Welcome to 8 Bit Horse

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


The 2D RADAR Watchlist 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.

Picks of the Decade

Our picks of the most memorable games from the previous decade.

A Celebration of 2D

Our list of notable 2D video games.


A game by Nomada Studio for PC, Mac, Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox X/S, iOS, and Android, originally released in 2018.
GRIS is an adventure game featuring light platforming and puzzle elements. The game stars the eponymous Gris, a young woman who must overcome pain and grief as her peaceful world suddenly crumbles around her. The game’s wordless story is told mostly through symbolism and begins with Gris waking up in the cracked palm of a giant statue of a woman… one of many such damaged statues she encounters on her journey, many appearing in poses of lament. She begins to sing but quickly becomes unable to find her voice. She slumps to the ground and the statue cracks into pieces, sending her tumbling into the world below.
Once on solid ground, Gris can only move slowly to the left or right, and performing any action causes her to drop to her knees, after which she pulls herself slowly to her feet. The ground beneath her is represented by a thin pencil line, and everything has been drained of color. Gris wears a long grey dress that flows around her as she moves (and makes her visible even when the camera pulls back), and her blue hair stands out as the only bit of color in the world around her.

Cannon Dancer - Osman

A game by Mitchell Corporation and ININ Games for Arcade, Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox X/S, originally released in the arcade in 1996, with the enhanced version released in 2023.
Cannon Dancer - Osman is an enhanced version of the 1996 arcade game Osman, which was known in Japan as Cannon-Dancer (キャノンダンサー). While the original arcade game was fairly obscure, it was mostly known for its similarities to Strider, which released in arcades several years before. Both games feature melee combat, lots of angled platforms, and an agile hero who can climb walls and walk hand-over-hand across ceilings. These similarities can be traced to Kouichi Yotsui, who worked on Strider and was the designer on Osman.
The game takes place in a futuristic Middle Eastern setting filled with neon lights, expansive cityscapes, and gigantic mechanized constructions. You take on the role of a Cannon Dancer known as Kirin (he was named Osman in the game of that name), a martial arts master and member of a mercenary group called Teki. He is summoned by the director of the world government to battle the forces of Abdullah the Slaver, an evil sorceress bent on world domination… or so it seems.

Tanuki Justice

A game by Wonderboy Bobi for PC, Switch, and PS4, originally released in 2020.
Tanuki Justice is an arcade-style actioner starring tanuki siblings out for justice, just like it says on the tin. The opening cinematic presents a shadowy figure that laughs maniacally and exclaims “I’m gonna dominate the world!”, followed by a pair of tanuki who respond with “In your dreams!” while standing in aggressive poses. And that’s all you need to know… The bad guys are bad. The good guys are good. And the justice is tanuki.
You take on the role of the tanuki brother in 1P, with a second player joining as the sister in local 2P co-op. You are able to select between normal, hard, or insane difficulties at the start of the game, with the harder modes offering higher enemy counts, more tough enemies mixed into the regular ones, and multi-hit enemies taking more damage to kill… but you’ll definitely want to start out on the normal difficulty setting until you get the hang of things. For most players, this setting still presents a substantial challenge, although expert retro gamers are likely to reach the end in under an hour.

Curse of the Sea Rats

A game by Petoons Studio for PC, Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox X/S, originally released in 2023.
Curse of the Sea Rats is an open world action-adventure that takes place in the year 1777. A British navy vessel is returning home from the Caribbean with a brig full of pirates who have been charged with treason. But along the way, the ship runs into some unusual trouble… One of the captured pirates is a witch named Flora Burn, and she uses a magical amulet to transform everyone on the ship into rats (including herself). The ship runs aground along the coast of Ireland, and most of the pirates escape with the witch, kidnapping the admiral’s son in the process.
Four prisoners are left behind, and they strike a deal with the admiral (who is confusingly named Blacksmith) to rescue his son and bring the witch back – dead or alive – in exchange for their freedom. They also hope to find a means of breaking the witch’s curse… although the ship's transmogrified crew generally seem to be taking their transformations in stride. The player may select one of these four playable characters, or select multiple characters for 1P-4P local co-op.

