The Best PS4 And PS5 Games With Pixel Art

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Originally associated exclusively with older 8-bit and 16-bit games from the 1980s and 1990s, visual art has become a dedicated stylistic choice in modern years. With pixels that give modern games a nostalgic ambiance, it evolved from the simplistic visuals of Space Invaders to the visually complex aesthetics of games like Hyper Light Drifter.


Related: The Best Lovecraftian Pixel Games

In the past, pixel artists were hard to come by. However, the growing popularity of the genre has created a growing community. There are some great games available for PS4 and/or PS5 that are not only fun but also feature amazing pixel art.

Updated on 19 June 2023 by Jouanna Bondakji: Pixel art has gone from forced optimization due to graphical limitations to a deliberate choice that can make games look even better than if they had super realistic HD graphics. They’re great for simple games with sweet messages and helpful themes, but using pixels to create ambiguous horror has a lot more impact than you might think. It’s such a flexible art style that you can easily find it in the coolest games, as well as the most brutal. Playstation hosts many wonderful pixel games of all genres.

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13 Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove

Shovel attacks the enemy on top of the castle in Shovel Knight

If you’re nostalgic for 8-bit sprites, or just appreciate the style, Shovel Knight will instantly appeal to you. But a beautiful pixel art isn’t all it has to offer. Treasure Trove features four different stories that follow four different knights, each on their own special quest.

They all work a little differently, but the essence of platforming and fighting opponents on the way to the goal is always there. There are also some RPG elements to the games as you can upgrade your weapons and armor along the way. With fun gameplay, a great soundtrack, and superb pixel art, what more could you ask for?

12 Enter The Gungeon

Two player co-op with Pilot and Cultist in Enter the Gungeon

Enter The Gungeon is an intense dungeon game where everyone and everything fires dozens of rounds at every turn. There are several characters to choose from and each has a different reason for risking everything to achieve their goal. The Gungeon is a procedurally generated bullet hell that provides a greater challenge every time you win against a trap or enemy, so you can never let your guard down.

You’ll find a variety of guns to use, firing everything from lasers to fish and bees. Enter the Gungeon is a perfect choice if you are looking for a pixel game that offers you a good challenge and some humor. It even has co-op!

11 Octopath Traveler 2

Octopath Traveler 2, all eight travelers around the fire

Indie games made by small teams may come to mind when you think of pixel games, but that’s certainly not the case with Octopath Traveler 2, a turn-based RPG developed by Square Enix and Acquire. There are eight protagonists whose stories you can experience and control how you do it.

Related: Best Pixel Art PC Games

Each character has a different path action that you can use to progress through the story or get some bonuses, and they all contribute something different to combat. The secondary jobs and skills you unlock for them give you even more room to fight in your style, such as whether you want to combine an Apothecary with a Cleric secondary for maximum healing and support, or go a more aggressive route by switching them up in the hunter too.

10 Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley a lot of characters hanging out at a soup luau

It’s hard not to think of Stardew Valley when you hear “pixel art.” Its first release may have been in 2016, but this evergreen indie game has remained relevant with a series of updates, additional content, and tons of fan-made mods.

With new lands to explore and characters to meet, additional starting plots and extra things to add to your farm, even seasoned farmers have a reason to keep coming back to Pelican Town. This modern take on farming simulators like the Harvest Moon series is not only fun, but also beautiful to watch (and listen to).

9 Carrion

a scavenger monster in the caves with a keep calm and carry on sign

Described by reviewers as a “reverse horror game,” Carrion puts you in the shoes (or rather tentacles) of a strange monster. Your task is to make your way through the facility without getting killed by people and various traps. And, of course, you will have to feed. Be careful – if people find out you’re around, they’ll be the first to attack.

As you progress through the game, you’ll piece together the origins of the monster you control and eventually uncover the truth about the facility you’ve been trapped inside.

8 The surviving vampires

The Vampire Survivors player fights off a horde of bats that surround them

This indie shoot ’em up will instantly make you ask, “Where are all the vampires?” Despite the name, it seems like you’ll be fighting just about anything but vampires. Still, Vampire Survivors is an incredibly fun and deceptively simple roguelike.

