Top-down games have become the most popular theme in indie gaming. Due to its wide variety of applications, from hack and slash to JRPG, top-down games have become a staple for most genres.
These games can create an authenticity that makes one game different from another, whether pixel art or 3D tilt shift. Every game looks and feels different, and we can see the personal touch indie developers have put with love and care.
Best Top Down Games
It’s a pleasure to play fresh content of top-down games that do not broil players with hordes of content, just plain fun just like the developer intended games to be. That’s what I love about top-down games, good story, great gameplay, and fun to play.
Here are the best of the twenty top-down games I have collected through different fields of the genre.
Legend of Zelda link’s awakening
The HD remastered Gameboy’s Link’s Awakening, Nintendo Switch version is charming and beautiful and holds a place in the modern gaming industries on the graphic and gameplay aspect.
The story and location are the same as the Gameboy version, with additional features such as more heart pieces, secret seashells, fairy bottles, fast travel, and many more. It’s the new and improved Zelda game we have always wanted in Link’s awakening.
I did not get the chance to play the Gameboy version, so I was unknown to the story progression. When I came to an end, defeating the final boss, I was left with so many memories of the game. I am happy Nintendo made the remastered version; otherwise, I would have missed out on this amazing game.
It’s a beautiful isometric game implementing tilt-shift effects for an enhanced top-down experience. Its muted environment looks with its minimalistic art design make the grim world suited to the death door suit its storyline.
You play as a small crow who works as a reaper in the death department and collects souls. After an Incident with a retired old crow, you go on a mission to collect the three giant souls.
I wish there were more than three because I absolutely loved fighting those giant bosses. Each boss is unique and requires different gameplay mechanics. I loved their designs, and it was exciting fighting them.
Death door keeps the game fresh with new areas completely different from previous and mini-bosses that test the skill of players to make them ready for the next challenges. Such variations in in-game levels, enemies, and bosses make this game one of the best top-down action adventures.
A charming world populated by delightful characters and memorable moments. Eastward takes you on a journey of John and Sam as they try to escape from the world-eating entity called miasma.
The mystery of miasma keeps looming as you escape from one place to another, but what captures the players’ attention is its beautiful pixel art, great character design, and well-written story. This game is a joy ride for players who want to connect to the characters of the world.
Eastward is a game that players remember even after a decade because of its gorgeous pixel art along with a memorable story.
Geometry wars is a fast pacing bullet hell action game. The game is a chaotic masterpiece where everything is going wild on-screen and controlled through utter disruption of particles everywhere.
The music, sound effects, visuals, and spatial distortion all pack a punch to make an epic experience and an absolute blast during gameplay. A surrealistic game with retro vibes where each target glows like neon signs at night and blasting them has fireworks of colors spreading on the screen.
Geometry wars is a treat for players who love bullet hell shooting games.
Hyperlight Drifter is a pixel art game that is extremely challenging but equally rewarding. I was getting my ass kicked by enemies at the beginning of my gameplay. As soon as I started
Upgrading my weapons and dash, I was able to slash enemies with my new sword combat.
Hyperlight Drifter tells you the story of a Drifter who is infested with an illness that is related to a strange relic unlocked from the past. The story is vague, and there is no text dialogue. Instead, communication is done with three image panels that tell the story of NPC characters.
One thing I love about Hyperlight Drifter is its difficulty. It was indeed hard to fight monsters swarming around, but when I was in the zone and defeated every enemy, it was a pleasurable experience, and I kept on playing for more of such experience.
It’s a peaceful game where you farm crops, talk to people, mine ore, go fishing or do a little bit of everything around Pelican town. A relaxing life simulation that keeps you hooked for hours because there are so many things to do but so little time and energy.
It might not be enough time to do everything as there is a day and night cycle and also an energy bar, but as we progress further into the game, we get items to do automated work, and we can simply gather more resources in less time.
Connecting with people and unraveling their stories is where the game shines the best because the game has a pretty deep context once you dwell on their lives. Overall it’s a great game that you should play if you love farming simulation.
Don’t starve is a survival game with procedurally generated terrain where you have to explore, collect resources, craft items, build structures, and many more.
Don’t starve is an insanely addictive game where you run around to survive. You must be moving at all times to collect all the things you need to stay alive just one more day. You will die even if you do everything perfectly but are unlucky enough to encounter some unfortunate circumstance. It always gives a sense of urgency.
There are so many things to do, enemies to slay, health to maintain, and its cartoony charm keeps the player coming back for more.
A highly detailed cyberpunk world where you go on a bounty hunting of Bioware mech monsters. Rather than using stick buttons, it has a twin-stick mechanism that makes the game unique to play.
What I loved about Ascent is the world of cyberpunk, where every neon-colored street, vibrant lights, and rusty pipes add a whole new dimension to the aesthetic of cyberpunk. There are also other stages where the designs are completely different from one another.
