of dread and wonder.
Your purpose in this ominous realm is clear, yet shrouded in mystery. You play as a young boy who, unsure of his sister’s fate, embarks on a harrowing quest to find her. The absence of dialogue and text creates a deep sense of immersion, allowing the atmosphere of the game to tell its own story. If you’re looking for a dark, atmospheric, and surreal adventure, LIMBO is an experience not to be missed.
The turn-based strategy game Inkulinati may have one of the most unique concepts we’ve ever seen in a game. In this whimsical world, medieval manuscripts come to life in all their hilarious and hand-drawn glory. It’s a place where the quills are mightier than the swords!
At its core, Inkulinati is a roguelite experience. With every move and every decision, you’re not only shaping your path to victory, you’re crafting your very own bestiary. The creatures you choose and the tactics you employ, all play a pivotal role in your quest for glory. Deckbuilding is a crucial aspect of your journey. Choose wisely and you’ll have a harmonious strategy that can defeat even the most renowned medieval superstars.
Bread & Fred
This next game not only has adorable penguins but also some of the funniest Steam reviews we have ever read. In Bread & Fred, you take on the role of the titular penguins, who are, let’s face it, the cutest pair of flightless birds you’ve ever seen. But don’t let their cute looks fool you; this game is not for the faint of heart. It’s a precision platformer that requires pinpoint timing, precise jumping, and an almost telepathic sense of cooperation between you and your partner (or Jeff the Rock).
Your mission? Conquer the treacherous snowy summit, navigating your way through a relentless blizzard of challenges. But there’s a catch – Bread and Fred are attached to each other, so you won’t just fall together; you can harness the power of momentum to swing and launch each other across gaps no single penguin could ever dream of clearing. Teamwork and timing are the keys to success, but beware – when you both go airborne, it’s a long way down!
Super Meat Boy
The last game on our list of the best 2D games is none other than Super Meat Boy, another precision platformer. In this pixelated adventure, you take on the role of a courageous animated cube of meat who is determined to rescue his bandage-wrapped girlfriend from the clutches of an evil fetus in a dapper tuxedo. Yes, you read that right. This game takes quirky to a whole new level!
Our meaty hero doesn’t hesitate to leap into action, scaling walls, hurdling over oceans of menacing buzz saws, and braving crumbling caves and pools of treacherous old needles. With practice, determination, and a little luck, you’ll conquer this 2D masterpiece, and the sense of accomplishment you’ll feel is worth every challenge.
Are you missing some games that you think should be on our list of the best 2D games? We have some bonus recommendations for you that we’ve already talked about in other blogs. Check out our list of the best open-world games to learn more about the survival game Terraria, and our blog about pixel games for Dave the Diver and other 2D gems.
Of course, we also have to mention Stardew Valley, which you can read about in our blog with game recommendations for kids. If you’re looking for some 2D souls-likes, check out our blog about the best souls-likes, which includes some of our favorites such as Hollow Knight and Blasphemous II.
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We’re your one-stop destination for unlocking a world of codes and mods for all of the games on this as well as a massive library of over 4,000 games and counting. We’re all about customizing your single-player experience, so our codes won’t work in multiplayer and you won’t get banned!
From unlocking Godmode in Ori and the Blind Forest to unlimited lives in Cuphead to free cooking in Cult of the Lamb, we have your back in every situation. We’re always on the ball with updates, so you never have to worry about patches.
Should you ever need help or have questions, our friendly customer support team is always ready to help. Plus, our vibrant forum and lively Discord community are buzzing with fellow gamers who share your passion.