2D games are the foundation of the gaming industry. Who hasn’t heard of Pacman or Space Invaders? Many of the most renowned titles are played from the side perspective. Although this was primarily due to hardware limitations back then, it doesn’t mean they’re lacking in the gameplay aspect.
The majority of them are easy to learn but hard to master, thus appealing to those seeking challenges. Another great advantage is their low system requirements. Due to their cartoon aesthetic, they are relatively easier to run, making them age like fine wine and not look outdated. Many developers are also mixing 2D games with multiple genres.
Whether you want to solve puzzles, fight enemies, or race against each other, these can be shown in two dimensions. Thus, we created a list of the best 2D games to play in 2022. What’s more, most of them are available on RoyalCDKeys for a great price!
- Release Date: February 24, 2017
- Developer: Team Cherry
- Metascore: 87
If you’re a fan of 2D platformers like Claw or Castlevania, Hollow Knight should come right up your alley. The game stands out in terms of 2D animation and skillful gameplay. You’ll often find yourself struggling when fighting enemies and avoiding obstacles. Nevertheless, beating a boss after hours of trying leaves you satisfied and craving for more.
The completely hand-drawn Metroidvania world will never age, and mesmerizing music only adds to the immersive experience. It’s already considered a classic among most 2D platformer fans. Metacritic shows a score of 87, which is surprising because it deserves way more.
The only flaw is rather challenging controls, yet as soon as you get used to it, Hollow Knight will become one of your top platforming games.
Hollow Knight Steam Key is available for purchase on RoyalCDKeys.
- Completely hand-drawn graphics that age with grace.
- Stunning animations.
- Challenging gameplay.
- Metroidvania world.
- Release Date: 7 August 2018
- Developer: Motion Twin
- Metascore: 89
Dead Cells plays similarly to the previous game on this list, although being less forgiving and more challenging. You’ll take control over a recently resurrected man whose main task is to escape from prison. Unsurprisingly, this won’t be a walk in the park. The castle prison consists of sanctuaries, sewers, Runes, and many other areas.
Along the way, you’ll meet plenty of enemies requiring you to switch between different strategies. Your knowledge of the castle won't help you much either. Not a single playthrough is the same as the game randomly spawns enemies and changes the abilities you may learn. For example, you won’t be able to learn how to double jump every time.
Most enemies drop a lot of equipment that can be used against them: swords, axes, maces, bows, etc. As you’re collecting more powerful gear, you’ll be able to come to previously inaccessible areas bringing you closer to freedom. There’s also a permadeath option, so you’ll start all over again if you die.
Dead Cells Steam Key is available for purchase on RoyalCDKeys.
- The combination of Roguelike and Metroidvania.
- One of the hardest games on this list.
- Replayability potential due to randomly spawned enemies and different abilities.
- Many weapons to choose from.
- Permadeath option.
- Unforgiving for new players.
- Release Date: 7 July 2016
- Developer: PLAYDEAD
- Metascore: 87
Inside is a successor to Playdead’s 2010 game Limbo and features similar 2.5D gameplay. The grim and dark atmosphere is also present as it’s the developer's business card. The story follows a small boy whose main task is to escape from a strange experiment and avoid its victims.
Similar to Limbo, you’re going to solve puzzles, witness mesmerizing visuals and unfold the story behind it all. The game looks creepy, but it’s also an enjoyable experience. There’s hardly any combat in here – it mainly focuses on the narrative and platforming aspect. Although the story alone is captivating enough, the gameplay won’t let you go until the end.
Inside Steam Key is available for purchase on RoyalCDKeys. Additionally, we offer Inside & Limbo Steam Key package if you haven’t played the previous installment.
- A great successor to 2010’s Limbo.
- Grim and dark atmosphere.
- Engaging storyline.
- The gameplay revolves around solving puzzles and avoiding confrontation.
