Game Art Analysis, pt. 3: The Style

Welcome to the concluding chapter of my guide on understanding game art! We’ve already discussed categorizing games and dissecting their atmosphere, from tone to lighting. Today it’s time to uncover the keys to analyzing a game’s style. Fasten your seat belts, because we’re about to dive in!

To define a game style, artists often use a gaming spectrum by gameplay features: casual, midcore, and hardcore.

Casual games are more easy and user-friendly, while hardcore games are more demanding in terms of cognitive tension. The style of the game often correlates with its place on this spectrum (although there are some exceptions).


The style of the game is the integrity and consistency of qualities. Game styles can also be classified on the casual-midcore-hardcore spectrum, but there will be much more indicative parameters for classification.

In general, hardcore games have a much more complex and unobvious aesthetic toolset, while in casual games all the beauty of the game is revealed to the players right away. During the initial art analysis of the game style, the artist should pay attention to the following features:

  • Details
  • Textures
  • Saturation
  • Stylization of the forms
  • Exoticism (recognizability)
  • Decorative

However, every game is different, so the key features of the style analyzed may also vary from game to game. Here is a small sign infographic. On the left are casual features, and on the right are hardcore ones:


Clash Royale

For analysis, it is better to use this kind of infographic:

As we can see, in this game forms are hypertrophied, and the entire stylization is cartoonish.

The detailing is low: some elements are large and clearly visible even in a small size.

The textures are detailed and the materials are convincing.

The colors are bright and saturated.

According to the infographic, the Clash Royale style is midcore with some elements of casual.

The Banner Saga

In this game the styles of characters and backgrounds are quite different, however they are in complete balance with each other. Therefore, it is convenient to make a comparison analysis:

The background style is very expressive and based on the works of Eyvind Earle, while the characters have quite realistic proportions.

The background is highly detailed, while the characters are devoid of details.

The colors of the background are less saturated than the characters.

The decorativeness of the backgrounds is very high, while it is hardly expressed in the characters.

As a result, we can mark The Banner Saga style as midcore, with some elements of hardcore. Such schemes are useful to build in order to see the general logic of the style.


The module in games is a main organized principle of the composition, style-forming element of the visual system. In some stylistic games, it is important to highlight in order to get the visual of the game.


Clash Royale

In this game almost everything is built on the basis of a rectangle:

  • Gaming field
  • Props
  • Landscapes
  • UI-elements
  • Fonts
  • Even the characters’ plastic tends to have right angles

So we can say that the primary module of this game is a rectangle. But this game also has another geometry:

The circle is a rare, yet constant geometric accent. Therefore the circles in this game are a secondary module, which enhances the game with geometric contrast.

The Banner Saga

There is no geometric module in this game, but there is a dominating motive, the primary style-forming principle: acute narrowing. However, despite this narrowing, there is another motive:

Parallel lines create geometric contrast with the acute narrowing and become a secondary style-forming principle of the composition. Analysis of the main and minor modules helps to grasp the visual unity of the style.

Also, learn more about Game Art Analysis in our other articles:

Part 1: Classification

Part 2: Atmosphere

Room 8 Studio by Room 8 Group – is one of the biggest creative powerhouses in Europe that supports the production needs of video game companies by providing end-to-end art development services and filling the creative skills gaps. 

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