What interesting video games should we play in 2023?

16.01.2023 0 By admin

Well well well, it’s that time of year once again by which I mean, err, the end – it’s a time  for kicking back, relaxing, celebrating our accomplishments and most importantly of all,  looking back on the last three hundred and sixty five days – and a good thing too because it’s  been a HELL of a year for videogames.

Elden Ring reminded us all of why we fear ladies with swords,

Games like Vampire Survivors briefly overtook heroin as the most addictive substance on planet  earth and even our old friends at blizzard contributed to making this an interesting  year in videogames by seeing just how far they could stretch the definition of the word sequel.

Unfortunately, with all this stuff going on, there
have been a bunch of fantastic games released in

2022 that have been overshadowed, overtaken or
just plain overlooked. And that’s why I’ve taken

it upon myself to make my obligatory end of year
roundup not about the best games of the year,

or even my favourite ones, but of twenty games
released in the last twelve months that you should

have played… but might’ve missed out on. That
means that I’ll be focusing mostly on smaller,

weirder indie games and not massive blockbusters
that’ve already sold millions of copies,

because you’ve probably already played them, and
that would sort of defeat the point of the video

wouldn’t it? Also, to help you out, I’ll put a
little graphic in the corner of the screen for

each game to show you the best place to buy it
during the holiday sales and whether it’s on any

sort of gamepassy service. Okay? That sound good?
Well, let’s start things off on a… high note with:

Trombone champ, which to the untrained
eye might appear to be a mere rhythm game,

a toy for you to pretend to play trombone on the
computer but to the senses of a true connoisseur,

it is a deep and nuanced work of art, one of
if not the greatest rhythm games of all time.

Now that’s not to say that the music you’ll make
will sound good, because it won’t but that’s all

part of trombone champ’s charm – it deliberately
leans into the inherent stupidity of rhythm games

by giving the trombones lots of baboon themed
lore, adding a weird card collecting minigame

and generally giving you a lot of songs to
play absolutely not designed for the titular

instrument. It is a great time and by far the best
musical game you’ll play this year, mark my words.

Following on from that is a title called Symphony
of War: The Nephilim saga which takes the classic

format and mechanics of the fire emblem series
and gives them a complete overhaul into something

that – I’ll be honest is a lot better. Symphony of
war gives you an insane degree of customization,

asking you not just to manage hero characters
but entire armies, each army on the battlefield

is comprised of multiple units, each
with their own strengths and weaknesses,

and each one dying for good if they get killed
– opening up a bunch of strategic depth and some

brilliantly tense moments. Couple that with
a monster of a campaign and a bunch of really

well designed maps, Symphony of war has a little
strategic something for everyone from tactical

geniuses to dumdums like me who like to just fill
a squad with big dragons and hope for the best.

Next up is Tunic which is many ways more than
meets the eye, now I don’t want to spoil too

much because solving mysteries is all part
of the fun of this game, but I will tell you

it’s a little bit more than the cutesy legend
of zelda ripoff it appears to be. Basically,

Tunic’s central gimmick is that you collect pages
of the game’s own instruction manual but it’s not

written in english, as a result a lot of tunic’s
most satisfying gameplay happens not during combat

or exploration but when you’re trying to decipher
the codes and clues hidden within the manual,

uncovering details and obscured gameplay
systems hidden in plain sight which are

incredibly fun to reveal. Trust me there
were several moments of my playthrough of

tunic where I was left stunned by how cleverly
some things were hidden in plain sight and just

how stupid I felt. If that’s a feeling you
also enjoy, definitely pick this one up.

Speaking of secrets, let’s mosey on over from
videogames to the cinema and look at Immortality,

which is the most pretentious game on the list
and all the better for it. Immortality gives you

a massive collection of clips from the unreleased
filmography of the little known actress Marissa

Marcel and tasks you with… exploring her life,
career and relationships in any way you wish,

and the way the game does this is great,
you can select anything on screen and the

game will zip to another clip where that thing
appears, letting you dive down the rabbit hole

of three expertly recreated and time period
appropriate pieces of film. There is so much

to discover here and I really recommend taking
your time with the game and not focusing too

much on seeing everything as fast as possible,
don’t be afraid to watch some of the clips more

than once – you’ll be amazed at how different
they’ll look with a change in perspective.