- Release Date: 29 September 2017
- Developer: Studio MDHR
- Metascore: 88
Cuphead is an excellent choice for 2D gaming enthusiasts with a fantastic co-op mode. It’s one of the best games to play with a friend as the game is specifically designed to play that way. Cuphead is one of a kind 2D platformer due to its original aesthetic. The game follows the style of cartoons released at the beginning of the 20th century.
It’s a tribute to old run & gun titles where you complete levels and destroy everything on your way. The difficulty increases throughout the game, making it more frustrating if you’re not calm enough. The traditional hand-drawn cel animations, watercolor backgrounds, and original jazz recordings feel like traveling back in time.
Cuphead Steam Key is available for purchase on RoyalCDKeys.
- A unique aesthetic based on old cartoons.
- A tribute to classic run & gun titles.
- Two-player co-op either local or online.
- Two different endings.
Ori and The Will of The Wisps
- Release Date: 11 March 2020
- Developer: Moon Studios
- Metascore: 88
Ori and the Will of The Wisps continue the same formula left by its predecessor. You will explore, collect items and upgrades, and participate in many other activities best known to platformer veterans. It’s one of the best visually crafted platformers on the market. The Metroidvania world feels alive and is constantly changing due to your actions.
Some NPCs deliver quests for unique rewards as if it was an RPG game. Don’t be fooled by the cute aesthetics, though. The game is demanding and requires perfect coordination to succeed. You have to chain Ori’s various abilities into one sequence to beat certain game parts. You’ll also be given a unique melee and ranged weapon to utilize the all-new combat system.
Switching between the two is necessary when fighting bosses. Couple that with an exciting and emotional storyline, a beautiful soundtrack, and fluid gameplay to ensure hours of quality entertainment.
Ori and The Will of the Wisps Xbox Live Key is available for purchase on RoyalCDKeys.
- A successor to highly-acclaimed Ori and the Blind Forest.
- A beautiful, hand-crafted Metroidvania world.
- New combat system and quests.
- Probably the most visually stunning modern platformer.
- Mesmerizing soundtrack.
Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove
- Release Date: 21 April 2015
- Developer: Yacht Club Games
- Metascore: 90
Even though Shovel Knight was released in 2015, you would probably believe me if I showed you a screenshot and told you it comes from the early 90s. It’s a nostalgic trip for everyone old enough to remember 8-bit games like Contra. Shovel Knight uses that aesthetic to pay tribute to the genre. And guess what, the results are beyond impressive.
In this 2D adventure game, you’ll be controlling a knight who takes his mighty shovel and sets off into the world. It features colorful, pixelated graphics, 8-bit sound effects, and an easy-to-learn approach. There are various stages in the game, each with its own theme and enemies.
With a fully cooperative campaign, you’ll be digging for a long time with Shovel Knight! Additionally, with Treasure Trove Edition, you will gain access to four different campaigns. Each one has its own character and different motives.
Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove Edition Steam Key is available for purchase on RoyalCDKeys.
- It perfectly captures the essence of old, 8-bit games.
- Low system requirements: Windows 7, 2GB RAM, 250 MB free disk space.
- Fully cooperative campaign, either locally or online.
- PvP mode.
- Four additional campaigns with the Treasure Trove Edition.
- Release Date: 15 September 2015
- Developer: tobyfox
- Metascore: 90
Undertale is another 8-bit 2D title that became an instant hit because of its exciting storyline. It’s an RPG game about a small child who explores the underground world, facing challenges and making impactful decisions. To move further into the game, you will decide the fate of many characters you’ll meet along the way. That’s what separates Undertale from many RPG games.
You don’t level up your character by simply killing enemies. Sparing them will often grant you better rewards. It’s not as easy as it sounds, though. You’ll have to keep an eye out for hidden clues around you to unlock additional dialogue options. The game’s storyline will play out based on who you spared or killed. It’s up to you to choose a path of a cold-blooded killer or a kind-hearted pacifist.
