The Rebirth of Retro: The Best New Pixel Art Games

I grew up in the height of the 16 bit gaming era, cutting my teeth on platformer classics like Sonic 3, Super Mario World and Super Metroid. I covered a mighty many pixely terrains in my day from the lava rock cliffs of Daffy Duck: The Marvin Missions to the Head of the T-Rex in Joe & Mac. There was always something “right” to me about the pixel art esthetic. I hated to see the style take a back seat to the 3d driven games that began to dominate the console game landscape as the ’00’s approached. With the exception of a few handheld releases and the odd repackaged collection of classics, a pixel art based platformer was a rare find on the release schedules of the first decade on the new millennium but thankfully with the rise of quality indie developers in recent years, the pixel art platformer of our gaming youth have triumphantly returned.

With so many free roaming story driven epics like Bethesda’s Fallout 4 and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt being the focus of so many of our gaming hours, as a culture I think we are longing for some of the simplicity of our past. Look don’t get me wrong, I’ll flirt with Piper in Fallout all day long but its nice to know that the “NES hard” mentality has returned to the screen. After playing almost every pixel game to hit the console market in the last few years, I’ve really come to appreciate the fusion of the classic look with a modern feel. While on the surface most of these releases look much just like the golden era release we know and love, these modern pixel art adventures all come with a very contemporary twist. Game like Mercenary Kings has is customizable weapons and abilities, Super Time Force has its time control mechanic and Fez has its 3d space tilting concept.

See below is a list of my top 5 Next-Gen pixel art games that are so sexy, they will make you “NES hard”.


1.  Mercenary Kings

Mercenary Kings - A thinking mans Metal Slug. Art by pixel art king Paul Robertson and was developed by the guys who brought you the most righteous owe'd to arcade beat-em-ups "Scott Pilgrim vs the World".
Mercenary Kings – A thinking mans Metal Slug.

Art by pixel art king, Paul Robertson. This game was developed by the guys who brought you the most righteous owe’d to arcade beat-em-ups “Scott Pilgrim vs the World”.


2. TowerFall Ascension

TowerFall Ascension - Deceptively fun, ever more so with friends. Rage smash inducing difficulty in higher levels.
TowerFall Ascension a deceptively fun four player Deathmatch game.

This one screen game is packed with enough sprite on sprite crime to please even the most elite COD player.


3. Super Time Force Ultra

Super Time Force Ultra - Ever die on a level in a run and gun platformer and wish you could just rewind it a bit a do it over? Well in STF you actually can and its time bending mechanic makes for some insane good fun.
Ever die on a level in a run and gun platformer and wish you could just rewind it a bit a do it over? Well in STF you actually can.

STF’s time bending mechanic is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced, well, except for that time I accidentally ingested those magic mushrooms before that midnight screening of Back to the future.


4. Shantae: Risky’s Revenge

Shantae: Risky's Revenge - Classic Metroidvania platform action now with more pixel art jiggle physics and belly dancing.
Classic Metroidvania platform action now with more pixel art jiggle physics and belly dancing.

Any game that wants to combine sexy dances as part of the gameplay mechanics, I’ll give a try. This one happens to actually be great. As is its also ported from portable sequel, “Shantae & the Pirates Curse”.


5. Fez

Fez - Platform exploration at its best with a cool 3d gameplay mechanic. The whole experience lulls you into an almost meditative like state.
A traditional platform exploration game at heart, with a twist.

The “twist” being an awesome perspective shifting gameplay mechanic that makes you wish “Super Paper Mario” was as slick and as graphically well realized as Fez is in even its weakest moments.

Ace Dudeman
Ace Dudeman

He’s stronger and hotter than a bad girls dream. You can send your comments, questions or topless pictures to him at Ace (at) rawketlawnchair (dot) com.

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