Top 10: Games that Look Like Paintings

Shadow Of The-Colossus

When I play video games for the purposes of review, I spend a lot of time taking screenshots to include in the articles. Interestingly, I’ve found that certain games look remarkably similar to paintings. In fact, if you read a lot of video game reviews, you’ve probably heard the phrase “you can take a screenshot and hang it on the wall as art,” since that has become a sort of cliché. Below, you’ll find some of those games that certainly look like paintings, but take into account that most of the games I chose don’t have HUDs or menus that make them look like traditional games. As usual, feel free to share ideas in the comment section below.

10. Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP

Superbrothers: Sword & Sorcery EP 02

Superbrothers is an unconventional point-and-click adventure that doesn’t make any sense at first. But as you progress, its different components start falling into place. One of those components are the pretty, pixelated visuals that make you more invested in the adventure you’re participating in.

9. Kentucky Route Zero

Kentucky Route Zero - Act III 05 (Custom)

Kentucky Route Zero seems like yet another indie game that makes use of an attractive visual style, but that’s a dangerous assumption. After all, this game is so much more than that. The story is convoluted, the characters are likable and the dialogues are remarkably well written. Nevertheless, the cinematic use of the camera and how the developers highlighted different characters or items is impressive.

8. Limbo


Limbo is a very artistic title and this reflected in the visual aspect of the game. The black and white graphics, the grotesque looking enemies, the iconic hotel sign and so on make Limbo a hauntingly attractive title and pretty much any screenshot you take can be used as a wallpaper.

7. Dragon Quest VIII

Dragon Quest VIII (PS2)

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Dragon Quest VIII is all about exploration, but that aspect wouldn’t be as effective if it wasn’t for the terrific cel-shaded graphics. Everything you see in the game can be explored and every time you take a screenshot, you’ll think of using it as a wallpaper on your computer.

6. Bastion

Bastion - Supergiant Games

Bastion uses cel-shading visuals and while this makes the game look cartoonish, Bastion definitely looks like something you could print and hang on any wall. Of course, mentioning the visuals seems like sacrilege, since all the other elements make Bastion such an amazing game (such as the dynamic voice acting, the terrific music, the tried and true gameplay and so on.)

5. Dear Esther

Dear Esther 04

To a certain extent, Dear Esther exudes a horrific vibe, but this is no horror game. In fact, there are no enemies, no characters to interact with and you can experience the story at your own pace. But we shouldn’t define Dear Esther for what it doesn’t have, but for what it does. In the game, you explore some haunting and eye-catching environments and as you advance, you learn more about its story.

4. Fez

Fez Owl

In terms of visual effects, Fez is really well crafted. It really looks like the developers spent dozens of hours creating every single environment within the game and the result is absolutely fantastic. In fact, the first time that your surroundings rotates to reveal a hidden world, you’re aware that you’re witnessing a memorable moment you won’t soon forget.

3. Proteus

Proteus (PS3, Vita)

Another exploration-based game. Proteus takes place in a mysterious island right before your character wakes up. There are no immediate objectives and HUDs to distract you from the core aspect of the game: walking through the different environments and experiencing different seasons in a short period.

2. Shadow of the Colossus

Shadow of the Colossus (PS3)

One of the things that makes Shadow of the Colossus an attractive game is that the HUDs are never intrusive. In fact, if you don’t use the attack button for a few seconds, the different HUDs will start fading away until they disappear completely.

1. Okami

Okami Screenshot HD

Choosing Okami as one of the games that look like a painting is an easy choice. After all, the point of the developers was creating a game that looks like a painting. Well, mission accomplished. Drawing different gestures, exploring the sprawling dungeons and talking to the multiple characters seems like something that’s taking place within a canvas and that’s an achievement in itself.