The story is also written in a satiric fashion and is quite humorous. If you’re tired of overly-dramatic plots but still want something mesmerizing, Undertale is your best bet. It’s one of the few games with an overall rating of 90 on Metacritic, so prepare yourself for a quality gameplay experience.
Undertale Steam Key is available for purchase on RoyalCDKeys.
- Undertale will develop the story based on the player’s choice to kill or spare enemies.
- The game is available on multiple platforms: Nintendo, Playstation 4, Linux, macOS, etc.
- A satirical and humorous storyline that will hook you for hours.
- The story plays out based on your decisions.
- Well-written villains and characters.
- Release Date: 26 February 2016
- Developer: Eric Barone, Concerned Ape
- Metascore: 89
Living in the countryside is not as easy as you may think. Running a farm with only a few coins in your pocket and making a living out of it is even harder. Stardew Valley will show you what life in the country looks like and measure if you have what it takes to prosper.
You have just inherited an old farm from your grandfather. Your main task is to grow as a farmer amongst sellers while facing various challenges along the way. The game requires patience and good measurement before taking any action, so it’s best for players who want to avoid fast-paced gameplay. You could say it’s a Farming Simulator but in 2D.
Regardless of the map you’ve chosen, your main task is to become a master farmer. To do so, you’ll have to participate in various activities like farming, fishing, breeding, making farm buildings, etc. Additionally, you can also go on adventures to avoid repetitiveness.
There are monsters to slay, caves to explore, and treasures to claim. The exciting part of this farming RPG is that you can start a family. Choose from dozens of characters to date and eventually develop as a husband or wife. But before that, you have to show how you manage your farm, of course.
Stardew Valley Steam Key is available for purchase on RoyalCDKeys.
- Farming Simulator in 2D with various activities.
- Five maps to choose from.
- Customize your character and choose from many decoratives for your farm.
- RPG elements: fighting monsters, exploring caves, claiming treasures, etc.
- Online co-op.
- Release Date: 3 September 2013
- Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier
- Metascore: 89
The adventurous Rayman makes another comeback to its roots in its 2013 release. Rayman Legends is the successor to Rayman Origins, a 2D side-scrolling platformer. While Origins was a successful attempt at returning to its roots, Legends sets the bar even higher by making bigger levels with more interesting hooks.
It even contains several Origins stages, making its 2011 predecessor obsolete. The variety presented at every level is outstanding, and it won’t feel repetitive at any stage of the game. Whether it’s a rhythm-based escape to the tune of “Black Betty” or Zelda-inspired temple dive, it feels as fresh as ever at every stage of the game.
Rayman Legends Ubisoft Connect Key is available for purchase on RoyalCDKeys.
- A triumphant return of the Rayman franchise.
- It contains several levels from Origins.
- Various gameplay mechanics.
- Two-player co-op.
- Release Date: 16 May 2011
- Developer: Re-Logic
- Metascore: 83
Terraria is an excellent option for those who didn’t find Minecraft appealing. It blends elements of classic action games with sandbox elements. The gameplay revolves around building your settlement, gathering resources, and crafting better equipment.
The game starts in a procedurally generated world, with few basic tools and an NPC character to guide you through the beginning. After that, you’re on your own. Anyone interested in an open-world 2D adventure will get lost for hours. You just cannot get bored with the number of things to build, monsters to slay, and equipment to craft.
It isn’t just the rating that proves Terraria is a game worth checking out – it’s also constant updates and an amazing modding community. Here, you’ll just never run out of things to do.
Terraria Steam Key is available for purchase on RoyalCDKeys.
- A procedurally generated open world that you can explore.
- Various activities include fighting, fishing, crafting, building, and more.
- Countless hours of gameplay.
- Boss fights.
- Online co-op.
- Constant updates and dedicated modding community.
Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee - New n’ Tasty
- Release Date: 25 February 2015
- Developer: Just Add Water
- Metascore: 86
While Oddworld is a great side-scroll platformer, it somehow got overshadowed by the platforming legends like Mario or Rayman. Maybe it’s a marketing thing because the developers behind Oddworld aren’t wildly recognized. Fortunately, the game is fun enough and definitely not worse than the titles mentioned above.
