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While far from the most important aspect of a video game, a striking visual style can do wonders to enhance an experience. There’s no shortage of titles trying to entice players to make bold decisions regarding their aesthetics, and displaying most (if not all) of a game exclusively in black and white is one of the boldest.

In the interest of highlighting the games that have been most successful in achieving this monochromatic feat, here are the best video games that are completely black and white.

Limbo

Best Black and White Video Games

2010’s Limbo is arguably the most talked-about game in terms of monochromatic visuals, making its early inclusion on this list an absolute must. This puzzle platformer puts the player in control of a boy who wakes up in a shady forest with no solution other than trying to find a way out. The more straightforward story and control scheme serves to highlight the game’s clever brain teasers, while the black-and-white aesthetic defines the game’s intensely atmospheric world.

Developed by Playdead and originally published by Microsoft Game Studios, Limbo was released to critical acclaim, was one of the best-selling games on the Xbox Live Arcade and is now available on all major platforms (including the Nintendo Switch). If you haven’t played Limbo yet and any of the above sounds intriguing, it’s definitely worth picking up. See the article : 10 epic Chinese video games that are not ‘gendered effect’ you should try.

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Downwell

Best Black and White Video Games

Downwell is a game with a simple premise. You fall into a procedurally generated hole in the ground (also known as a pit), shoot enemies from above, and slow your descent by firing your Gunboots. To see also : Are Black Businesses Ready For Another Recession?. The game’s high-concept setup makes for an immediately thrilling experience that’s effortless to pick up and play, and there’s a very noticeable element of the sense that you get better at the game the more time you put into it.

Technically, the game uses a four-color palette rather than being entirely black and white, but the other two colors are used sparingly by comparison, accentuating the monochromatic majority. Downwell launched in October 2015 on iOS and PC, but is now also available on Android, PlayStation 4 and (more recently) Nintendo Switch.

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MadWorld

Best Black and White Video Games

MadWorld was the very first release of the action game greats on PlatinumGames. Released by Sega in early 2009 exclusively for the Wii, it still remains one of the most unique games on the platform. Read also : Brewers games at Bally Sports Wisconsin will be available through an in-app purchase, without the need for a cable, starting Thursday. Packed with gory mayhem, it sees protagonist Jack Cayman compete in a violent game show called Death Watch for a big cash prize to the tunes of a hip-hop soundtrack.

More importantly for the purposes of this article, the game’s visuals are reminiscent of a graphic novel in motion. Both the environments and the characters are drawn on the screen in dark, inky black graphics that are broken only by stylish red stripes as the player mows down enemies with the chainsaw in Jack’s arm.

While the title underperformed in sales and never left the original console, MadWorld remains one of the most extraordinary games to ever see the light of day and easily earns its place on this list. However, fans are still waiting for a remaster.

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World of Horror

Best Black and White Video Games

Even among the many unique games on this list, World of Horror is one of the most notable titles. Launched in Steam Early Access in February 2020, it offers a seamless blend of roguelite, RPG, and point-and-click gameplay elements infused with a horror setting inspired by the work of Junji Ito and H.P. labor of love. Combining these elements makes for an engaging and brutally replayable game, especially considering that it offers 12 possible mysteries to solve and over 200 possible events in every playthrough from this point on.

In the case of World of Horror, the blocky, monochrome pixel art elevates the eerieness of the events unfolding. The detailing is such that World of Horror is constantly unsettling, yet still gives your imagination room to roam, like all good horror does.

If you’d like to learn more, you can check out Twinfinite’s overview of the game ahead of the Early Access launch. As of now, it is only available on PC.

Trek to Yomi

Best Black and White Video Games

One of the most recent games on this list, Trek to Yomi from May 2022, is an interactive love letter to Japanese cinema of the 1950s and 1960s courtesy of developer Flying Wild Hog and publisher Devolver Digital. It harks back to such films as Seven Samurai (1954) and Yojimbo (1961) in both its cinematic presentation and revenge-fueled narrative, putting players in the role of Hiroki as he embarks on a journey of self-discovery along with his quest. for revenge.

Trek to Yomi is an excellent embodiment of how much can be achieved with a limited color palette. The set pieces, lighting and theater-adjacent presentation are artistic and a visual feast for the eyes. While the gameplay was less well received than the aesthetic, it more than deserves a spot on this list and is available on PC, PlayStation 4, Playstation 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S.

Gato Roboto

Best Black and White Video Games

Because who wouldn’t want to drive a cute cat in a mecha suit?

