What are 2D Isometric Games?
Let’s start with the obvious. 2D isometric games show a 3D view in a 2D format. This gives depth without using 3D models. These games look pretty good and run well on different, even low-performance devices.
This isometric style is achieved by using a specific projection angle where the x and y axes are equally inclined to the horizontal. The result is a game that does not rely on 3D models but still provides a sense of depth.
Why Choose 2D Isometric Design?
Before we move on to good ideas for isometric design, let’s start with why you should choose to develop a specifically isometric game
- Performance: Since these games don’t rely on heavy 3D models, they often run smoother, especially on devices with less processing power.
- Artistic Appeal: The isometric view provides a unique visual style that stands out from traditional 2D or 3D games. It offers a fresh perspective and can make your game more memorable.
- Universality: From city builders to RPGs, the isometric view can be applied to a variety of game genres.
Some cool 2D Isometric Game Ideas:
1.) Fantasy Adventure
Think of a magical world with dragons and old ruins. Players go on quests, solve puzzles, and fight creatures. This mixes old RPG charm with isometric views.
World Building: Start by crafting a detailed world. This includes diverse landscapes, ancient ruins, bustling towns, and mysterious dungeons. The isometric view can highlight complex details, from the scales of a dragon to the carvings on an ancient monument.
Character Design: Create different isometric character sprites, both playable and non-playable characters. Think of warriors, mages, elves, and dwarves. The isometric design allows for detailed character sprites, showcasing unique armor, weapons, and magical effects.
Example: “Pillars of Eternity” offers a range of character classes and races, each with its own set of skills and appearances in the isometric world.
2.) City Building
Players create and run their city. They build roads and make sure people are happy. There are many ways to play and challenges to face.
Infrastructure Planning: At the heart of any city-building game is the need to lay down roads, bridges, and transportation networks. The isometric view can provide a clear layout of the city’s grid, allowing players to plan effectively.
Resource Management: Ensure that players manage resources like electricity, water, and waste. The isometric view can highlight power lines, water towers, and recycling centers, making resource management visually intuitive.
Example: In “Cities: Skylines“, players can trace water pipelines and electrical grids, ensuring every building is serviced.
3.) Spy Action Game
In a future world, players sneak through secure places, dodge guards, and complete tasks without getting caught. The isometric view adds strategy.
Spy action games are all about stealth, strategy, and suspense. When set in a 2D isometric world, players get a bird’s-eye view of the environment, allowing them to plan their moves, avoid detection, and execute missions with precision.
Stealth Mechanics: The core of any spy game is the ability to move undetected. Shadows, hiding spots, and silent takedowns should be integral gameplay elements. Guards (or enemies) should have defined patrol routes, which players must study and exploit to move undetected.
Objective-Based Missions: Each mission should have clear objectives, whether it’s stealing classified documents, sabotaging equipment, or rescuing hostages.
Example: In a game like “Commandos“, players can hide behind crates or in bushes, waiting for the right moment to take out a guard. There are also a lot of different missions in this game
4.) Island Survival
Players are stuck on an island. They collect items, make shelters, and stay safe from the weather and animals. The isometric view shows the whole island, making it fun to explore.
Island survival games engage exploration skills, resource management, and survival instincts.
In 2D isometrics, players get a complete view of the island, allowing them to strategize themselves in the survival process.
Shelter Building: Players should have the ability to construct shelters using collected resources, protecting them from the elements and potential threats.
Dynamic Weather System: Include different weather conditions that challenge players, such as heavy rains, droughts, or even hurricanes.
Resource Collection: The island should be rich in resources, from wood and stone to edible plants and freshwater sources.
Example: Look at resource management in the mobile game “Last Pirate: Survival Island”. Due to the fact that the player has constant needs (water, food, sleep), you have to constantly fight for your survival and explore new locations on the island.
This game was developed by outsourcing game art studio RetroStyle Games, so you can use their isometric services for the best results.
5.) After-War World Exploration
After a big war, players search for items, team up with others, and rebuild. The old city remains and history can be shown in 2D isometric style. Post-apocalyptic stories have always attracted audiences with their combination of abandonment and hope.
Skill and Knowledge System: Introduce a system where players can learn and upgrade skills, from combat to crafting. The player can learn how to make makeshift weapons or medicines from collected materials.
Environmental Storytelling: Use the isometric environment to tell stories without words. The arrangement of objects, the state of buildings, and even graffiti can hint at past events.
The Future of 2D Isometric Games
2D isometric games have a lot of room for new ideas. By using good stories and the isometric style, game makers can make games people remember. Whether you’ve made games before or are new, these ideas can help start your project.
Try out 2D isometric games and outsourcing isometric services and see where your creativity takes you.