This list of aesthetic games to play include the best beautiful game on mobile which will impress you with visuality and great design. Let’s go!
We curated a list of aesthetic games to play, produced by independent studios (which also means they may not all be free, but are very worth the investment), that are aesthetically exquisite, highly immersive, and seek to tell great stories. They’ve all got something wonderful about them, and we hope, whether or not you’re a regular gamer, that you find something you enjoy. Of course, the gaming universe is gigantic, so this is by no means an exhaustive list. Presenting: the mobile games we’ve found to be visually stunning, in alphabetical order.
In the gaming world, Alto’s Odyssey holds a high rank as one of the most beloved and aesthetic puzzle games. Released in 2018, the Apple Design Award-winning Odyssey is a sequel to Alto’s Adventure, and both come with highly stylized landscapes for you to glide through. (Harry Nesbitt, the lead artist, and developer behind the game, took two years to design Alto’s Adventure.) While Alto’s Adventure involves snowboarding across snowy vistas, Odyssey is set in deserts. The scenery is distractingly gorgeous — thankfully, the game’s extremely forgiving Zen mode option lets you focus on the views without chasing coins or worrying about crashing.
I Love Hue
Its name maybe a little on the nose, but this puzzle game’s elegant design makes up for that. The puzzle involves rearranging tiles to form ordered color spectrums. On completion of a level, you’ll be showered with enthusiastically positive compliments like “you’re an iridescent moonbeam!” or “you bright shining rainbow!” According to its developers — Zut! Games, an independent, UK-based studio that aims to “create games with simple mechanics and a groovy retro feel” — I Love Hue was designed to be “a meditative experience with no timers, no move limits and no punishments for failure.” It’s a delightful game for those intrigued by the world of color, especially if you’re looking for a break from other puzzle games (although it can quickly get challenging too).
The next game on aesthetic games to play is Lumino city. If you feel as though there’s a distinct handmade quality to the visuals of this game — you’re right. State of Play, a studio in London, spent three years building an entire miniature city out of paper, cardboard, little lights, and motors, collaborating with architects, fine artists, prop-makers and animators. This set serves as Lumino City, and you play the role of a little girl tracking down her grandfather, who’s the caretaker of this city. The premise is that he’s been kidnapped, and by figuring out “the fascinating mechanisms that power this unique world,” you have to find him. The game has bagged a number of awards, including a BAFTA for Artistic Achievement in 2015.
Monument Valley 2
For those who love puzzles and aesthetic games to play, the award-winning Monument Valley ticks all the right boxes. Its visuals take inspiration from MC Escher’s optical illusions, and Monument Valley renders this universe with soothing colours and sounds. In terms of gameplay and design, Monument Valley 2 works in the same vein as Monument Valley, but it builds on the original game with deeper storytelling. According to Ustwo Games, the company behind the games, its team drew inspiration from “sources including mid-century illustration, theatre, toy design, and even confectionary”. Playing it feels as though you’re interacting with a work of art — and just like you’d take photos at an art gallery, when you complete a puzzle, there’s an in-built option to screenshot it. Rumour has it, Monument Valley 3 will be coming soon.
Old Man’s Journey
Playing Old Man’s Journey makes you feel as though you’ve stepped into a fairy tale. As the name hints, the game starts off with the old man receiving a letter that spurs him onto a journey across mountains, towns, highways, and seas. While the story revolves around “life’s precious moments, broken dreams, and changed plans,” according to the game’s website, it’s the painting-like visuals and intuitive gameplay that are compelling. It is set in a two-dimensional world, but to get the old man across, say, two hills, you’re meant to manipulate the landscape by raising or lowering these hills — it’s in these bits that the puzzle comes to fore. The game won an Apple Design Award in 2017, the year it was released, and comes from Vienna-based Broken Rules.
The End of the World
Another title that couldn’t be missed on aesthetic games to play is The End of the World. At the centre of this game is a murder mystery that you have to solve. The game is set in a storied mansion — called Tangle Tower — on a secluded island that’s surrounded by a mysterious lake, and is home to the Fellows and the Pointers, two rival families. Private detectives Grimoire and Sally, who you play as, have been summoned to investigate the murder of Freya Fellows. It’s a riveting game that involves collecting clues, speaking with suspects, and piecing together the puzzle — all of which can be done within about six hours. Expect well-written narratives and hilarious banter, great animation and voice-overs, and high production value. SFB Games, based in London, UK, began work on the game in 2015, but it debuted as part of the launch line-up of Apple Arcade, Apple’s video game subscription service, last year.
This list of aesthetic games to play couldn’t be complete without this. Any frame of your four hours with Gris would look at home in an art gallery. Nomada Studios’ ravishing visual design makes this soothing game feel like a sojourn through animated watercolor. Splashes of wispy cloud melt away into endless skies. Intricate mazes can be found within daintily-drawn ruins that dominate this sumptuous canvas.
You play as the eponymous protagonist as she brings an explosion of eye-catching color to her monochrome world, but this is a place that eschews words to tell its poignant story of grief and loss through music, color, and motion. Like Matt Makes Games’ Celeste, Gris uses platforming as a metaphor: we learn our limits by jumping and falling.
Much of life’s stresses stem from the never-ending list of mundane daily tasks we must complete. That’s why aesthetic games are created to ease our depression after a long day. Hopefully, this list of aesthetic games to play will pipe your interest. Thanks for reading!
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