Existing Games that use Pixel Art

For this task, I will be researching games that use pixel art to understand how the pixel art effect the feel of the game and how they use colours and pixel art effectively.

Shovel Knight (PC/Wii U/3DS/PS4/XBOXONE) – Shovel Knight is a 2D Side Scrolling Platformer that was inspired from games from the NES like Duck Tales, Super Mario Bros 3, Castle Vania And Mega Man. This game uses Pixel Art that was inspired by 8-bit games. It keeps all of its main characters to there own colours using different shades for detail, and when it does come to add other colours they use Opposite colours to differentiate the object from the character. The environments use colours that go along with that particular theme, for example at night they would use alot of dark shades of blue, purple and black, and in an ice world would be alot of white, grey and light blue.

Fire Emblem (GBA) – Fire Emblem is a Japanese tactical role-playing game where you command an army against an enemy army. The pixel art for this game was used due to the limitations of the hardware it is on, the characters are created to match the colours of there art and have an over world sprite and a battle sprite, they use more blue for the main characters colours and more red for the enemy characters. The environments created for this game are all top down but use colours that could fit that certain area, for example light blues will be used over water, greens would be used for grass and Darker greens would be used for forest area’s.

Super Time Force Ultra (PC/PS4/XBOXONE) – Super Time Force Ultra is a 2D Shooter that has the player go from left to right using time based powers. Pixel art was used in this game as the game was originally created for a 3 day game jam and the creators had used pixel art before in some mobile games. The characters are small and use a small amount of pixels but use different colours and shading to make slightly detailed sprites that fits with the simplistic art style of the game which focuses more on its stunning effects while keeping characters looking different from each other and recognizable, they also use a dark outline to make sure that limbs don’t blend in to each other. The Backgrounds use a lot of the same colours but with different shades to create depth with the foreground using most of the colours but with very “dirty” shades to give the feeling of a war zone.

Mega-Man X3 – Mega-Man X3 is a 2D Platformer where you play as a robot with the ability to shoot at enemies and then use there abilities. Pixel art was used for this game because of the system limitations at the time of release. The characters are quite large an use bright primary colours to show the main characters (X and Zero) using mulitple shades of the same colour for detail and depth on the edges, enemies are all darker shades of colours than the main characters, they also use a darker outline to make sure at the characters limbs don’t blend with each other. The background is a darker tone than the foreground but will always fit in to each stages environments and bosses.

Super Brothers: Sword and Sworcery (Mobile/PC) – Sword and Sworcery is a Point and click 2d side scrolling puzzle-adventure game. Pixel art is used in the game as it was an aesthetic choice done by the developers as they fought it would suit the feel of the game. The game uses a limited amount of colours using different shades of green, blue, grey and brown to give the feel of a very ancient place when playing the game. The characters are very small and thin using a width of 1 pixel for each arm and leg, they follow the colour of the game but with darker shades to they don’t blending in to the background. The background and foregrounds are extremely detailed using pixel placement to show wall detail and give off a clear view of wear the play can stand by using brighter shades then the non walkable places.


Kingdom Hearts: Chain Of Memories (GBA) – Kingdom Hearts: Chain Of Memories is a card based role playing game. Pixel art is used due to the limitations of the hardware of the hardware it is on. The Main characters use quite large and use bright colours to fit in with the Disney universe, the enemies use darker tones of colours, (with a few exceptions) each sprite uses different shades to create detail and to show the depth on the edges. The backgrounds match the colour schemes of the respective Disney movies they are originally from without changing the cartoon feel.

Shantae and The Pirate’s Curse (PC/Wii U/3DS/XBOXONE) – Shantae and The Pirate’s Curse is a 2D side strolling platformer. Pixel art is uses as it was chosen by the developers as an aesthetic choice so it can look the same as the other Shantae games that they released before. The characters use bright colours to distinguish them from the background and foreground, while the sprite size varies between characters but all use different shades of colours to create detail on lighting and shading. The background uses a bright contrast to create the illusion of distance, while the foreground uses darker tones than the characters to make sure they are not mixed in with the characters.

Chrono Trigger (SNES/NDS/Mobile/PS) – Chrono Trigger is a Role Playing Game that utilities team based attacks and team customization. Pixel art is used for the game due to the limitations of the hardware it was released for. The characters use bright colours and outlines to differ them from the background, each character uses a different colour scheme to make each character feel different, they use shading to sharpen the details around the bends of the body. The backgrounds uses darker toned colours to the main characters and are less saturated.

That can't be good for Frog's skin or Robo's joints.

Undertale (PC) – Undertale is an Role Playing Game that focuses around the around the morality of the player effecting how the story will progress. Pixel art is used for the game as it was chosen by the developers as an aesthetic choice. The characters are portrayed in different ways depending on how important they are to the plot of the game, with main characters using darker toned colour from the rest of the characters to stand out from everyone else, while the not so plot heavy characters have a lighter tone, almost blending in to the background. The backgrounds gain the most detail in to them keeping to a theme with each place, each theme keeps to the colour schemes you would expect for those particular environment, For example, hotlands use shades of Red, orange, yellow and hot pink, while snowfall use shades of white, green and blue.

EarthBound (SNES) – EarthBound is a Role playing game. Pixel art was used due to the limitations of the hardware at the time. The characters use outlines to differ themselves from the backgrounds, there isn’t much detail that has gone in to how the characters look apart from rosy cheeks or the odd shine. The backgrounds are no different from the characters sticking to a simplistic art style instead of something extremely complex.