Back in videogame land a weirdly prevalent theme
from games this year was alchemy but one potion

brewing game stands above the rest and that is
Potionomics – a genius fusion of economics game,

deckbuilder and visual novel with a great
sense of humour and cracking animation.

You spend your time brewing potions using a
surprisingly indepth crafting system before

taking your tailor-made deck of haggling
cards to the shop floor in order to bluff,

persuade and manipulate your customers into
paying top dollar for your creations. It’s

an amazingly satisfying gameplay loop that sees
you gradually build up a supply of ingredients,

equipment and adventurer pals that all feed
into eachother excellently. If you’re going

into battle and need the strongest potions, well
then you can’t go too far wrong with Potionomics

Following that is Power Wash Simulator, a game
may or may not be the single most satisfying

game I’ve ever played – all it involves is you
being given a virtual power washer as well as a

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virtual building or vehicle caked in grim. After
that, the game just leaves you to do what comes

naturally. Powerwash sim is almost zen in how
you can totally lose yourself to the simple,

blissful rhythm of blasting surfaces clean
until suddenly you wake up from your trance

and an hour has passed and you’ve completely
cleaned an entire skate park, house or truck,

and even some slightly more adventurous
locations that took me completely by

surprise. Power Washer sim, despite a… err.. Dry
premise has more than enough charm and satisfying

gameplay to keep you going through tens of
hours of gameplay, don’t sleep on this one.

After that, I need to ask something. Do you
like meat? Do you like meat that’s alive? Do

you like meat that’s alive and hates you?
WEll even if you don’t, then golden light,

the most viscerally upsetting game I’ve played
this year might be for you. It’s a game that

actively resists the idea of explaining what
the hell is going on and you’ve got to decipher

basic game mechanics all by yourself in between
figuring out the story and how not to get eaten

by meat mimics coming to devour your face. The
game is a brain rotting fever dream, but under

all that is a genuinely pretty interesting
roguelike with some great systemic mechanics

and enemy design, plus you can eat basically
every weapon and that’s something more games

should do – golden light is great if you love
paranoia and confusion which everyone should.

On the subject of meat, have you ever wondered
how fish is made? I have and after playing this

incredibly well researched documentary videogame…
I got more questions than answers. For one,

I wasn’t expecting fish to go though quite
so much of a meditation on choice and free

will all through the lens of can-bound
fish wondering whether they should go up,

or down. Now, obviously there’s a right answer
here but the fun of the game is in talking to

the characters, finding out whether to obey
or rebel against your destiny and wondering

if your choice matters at all. There’s even
a musical number and some great jokes hidden

within the existential terror of the futility of
existence. How fish is made is like 15 minutes

and is free so you;ve got no excuse not
to play it and choose for yourself. DO it!

If you’re looking for something a bit more fun,
I can’t recommend Rollerdrome any more highly,

it’s easily one of my biggest surprises of
the year, the game takes roller blading and

turns it into a fast paced, gunslinging combat
sport all about racking up massive combos and

pulling off cool tricks all whilst avoiding
hails of gunfire. Even without the blasting,

rollerdrome is a genuinely compelling score attack
game, and the addition of guns really just brings

it to the next level. Rollerdrome’s dynamite
premise was more than enough to suck me in,

but what kept me playing is just how deep
the combat is, expertly blending stringing

tricks together with the sort of nuanced
and smooth combat that would make present

day platinum games extremely jealous and if
that’s not a recommendation I dunno what is.

