# The Best Isometric Video Games

By Julio Franco ยท 24 replies
Sep 10, 2015
1. There’s just something about video games with an isometric viewpoint, isn’t there? Something...cute about them. No matter how dark and brutal a game’s setting and art may be, tilting a camera up and around makes everything look like an action figure.

And I don’t mean that in a bad way! There’s something comforting about this to a grown man like me, in the same way that otherwise mature adults enjoy things like board games with miniatures. Something makes isometric games feel strangely tangible, as though by mimicking the presentation of a toybox, the game feels a little more real.

Below then is a list of the best isometric games. Note that I’ve been fairly strict about what qualifies as “isometric”: the principle itself was designed to simulate the presentation of a 3D space on a 2D display, so if the game has a free camera which actually allows the exploration of a 3D space, or has a fixed camera that doesn’t properly recreate a 3D space (ala Link to the Past’s cartoony distortion) then that’s cheating.

Basically, we’re talking about a screen that looks like this:

Fun fact: the isometric perspective in most games isn’t quite trueisometric. From wikipedia:

The projection commonly used in videogames deviates slightly from “true” isometric due to the limitations of raster graphics. Lines in the x and y directions would not follow a neat pixel pattern if drawn in the required 30° to the horizontal. While modern computers can eliminate this problem using anti-aliasing, earlier computer graphics did not support enough colors or possess enough CPU power to accomplish this. So instead, a 2:1 pixel pattern ratio would be used to draw the x and y axis lines, resulting in these axes following a 26.565° (arctan 0.5) angle to the horizontal. (Game systems that do not use square pixels could, however, yield different angles, including true isometric.) Therefore, this form of projection is more accurately described as a variation of dimetric projection, since only two of the three angles between the axes are equal (116.565°, 116.565°, 126.87°).

The more you know!

#### Theme Hospital

Think of any we missed? Got a favourite not on the list? Vent furiously below.

The Bests are Kotaku’s picks for the best things on (or off) the internet. Republished with permission.

2. ### VitalyTRuss-PussPosts: 3,329   +1,605

StarCraft-II tops them all as the most advanced isometric game today, with its latest extension, Legacy of The Void, due to be released on September 13.

Peter Farkas likes this.
3. ### indiangamerTS EnthusiastPosts: 57   +9

Without mentioning dota this list is incomplete

Panda218 likes this.
4. ### SteveTechSpot EditorPosts: 2,293   +1,396

As a kid I spent a lot of time playing Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 and especially SimCity 2000

I played more Command & Conquer than I did Starcraft, that said I really only play Starcraft II these days.

Thanks for the list it brought back some fun memories

Peter Farkas, Jos and SuperVeloce like this.
5. ### PuiuTS EvangelistPosts: 2,221   +722

This is a good list. I played a ton of Hospital Tycoon, it was so much fun.
You could add Caesar 3 and Pharaoh to the list. Pharaoh is one of my favorite city building games.

6. ### theruckTS BoosterPosts: 108   +24

You can see actually that there is less detail to be seen in diablo III than in theme hospital. therefore I like the old games like syndicate more than the new ones with this perspective.

Commandos

8. ### Peter FarkasTS AddictPosts: 233   +74

XCOM rules forever!

9. ### Nero7TS AddictPosts: 209   +66

YOU FORGOT C&C!!!!!!!

Tiberian Sun and Red Alert 2
They are amazing games to mod btw.

NightAngel79 and Peter Farkas like this.
10. ### Guardian31756TS RookiePosts: 17

How could you forget the #1 game of all time , Transport Tycoon ?

I still remember my days of playing with A-Train.

thelatestmodel and Peter Farkas like this.
11. ### hitech0101TS GuruPosts: 444   +29

I always enjoyed playing these games, Age of Empires, Diablo 2, and more recently Starcraft 2 . These games are always fun to play and you keep going back to them.

12. ### enemysTS BoosterPosts: 52   +29

I'm playing Baldur's Gate 2 (not EE, the original one) at the moment and I must say I remember no game other than Witcher 3 that has given me so much fun and stolen so much of my time. Even the biggest RPG titles like Mass Effect or The Elder Scrolls cannot compete with Jan Jansen, Minsc and Boo.

darkzelda likes this.
13. ### Avenger001TS Enthusiast

Empire earth 2

Clash.

15. ### insectTS EvangelistPosts: 331   +125

They used a screenshot from the Console version. Check out the PC version - details (like shadows, AA, resolution, textures) have all been ramped up.

16. ### RandomthomTS EnthusiastPosts: 50   +17

Not to forget solo playthroughs, evil party playthroughs, multiplayer-made parties (I.e. making all 6 characters) or even a multiplayer run... Always had a thing for Aerie too...

17. ### p51d007TS EvangelistPosts: 1,078   +482

I stopped playing video games in the early 2000's, when I would sit down after work at the computer, and look up and it was after 10pm LOL.

18. ### Peter FarkasTS AddictPosts: 233   +74

I am having those days now mate.

19. ### NightAngel79TS BoosterPosts: 174   +44

Same here, it's all Witcher 3's fault

darkzelda likes this.
20. ### risc32TS AddictPosts: 209   +96

For me it's Zaxxon on the c64. one of my earliest video game memories. that game was tough, like they all were at one time.

21. ### enemysTS BoosterPosts: 52   +29

I've only solo'ed BG1 TuTu (fighter/mage/thief FTW!) and it was tons of fun. Without exp cap (removed by mods) my single char, which ended up with over 1.8 million XP, was actually stronger than a full party. I've never tried full-custom party in BG1 nor BG2, though, since I didn't want to loose all those banters between party members. Premade party is something I leave for the first Icewind Dale (which is also awesome, by the way, though more H'n'S than RPG).

22. ### RandomthomTS EnthusiastPosts: 50   +17

I don't think there
I don't think there's an infinity engine game I haven't played...

23. ### thelatestmodelTS EnthusiastPosts: 93   +28

Ultima VIII - no
Transport Tycoon - yes
Also No Regret was better than No Remorse.

Otherwise I like this a lot actually!

24. ### FencerxTS Rookie

Tibia was remarkably (on its 7.4 version) one of the best and addicting games that should be added into this list.

25. ### DAOWAceTS BoosterPosts: 253   +38

Seems to be some mistakes.

Diablo III should read Diablo II.

Civ V should read Civ III.

Fits with everything else that way, plus it's much more accurate.