If the mundane visuals of everyday gaming are leaving you yearning for something more then what you are essentially seeking is a game with an artistic sense.
While the majority of the games try to aim for a photo-realistic art style whereby they try to mimic real-life visuals as closely as possible, others dare to differ.
These games are aimed to appease the cravings of an artistic soul and are thus considered masterpieces in visual appeal or visual storytelling.
In this article, I will paint a vibrant tapestry of digital masterpieces. You’ll find games that have pushed the boundaries of artistic expression, merging gameplay with aesthetic brilliance.
From the whimsical and quirky to the poignant and melancholic, each game on this list boasts a unique and captivating art style that will leave a lasting impression on your heart and mind.
1. Journey (2012)
I am sure you saw this one from miles away. This game is one of the finest examples of what an artistic masterpiece and visual storytelling looks like.
In this game, you traverse the golden sands of Journey’s vast desert.
As you travel you’ll find yourself immersed in a world that feels like a living painting. The minimalist, emotive art style, coupled with its enchanting soundtrack, creates a truly unforgettable experience.
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2. Disco Elysium (2019)
Disco Elysium takes the importance of cheap framed custom wall art style to the narrative-driven RPG genre. Now the game itself needs no introduction. It is a masterpiece on its own with a multitude of 10/10 and various accolades under its belt.
You cannot put your finger on just one aspect of the game and call that its hallmark feature. That is simply not possible. From gameplay to storytelling, every single aspect of this game is a masterpiece.
But what stands out the most, in my opinion, is the art style of this game.
Disco Elysium’s art style masterfully blends hand-painted, detailed environments with distinctive character designs. You could say that the game takes its inspiration from abstract expressionism.
But in short, this game is an experience to behold, if not for the gameplay, for the visual aesthetics for sure.
3. Elden Ring (2022)
Elden Ring is what happens when you marry photorealism with feelings of awe and dread.
And that is what the visuals of Elden Ring perfectly capture. Perhaps the best way to describe the art style of the game would be “hauntingly-beautiful”.
It feels both real and mythical. Almost like you have been teleported to a world that feels and looks realistic, but with a mystical layer to it.
Of course, the game also needs no introduction. It is a masterpiece and perhaps the defining game of the year 2022.
4. Okami (2006)
This is one of the earliest examples of what a fine art style for a game looks like. Okami melds traditional Japanese ink-wash painting techniques with a lush, 3D world.
Every frame of this action-adventure masterpiece feels like a work of art, as the vibrant colors and expressive brushstrokes bring the world of ancient Japan to life.
5. Gris (2018)
This captivating platformer tells the story of a young girl named Gris, as she navigates a world of sorrow and self-discovery.
But other than the story itself, the game’s hand-drawn visuals and watercolor-inspired art style is one of a kind.
Each frame beautifully captures the essence of the scene creating a visually dynamic experience that will stay with you long after the credits roll.
6. Cuphead (2017)
Ever seen Tom and Jerry? I am sure you have. Notice how the cartoony art style of the 1930s was?
Well, that is exactly the feeling Cuphead gives. Cuphead’s art style is essentially nostalgic. With hand-drawn characters, fluid animation, and vintage-style backdrops, you’ll feel as though you’re playing through a classical cartoon.
7. Firewatch (2016)
Firewatch takes the importance of art style into a first-person experience. The game ditches the common theme of photo-realism and instead focuses entirely on delivering a visual experience.
The rich color palette of the game almost seems inspired by hand-painted posters of the 60s and 70s.
8. Child of Light (2014)
Inspired by fairy tales and classic storybooks, Child of Light’s hand-painted watercolor art style brings a sense of wonder and enchantment to every frame.
The dreamlike landscapes and fantastical creatures that inhabit this turn-based RPG are a testament to how games can transform the narrative simply through visual appeal.
9. Abzû (2016)
The game is made by the same developers who made Journey (2012), hence it is natural to expect that this game would be a visual masterpiece as well.
Abzu is a game that takes you into a tranquil underwater world.
The art style of the game consists of vivid and vibrant colors but the key element that this game is grace.
Every scene in the game evokes a sense of grace and harmony as you explore the ancient ruins and unravel the mysteries of this world.
10. Hades (2020)
If you have ever played any of the Supergiant’s previous games (Bastion, Transistor, Pyre) you’d know that you are in for a visual journey in Hades too.
Hades being the latest from the studio is their best visual work to date.
The game Immerse you in the rich and vivid world of Greek mythology as you battle your way through the underworld in this fast-paced, action-packed rogue-like.
The striking feature of the Hades art style is that the majority of the world is hand-drawn. It is then combined with 3D animations and actions.
So, there you have it. This is my list of games with the best art style.
Share your thoughts and of course your favorite games with best art style.
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list as there are many more games out there with unique art styles.
I will update this list with time.