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.

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, and Xbox X/S, 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.

The Knight Witch

A game by Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team for PC, Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox X/S, originally released in 2022.
The Knight Witch is a metroidvania with shmup-style combat, twin stick controls, and card-based spellcasting. You take on the role of a woman named Rayne, but she’s not actually the star of the story… at least not at first. The game centers around a quartet of heroes known as the Knight Witches, who gain their power and magical abilities through the faith that people have in them. The Knight Witches lead a rebellion against Emperor Erebus, who has led the empire to ruin by exploiting the land, leaving a broken and polluted world in his wake.
In a playable flashback, you control the most powerful Knight Witch, Robyn, who bears the nickname of The Angel of Destruction. Supported by her sistren, she makes her way to the emperor, and the battle ends in a tremendous explosion, creating a giant crater that reveals a series of ancient tunnels. With the war at an end, survivors from both sides of the conflict relocate to a long-forgotten underground city known as Dungeonidas. The city runs on technology that the people don’t understand, but it provides them a safe haven, with breathable air, electricity, and enough food to feed those who remain.

Dungeon in a Bottle

A game by Strange Spaces for PC and Mac, originally released in 2022.
Dungeon in a Bottle is a precision platformer starring a thief named Reya. While attempting to steal a magical bottle from its resting place, Reya finds himself sucked inside, only to discover a trap-filled dungeon within. He must use every trick at his disposal – along with some new skills he gains along the way – to escape the dungeon with his life, as he platforms his way across more than 100 levels of steadily increasing difficulty.
Dungeons within the magical bottle tend to be narrow vertically-oriented single-screen environments, although there are a few scrolling levels later in the game, along with some levels that are arranged horizontally. Most levels can be completed in under 10 seconds, with lengthier challenges perhaps taking as long as 30 seconds, although actual completion times are bound to be much longer considering how easy it is for the player to be killed… a fact that the player is reminded of by way of a death counter in the HUD. Additionally, players who have mastered the mechanics may elect to enable a speedrun timer.

Unichrome: A 1-Bit Unicorn Adventure

A game by Super8bitRafa for PC, Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox X/S, originally released in 2022.
Unichrome: A 1-Bit Unicorn Adventure is a lo-fi shooter-platformer starring a plucky little rainbow unicorn with a bunch of big guns. You take on the role of this unicorn, named Itchi, as she awakens within some kind of specimen tank after having been in stasis for a thousand years. She soon discovers that six other animals have also awakened from stasis, led by a unicorn named Century. Century enters the Color Core and steals several color-coded gems, which she hands out to her similarly-hued minions.
With each of these gems stolen, the world is drained of color, but as Itchi visits each area, she sees that there is one extra color mixed into the world around her, as represented by the animals and their gems. She must face off against each animal to retrieve these gems – which act as the game’s boss encounters – and then take the fight to the power-mad Century to restore color to the world.

Chenso Club

A game by Pixadome for PC, Switch, PS4, Xbox One, and Xbox X/S, originally released in 2022.
Chenso Club is a roguelike actioner featuring arena-based melee combat. The game stars five super-powered heroines as they work together (sometimes reluctantly) to thwart an alien invasion, with each heroine bearing different movement and combat abilities. The game is extremely colorful and offers over-the-top enthusiastic violence with cutesy characters and enemies, as inspired by 90’s animated series like The Powerpuff Girls. While the premise and presentation are couched in silliness, there are occasionally some serious themes at play, and the Chenso Club won’t let anything stand in their way.
When the game begins, a girl named Blue is seen floating in a cylindrical tank as government agents – complete with MIB-style suits and sunglasses – attempt to activate her to defend against the sudden invasion of UFO’s. They aren’t successful at first, but then one of the aliens is accidentally teleported into the tank of liquid and drowns. When it dies, its life force passes into Blue and awakens her, imbuing her with some kind of power.