Armour and Weapons in Pixel Art

For this task, I will be researching different types of weapons and armour types and see how they are portrait in pixel art. These will help me decide what armour or weapons I would like for my character. I am going to focus on armour that allows quick movement.

Problem: Most armor is created with protecting the body in mind, and there is very little armor with real world origin that are made that allow swift movement. To avoid this problem, I am going to design my own armour that focuses on swiftness and i will then further my design during concept art when creating it for the character.

Armour (Non-Pixel Art) – Chain Mail is the best armor that could be used for swift movement as it lows people to move freely, the main down fall of the armor is the fact that can be heavy depending on the material and the strength of the user, this also allows people to wear something over the top.

Armour (Pixel Art) – Chain mail in pixel art would be shown in a grid based pattern which is seen in the sprite used for minecrafts chain armor set.

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Weapons (Non-Pixel Art) – The katana was my choice of weapon for my duel wielding sword fighter as it is best used for quick straight cuts. There are multiple different variations of the sword like wakizashi and tanto which are usually paired with the katana as a close combat weapon as they are smaller.

japanese sword parts

12 Japanese Swords - UCHIGATANA.NET:

Weapons (Pixel Art) – I created these katana’s looking at there simplistic design.

Kasai's Katana

Moving around with a Dual Wielding Swords

For this task, I will be recording myself moving around with two swords to get a feel for how the character would move around.



Shovel Knight

N/A. (N/A). Shovel Knight. Available: http://giphy.com/gifs/killscreen-shovel-knight-AV36DN3Q288tW. Last accessed 18th May 2016.

N/A. (N/A). Shovel Knight. Available: https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Wii-U-download-software/Shovel-Knight-858506.html. Last accessed 16/05/16.

Fire Emblem

Nico. (2015). Nico Blog. Available: http://nicoblog.org/gba-roms/fire-emblem-fuuin-no-tsurugi/. Last accessed 18th May 2016.

N/A. (N/A). Fire Emblem: Rekka no Ken. Available: http://fireemblem.wikia.com/wiki/Fire_Emblem:_Rekka_no_Ken. Last accessed 16/05/16.

Super Time Force

N/A. (N/A). Super Time Force. Available: http://supertimeforce.com/. Last accessed 16/05/16.

Dan Vader, Mike Nguyen & Vic Nguyen. (2015). Beneath the pixels: The art direction of Super Time Force.Available: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/255187/Beneath_the_pixels_The_art_direction_of_Super_Time_Force.php. Last accessed 18th May 2016.

Mega-Man X3

Rob. (2011). Mega Man X3. Available: http://robrandall.net/mega-man-x3. Last accessed 18th May 2016.

N/A. (N/A). Mega Man X3. Available: http://megaman.wikia.com/wiki/Mega_Man_X3. Last accessed 18th May 2016.

Super Brothers: Sword & Sworcery

Nate Bauer. (N/A). Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery Design Analysis.Available: http://nabauer.com/superbrothers-sword-and-sworcery-design-analysis/. Last accessed 18th May 2016.

Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories

N/A. (N/A). Kingdom Hearts: Chain Of Memories. Available: http://kingdomhearts.wikia.com/wiki/Kingdom_Hearts:_Chain_of_Memories. Last accessed 19th May 2016.

Chain of Memories, Underrated Goodness. (2012). Chain of Memories, Underrated Goodness. Available: http://thegeeksdungeon.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/chain-of-memories-underrated-goodness.html. Last accessed 19th May 2016.

Shantae and The Pirates Curse 

WayForward. (2015). Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse. Available: http://store.steampowered.com/app/345820/. Last accessed 19th May 2016.

Chrono Trigger

N/A. (N/A). Chrono Trigger. Available: http://chrono.wikia.com/wiki/Chrono_Trigger#Gallery. Last accessed 20th May 2016.

MIKE MINOTTI. (2015). Chrono Trigger’s 20th birthday has this must-play role-playing game looking timeless. Available: http://venturebeat.com/2015/03/11/the-ageless-chrono-trigger-is-20-years-old-today/. Last accessed 20th May 2016.


tobyfox. (2015). Undertale. Available: http://store.steampowered.com/app/391540/. Last accessed 20th May 2016.


N/A. (N/A). Wikia – EarthBound wiki. Available: http://earthbound.wikia.com/wiki/EarthBound. Last accessed 20th May 2016.

pirohiko & MUGG.. (2012). SNES EarthBound (USA) “check glitch” in 09:01.77. Available: http://tasvideos.org/1946M.html. Last accessed 20th May 2016.

Chain Armor

N/A. (N/A). Chain Armor. Available: http://minecraft.wikia.com/wiki/Chain_Armor. Last accessed 20th May 2016.

Jacob Kim. (2014). CHAIN MAIL ARMOR, NOT JUST LINKS IN A CHAIN.Available: http://blog.swordnarmory.com/2014/10/chain-mail-armor-not-just-links-in-chain.html. Last accessed 20th May 2016.


N/A. (N/A). True Swords. Available: http://www.trueswords.com/art_of_katana.php. Last accessed 20th May 2016.

Danielle Boorman. (N/A). 12 Japanese Swords. Available: https://uk.pinterest.com/pin/233483561906780355/. Last accessed 20th May 2016.