Anurag loves playing video games. His guides and listicles revolve around popular iOS, Android, PC, and console games.
Eight-bit gems can still be found, thanks to a few good game developers who have created pixelated masterpieces for PC. Quite a few pixel-art games have been released for Android and iPhone in the past few years. Some games were inspired by '80s dungeon crawlers; others were pure addictive titles generously sprinkled with pixel dust. Here’s a rundown of some of the best 8-bit games for your smartphone.
The Top 12 Pixel-Art Mobile Games for Android
- 7 Years from Now
- Knights of Pen and Paper
- The Sandbox
- Star Wars: Tiny Death Star
- In the Darkness (ALPHA)
- Pocket Harvest
- D.O.T. Defender of Texel
- Nimble Quest
- Heroes of Loot
- Legends of Yore
- Infectonator: Hot Chase
- Isle of Bxnes
1. 7 Years from Now
7 Years from Now is a story-based game with RPG elements. It’s not for those who are looking for an out-and-out action game. There’s no combat and the game feels more like a visual novel, but has several interesting animated characters. The soul-stirring story will surely leave you in tears once you finish playing it.
7 Years from Now is a story about Haruto Soraki who has lost his memory, but in his dreams, he keeps seeing a girl. Unfortunately, he can’t remember anything about his past. He visits his hometown to find a solution for his recurrent dreams, but his foggy memory stops him from finding answers. You will have to help him find the girl and all missing pieces of his memory.
The game isn’t too long, but the story has lots of twists and turns. The plot twist at the end will leave you shocked and sad. Graphics are beautiful and the low-poly 3D characters are extremely well designed. It’s a free-to-play game, but there will be advertisements in between scenes. If you are a sucker for sad stories, then you shouldn’t miss 7 Years from Now.
2. Knights of Pen and Paper
Knights of Pen and Paper brings back those good old D&D days when countless hours were spent rolling polyhedral dice and scribbling character sheets. The game’s humorous take on the world of dragons and knights from the perspective of virtual pen and paper adventurers is something RPG fans should not miss.
A player can play both the dungeon master and hero(es) who are tasked to rescue damsels in distress from monsters. He/she will have to pick a virtual role-player besides the character class. There are some colorful dice-rollers to choose from, including a grumpy grandma and a nerd. Your player choice is important as it determines additional bonuses you will be receiving at regular intervals.
Gameplay sticks to traditional RPG, where there will be lengthy campaigns, a skill system, and plenty more. Its unique concept, addicting gameplay, and lovely 8-bit visuals make it worth every dollar spent.
3. The Sandbox
The Sandbox lets you play the creator! You can create a world, combine elements to breathe life into it, and even destroy it, in case you are feeling a bit devilish. This mix-and-match game’s concept is similar to Doodle God, but there’s a visually impressive 8-bit world to view, nurture, and total control. It’s actually an 8-bit canvas that provides the ultimate sandbox experience.
The game also has a multiplayer mode where players can upload their creations and let others grow them or destroy them. A series of story missions provides tasks that can be completed using the elements players have unlocked in the sandbox mode.
The game is free-to-play, but certain tasks may require you to spend “Mana packs,” which can be bought for real cash. If you like Minecraft and Doodle God-like games, then you should play The Sandbox.
4. Star Wars: Tiny Death Star
A Star Wars-themed Tiny Tower-like game, Tiny Death Star will probably be known more for its gorgeous 8-bit graphics than gameplay, which in my opinion, is tediously boring. The game concept is pretty much the same—create floors filled with gift shops, bars, accommodations, recruit employees, attract customers, be a liftman, and escort them to their destination, earn money—all this for funding a space-station-cum-super weapon.
While the repetitive gameplay may bore you to death, it’s those cutesy collectible 8-bit Star Wars characters and gorgeous pixel-art cutscenes that may entice people into playing it until all goodies are unlocked. Except for the stunning 8-bit visuals, there’s nothing much to say. And if you are looking for something more addicting, I suggest you play Cookie Cutter.
5. In the Darkness (ALPHA)
In the Darkness is a point and click horror game. Don’t let the simple pixilated graphics fool you. In fact, the visuals evoke a certain gloominess that can’t be expressed in words. The atmosphere is dark, somber and will surely send chills down your spine. If you are interested in 8-bit horror, then do read this article that lists some of the creepiest pixel horror games for Android.
In the Darkness revolves around a man who is one of the very few survivors of a zombie outbreak. In an attempt to cure people affected by the damaged ozone layer, scientists have inadvertently created monsters by altering their DNA structure. The protagonist must survive several nights, protecting himself from these rioting zombies and only you can help him stay alive.
In the Darkness is in BETA stage, but you can download the first part for free from the Google Play Store.
6. Pocket Harvest
Pocket Harvest is a farm simulation game with cutesy 8-bit graphics. If you like Farmville, then you might want to play this game. You can plant crops in the fields, construct tourist attractions, expand land, attract customers, and earn virtual cash. Cute 8-bit workers will assist you in planting seeds and digging up radishes and carrots. Tourists will visit your farm, buy farm produce, and roam around your beautifully decorated fields.
The game tries every bit to do justice to the farm simulation genre. Crops depend on seasons, and you may not be able to plant certain seeds all year round. There are plenty of buildings and tools to unlock and missions to complete. Pocket Harvest is fun to play and a great alternative to Farmville.
