Welcome to 8 Bit Horse

8 Bit Horse is a website dedicated exclusively to 2D video games for all systems, old and new.

2D RADAR

2D RADAR is our list of promising 2D games currently under development.

Lessons in 2D Game Design

We delve into the design lessons learned from classic 2D video games.

Game of the Year Showcase

A collection of our favorite games from past years.

A Celebration of 2D

Our list of notable 2D video games.

Electronic Super Joy 2

A game by Michael Todd Games for PC, Mac, and Linux, originally released in 2019.
Electronic Super Joy 2 follows up on the stylish platforming of Electronic Super Joy and its mini-sequel, Electronic Super Joy: Groove City. Like its predecessors, the game offers tough precision platforming, a world made up of stark blacks and flashy neon, a pumping soundtrack, and a wry sense of humor. An opening splash screen warns that the game may cause seizures or motion sickness, along with “Swearing! Pixelated blood & Murder! Orgasms! Slime, Farts, and Tentacles! Blasphemy & The Devil!” This places the game squarely in line with the spirit of its predecessors, which featured a sexy pope who loved strip clubs, revenge for a lost butt, and a case of stolen laser nipples.


Unlike Groove City, this is a full-fledged sequel, offering more than 50 intense levels, a variety of powerups, four extended boss battles, and even some Doom-esque FPS levels. Your mission this time is to steal the Devil’s Golden Butt, which is said to grant wishes.


Grelox

A game by Sunteam for PC, originally released in 2019.
Grelox stars the titular character on a mission to save the planet of Aeon from a nefarious crime lord named Lady Mandrill. Mandrill's minions have been burrowing below the surface of the planet in search of some powerful ancient device. Grelox is a gun-for-hire with a passion for justice, so she sets down on the planet and dives into the tunnels, fighting enemies, unlocking passageways, and hunting for keycards to shut down each of Lady Mandrill’s subterranean lairs.


When the game begins, Grelox is standing outside her ship and she is able to enter either of two openings, which lead to the levels below. Completing both of these levels unlocks the next pair, and so on, across six levels that are divided into unique themes, ranging from high-tech to cavernous to organic. The seventh and final level is a straightforward action sequence through a grotesque Abadoxian environment packed with enemies.


Eagle Island

A game by Pixelnicks for PC, Mac, Linux, and Switch, originally released in 2019.
Eagle Island stars a boy named Quill who is an ornithologist exploring islands in search of rare bird specimens to study. He is accompanied by his two owl companions, Koji and Ichiro, as they fly alongside his boat. Suddenly, the trio are overcome by a storm, battered by hail and surrounded by lightning. Somehow – and apparently not as a result of lightning – Quill’s boat bursts into flames. He feels something grab him around his chest and lift his body upward, causing him to black out. He awakens on an island none the worse for wear, and still accompanied by the two owls, one of which is abducted shortly thereafter.


The game is divided into two modes of play: a persistent interconnected overworld and several randomly arranged roguelike dungeons. Any progress made in the overworld is retained throughout the game, whereas getting killed in a dungeon resets the player's progress within it. The overworld is fairly small, and not much time is actually spent here, as the core challenge is completing each of the dungeons. Dungeons are accessed via doorways in the overworld, and completing them awards the player with permanent powerups or new abilities which may be used in future dungeons and in the overworld.


Blazing Chrome

A game by Joymasher for PC, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One, originally released in 2019.
Blazing Chrome is a run-and-gun shooter inspired by the Contra series – Contra 3 and Contra Hard Corps in particular – offering explosive over-the-top action, huge bosses, and 2P local cooperative play… bringing back memories of the halcyon days where Konami actually made video games. In the well-trodden year of 21XX, machines rule the planet, leaving behind crumbling cityscapes and a fiery red sky in their wake. Humans are on the verge of annihilation, and only you can fight back the onslaught to give humanity one last chance.


