Amazing Game Art Styles: The Ultimate Guide

Donna Ross

Amazing Game Art Styles The Ultimate Guide

The art style of video games is visually appealing to the players, thereby immersing them in the universe of the game. The game art style is the visual representation of the game using specific techniques and aesthetics to captivate the player’s interest. Consider the games Gris and Dear Esther as an illustration. Gris employs 2D monochromatic art, whereas Dear Esther depicts 3D photorealism art in a stunning manner.

Despite the fact that the game art techniques of the two games are distinct, the artistic visuals of both games are breathtaking and have a profound effect on the players. Consequently, there are a variety of distinct game art forms, each of which has its own characteristics. The art style of video games is primarily divided into 2D and 3D art styles. Here, I have mentioned 12 varieties of game art styles in both 2D and 3D with suitable examples. 

2D Art Styles

The 2D art style represents the game’s elements with two-dimensional graphics. It consists only of height and length, with no depth. There are various 2D art forms, such as pixel, flat, and cutout art. Currently, mobile game development services favor the 2D art style over the 3D art style because it is simpler to create visually appealing and immersive games with 2D.Let’s delve into the various 2D art styles for video games.

Amazing Game Art Styles The Ultimate Guide

 Pixel Art

The smallest square unit of color in a digital image is a pixel. By coloring these square units individually, the pixel art was constructed. The nostalgic and antiquated allure of pixel art style makes us yearn for a time machine. Since the earliest days of video games, pixel art has dominated the game world’s visuals. Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda were among the earliest video games to employ pixel art.

Pixel art’s reduced file size and scalability are its greatest advantages. In addition, it is excellent for novices because it is straightforward and easy to use. Even in modern times, the pixel art technique is popular among vintage enthusiasts. Modern pixel art included isometric pixel art, pixel art in the manner of chibi characters, and detailed pixel art. 

Minecraft and Celeste are some examples.

Vector Art

Vector art utilizes mathematical formulas to generate vector graphics, which include lines, curves, and squares. The majority of the time, vector art is not used to produce the entire graphic design, but rather it is incorporated into the game design. Due to its uncompromised resolution and adaptability to various screen sizes, vector art is extensively utilized in contemporary game art. As they are created using mathematical formulas, the image’s fidelity is maintained regardless of the amount of zooming. They also have a smaller file size and are simpler to edit and port. 

Banner Saga and Geometry Wars are two illustrations.

 Cutout Craft

Traditional cutout art is one of the earliest art forms still used to create animated illustrations. Therefore, this art style gives the participants a sense of nostalgia. Cutout art resembles a drawing or illustration that has been cut out. In this art style, either actual cutout art assets or digital art assets can be imported or created. Identifying and controlling the axis points enables the imported cutout art to be moved. This art technique does not require the creation of many models. Once a few action models are completed, they can be interchanged. This technique is most prevalent in animation games.

 Examples include Cuphead, Papers, Please, Don’t Starve, and Paper Mario.

 Cel Shading Art

Cel shading, also known as toon shading, is a technique used to create characters or animations that appear flat, as if they were stretched from 3D models. Here, the 3D models are given a flat appearance by adjusting the illumination and shading.  Cel shading derives its name from ‘Celluloid,’ which was used to create early animations.

This art form is widely recognized for its creative and artistic style in the creation of models that resemble 2D cartoons or animations.  In addition, it has the appearance of hand-drawn sketches, creating a sense of intrigue among the participants. Various video game genres, including action-adventure, role-playing, and combat, employ cel shading art.

Examples include Dragonball Z, Jet Set Radio, and The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker.

Monochromatic Art

Monochrome comes from the Greek words’mono’, which means solitary or one, and ‘chrome’, which means color. In monochromatic art, only one or two colors or tones are used throughout the piece. 

Typically, game creators utilize black and white to create monochromatic artwork. Rarely do colors other than black and white appear in this form of artwork. Take Playdeads’ LIMBO, for instance. In this game, black is the predominant color, with variations in white and grey providing a sense of ominous peril to the players. Thus, this art style is best suitable for mysterious and horror genre games offering an eerie feel throughout the game.

Playdeads examples include Limbo, Inside, and Gris.

Flat Art

This art appears flat on the screen, as its name implies. Flat art lacks depth and visual effects like shadow and gradient.  It is one of the earliest surviving art styles, and its origins are said to lie in 1920s Swiss art. This art technique has persisted since the earliest days of the video game industry.