Haunted Lands: Burial Grounds

A game by Alexey Goryachev for PC, originally released in 2023.
Haunted Lands: Burial Grounds, a follow up to Haunted Lands, is a sidescrolling shooter reminiscent of Dangerous Dave in the Haunted Mansion, a 1991 DOS game from id Software that was developed by John Carmack, John Romero, Tom Hall, and Adrian Carmack (yeah, the DOOM guys). The game features a similar tone, style, and color scheme, and even offers some of the same basic movement abilities. You take on the role of a quartet of hunters on a mission to destroy an evil cult and the terrifying creatures they have unleashed upon the world.
When you begin the game, you are able to select between one of four playable characters who share a home in a walled-off protected area. You are free to roam around this space and visit the tutorial, vault, and trading post, or take on the next mission. This also gives you a glimpse into the personality of each character, as the Veteran reads a book next to a fireplace, the Ranger is brushing a horse in a nearby stable, the Salamander is doing pullups in the weight room downstairs, and the Sorceress is playing a run and gun shooter in the game room, with posters on the wall representing DOOM, Left 4 Dead 2, and Contra, and there’s a Hollow Knight figure on the shelf.


A game by Colorgrave for PC, originally released in 2020.
Prodigal is a top-down action adventure starring a young man named Oran. In his younger days, Oran was a feckless ne’er-do-well who stole money from his parents and eventually left his childhood home, a frontier town in the north known as Vann’s Point. Ten years later, he receives a note from his grandfather telling him that his parents have passed away, and so he returns home.
Oran isn’t exactly welcomed back by the townsfolk, who recall his misspent youth and think of him as a southerner and a thief… but a few people remember him fondly and missed him while he was away. As for the others, he’ll need to earn their trust. This is done by helping people with their troubles, overcoming challenging dungeons, and even offering gifts as he potentially courts one of the women from his old hometown.


A game by Mantra and Sinergia Games for PC and Switch, originally released in 2023.
Elderand is a metroidvania starring a nameless hunter on a quest to stop a zealous cult and its power-mad ruler. Soon after you embark on your journey, you find yourself shipwrecked on a strange shore with nothing but your hunter’s garb. Nearby, you find a sword that gives you a way of dealing with the creatures that lurk all around you… but you’ll need to grow your strength and find more powerful weapons and equipment if you hope to overcome the darkness that has infested every corner of this terrible land.
Your sword grants you a 3-hit combo, but you must stand still to swing it. You can perform a single strike while ducking or jumping, and you have a 2x jump with only slightly variable height. You also have a forward dash and a backstep for quickly closing ground or dodging enemy attacks. As you explore, you discover subweapons in the form of daggers and axes, which work similarly to those in the Castlevania series. By pressing UP+ATTACK, you can toss knives in a straight line or lob axes in an arc, and later you find throwable bombs as well. You also gain access to a bow and arrows, allowing you to strike enemies at a distance, although arrows and subweapons are in limited supply and only appear as random drops from broken objects.

To a Starling

A game by Peteksi for PC, Mac, and Linux, originally released in 2022.
To a Starling is a puzzle platformer featuring a starling on a quest to collect blueberries. Unfortunately, these berries are located in some pretty hazardous locales that are packed with dangers like spikes, water, and… even more spikes. Snagging berries isn’t easy, but our avian hero has one trick up its feathered sleeve that most birds (presumably) do not: the ability to teleport.
You have only a couple of tools at your disposal: the ability to walk to the left or right, the ability to teleport to certain orbs, and a highly variable jump with lots of midair direction control… which you’ll need to navigate some extremely tight spaces with mere pixels standing between success and bird-kabob. Getting killed or leaving the room resets the current puzzle, and you’ll sometimes need to purposely kill yourself if you put yourself in an unwinnable situation, but puzzle rooms are small so this is a minor inconvenience.

Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider

A game by Joymasher for PC, Switch, PS4, and PS5, originally released in 2023.
Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider is a sidescrolling slasher inspired by 16-bit genre entries like Hagane and the Shinobi series. You take on the role of Moonrider, a ninja-like bioweapon created by the scientists of a totalitarian state, with the sole purpose of obliterating anyone with the gall to rise up against them. However, you have managed to override your programming and decide to fight against the very system that created you, acting as a defender of the people and a sword of vengeance against the authoritarian regime and its instruments of power.
Ultimately, the story doesn’t do much more than establish a framework wherein you slash the absolute bejeezus out of every moving object in your visual range. And of course, there’s plenty of pre-fight posturing by the other guardians you encounter as they decry your actions and promise to put you down once and for all… giving you plenty of reason to cleave them in twain before moving on to your next target.


A game by Josyan for PC, Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox X/S, originally released in 2023.
UnderDungeon is a dungeon-crawling action adventure featuring chunky 1-bit visuals. You take on the role of Kimuto, who just started working as a delivery driver in the town of Kutopia… which turns out to be a much more difficult job than you might imagine. Kimuto finds himself fighting monsters that have overrun the town, traversing dangerous dungeons, hunting for secrets, and overcoming minigame challenges.
As the game begins, Kimuto is having a dream where he – the hero of the day – draws his sword to slay a menacing dragon… but he is soon awakened by the sound of his alarm clock. He hits the snooze button a couple of times, only to realize that he’s going to be late for his job interview if he doesn’t get moving. Fortunately, he manages to get to the office, where he is hired and given a rune that lets him summon a magic sword to defend himself against monsters while making his deliveries.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

A game by Moon Studios for PC, Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox X/S, originally released in 2020.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps is the follow-up to Ori and the Blind Forest, and the game once again stars Ori, a forest spirit who lives with his adoptive mother, Naru, and a long-legged forest creature named Gumo. In the first game, Ori faced off against a giant owl named Kuro during his quest to restore the Spirit Tree and return balance to the world. The game ended with Kuro giving her life in an attempt to save her last remaining child, who sat newly hatched within the branches of the Spirit Tree. With her final sacrifice, the Spirit Tree was saved, as was her now-orphaned hatchling.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps picks up where the last game left off, with Ori, Naru, and Gumo working together as a family to care for the young owl, whom they name Ku. A partially interactive prologue – played out mostly in pantomime – shows the seasons passing as the family attempts to raise Ku into adulthood… but Ku has a damaged wing that prevents her from being able to fly on her own.

Jitsu Squad

A game by Tanuki Creative Studio for PC, Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox X/S, and Arcade, originally released in 2022.
Jitsu Squad is a belt-scrolling beat ‘em up featuring bright and colorful HD art, four playable animal characters, and a focus on chaotic 1P-4P local co-op against large numbers of enemies. You’re on a mission to save the galaxy from an evil sorcerer named Origami, who has summoned hordes of ancient warriors to track down the Kusanagi Stone. Legend has it that this stone contains the soul of a demon who will grant incredible powers to whomever awakens him. Another sorcerer, named Ramen, manages to summon four warrior to thwart Origami’s plans… and these four warriors make up the Jitsu Squad.
Your fight rages across eight planets – each with a different theme – where you face skeleton warriors, demons, cavemen, and all sorts of colorful creatures. Structurally, the game is similar to most genre entries, offering waves of enemies throughout each stage, followed by a boss encounter. What sets this game apart is its audacious presentation, zany character designs, and the sheer number of enemies it throws at you at once… and a focus on dazzling super attacks and transformations that fill the screen with flourishes and effects as baddies go flying.