You take on the role of Marva, a human resistance soldier, and/or Doyle, a reprogrammed robot with a bright red mohawk for that extra dose of 90’s flavor. The duo volunteer for a suicide mission deep in enemy territory. The soldiers can equip up to four different weapons to mash their robotic overlords to bits, which mirrors the weapon systems used in Contra 3 and Contra Hard Corps. Along the way, they deliver destruction on foot, from the backs of hoverbikes, or within one of several empty mech suits that allow them to unleash additional firepower.


Hades

A game by Supergiant Games for PC, not yet released.
Hades is a roguelike actioner where you take on the role of Zagreus, the prince of the underworld and son of Lord Hades. Zagreus is attempting to escape the underworld, despite his father’s insistence that such an act is impossible. Still, Zagreus does not relent in his attempts and takes joy in defying his father and witnessing his displeasure. Each time he is killed, he returns once more to the House of Hades, rising up from a pool of blood and standing in a line of souls awaiting their meeting with the god of the dead.


Along the way, Zagreus makes many friends, all of whom are pivotal figures in the Greek pantheon. Some of these folks, like Achilles and Nix, hang about the House of Hades, while others like Sisyphus and Charon wander the underworld, and still others communicate with Zagreus from upon Mount Olympus, offering gifts to aid him in combat. By furthering conversations with these individuals – and offering them gifts – Zagreus slowly begins to learn more about the world around him, and about his own origins.


Guacamelee 2

A game by DrinkBox Studios for PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch originally released in 2018.
Guacamelee 2 is the follow-up to the original Guacamelee, and once again stars Juan Aguacate in a colorful Mexican-themed beat ‘em up metroidvania filled with zany characters. The large interconnected world slowly opens as Juan uncovers new wrestling moves, which double as combat techniques and environmental navigation tools. As before, Juan has the power to transform into a chicken to enter small passageways morph ball-style, and he learns a number of chicken-specific techniques that allow him to take on enemies and reach new areas.


The game begins by revisiting the finale of the first game, although the dialogue is somewhat different. Here, Juan faces off against the evil Calaca to rescue Lupita. You fight Calaca in his skeleton form and again in his demonic form, but the battle is quite easy, since this is now the introduction to the game rather than its final boss encounter. The original game had two endings, one where Juan is too late and Lupita is dead, and another where Juan’s mask cracks to pieces and he looks down to find her alive. The latter ending is the canonical beginning to Guacamelee 2.


Steel Sword Story

A game by 8bits Fanatics for PC, originally released in 2019.
Steel Sword Story is a sidescrolling actioner featuring sword-based combat and set in a medieval fantasy world. You take on the role of a former knight named Azul Palan Baru who has been banished from the kingdom after being falsely accused by the traitorous Prime Minister, Rufus. With nothing left to lose, Azul returns to defeat Rufus and restore the kingdom, using his old steel sword to serve up a nice cold plate of revenge.


The developer, 8bits Fanatics, is known for its chunky sidescrolling actioners, although they tend toward zanier premises, such as the spike-heavy worlds of 1001 Spikes, or the zombie head-juggling of The Tempura of the Dead. By comparison, Steel Sword Story is considerably more straightforward, with battles against creatures and bosses across four themed areas. The game is somewhat less colorful than the developer's previous efforts, and the game is not terribly well optimized, which may be due to the Pixel Game Maker MV tool on which it was built... and someone went a little overboard on the light bloom effect.


Killer Chambers

A game by Village Bench for PC and Linux, originally released in 2019.
We don’t talk about it much these days, but memorization was once a key aspect to completing many of the most renowned action games. It wasn’t enough to just master the mechanics and react quickly; a significant factor for success was foreknowledge of enemy placement and boss attack patterns. With few checkpoints – or none at all – and limited continues, failure meant repeating large chunks of the game, and this repetition aided in memorization.


Killer Chambers revives this mentality, requiring near-perfect execution in each level, with failure sending the player back to try it again. The game takes place in a series of tiny rooms where arrows and other projectiles shoot out from the walls, requiring the player dodge them. The limited confines leave little room to maneuver and even less room for error, with a single misstep resulting in the player character exploding in a spray of blood that coats the surrounding area.