At the halfway mark we’ve got Hardspace
shipbreaker, which is a game that sees

you risking your life dismantling physics-based
spaceships under immense time pressure, it’s a

concept that should be incredibly stressful but is
weirdly therapeutic in spite of the fact that you

often suffocate in the void of space or get blown
up by an unstable reactor. Hardspace Shipbreaker’s

systemic mechanics like pressure, electricity
and fire combine with the semi-predictable

layout of each ship to create a really
rewarding mix of practice and improvisation,

as each ship poses new challenges and new ways
to narrowly avoid death to squeeze out cool

efficiencies whilst also teaching you important
lessons you can use to build up a real familiarity

with each model of ship, for example, don’t use
a laser cutter on an active fuel line – that’s

one us expert shipbreakers know, you’ve got
to be pretty dang smart to figure it out.

If you’re in the mood for brainteasers, here’s
one: What’s the most interesting time and place

in all of human history? Romance of the three
kingdoms era china? Rome at the height of the

empire’s power? Victorian England? All Wrong,
the correct answer is sixteenth century Bavaria,

the setting of Pentiment. Pentiment is a game
that sees you playing as an artist living and

working within the confines of the town of
Tassig and its local abbey, both of which

are beset by mysteries, scandal and the stresses
of a modernising world. Everything in pentiment

from its faithfully recreated meals to its
lovingly realised woodcut manuscript style

to its many characters, are treated with such
care and reverence for real life history that

it’s impossible not to get sucked into the
setting and the decades-spanning mystery

that lies within. If you’re in the mood for some
historical drama please do check out Pentiment.

Okay, so, Hyperbolica is hands down the single
greatest game I’ve ever played, I would sooner

die than play anything else and… oh, sorry, wrong
hyperbolic – what Hyperbolica is actually about is

hyperbolic geometry a complicated branch
of mathematics which is very confusing,

very disorienting and as it turns out a great
setting for a puzzle game. In Hyperbolica,

even simple puzzles like navigating
a maze or zooming around a restaurant

take on an additional dimension as you
have to unlearn and then relearn all of

your assumptions about how the world
works. The game is not for everyone,

particularly if you suffer from motion sickness,
but for people who want to learn stuff or interact

with some cute and suspiciously familiar
robots… then Hyperbolica is a damn fine time.

Following on from that in the same vein, we
have The Looker, a game that’s a deliberate

spoof of pretentious the witness style puzzle
games and it achieves this by being a damn good,

and very funny little title in its own right.
Seriously, the looker, despite being a comedy

game has some genuinely creative twists on
its puzzling format and you will be kicking

yourself several times for not spotting all the
clever ways the game manipulates its simple but

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flexible line drawing mechanics. The Looker
is free, and like an hour long so you’ve got

no reason not to play it all the way through,
trust me, there is a joke in this game which got

me to laugh the hardest I’ve laughed all year
and I don’t want to spoil it but you’ll know

exactly what I mean when you play the game and
realise what a juvenile sense of humour I have.

And the next game is Foxhole and, jeez, where do
I even start with thai one. Foxhole might be the

most accurate videogame simulation of war ever,
and I don’t mean that it’s an ultra realistic FPS,

no – instead, foxhole forces members of each
of the two warring factions to man their own

supply lines, build their own weapons and vehicles
and conduct their own logistics across a massive

persistent battlefield – the game is all about
mass-scale strategy with days long campaigns

as you fight and die to secure new territory
or defend your holdings. Foxhole is a brutal,

merciless meatgrinder of a game
just like real war. Foxhole is

the foundation upon which some truly
great military adventures can be built,

and the community is super friendly so if any of
what i’ve said strikes your fancy, jump on in!

For another overly literal game title, I’m
convinced that the premise of CTRL ALT EGO

was born when someone decided to take the name
of the control button on the keyboard… a little

too literally. Let me explain, you take the
role of a disembodied consciousness floating

around a space station with the ability to jump
inside of and control… just about anything,

from robots to doors to cameras, and you
can use this ability to tackle a whole bunch

of immersive sim style problems in a whole
bunch of incredibly creative ways.The game’s

tools allowing you to teleport, fly around and
respawn whatever you want and a bunch of other

stuff but somehow every solution is still
intended by the developers. On that note,

if you needed any more convincing, all
the achievement icons are pictures of

the developer’s cat which is just great – the
game’s a real sleeper hit I think, go pick it up.