Gato Roboto is a metroidvania title developed by doinksoft and published by Devolver Digital. After crash-landing on a planet while investigating a distress signal, a man named Gary is trapped on the ship and must command his cat, Kiki, to find a way out of the planet. Being a metroidvania, the game places a great emphasis on exploration and item finding among the frenetic boss battles and platforming.

As with Downwell, Gato Roboto’s black and white pixel art is as nostalgic as it is cute. Despite the lack of coloring, everything on the screen is clearly recognizable and adds to the insane fun of the gameplay. In fact, it’s so much fun that it made our list of must-see indie titles in 2019, and it’s available on PC, Switch, and Xbox One.

Ghost of Tsushima: Kurosawa Mode

Best Black and White Video Games

Ghost of Tsushima, released in 2020, is a beautiful open-world game starring Jin Sakai, a samurai who fights at the forefront of the Mongol invasion of Japan in 1274 to protect his homeland. The title was very well received, with particular praise for the fluid combat and graphic presentation.

The context of Ghost of Tsushima’s inclusion in this list is a little different, as its own take on black-and-white presentation is an option that the player can toggle on and off at will rather than a decision the game was developed around. Ghost of Tsushima has a “Kurosawa Mode” that not only applies a black and white filter over the action, but also implements audio changes that mimic 1950s analog devices. Since Ghost of Tsushima contains so many deep and vibrant colors, limiting the output to black and white makes the on-screen image feel striking and detailed.

While the game is more than playable in Kurosawa mode, it’s important to note that it can make certain aspects of the game more difficult as some battle indicators use color cues to evoke a response from the player. Still, it’s well worth checking out for yourself, and if you need a refresher on where to enable Kurosawa mode in Ghost of Tsushima, look no further than our guide on exactly how to do that.

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (1993)

Best Black and White Video Games

Though it was the fourth Zelda release overall, Link’s Awakening stands out for its departure from quite a few early series: there’s no Zelda, there’s no Triforce, it takes place on an island called Koholint instead of Hyrule, and there’s a giant sleeping fish that Link must wake up by collecting eight musical instruments. Link’s Awakening can certainly get a little weird, but the dungeon creeping roots are still very much intact.

Some of the best black and white games have monochrome visuals, not because of a deliberate design decision, but because of hardware limitations. This is true of Link’s Awakening and in turn is one of the most distinctive titles on the original Game Boy. The limitation of color required the on-screen sprites to exude style and character to stand out in Link’s smaller screen debut, ensuring Link’s Awakening will forever remain one of the most memorable black and white releases.

Only the original Game Boy release of Link’s Awakening is in black and white, as the re-release on Game Boy Color added vibrant color to the experience (as you’d expect), and the 2019 remake for Nintendo Switch is very full of color as well. . While both reissues are great ways to experience the game, there’s something to be said for the way the original emphasizes the appeal of early black-and-white graphics.

Return of the Obra Dinn

Best Black and White Video Games

2018’s Return of the Obra Dinn is an excellent puzzle game that puts the player in the role of an insurance inspector who worked for the East India Company around 1807. After a missing merchant ship (the titular Obra Dinn) reappears after five years, you’re left to investigate what happened to the 60 passengers on board. Through a magical pocket watch, the player is transported into the past and must piece together what happened to everyone else using contextual clues and an elimination process.

Besides the unique premise, there is no other game quite like Return of the Obra Dinn. The binary, 1-bit art style emulates the look of early computers, which is thoroughly evidenced by the in-game options that allow the player to change those colors to emulate other monitors of the time. Like the other games on this list, Return of the Obra Dinn’s limited use of color thoroughly enhances the experience whether you’re playing on PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or Switch.

Pokémon Red and Blue

Best Black and White Video Games

If ever there was a game duo that needed no introduction, it would be Pokémon Red and Blue. After the release of these two titles in 1998 (two years after their first debut in Japan), Pokémon would become one of the biggest franchises in the world, along with a trading card game, anime series, and countless other spin-offs. offs and business ventures. Red and Blue show the successful Pokémon formula at its most distilled: exploring, catching them all, and fighting in a way that paves the way for the increasing sophistication of the games that would follow.

Like the original version of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening above, Pokémon Red and Blue’s color palette was also inhibited by the Game Boy’s dot-matrix screen, but was no worse for it. Everything from the NPCs that inhabit the Kanto region to the iconic designs of the pocket monsters themselves are both clearly defined and expressive, bringing the game world to life in impressive ways.

Those are the 10 best video games that are completely in black and white. If you need more convincing with the last item on this list, check out 10 reasons why Pokémon Red and Blue are still great. If you’re still looking for more games with great visual performance, look no further than Twinfinite’s 10 Games With Eye-Popping Art Styles That We’ll Never Forget.

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