Gato Roboto

A game by Doinksoft for PC and Switch, originally released in 2019.
Gato Roboto stars a cat who is making her way through an open world subterranean action-adventure… or “meowtroidvania”, if you will. A lieutenant named Gary is hurtling through space with his feline companion - named Kiki - when he receives a signal from a research facility on a nearby planet at coordinates 42069 (nooch). Soon after, Kiki steps on one of the buttons on the control panel, sending the ship hurtling toward the planet.


Following the crash, Kiki is ejected from the ship, but Gary is trapped inside, so it’s up to her to mount a rescue, despite the fact that her vocabulary consists entirely of the word “meow” and its variations. Gary communicates with her via a convenient collar radio, occasionally making comments on her surrounding environment or offering direction. Kiki's initial objective is to reach a save room, which spawns a pilotable security mech.


Heroine Anthem Zero

A game by WindThunder Studio for PC, Mac, PS4, Switch, and iOS, originally released in 2016.
Heroine Anthem Zero is an action-adventure broken into multiple episodes, with the first being released under several names on different platforms, appearing as Heroine Anthem Zero, Heroine Anthem Zero: Episode 1, and Heroine Anthem Zero -Sacrifice-, with the second episode being called Heroine Anthem Zero: Episode 2 and Heroine Anthem Zero 2 -Scars of Memories-. The game is part of the Heroine Anthem franchise which got its start in with Heroine Anthem: The Elect of Wassernixe and Heroine Anthem II The Angel of Sarem, which only saw release in Asian regions. There are references to the original games, but the new game is meant to stand on its own.


The story begins after the world’s most recent cataclysm, as the world rises and falls in inverse proportion to the greed of mankind. This time around, the world is built around the World Tree Terasyr, which gives rise to Fae folk, who live together in harmony with humans and anthropomorphic animals. But years of prosperity have caused mankind’s greed to rise once again, and a pestilence is spreading through the land. You play the role of Wanin, a Forest Keeper, and his faerie companion Mormolia, as they press into the dark reaches of Longhorn Woods to turn the tide of evil away from the civilization they are sworn to protect.


Courier of the Crypts

A game by Emberheart Games for PC, originally released in 2019.
Courier of the Crypts is a puzzle-based adventure starring a young courier on a mission to deliver a letter to the guardian of the crypts in a nearby town. The crypts were once a religious place, but now dark forces are at work within their walls, and something evil lurks in the depths of the ancient temple. After a 3-day walk, the courier arrives at the temple and encounters a lazy curator inside the entrance who claims to be too busy to deliver the letter to the guardian himself (too busy sleeping, as it turns out). The courier picks up a torch to light his way into the lower levels of the crypts… but soon after he enters, the floor crumbles beneath his feet and he finds himself trapped below.


Fortunately, the courier has kept hold of the torch and lights it to see his surroundings. The torch becomes the courier’s most valuable tool as he makes his way through the crypts, as many areas are shrouded in darkness. The light from the torch only illuminates the immediate area, leaving the courier to explore dark corners to find switches and doorways that slowly open the path forward. But the torch flame is not an infinite resource, and its magical light must be replenished… or the courier can choose to extinguish the flame to conserve its magical energy.


Shakedown Hawaii

A game by VBlank Entertainment for PC, PS4, Vita, Switch, and 3DS, originally released in 2019.
Shakedown Hawaii is the follow-up to Retro City Rampage, which was an open world actioner with NES-era visuals that was heavily influenced by the top-down entries in the Grand Theft Auto series, with loads of references to the 1980’s. Shakedown Hawaii ups the visual fidelity to the SNES era while offering a larger open world experience set in modern day, but without the extensive pop culture references… but plenty of references to outdated 80’s technology used by the primary protagonist who claims every new technology to be a fad. The game also features a heavy focus on economics to help the player rise from the ranks of washed-up businessman to Hawaii's top mogul.


You take on the role of three individuals who embark on a coordinated crime spree across Hawaii, roughing up business owners, stealing cars, profiteering, manipulating real estate prices, and pretty much any crime they can think of to scrape their way to the top. The game offers more than 100 missions, hundreds of properties and businesses to purchase, and a number of score-based challenges (in GTA terms, think rampages) where you rack up kills and deliver destruction to earn medals.