3D games have long been the norm in the gaming industry. Ever since Mario 64 hit the scene, something about playing on the 2D plane has just seemed outdated. With that said, though, there are quite a few 2D games that are just more entertaining than their 3D counterparts.
If you’re looking for a game that’s got an old-school look but plays like it’s brand new, you might want to take a look at one of the three games listed below. They might not have the highest level of graphical fidelity, but their gameplay can’t be beat. Sometimes, simplicity masks an incredibly deep game.
As any good Starbound review will tell you, this is a game that takes the open world survival concept and pushes it forward — all while keeping players on a 2D plane. It’s a bit like a futuristic version of Terraria, but the game is by far one of the best survival-crafting games out there. In many ways, it’s even better than Minecraft, the game that helped to define the genre in the first place.
Starbound allows players to explore new worlds, craft items, and hop from planet to planet. The crafting system is fairly intuitive and the combat is fun. The game’s rough for the first hour or so, but once it opens up it becomes one of the best survival games out there. It’s a good mid-point between the creativity of Minecraft and the heavy survival aspects that are found in more complicated games. In a way, it’s probably the game that No Man’s Sky really wanted to be.
This game is also fun because there are a ton of great mods that can enhance gameplay. Players are still trying to find new ways to expand on the content, even as the game itself continues to grow.
If you’re looking at the games that really helped to push forward the boundaries of 2D gaming, you need to check out Braid. A game that is generally considered to be one of the best indie games ever produced, it has a simple aesthetic that belies a fairly deep game.
For some, Braid is all about the storyline. Consistently debated and still spawning theories, it is told with no character dialogue and only sparse text narration. There’s nothing very fancy about the game’s presentation, but that’s what makes it so charming.
One of the great things about this game is how it plays. The relatively simple design allows for some truly unique time-twisting mechanics. While you might not be jumping around a 3D environment, you will be pushing your character through a series of puzzles that are hard to beat in any format.
Braid is a fantastic game that ought to be played by anyone who considers himself or herself a serious gamer. While not the most graphically impressive game in the world, it blows most 3D platformers out of the water. Once you play it, you’ll remember why you loved 2D platformers so much.
A true throwback, Stardew Valley is an obvious update of the classic Harvest Moon, using many of the same mechanics while adding a few new innovative features. It may not be the most graphically impressive game out there, but it’s certainly one of the most addictive to be released in recent memory.
Stardew Valley thrives on systems. You go through the same basic tasks from the beginning of the game to the end, with nothing really changing but timing and difficulty. You’ll farm crops, chop wood, break rocks, and fight monsters. When you’re not working, you’ll interact with townspeople and try to build relationships. The loop is oddly addictive, and you’ll always find yourself pushing to play through one more day.
This game is the best example of how simplicity can often trump the bells and whistles found in newer games. On the surface, you’d think this game would be boring. After you’ve spent a few minutes playing, though, you’ll see exactly why it’s become such a popular title for players on the PC and consoles alike.
2D gaming has come back in a big way over the last few years. More gamers are learning that it’s not how a game looks that really matters, but rather how the game plays. Don’t judge a book by its cover — take some time to look at the 2D games that are out there and see if they fit your play style. You might be surprised to find that some of the best games in recent memory look more like the games you played when you were a child.
Which 2D games are you a huge fan of? Let us know in the comments section!