We’ll kick this one off with one of the best examples of what we’re getting at with this list.
2013 top-down construction simulation RimWorld is known for many things: it s rich management systems, addictive gameplay, and fascinating emergent narrative elements. What it’s not known for is its graphics. Unless you’re super into being the king of a swath of colonies made up of floating head and torso people, the art choices probably won’t be all that impressive for you. The graphics are wildly basic, the colours are muddy, and the animations pretty much consist of your colonists floating their little limbless bodies around the map.
And you know what? That’s just fine. The simplicity of the graphics and animation let the systems and management components shine along with the potential for letting your imagination run wild.
The game succeeds through its engaging gameplay loop and the bizarre stories that naturally crop up as you play. While fancy graphics might be nice to glance at, RimWorld’s very basic sprites, maps, and menus do very little to negatively impact everything about the game that makes it great.
There’s a reason people pour thousands of hours into this thing and it’s to its credit that they’re happy to do that even without graphics to write home about.