Studio Ghibli was founded in 1985 and has since grown into a household name around the world. They’ve made animated films that span a wide range of genres, time periods, and even worlds. From friendly spirits to mischievous giant babies, Studio Ghibli films have always had a certain charm. And it is this charm that has captivated audiences for so long.
Some people are probably content to enjoy Studio Ghibli movies as a once in a lifetime experience – however, many others wish they could immerse themselves more in these magical worlds. While some well-known console games have been redesigned as Studio Ghibli movies, what many fans want games that offer the player experiences, worlds and characters similar to those found in the flagship Studio Ghibli films. So, for those who wish to live the Ghibli dream, these are the best games for it.
Ni No Kuni games
Ni No Kuni games may seem like the most obvious choice for fans looking for Ghibli-esque games, but there’s a good reason for it. The first of the games Ni No Kuni, Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, was developed in collaboration with Studio Ghibli and longtime Ghibli collaborator Joe Hisashi. While the second no longer featured cutscenes animated specifically by them, it still retained the same artistic style and fantasy created by the legendary animation studio.
Ni No Kuni games are some of the best Isekai games available, featuring characters taken to magical worlds filled with wonders and endless possibilities. Studio Ghibli is Isekai’s master of storytelling, Spirited Away being one of the most famous films in its genre. For those looking for a perfect adaptation of the film to the game of Studio Ghibli’s iconic visual, narrative and aural style, look no further than the Ni No Kuni games.
Rainy Season is an indie game from solo developer Inasa Fujio. Players can experience the wonderful beauty of childish wonder in this heartfelt game about magical realism. While its visuals clearly capture the style of a Studio Ghibli film, it is its short but sweet narrative that sums up its essence.
For those looking to experience a story similar to My Neighbor Totoro, Rainy Season might just do the trick. It even features a giant cat and a Ghibli-style soundtrack. What’s not to like?
Friends of Ringo Ishikawa
Friends of Ringo Ishikawa is a 2D open-world beat’em up from indie developer Shin Yeo. While this may not quite resemble the family features typically created by Studio Ghibli, Ringo Ishikawa’s Philosophical Tale Friends and Themes of Youth, Friendship, Love and Future Fears make this the perfect game for a fan of Studio Ghibli’s more grounded films..
While The Friends of Ringo Ishikawa isn’t exactly like the Ocean Waves, From Up On Poppy Hill, and Only Yesterday movies, it does offer the same feelings of nostalgia, existential dread, and philosophical reflections. It is perfect for those who want to walk around a beautiful Japanese suburb, go to school, make friends and think about the important things in life.
Yo-kai Watch games
The Yo-kai Watch series has perfected almost every element of what makes a Studio Ghibli movie so special. They follow curious and adventurous young people on journeys through quaint Japanese villages and towns to hunt down mystical spirits that take all kinds of forms. They are full of humor, childish wonder, spectacle and magical realism.
While some are arguably better than others, they all offer an experience similar enough that fans of Ghibli movies can jump in anytime and still prostitute themselves in a Ghibli-esque experience. While the art style and voice acting will likely leave most Studio Ghibli fans to be desired, the gameplay, themes, characters, worlds, and storytelling will keep them thoroughly entertained for a while.
Spiritfarer is a magnificent game that covers a staggering range of emotional topics. Its gorgeous visual style, moving soundtrack, and colorful cast of memorable spirits make it a captivating experience. It also helps that its themes and fantasy world are incredibly reminiscent of a Studio Ghibli movie..
While Spiritfarer is a very unique game in its gameplay and storytelling, its themes of loss, grief, love, family and death are found in many Ghibli films such as Grave of the Fireflies and Spirited. Away. Fans of Studio Ghibli’s more introspective films and their emotional arcs will definitely want to check out Spiritfarer.. Remember to bring handkerchiefs.
Attack of the Friday Monsters! A tale from Tokyo
Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale, or more simply Attack of the Friday Monsters, is a heartwarming game about childhood and nostalgia. Although not very long, her story of friendship, childhood, television, and even Kaiju looks like some of the best Studio Ghibli has to offer.
Set in a beautiful sleepy Japanese village, Attack of the Friday Monsters transports players to the fictionalized version of the Japanese countryside so often seen in films like Only Yesterday and My Neighbor Totoro. It only lasts the length of a movie, so those looking for a quick fix to Ghibli will fully enjoy this game.. However, even players looking to explore every nook and cranny of its delightful world will find plenty to do, including a mini-game to catch bugs.
Behind the frame: the most beautiful landscapes
Behind the Frame is a point-and-click adventure game that draws heavily on Studio Ghibli’s impressive library. From its magnificent animations and general art style to its melodic soundtrack, Behind the Frame offers Ghibli fans a picturesque mystery full of emotion and intrigue.
While some elements of his narrative left us with lingering questions, most of it excels at being a Studio Ghibli film on its own. Full of memorable characters, beautiful emotional arcs and wonderful paintings, Behind the Frame gives players a distinctly Ghibli experience without ever feeling unique in themselves.
Boku No Natsuyasumi games
The Boku no Natsuyasumi series has been around since the early 2000s and was developed by Millennium Kitchens, also responsible for the Friday Monster Attack. The games center around Boku’s summer vacation in the Japanese countryside and coastal towns. Players will be able to catch bugs, swim, fish, and spend time with their families.
While the parallels to Studio Ghibli films aren’t entirely clear, Boku no Natsuyasumi’s various sets and themes of childhood, family and nostalgia make it a perfect Ghibli-style video game. The stunning hand-drawn backgrounds seen in the game world are also reminiscent of those found in a Studio Ghibli movie.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is one of the best Nintendo Switch games available with its epic storytelling, sprawling worlds and exciting battles. While many may not see the comparisons between Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and the Studio Ghibli films, it’s its fascinating characters, especially its protagonist Rex, and their growth throughout the story that make it a perfect Ghibli-style video game..
Along with its vibrant and colorful animated visuals, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 offers players an awe-inspiring narrative that focuses on the growth of its central character and his bond with his companions much like the growth of Chihiro in Spirited Away.
Developed by level 5, Rogue Galaxy is probably the closest fans who will ever have access to a Studio Ghibli movie set in space. With gorgeous visuals even for a 16-year-old game, a stunning soundtrack, and a gripping narrative set in a fantastical and vibrant universe, Rogue Galaxy offers gamers a unique take on the Studio Ghibli formula.
While it’s not always consistent with what makes the Ghibli films so special, there are plenty of elements in Rogue Galaxy that make them so magical. Its characters, writing and music are particularly noteworthy and make this classic PlayStation 2 title incredibly memorable.
NEXT: The Things In The Studio Ghibli Movies That Make Totoro Soar
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