Currently, game creators are increasingly interested in using flat art in their games. They prefer it for its clarity and ease of comprehension. In addition, it offers a fantastic user interface due to its minimalistic and functional design.  Skeuomorphic details, physics, and realism are completely absent from this art style. This style of art employs horizontal parallax to create the illusion of depth in 2D character models.

Amazing Game Art Styles The Ultimate Guide

Examples include Nidhogg, Flat Kingdom, and Alto’s Adventure.

Doodling Art

Doodle art is a humorous expression of art. Doodles are arbitrary images drawn by hand. Doodle art consists primarily of scribbles, crooked lines, and characters with vague features.  It is well-liked due to its straightforward and amusing nature. The use of vibrant and bright colors provides participants with a striking visual appeal. Due to its informal nature and simplicity, doodle game art provides a sense of interactivity with players. This art style is prevalent in casual and independent games.

Doodle God and Doodle Jump are examples.

3D Styles Art

The 3D art style is the visual representation of a game using the three dimensions of height, width, and depth. There are a variety of 3D game art styles that contribute to producing realistic and engaging gaming experiences for the players. Learn about the various 3D game art styles in the following text.

Realism Art

Realism art, also known as photorealism art, immerses the viewer with images that closely resemble the actual world. The game’s characters, setting, and assets are designed to resemble the real world in order to provide players with a lively ambiance. This video game art style is prevalent in simulation, horror, and survival games that are designed to give the player a sense of realism.

The Last of Us: 2 and Microsoft Fight Simulator are examples of video games.

Fantasy Realism Art

Fantasy realism is a highly imaginative and creative art style that combines realism and fantasy to produce a breathtaking gaming experience for the players. This art style employs fantasy, science fiction, or steampunk concepts to create realism that is otherwise impossible in the present day. Numerous action and science fiction video games employ the fantasy realism artistic approach. Adventure, quest, shooter, and role-playing games (RPG) were some of the genres that utilized fantasy realism art frequently.

Dark Souls and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt are examples.

Low Poly Art

Using a small number of polygons, low poly art is created. This visual style is distinct from other game visual styles. They aid in conveying the overall mood of the game and forge a connection with the players, providing a visually captivating experience. As fewer resources are required to create low polygons, the majority of mobile and indie games employ a low poly game art style.

This art style is incapable of producing realistic games due to its low polygon count. Low poly art is cost-effective, quick, elegant, and adaptable, making it one of the most popular options for game designers with limited budgets. This form of art is most prevalent in role-playing video games.

Examples include Abzu, Journey, and No Man’s Sky.

Anime Art

Anime art is a genre of art that is inspired by Japanese animation. Characters in anime are depicted with large eyes, exaggerated facial features, and fashionable clothing in order to convey emotion and create a strong personality. In addition to employing vibrant colors and visuals, they provide an engaging experience for the participants. Anime art is predominantly utilized in simulation games, RPG games, action games, and fighting games.

Examples: Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4, Gensin Impact, and Ni No Kuni.

Hand Painted ArtHand-painted art is a form of game art style in which the visuals resemble hand-drawn paintings or illustrations. In this technique, models are painted directly onto 2D and 3D models to create an aesthetically pleasing effect. This art technique employs 3D modeling, UV unwrapping, and texture painting to give the game an aesthetic and artistic appearance.  Plus, this art focuses on attention to detail, making video games all more fascinating for the players. This art style is used in fantasy, independent, and strategy games.

Examples include If Found, Cozy Groove, and Mundaun.


You would now have a greater understanding of the various varieties of game art styles. Conclusion: game art is extremely essential because it influences the player’s engagement and overall experience throughout the game. A game’s success is not necessarily contingent on the complexity of its visual design.

Even simple 2D game art styles, such as pixel art, can be used to make entertaining and successful games. Whether 2D or 3D, each game’s visual design is unique. In addition, they are used in specific game genres where they perform well, resulting in profitable and enjoyable games.

Juego studios is the industry leader in outsourcing 2D and 3D art styles for video games. We have a team of 2D and 3D artists who are highly skilled at working with a variety of game art styles and creating games across numerous genres.Whether for mobile, desktop, or console games, our game development company employs a specialized team of artists and animators to manage the entire game art production process.

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