You’ll take control of Abe, a revolutionary who grows tired of working as a slave. One day, he decides to escape and take his slave friends with him. The plot revolves around the industry’s impact on nature and the cost to the people it exploits.
A pretty deep topic for a platformer, but the humorous approach perfectly fits this aesthetic. Abe himself isn’t powerful either, rather extremely vulnerable. Thus, you're mostly going to avoid confrontation at all costs and focus on platforming.
Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee - New n’ Tasty Steam Key is available on RoyalCDKeys.
- Best suited for Rayman and Mario fans.
- It focuses on stealth rather than combat.
- Excellent and engaging story.
- Likable protagonist.
- Great level design with a lot of puzzles to solve.
- Release Date: 25 January 2018
- Developer: Matt Makes Games Inc.
- Metascore: 88
Celeste perfectly shows how much love and attention indie games are receiving. The team behind it consists of just four people, but that didn’t impact the game’s success. To everyone’s surprise, Celeste received countless award nominations and sold over one million copies. It shows that even 8-bit games can become successful if they stand out among others.
Your task is pretty straightforward: help Madeline survive her journey to the top of Celeste Mountain. You’ll have to overcome many obstacles while honing your platforming skills in the process.
It features responsive controls, a beautiful environment, and many cutscenes as you progress through the game. Add an incredible soundtrack composed by Lena Raine, and you’ll get one of the most immersive indie platformers released in recent years.
Celeste Steam Key is available for purchase on RoyalCDKeys.
- One of the best indie platformers on the market.
- Colorful, 8-bit graphics.
- Story cutscenes.
- Beautiful soundtrack.
- Release Date: 17 October 2018
- Developer: Ludeon Studios
- Metascore: 87
RimWorld is an excellent survival, sci-fi colony sim perfect for Dwarf Fortress fans. Here, you will build structures, manage your people and resources, and navigate the unpleasant world. The game is undeniably addictive for many gamers due to its simplicity and easy playstyle.
Thanks to its impressive storytelling, AI and random attacks on your newly built base, each playthrough is unique. And when you’re done with the vanilla version of the game, there are thousands of mods to enhance the experience further. A few hours of gameplay is enough to understand why RimWorld has received its rating.
RimWorld Steam Key is available for purchase on RoyalCDKeys.
- Best 2D sci-fi colony sim on the market.
- Easy to learn, hard to master.
- Unique storytelling AI.
- Randomly generated worlds.
- Modding community.
Mark of The Ninja
- Release Date: 16 October 2012
- Developer: Klei Entertainment
- Metascore: 91
In contrast to other games on this list, Mark of The Ninja relies on stealth and patience rather than speed and reflexes. It has many features that will keep you hooked to the game for long hours.
Use your weapons and special techniques in battle, depending on your situation. Get to know your enemy to figure out the best strategy. It's up to you whether you want to use a sword or shoot guns from afar. The game will reward your efforts if you progress well through the stages.
The visuals are also pleasing, thanks to the hand-painted artwork. It’s tough to nitpick anything when it comes to this game. It uses stealth and tactics so well that you can replay the game and practice different strategies every time.
Mark of The Ninja: Remastered GOG Key is available for purchase on RoyalCDKeys.
- Fluid animation and hand-drawn graphics.
- Excellent replayability potential thanks to different weapons and sets of abilities.
- A wide variety of ranged and melee weapons.
- Thrilling and entertaining Story mode.
We have a lot of 2D games to choose from, depending on the genre you’re looking for. They all have a score over 80 on Metacritic and have everything they need to keep players hooked for long hours.
What’s more, you don't have to be an experienced gamer to enjoy most of the titles on this list. They’re an excellent choice for almost everyone. Feel free to visit other game lists on RoyalCDKeys if you’re looking for the best game of a particular genre.