7. D.O.T. Defender of Texel
If you are looking for a role-playing game with fantastic pixel-art graphics for your Android phone, then you should download and install D.O.T. Defender of Texel. The game’s amazing pixelated universe will make retro gamers a bit nostalgic. You will be engaging in boss fights, complete quests, build a party, fight rivals in PvP arenas, and evolve heroes in your team. While the gameplay is quite similar to any Mobage-developed title, it’s the dazzling 3D block-art visuals and humorous presentation that makes it unique and interesting.
Defender of Texel’s combat is turn-based and has a nice grid-like battle system. Watching pixilated characters trade blows is fun. The questing system is extremely simple but fun to play. Equally interesting is the number of unlockable characters you will come across, each sporting a nice 8-bit/3D block art combo. Players who appreciate 8-bit graphics will immediately start salivating at the sight of collectible 8-bit heroes and monsters—a must-play game for all retro RPG fans!
8. Nimble Quest
Nimble Quest is Snake on steroids. The classic RPG elements infused into it make gameplay even more interesting. In place of a food-munching reptilian, there will be a party of heroes with the main hero as the snake’s head and secondary heroes forming its segments. Each hero will launch a specific attack when enemies come within its field of view. Knights will engage in melee attack, archers will arrow bomb monsters, and mages will unleash spells to destroy zombies, bats, and several monsters in the arena. The game ends if the main hero is killed, so make sure you save your party from traps and enemy attacks.
Your party advances to the next level soon after a set of enemies are defeated. The level design is harder than the previous one and consists of various environments like forests, castles, and graveyards. While snaking around, you will come across power-ups that frequently appear, giving your party members mini boosts or increasing their attack rate.
Heroes can be leveled-up thrice, and each hero becomes quite powerful at the third upgrade. While these elements really make things interesting, the real challenge lies in moving your party. The more unlocked members join the party, the harder it will be for you to control it, and you may get defeated fighting enemies around you even before your hero bites his own ”tail.”
The marvelous 8-bit visuals are trademark Nimblebit, something which you have seen in every pixilated game. If you have enjoyed Snake, then trust me, you will enjoy the RPG version on your Android phone.
9. Heroes of Loot
“Pocket Gauntlet” best describes Heroes of Loot’s slick gameplay. This arcade dungeon crawler is packed with randomly created dungeons and quests. Players have four classes to choose from—Wizard, Elf, Valkyrie, and Warrior. After choosing a character class, a player can venture deep into a randomized dungeon full of pixilated Cyclops, Minotaur, evil skulls, and a host of monsters. On his journey, the player will be able to collect loot and secret items. The random dungeons are huge for a mobile game and allow RPGers to explore and hunt for enemies/loot.
Game visuals look more polished than any ’80s RPG game. The pixel art heroes are just too adorable, so are those monsters. But don’t let these 8-bit cutesy characters fool you. This is a fast-paced hack-and-slash dungeon crawler sprinkled with strategy. Each character has its own unique skills, and those combat moves are worth a gander. Heroes of Loot is a good game for anybody who misses playing 8-bit role-playing games on his/her consoles.
10. Legends of Yore
Another rogue-like dungeon crawler, Legends of Yore faithfully reproduces good old '80s RPGs, but with some changes to gameplay. You get to choose one character class from three classes—Warrior, Archer, and Mage. The levels are randomly generated, and offer plenty of challenges and secrets. Of course it isn’t closer to a hardcore dungeon crawler, and may appeal to casual RPG players, but it is brilliantly designed.
Levels are in the form of floors with each floor giving you a chance to vanquish monsters, snakes and blobs. Besides combat, which is quite average when compared to Heroes of Loot, there’s plenty to explore and hunt for, and this includes assortment of weapons, armor and spells. Many gameplay aspects are old skool, and this will definitely attract seasoned dungeon crawler players.
11. Infectonator: Hot Chase
Infectonator infuses endless running elements smoothly into its zombie simulator and provides a surprisingly addicting session of pure zombie menace. Playing a zombie can be extremely fun. You will be running around, infecting as many humans as possible. However, make sure your stamina bar does not trickle down to zero, else the zombie will stop. It needs food and the food is scampering here and there. Just walk into a human shrieking in fear to regain some stamina and speed.
Infecting a human being makes him/her join your undead horde, making it a tad simpler to infect your victims and earn coins/power-ups. Power-ups play an important part in making your zombies stronger and faster. If you love zombie-themed games, especially those that let you play the undead, do download this game. And did I tell you it this Android game has nice pixel art graphics?
12. Isle of Bxnes
Isle of Bxnes’ graphics are top-notch. You will fall in love with the hand-drawn pixel art visuals. This is pure 8-bit violence, and combat is inspired by hardcore role-playing games. Set in the Stone Age, this atmospheric RPG lets you play as a nomadic tribesman exploring a strange island full of wild beasts, cannibals, and rival wanderers looking for a new home.
In the world of Bxnes, death is permanent, but your character’s demise won’t mean the game’s over. You will continue playing his sons, who share a few traits with their father. Levels are randomized, giving you a totally new gameplay experience every time you start a new game. You will also get to choose a tribe from a variety of Stone Age clans with each clan having its own unique skill paths.
The assortment of Neolithic weapons and items you will be gathering is just mind-blowing. The game’s tough and will test your resource-management skills. Exploring and surviving a dangerous island isn’t easy, especially when resources are scarce and wild beasts are roaming around. This is one excellent survival RPG for Android.
sosthenes on December 07, 2015:
Pixel Dungeon is the best game for android