For a different pace of shooter, there’s Signalis
which I’ll be honest I can pitch to you in three

words, and if that description takes your fancy
pick the game up right now. Bladerunner Meets

lovecraft. Yep, that’s what the game’s about and
honestly, befitting that description Signalis

has some absolutely incredible atmosphere and
world design putting you in a creepy destroyed

space outpost fallen to crazy corruption and
reality warping weirdness that makes you question

fundamental aspects of your perception. Beyond
that, Signalis eclipses its resident evil inspired

roots with some of the best puzzles in the biz,
there’s so many really creative little mechanics

that fit effortlessly into the weird anachronistic
analogue setting of the game, helping to break up

the tense skulking around excellently. It might
not be the scariest horror game of the year but

Signalis is absolutely the most stylish,
give it a play and find out for yourself

For something a bit lighter might I recommend
Not For Broadcast and, I’ll be upfront here

and say that not for broadcast is a game
with a very specific sense of humour,

and that’s ridiculous camp british telly so it
might not be for everyone. Basically, you get put

in charge of TV for a country which is not england
and have to make sure to cut to the right cameras,

censor naughty words and play the right adverts,
but in this position, you also get to sway public

opinion by, say, showing that this police
officer is a hypocritical fan of gimps or

choosing to advertise people a tunnel-based form
of public transport with the acronym MOOBS. Yep,

that’s the level of comedy we’re looking at
here and it is glorious. Not for broadcast has

a genuinely insane amount of footage in it, and
everyone involved, especially whoever’s playing

jeremy donaldson looks like they had the time of
their lives making it, please go check it out.

And there we have it, 17 games you should
have played from this year… haaang on a

sec didn’t I say there were going to be
twenty? Alright, okay, you caught me,

I lied a little bit – these final three
games are special, because they’re my top

three games you should have played from this
year, which means that if you’re going to

play one game I’ve mentioned in this video,
it probably ought to be one of these, okay?

But before that, I think in the spirit of
retrospectives, we should take a look back

at a beloved titan of the videogaming industry
that, sadly, isn’t with us today. I ope you’ll

all join me in pressing F to pay respects
to the universally liked… google stadia,

yes that’s right, so many good games,
good ideas and sensible business decisions

taken from us all too soon… It’s up
there in good hardware heaven now,

right next to the wi u and the atari jaguar,
rest easy sweet prince, you’ve earned it.

Anyway that’s quite enough of that, To start
the top three, let me tell you a little bit

about teardown, it is, to date – the only
videogame I’ve ever played to successfully

capture the cinematic fun of a heist, and it
does this with an incredibly cool simulated

world bursting with cool voxelly things for
you to collapse, blow up or otherwise destroy.

Each of the game’s various heists will have a
simple objective from stealing some paintings,

to crashing some cars to demolishing a
building, but they’ll also always give

an incredibly short time limit that activates
the moment you actually start the heist. So,

in order to get all your objectives done,
you need to carefully plan and construct

your ideal route through the level
in order to execute a flawless run.

I think the best thing about Teardown is how
it really rewards thinking outside the box,

sure you can just run between objectives
or drive a car to where you need to go,

but it’s much more effective for you to blast
holes through walls, take sneaky shortcuts by

chaining vehicles together and clambering up
buildings using improvised ladders, in fact,

certain objectives in the game can’t be beaten
legitimately and you need to cheat, like this

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personal favourite where you need to get around
a track as fast as you can, but if you’re clever

and careful, you can rearrange the checkpoints to
make your own course and complete it much faster

than you could normally, it’s absolutely great
and every single level has some sort of really

clever systemic solution just waiting to be
discovered. The game also has an absolute

boatload of mods like this insanely awesome AI
dinosaur, I mean, look at this shit, come oooonnn.

