2D is a rarer and rarer occurrence, especially on consoles. That is saddening for a retro gaming fan like myself as I grew up playing the greats. Super Mario Bros 1/2 (site link)/3 (site link)/World/Land, Mega Man series, Castlevania (site link) etc. Even the obscure ones like Shockman (Turbo Grafx-16), Popful Mail (Sega CD), even found some fun in Sword of Sodan (Sega Genesis). Today, gamers don’t realize what they are missing out on. This trend to snub 2D in favor of 3D started with Sony and their original Playstation console when they flat out denied 2D games early on. Imagine a 2D hand drawn, sprite based, action platform title running on the Xbox One or Playstation 4. I am sure there are a few but not nearly as many as their used to be. While the “mainstream” publishers have forgotten about us 2D fans, thankfully the indie developers out there haven’t forgotten. Here are five titles that are 2D, classic styled, and they run the gamut of super detailed to retro graphics.
1) Cathedral – NES Style Down to 8-Bits on PC (website)
Controlling a character that has amnesia is nothing new for retro gaming fans. We have been doing that for decades. It has a certain charm to it, to not be burdened by a backstory and left to discover it as you play. Cathedral is like that. Graphically Cathedral falls around the early Sega Genesis days, maybe Turbo Grafx-16 if NEC had a clue- just slightly more advanced than what the NES could produce. Still, Cathedral has a heavy 8-bit look to it.
2) Sam’s Journey Makes the Commodore 64 Do More (website)
Okay, for those of us that grew up with the Commodore 64 will remember the limitations that computer had. It was just not able to compete very well with the likes of the NES. Sam’s Journey is full of voodoo magic because it puts 99% of the NES action platform games to shame, even gives Nintendo bred NES games a run for their money in graphics, sound and animations. Definitely one to keep an eye out for, I know I have.
3) Battle Princess Madelyn Ghosts n Goblins with Female Lead (website)
What if Capcom had made Arthur from Ghouls n Ghosts a female character? How might that have changed the proceedings? We will never know but in Battle Princess Madelyn we can get a glimpse of what it might have been like and judging by the video- it would have been just as awesome. 2D, side scrolling action, transparencies and enemies out the wazoo- just like Capcoms classic series.
4) The Curse of Issyos by Locomalito Reminds Us Indies Rock (website)
Hmm, who reading this remembers Battle of Olympus on the NES? Curse of Issyos could very much be the spiritual successor to that NES action game. Issyos is set in the Greek mythology realm and the graphics are on par with what you might expect on Sega Genesis and Turbo Grafx-16, dirty and a slight gritty feel to them.
5) Monster Extermination Company Aims to be Many Genre Success (website)
Okay, so far in this article, 2D has been pretty much strictly action platform games. With Monster Extermination Company you are still playing in a 2D realm but now you will not only be fighting in an action game but also a fighting segment, platforming, adventure and even rappelling like you did in Battletoads for the Nintendo Entertainment System and Sega Genesis. Whew. Also on Kickstarter.
There you go, five titles that prove 2D is not dead, it is just living out life on PC’s nowadays instead of consoles. Tis a shame, the PS4 and Xbox One, or any of the last three generations of consoles, could do some amazing 2D gaming. Only if developers/publishers would try.