Draw your eye away from the canvas and narrow it on the video game realm, and you’ll be surprised at just how many titles capture the same raw connection as an artist with an easel. Of course, it seems odd, using a video game to fuse your creative edge as opposed to pouring it onto a canvas or sketchbook. And yet, video games have given the occasional artist a second home to draft their visions for years now.
Whether it’s a place to splodge a bucket of digital paint or an entire platform open to interpret — video games can give you the space you need to create stylized masterpieces. And we friggin’ love it. That said, while there are tonnes of great games out there that unlock our creative minds — there are a few doors that edge just a little closer to the forefront. These five, in specific, are games that every artist should look to play at least once. If only for the inspiration.
5. Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom
One movie collective we’ve always wanted to explore is the works of Studio Ghibli. With their luscious worlds and crisp personalities that ooze artistic achievement, it’s fairly common for followers of the platform to idle over wishful thinking. Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom, despite its lack of Ghibli co-pilots, is a true credit to the enchanting domain and all its wonders. Gameplay-wise, this second chapter is a true staple on JRPGs and an overall marvel in the gaming community.
If kingdom building is your thing, then Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom is definitely going to fit the bill. Not only is the overall premise of evolving an empire an incredibly pleasing thing, but also an addictive journey that can absorb you for months on end. And then, of course, there’s the enormous country to traverse that is painted so elegantly that you’ll want to explore every nook and cranny of every region endlessly. With that, it’s safe to say the Revenant Kingdom, without a doubt — is a painting worth gawping over.
4. Drake Hollow
Get ready to enter The Hollow, a distant realm where friendly creatures run amock out of fear of the ultra-violet evil that plagues the lands. As one of the Drake’s only hopes for survival, it is up to you, the trapped player, to rebuild the creatures playground and banish the darkness that wallows over the hills. Do so, and you might just be allowed to step back through the mirror and return home in one piece.
Explore and push into treacherous depths in search of resources, craft homes fit for a flock of fifty — and, above all, aspire to become the miracle-bringer every Drake needs in a land so tainted with shadows. Make of The Hollow what you will — just so long as you do it with the loveable little creatures at the summit of your ambitions.
The ability to intertwine with the very shadows that stalk the walls around us isn’t exactly a new concept. That said, Contrast was definitely one of the boldest games that featured the idea. And, as far as artistic titles go — Compulsion Games definitely hit the nail on the head when it came to designing a visually stunning backdrop. Plus, for a 2013 title, the graphics are surprisingly pleasant and brewing just as much life as any modern-day triple-A.
Combining an array of puzzles and platforming aspects in a 1920s noir world, Contrast puts you in the centre of a dramatic tale that puts creativity and visually stunning components at the forefront of the journey. With both the 2D and 3D worlds playing a role in the tale, Contrast will have you submerging into both domains on a quest to make amends with your fractured family.
2. Chicory: A Colorful Tale
If coloring is your forte, and you’re itching to fill in an entire storybook that reeks of black and white — then you’re going to want to explore Chicory: A Colorful Tale. As an artistic gem that boasts far more than copy-and-paste gameplay, Chicory looks to expand on the experience through a genuinely compelling narrative. Of course, the ultimate goal is to paint every nook and cranny of the colorless void, but between that lies a spool of obstacles that beckon to be overcome.
As the number one fan of Chicory, the legendary artist and all-powerful wielder of a magical paintbrush, it is up to you to fill her shoes and return color back to the drained world around you. With the tool to transform every object and character with a dash of paint, you must fight to banish the charcoal-riddled Picnic Province and return the beloved hero back to her rightful spot on the podium of creativity.
1. Concrete Genie
It’s time to dip into some of the wildest dreams you’ve ever had and pour them onto an open canvas. Dripping in neon paint and enchanting visuals, Concrete Genie aims to transform your most prominent creations into living, breathing worlds that evolve around your every stroke. Through the power of a magical paintbrush that lets you mould the world to your own desire — your imagination truly is your only limit in the ashen-soaked Denska.
Concrete Genie, despite its simple nature, is probably the best game to play to help flourish your creative ambition. With a whole abandoned town open to interpret in any way you see fit, it’s up to you and your arsenal of artsy gear to return life to the monochrome setting. Paint, create, build and aspire as you resurrect the place you once called home. Return Denska back to its former glory with every splodge and splatter. Do it however you want without constraints. Just be mindful of the thugs that lurk between the shadows of the old crooked town.