Game Picks: 2D games still have much to offer thanks to renaissance since turn of the decade

Picture retro video games and you probably picture games in two dimensions - think Super Mario running from left to right.

But 2D games aren't just a relic of the past.

A renaissance since the turn of the decade- largely thanks to independent developers - has shown that the format still has plenty to offer.

Here are some titles from the last two weeks that show what 2D games are capable of.

Mushroom 11

Scrub your cursor over one end of the green blob you usher through Mushroom 11, and it disappears, only to regrow instantly on the other end. Keep erasing one side and the blob begins to "move" through seven levels of post-apocalyptic decay, overcoming puzzles along the way.

It is a genuinely new way of moving your character, and it becomes second nature very quickly. That is a good thing, as the game doesn't hesitate to throw all manner of obstacles your way.

Sometimes you'll have to frantically move the blob through tiny passages as structures collapse around you. Other challenges are more sedate - you methodically reshape the blob, carefully erasing one end, being sure not to send the whole thing toppling, as the other end inches towards a higher platform just out of reach.

It all adds up to a puzzle game that is a little bit frustrating, but wholly unique and therefore worth celebrating.

Available on: PC


Here's the description: "A curious game about a young person falling down a well, battling enemies with gun boots and collecting treasure and sometimes visiting shops."

There's nothing else you need to know about Downwell other than this, in the developer's own words, and the knowledge that this is an exquisitely designed arcade-style action game that will keep you coming back for more.

The game is just exciting to play.

You can only shoot as you're falling but your bullets don't just kill what's below. They propel you upward briefly, giving you the briefest of moments to see where you can safely land next, whether a platform or to stomp the head of an enemy to keep your combo going.

Landing on platforms recharges your gun boots, which have limited shots, but also wipes out your combo.

And therein lies the appeal.

Downwell is a series of microsecond decisions - I'll shoot this, stomp on that and fall here - made at breakneck speed.

A word of advice - while the game's quick rounds seem suited for mobiles, it really benefits from the precision given by playing with a controller.

Available on: PC, iOS, Android (soon)

Yoshi's Woolly World

It's not hard to put a finger on the appeal of Yoshi's Woolly World - just look at it. The game's aesthetic looks like what would happen if handmade crafts marketplace Etsy made a video game - everything cobbled together with yarn, felt and bits of cotton wool.

The power of modern technology has been employed to imbue each material with real texture.

You feel like you can reach in and rearrange each meticulously-crafted diorama, or run your fingers over the slightly askew stitching that holds a platform together.

Its cuteness can get a little cloying, and mechanically, it is not much different from the 1995 classic Yoshi's Island, although there are some neat touches that weave together well with the game's graphics.

Even so, it's hard to argue against the charm of a game that looks as striking as this does.

Available on: Wii U


Broforce's pixelated art style looks like what you remember 80s games to be.   PHOTO: FREE LIVES

You play as Brobocop, Indiana Brones and pastiches of other 80s action heroes in Broforce, but it's notable not just for the over-the-top spoof of American ultra-patriotism that comprises its sense of humour (see: The Ballad Of Rambro, sample lyric "What good are bullets if they're fired without love?").

The pixelated art style may look like what you remember 80s games to be, but those classics simply did not have the horsepower to pull off the chaos and completely destructible levels that make Broforce shine.

The game has even been endorsed by Rambro himself - The Expendabros was released in 2014 as an official tie-in with the movie The Expendables 3, which was partly written by and starring Sylvester Stallone.

Available on: PC