10 Great Video Games That Are Ugly On Purpose

Minecraft being purposefully butt-ugly hasn't stopped it from selling over 200 million copies.

Kane & Lynch 2
Square Enix

Though visuals certainly aren't the be-all and end-all of any video game, it's fair to say that few things will turn players off faster than disappointingly low-fi graphics or an art style that looks like cat vomit.

But every so often a developer will get daring enough to release a game that looks intentionally revolting to the gaming mainstream, whether deliberately offering up nauseating imagery, attempting to ape the dated style of classic games, or building an ugly aesthetic that reflects the game's own thematic ugliness.

At first glance these 10 games were all immediately offputing to masses of potential customers, despite the fact that beneath their willfully gross veneer was a genuinely fantastic piece of work.

Some of these games are even ranked among the very best examples of their respective genres, and while their obtuse, unconventional approaches to art design certainly took some getting used to, it was ultimately well worth sticking with in each case.

The lesson here? Don't judge a game from a single screenshot or short gameplay video: sometimes ugliness can be a virtue, believe it or not. If any of these 10 games looked conventionally "pretty", they just wouldn't hit quite the same way...

10. Undertale

Kane & Lynch 2
Toby Fox

While Undertale is a ridiculously impressive achievement in being largely developed by a single person, it's also fair to say that it's not exactly a looker in the graphics department.

As with many games produced by small teams - or in this case, one guy - Undertale touts an unassuming, retro pixel art style, with sprite-based, low-detail environments and characters that are regularly offensive to the eyes.

Undertale just so happens to be such a clever and inventive spin on RPG tropes that it's tremendously enjoyable regardless. Plus, just when you think you've seen everything the game has to offer, Photoshop Flowey happens.

Depending on your play-style, you might end up facing off against this truly hideous abomination at game's end - the Neutral Route's monstrous, Kaiju-like final boss which is rendered in a markedly more grotesque, "realistic" style compared to everything else before it.

The jarring nature of Photoshop Flowey's design only makes his appearance that much more shocking and disgusting, ensuring that Undertale's rough-hewn visuals represent far more than just another attempt to cash in on 8-bit nostalgia.


Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.