Ascent also focuses on engaging and fast-paced gameplay, and with various weapons to build and enemies to kill, Ascent keeps a fresh take on combat with a very atmospheric setting.
The Binding of Isaac’s Rebirth
The game setting may look like the legend of Zelda style, but the gameplay is totally different from that of Zelda. It’s a bullet hell shooting game with twin sticks.
The binding of Isaac keeps the player engaging with its unpredictable surprise weapons, dungeons, and bosses. Your tear is your only weapon to kill enemies, and you can also obtain upgraded weapons throughout the run. Because of its roguelike dungeon, you lose everything once you die in a single run.
Rebirth can be very difficult at the time, but once we get to embrace the creepy setting and control Isaac gracefully, It becomes the most fun and addictive game that we can spend hours on.
Keep track of your time because you will have hours fly by like a minute when you start playing Diablo 3. It’s a fun surprise to kill enemies and collect loot because the loot is randomized based on player stat level.
Playing cooperatively with friends is what makes Diablo 3 so engaging, and the fact that loot also drops according to the stat of each player is also a sweet treat. You can also exchange items to meet each other’s requirements.
With endless replayability, Diablo 3 can provide hours of fun with lots of content and upgrades.
Lara Croft And The Guardian of Light
The gameplay and visuals stand out the most when it comes to Guardian of Light. Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light are nothing like other Tomb Raider games because of their top-down isometric designs and fun puzzles that feel great to solve, especially with a friend.
The game focuses on more arcade style with its top-down action shooting and puzzles. It’s a different spin on Lara Croft with all the interesting puzzles and ancient enemies.
You can also play as Totec and, together with Lara, go on an adventure to discover the ancient ruins of South America to find the mysteries of Mirror of Smoke.
An action RPG game set on the Floating fantasy island where the platform creates itself with each step. You play as a character named “The Kid,” whose ultimate goal is to revive the parts of a floating island called the sanctuary, a place for citizens to create civilization.
What’s interesting about Bastion, besides its visually pleasing isometric graphic, is its variety of weapon upgrades, a potion to brew, and items to collect. With each reconstruction of buildings, something new is available such as a brewery, blacksmith, and many more.
The most badass thing about Bastion is the deep voice that narrates the kid in action. It feels epic slaying enemies while hearing the narrator’s voice. Set out on a journey to find and rescue survivors from the lands filled with monsters and rebuild a wonderful place for them to live on the floating island.
In a roguelike dungeon, with every death, you return even stronger. You play Zagreus, son of Hades, who wants to escape from hell. In doing so, He has to defeat many enemies and bosses. Its exhilarating moments with pinpoint combat are what make this game so much fun to play.
With Godly power of the Greek Gods makes each run so much different than the previous one. This game is a gem for people who want an adrenaline rush.
A short Hike.
The developer of animal crossing has brought a 3D top-down open-world adventure where we can roam freely on a tiny island and discover hidden secrets. Our goal is to reach the top of a snowy mountain, and along the way, you will encounter Anthropomorphic people who will challenge you to mini-games.
It’s a short game and will be completed in no more than two hours, but the desire to play more and a heartwarming story about family will leave a mark in your heart.
An RPG game where you wake up drunk and have no memories of what happened. You play as a cop solving a murder, but as you dwell deep in the city interacting with people, you discover many miserable lives and their struggles.
It is a beautiful point-and-click adventure game where every decision you make has consequences right there and there that will reveal the character you are.
Undertale is a kind of a game that you have to play to experience the depth and lore of the world. It’s a game that will make you feel connected to every character of the underworld.
The game seems playful and silly at first, but once you dive deep into the world, you will know that the choices you make along the way are as important as the experience. It’s the game that you will be playing once again, but this time with a different purpose.
I did not expect such depth in pixel art that seems straight out of NES games, but the humorous dialogues and playful gameplay kept me smiling to the very end. Undertale is a sheer example of thinking outside the box.
Civilization V is a turn-based strategy game where you create a world and battle other factions in a war of colonization. It’s a game where you can take a society and watch them evolve. You can create your community and grow them to the point of advanced technological feats.
You have all the choices, from engaging in a war to managing resources that result in the progress of your society. You have access to every tiny detail that will destroy your civilization towards glorious victory or absolute defeat.
It’s everything a strategy game should have, so if you love strategy games, you will love Civilization V.
Crypt of the NecroDancer
I cannot help but nod my head with every beat of the game. I love how the game makes you move to the beat for every action, let that be killing the enemy or looting the chest.
Moving my player with the beat of an awesome soundtrack is so satisfying, but it took me time to get used to playing the game because it is nothing like a traditional roguelike dungeon.
The challenge in the game isn’t just to keep a steady beat. The rhythm-based gameplay introduces a timer to every single decision you make. The game encourages you to keep the beat up by giving you a gold multiplier.
With its fresh and unique beat mechanics, Crypt of The Necrodancer is one of the most fun and engaging games I have ever played.