Now that we’ve done the best, it’s time for the worst. Most “worst box art” round-ups just post a bunch of funny-looking covers that lend themselves to a single sentence of snarky commentary. But not this one.* Our list aims to point out box art that’s bad from a design perspective, and attempts to explain why.
*On the other hand, if you were funny-looking images with snarky commentary is what you were looking for, there’s also a little of that at the end of the article.
#10 PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale
#9 Quantum Conundrum
Kim Swift’s previous game had a cover image that got across the entire concept of the game using a single pictogram and the word “Portal” (see below). Quantum Conundrum‘s cover is not so effective.
#8 Resistance: Burning Skies
Looking a little more closely, I notice that he’s holding a gun up and his eyes are glowing, so he must still be alive. But why is he laying on his back? Looking even closer, it appears that the wrist of the hand holding the gun is coming from too far to the left to be attached to this character. Was it blown off his arm and just happened to land in the ground at just the right angle to hold the gun up? Or was it just a last minute addition tacked onto the cover to show that there are guns in this game?
Then there’s the axe. At first glance I thought it was a pick-axe. I didn’t realize it was a regular axe until I noticed the fireman holding one in the logo. Riley must’ve been really attached to this axe, because he took the time to carve his name in the handle. So why did he just leave it on the ground there? Also, the axe is the only thing on the cover not tinted yellow, which means it’s an important element that they wanted us to focus on, when it really doesn’t add anything to this image. It just looks like a random item the character forgot about and left there.
A more iconic image might have been to have the axe sticking out of the chest of a dead monster laying on the ground, with the handle of the axe overlapping the logo to add depth.
#7 Serious Sam 3: BFE
I’ve spent a good half hour trying to make sense of the bad anatomy on display, and I’m still perplexed. He’s almost more frightening to look at than the creatures standing behind him. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear the image was designed to be an obscure reference to Rob Liefeld, complete with lack of feet.
#6 Emergency 2013
#5 Mystery Masters: Twisted Tales
Even funnier, the full title of the collection is Mystery Masters: Twisted Tales, and yet they left the words “Mystery Masters” off the front, presumably to make more room for all those other titles.
#4 Marvel Vs. Capcom Origins
#3 Style Savvy: Trendsetters
#2 The Wii U Trade Dress
#1 10 Out Of 10: Game Of The Year Edition
But what exactly is so bad about the cover? For one, it looks like the game should be called 10 Out Of 10: Game Of The Year Edition. The “10 Out Of 10” quote is more prominent than the game’s title, and even the other quotes and the “Bonus Content” box are fighting for attention wih the title. Filling covers with text leads to very noisy designs. The job of the front cover should be to get someone to look at the back cover (or description page), and these big nice quotes would’ve been great on the back instead.
Bonus: The Peanut Gallery
NEXT: The best alternate covers, and honorable mentions.