Blazing Chrome doesn’t just play like classic Contra titles — it fully looks the part too. It really nails the apocalyptic theme that’s so synonymous with '80s movies and games; backgrounds are made up of deep red skies and burning skyscrapers, and character designs take direct inspiration from franchises like Terminator and Aliens.
Its overall look and feel has a distinctly serious tone, but hints of playfulness are scattered throughout to keep things from feeling a bit too bleak, such as NPCs flying past in ships yelling “hey bro” at your character.
From the insane intro that's worthy of having its own spin-off animation series to the swashbuckling sea shanty soundtrack that's more catchy than scurvy, Flinthook's presentation is splendid, filled with wacky characters and bosses, smooth, fast animations, witty banter and a wealth of particle effects more accomplished than most other pixel art games.
The pixelated visuals feel retro and yet distinctly modern at the same time, with beautiful animations, bold environment design, and an optional CRT filter that enhances the overall tone of the game (though can occasionally feel a bit too much). If you’re a fan of Metroidvanias or, god help you, the ongoing ‘80s fad, then you owe it to yourself to play this game.
Iconoclasts is the result of one man’s dream project for an action platformer, borne out over a lengthy eight-year period of development. Fortunately, the final product reflects the time invested into it, as it expertly mixes an engaging and surprisingly heavy story with Metroidvania elements and a peerlessly gorgeous 16-bit visual style that favours immaculate detail and eye-popping colour palettes.
This is pixel art at its absolute best; it’s immediately clear that Sandberg devoted a significant amount of development time to getting the looks of the game just right. Each environment you enter has a vibrant and bright veneer to it, and the atmosphere is perfectly captured in the little details, all adding up to make for quite a visual treat.
One title that really springs to mind playing UNSIGHTED is Square’s 1993 SNES classic Secret of Mana. It’s partly because of the chosen-one JRPG story trope and partly because of the beautiful top-down pixel graphics, which occasionally mix side-on elements into the scenery for dramatic vistas.
Its time-is-ticking, post-apocalyptic scenario is brought to life by the enchanting palettes of its pixel art, making a world you want to explore, full of characters you want to know.
Pocky & Rocky, a Super Nintendo top-down run-and-gun, was developer Natsume’s gold standard, fondly remembered for its taut arcade action, adventurous stage design, and beautiful visuals.
Pocky & Rocky Reshrined is a re-envisioning so markedly different from the original that it’s essentially an entirely new game. Completely redrawn from the ground up, it’s nothing short of magical from the flute note ditty that dials-in the opening title screen to the first stretch of road and beyond. Fallen leaves are displaced as you skid across them, floating back down to settle on the cobbles; weather effects desaturate the world with sepia flashes; the special effects, particularly surrounding boss entrances, are dazzling.
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Jamestown+ is a beautiful, hand-crafted tribute to Cave classics that welcomes newcomers to the genre with a pleasingly gentle learning curve whilst at the same time providing the absolutely fiendish levels of difficulty and replayability aficionados of the genre demand. It also happens to feature gloriously evocative and detailed pixel art alongside a fully orchestrated – and award-winning – soundtrack.
Following the lives of six characters as they chase their very own ‘quest for love’, Half Past Fate is an endearing look into how it might actually feel to be face-to-face with the potential love of your life. It may feel a bit overly idyllic at times, but it often nails the dialogue and quite frankly looks absolutely gorgeous to boot.
It’s a perfect blend of 2D sprites and 3D environments, and everything from the character models to the tiny cups of coffee burst with personality - it’s one of the most beautiful pixel art games we’ve seen in a good while. Similarly, the music is wonderfully upbeat, and the combination of this along with the colourful visuals make for an incredibly pleasant gaming experience.
We began our time with Mojiken Studio’s A Space For The Unbound curled up on our sofa, cup of steaming tea close by, with winter rain softly rapping against the window. Much like reading a good book, it felt right to play this slice-of-life adventure game this way; this game taxes neither reaction time or critical thinking skills to solve its dozens of puzzles and situations.
Instead, it pulls you in with its gorgeous pixel art depicting 1990s Indonesia (that looks remarkably vivid on a Switch OLED) and entrances you with its narrative of anxiety, depression, and a hefty dose of magic realism.
Pixels! Yeah!! Did we miss one of your favourites? Tell us in the comments.
This article is one of our Switch Essentials guides which cover a wide variety of genres, including the Best Switch FPS Games, the Best Switch RPGs, the Best Switch Games For Kids, the Best Switch Couch Co-Op Games and the Best Switch Fitness and Exercise Games. We can also help out hunting down the Best Switch Horror Games, the Best Switch Racing Games, the Best Switch Action-RPGs, the Best Nintendo Switch Roguelikes, Roguelites and Run-Based Games, the Best Free Switch Games, the Best Remakes And Remasters, the Best Switch Music And Rhythm Games, Best Feel-Good Switch Games, Best Switch Open-World Games, Best Switch Soulslike Games, Best LGBTQ+ Switch Games, and even Games to Play After You've Finished Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Whatever your favourite genre, we've got you covered: Strategy Games, Metroidvanias, Puzzle Games, Party Games, Online Multiplayer Games, Local Wireless Multiplayer Games, Shmups, Twin-Stick Shooters, Visual Novels, Kart Racers, Fighting Games, Football Games, Funny Games, Golf Games, 'Walking Sims' And Narrative Games, Switch Games For Lovers And Lonely Hearts, Detective Games, Hidden Gems, 2D Platformers, 3D Platformers, Puzzle Platformers, Tabletop Mode Games, Run and Gun Games, LEGO Games, Sports Games, Survival Games, Beat 'Em Ups, Camera Games, Chill Games, Family Games, Retro-Inspired Games, Short Games, Card Games and Deck-Builders, and Life Sims And Farming Games.
Still hungry for more? Elsewhere we look at Wholesome Games, TATE Mode Games, Flight Sim and Space Combat, Point and Click Adventure Games, and the Best Switch Exclusives, as well as Every Arcade Archives Game, Every ACA Neo Geo Game, Every SEGA AGES Game On Switch, plus the Best Switch Ports, Best Wii U-To-Switch Ports, Best Switch Collections And Compilations, Best Cheap Switch Games, Best Switch Demos, Games That Are Better On Switch OLED, Switch Games Under $10, $20, $50, and Switch games with the Best Soundtracks and the Best Graphics. Phew!
If you're looking for the best Switch games regardless of genre, our reader-voted selection of the Best Nintendo Switch Games should help you out, and you can also find the Best Nintendo Switch Games of 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021. And finally, if you're interested in other Nintendo consoles and retro games, check out the Best Game Boy Games, Best GBC Games, Best GBA Games, Best Nintendo DS Games, Best Nintendo 3DS Games, Best NES Games, Best SNES Games, Best N64 Games, Best GameCube Games, and Best Wii Games, and Best Wii U Games, as well as Every Available Nintendo Switch Online Retro Game, and ranked lists of Every Nintendo Switch Online NES, SNES, N64 and Sega Genesis / Mega Drive Game.