Many recent video games tend to follow a realistic, 3-dimensional style. With the graphics of games advancing with every new console and PC games released, this is the natural style for many developers to follow. However, other developers still stick to a more cartoonish 2-dimensional style. This can be an advantage for developers, as they have more creative freedom with their style and can make the game stand out more.
A couple examples of 2-dimensional games that have been or are currently popular are Sally Face, Scribblenauts, and many pixelated style indie horror games such as File_. The one thing that makes each of these games distinct is their art style. They all follow a more cartoon style, but each are vastly different in their own way and are able to make themselves distinct from all of the other games.
Realistic 3-dimensional games have their own advantages as well, but there is a certain charm with 2-dimensional games that is hard to miss. That style tends to stick in the player’s head more and becomes more recognizable to others who are discovering the game. It would be hard to imagine a game like Sally Face or Scribblenauts in a realism setting. It is one of a kind when it comes to the complex and creepy cartoon drawings and animations.
Pixelated games in particular work very well for this cartoon style. Many indie horror games follow this pattern, and it suits them perfectly. Examples of horror games that follow this style are IMSCARED, File_, and I See You. Each game has a very different storyline and direction that it takes, but the simplistic style allows for creative freedom and in turn can make the game all the more scary.
Overall, both styles of graphics have their own advantages and disadvantages, but the 2-dimensional styles have a sort of charm and freedom that developers otherwise would not get to explore with in the same manner. Many of the most popular indie games follow this style and have become some of the most memorable games out there.