Square Enix Games With Unique Art Styles


  • Square Enix often sticks to distinct art styles across their games, but occasionally surprises with unique designs for visual novelty.
  • World of Final Fantasy blends iconic heroes in chibi form with miniaturized settings, creating a charming and quirky contrast.
  • Theathrhythm Final Fantasy features detailed clothing on cute chibi characters, inviting fans to celebrate the series they love through rhythm games.

There’s no doubt that Square Enix is a recognizable name in the gaming industry. The developer and publisher have put out countless iconic gems. However, there’s also no denying that the studio has a type. Many of its titles fall into a handful of categories. That doesn’t just apply to gameplay but also design.


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Many Square Enix titles sport similar art styles. That’s especially true of the Final Fantasy series. Most of these games opt for a photorealistic anime aesthetic or a variation of it. That said, the developers sometimes branch out.

The creatives occasionally distinguish their games through unique art styles. They may craft entirely new designs, or they might mix familiar elements in a fresh way. Both approaches lend visual novelty to their titles. With a company as storied as Square Enix, that novelty is welcome and refreshing.

1 World Of Final Fantasy

This Crossover Mixes Cute And Cool With Endearing Results

Lann, Reynn, and Lighting in World of Final Fantasy

World Of Final Fantasy

October 25, 2016



Most Final Fantasy crossover titles put characters from all games under one art style. The Dissidia series, for instance, employs the look of the modern entries to give some uniformity to the franchise. World of Final Fantasy goes in a radically different direction.

Namely, it throws in a healthy dose of chibi. This game features numerous iconic heroes, but they all have huge heads, dotted eyes, and tiny bodies. At the same time, the eponymous world is an amalgamation of several Final Fantasy settings, with the locales and monsters faithful yet miniaturized. Seeing the deformed denizens walk around these places is like watching mismatched toys in an elaborate playset. The contrast becomes greater once the protagonists enter the fray.

The tale revolves around siblings Lann and Reynn. Their normal size makes them giants in this world. Not to mention, their designs are more in line with other Final Fantasy entries. Granted, they’re slightly simplified, but they still stick out like sore thumbs. World of Final Fantasy takes a bunch of disparate art styles and tosses them in a blender. The result should be unpleasant, but it’s appealing in its off-kilter innocence.

2 Theatrhythm Final Fantasy

The Faces May Be Simple, But The Real Detail Lies In The Clothing

Noctis, Gladio, Ignis, and Prompto in Theatrhythm Final Bar Line

Theatrhythm Final Bar Line

February 16, 2023



On the surface, Theathrhythm Final Fantasy sports the pixelized style of the studio’s mobile games like Kingdom Hearts Union X. It even has miniature models amid simplified renditions of familiar settings. However, these figures are a far cry from their chibi versions.

The developers squeeze a surprising degree of detail into these little guys. They all have multilayered clothing, complete with varying textures and shading. The designers could have continued that trend for the faces, but they went the opposite route.


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Instead, the characters have cutesy mugs akin to Pikachu. They look like chibis donning elaborate costumes. The contradiction works in the game’s favor, as it makes the most imposing figures seem friendly. The style practically invites fans to celebrate the series they love. How fitting for a rhythm game.

3 Octopath Traveler

HD-2D Brings Classic Sprites To A Beautifully Modern Landscape

Hikari in Octopath Traveler 2

Octopath Traveler 2

February 24, 2023

This title is an aesthetic pioneer, and it achieves that by combining old and new. Octopath Traveler portrays its characters as sprites. They hearken back to the style of Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis games. In that, they have enough definition to differentiate them, but their infectious simplicity is recognizably retro. Plus, it helps them stand out from their surroundings.

The backgrounds have far more going on. Environments are incredibly intricate. Immaculate structures fill the layers; dynamic lighting and textures add further depth. The developers dubbed this style “HD-2D,” and it works wonders. With it, Octopath Traveler lends a mythic quality to its world while maintaining an adventurous excitement through its characters. In short, it’s a masterclass in atmosphere and aesthetic tone.

4 Kingdom Hearts

Mixing Disney & Final Fantasy Makes For Endless Visual Variety

Goofy, Donald, Tron, and Sora in Kingdom Hearts 2

Kingdom Hearts 3

January 25, 2019

This entry is admittedly predictable yet no less applicable. Kingdom Hearts is basically a mashup of Disney and Final Fantasy. Fans can guess how that plays out. Aesthetically, the series marries the East and the West. Anime-esque characters frequently interact with American cartoon icons. In addition, many classic Disney movies have their distinctive art styles.


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That inborn variety further mixes up the games’ look. One minute, players might go into the traditional realm of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The next moment, they could explore the land of Mulan–inspired by Chinese paintings and calligraphy. Finally, they may settle on a grungy, photorealistic portrayal of Pirates of the Caribbean. The traveling heroes sometimes even change with their surroundings, such as when Donald Duck and Goofy don the neon-lit outfits of Tron. The sky’s the limit.

Such a wide-ranging mixture means that players never know what they’ll see next. That promise of uncharted territory is the essence of any grand adventure. Such aesthetic imagination is why Kingdom Hearts continues to surprise.

5 The World Ends With You

A Stylized Japan Makes For A Unique Urban Fantasy

Neku and Joshua in The World Ends With You Final Remix

The World Ends With You

July 27, 2007

Action RPG

With The World Ends With You, Square Enix leaves its mark on modern urban fantasy. This title recreates the real city of Shibuya for its setting, but it’s not a straight translation. Instead, the buildings are angular and distorted, appearing as illustrations in an abstract comic book. That impression doesn’t end with the architecture.

The characters further exemplify that style. The protagonists’ designs echo the clothing and fashions of real-world youths, but they’re far more extravagant. Picture Persona and take it two steps further. The World Ends With You is what would happen if a street artist designed a game. It immediately catches one’s attention with its rebellious mood.


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