Related: The Best Indie Horror Video Games of All Time, According to Metacritic

You’ll unlock an arsenal of weapons, new maps, upgrades, and special characters as you hunt down the titular monsters. Try different combinations of abilities to develop your weapon into a powerful armament that will decimate increasingly frantic waves of enemies.

7 Blasphemous

a blasphemous figure with a sword on the roofs of the cathedral

If you associate pixel art with cuteness, this game might change your mind. Traverse the nightmarish world of Cvstodia and uncover its many secrets in Blasphemous, a fast-paced Metroidvania that takes some notes from Dark Souls in Trouble and Roman Catholic themes.

Your character, known only as The Penitent One, is a silent knight on a pilgrimage through this cursed land to find the Cradle of Affliction. But first he’ll have to complete the Three Humiliations to prove his worth. In order to progress through the challenging levels of Cvstodia, you will need to master spellcasting and sword wielding.

6 Dead cells

Beheaded navigate a dark, stone dungeon in Dead Cells+.

Dead Cells is a soul-like Metroidvania. Since its initial release in 2017, the game has grown exponentially as developers have added lore, levels, and new weapons for your character, the mysterious Prisoner, to wield as he traverses the island and uncovers its secrets.

With a diverse array of gear, every run can be a little different. The storytelling is minimal but effective – slowly but surely you’ll unravel the sad tale of what happened on the island and how its inhabitants were changed (or killed) by a disease called malaise.

5 Celeste

Player Celeste in a level with multiple spike traps

Celeste was originally developed in just four days of gameplay. The original creators released a fully fleshed out version two years later.

Related: Best Pixel Art Games for Android and iOS

The fictional Mount Celeste is the backdrop of this game, and you control Madeline, a climber who has to deal with more than steep inclines as she tries to reach the top. This platform game is not only challenging but also beautiful. From the Abandoned City to the Mirror Temple, you’ll have to help Madeline reach the top unscathed by climbing, dashing and collecting items.

4 Hyper Light Drifter

The Hyper Light Drifter player faces huge monsters with a sword

Lead developer Alx Preston described Hyper Light Drifter as a combination of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Diablo. You’ll play as a Wanderer who can use ancient technology that other inhabitants of this world have forgotten to use – much like Aloy in Horizon.

Affected by a mysterious disease, a wanderer will have to face increasingly difficult monsters to reach his goal, while learning new skills. Hyper Light Drifter has been praised not only for its impressive gameplay, but also for some of the most spectacular pixels in recent memory.

3 Undertale

Frisk scrambles through the leaves at the start of the game

Indie darling Undertale’s tagline is, “An RPG where you don’t have to destroy anyone!” You control a child who accidentally wanders into the realm of monsters underground. You will have to find your way home by crossing the magical barrier that separates the human world from the monster world.

Despite the tagline, there are multiple ways to play Undertale and multiple outcomes. With hilarious dialogue, critically acclaimed music, and imaginative scenery, this game is worth playing multiple times.

2 A conversation over coffee

A landscape view of picturesque Seattle in 2020 in a coffee conversation

Coffee Talk is a visual novel by the Indonesian studio Toge Productions, in which you run a coffee shop in a fantastic Seattle, where elves, orcs and other mythical creatures live. You serve hot drinks and a friendly ear to your patrons, who will tell you their stories over time (with a little encouragement from you, that is).

Related: The Best Pixel Art Games on Switch (According to Metacritic)

The game runs over a two-week period, and each day acts as a vignette. Coffee Talk focuses on narrative rather than gameplay, but it’s still quite engaging. It’s reminiscent of the world of Shadowrun, but from the perspective of a lonely barista.

1 Unpacking

Children's bedroom with various toys and hobby items in Unboxing

Another narrative game, Unpacking, tells its story not through dialogue, but through boxes. You’ll play as a girl through different periods of her life, with each stage divided by year: 1997, 2004, 2007, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2018. Each of these years represents a significant shift (literally) in the protagonist’s life.

At each stage, you will help her unpack her things and move them to her new home. A sweet game with beautiful pixel art, Unpacking explores the complex emotions behind one of the most relatable of adult experiences: moving.

Next: The best pixel games on Xbox One/Xbox Series X|S

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