At second place is the brilliant neon white, a
future classic in the making an landmark step

in innovation for the fps Basically, the way
the game works is that you have to run around

each level killing all the demons on the map
as fast as you can before getting to the end,

but you don’t have a fixed arsenal, instead
you pick up guns in the form of cards,

each of which can then be discarded to gain a cool
platforming effect like a jump, a ground pound,

a grapple and a bunch of other stuff. The end
result is an incredibly intense yet weirdly

elegant masterstroke where each and every shot
counts and you’ve got to exactly time all of

your movements to execute shortcuts, take out
a bunch of enemies or pull off crazy manoeuvres

and let me tell you, there is no feeling quite
like the sublime experience of pulling off an

ace medal worthy run through a particularly
hard level, using every trick in the book to

shave off precious microseconds, you feel like
an unstoppable demon slaying machine, I love it.

The best bit of the game is how you can take it
as seriously as you want, if you just want to

progress you can shoot for the fairly easy
gold medal but for more advanced players,

each medal tier unlocks more and more optional
activities, like a treasure hunt in each level,

a completionist ace medal and getting that unlocks
the global leaderboards for you to compete with

your fellow speedrunning psychopaths – it’s great.
Outside the frenzied shooting, there’s even a

pretty cool story delivered with the cringiest
most 2000s-ass anime dialogue of all time,

I mean, it is… genuinely awful but in a way
that’s 100% deliberate and incredibly endearing.

And that brings us to my personal number
one recommendation of games you should have

played from this year, and that is… citizen
sleeper – a love letter to classic RPGs,

dice and good old fashioned scifi. You begin
Citizen sleeper as a mass produced cyborg

recently escaped from your corporate owners
and seeking to create a new life for yourself,

the only problem is that you have no money,
no idea where you are and if you don’t

regularly consume special medicine made by the
corporation that owns you, you die – so citizen

sleeper quickly becomes a fight for survival on a
strange alien space station as you have to ration

your resources to make money, repair yourself
and eek out some sort of living aboard the eye.

Doing so doesn’t involve boring old
conversation trees or vanilla combat though,

instead it relies on smart use of your
dice, which are rolled each day and have

to be used carefully to make sure you don’t
starve, organically creating some great

tough decisions as you have to split your
resources between survival and helping out

the characters that mean the most to you.
For example, Lem who’s helping to build a

massive colony ship in the hopes of securing a
better life aboard it for him and his daughter,

Feng the engineer who’s trying to unravel a
conspiracy or this ai trapped in a vending

machine. Regardless of which plot thread you
choose to follow, you’re going to find a great

story about finding, or building a new identity
for yourself and what it really means to find a

sense of autonomy in a world where everything
from your body to your remaining time has been

commodified. Speaking of which, the game’s a
tenner which I think is a pretty good deal.

And there we are, twenty games
from twenty twenty two. Honestly,

this was one of the hardest years to narrow
down to just twenty games and there are so

many titles missing from the list this year
that I would have loved to include, hopefully,

though I managed to curate things well and you’ve
seen at least one game that you think looks

interesting enough to be worth picking up and
giving a go. I hope you enjoy it, you’re welcome.

Of course, we’re not quite done yet – I’ve
actually got five whole additional games you

should have played locked away the public
eye and if you want to know what they are,

you’re going to need to bring me all
fourteen ascension crystals… or you

could just give me some money on patreon.
Not only will everyone who follows me

on patreon get some bonus content in the
form of those extra bonus recommendations,

they also get behind the scenes looks a the
videos, early access and even their names

in the credits. If that’s the kind of thing that
strikes your fancy then well – go take a look at

the link down below and potentially join the list
of my top tier mysterious benefactors, who are…

Algebrute
Aly Wright

Aseran
Auno94

Bardic-Dragoon
Brennan Spaulding

Brian Notarianni
Constantin Amend

Cosmix360
Daniel Mettjes

DasKänguru
David Setser

Derk-Jan Karrenbeld
Digletteer

Dotwo
Ecton

Edward Franklin Woods

Eugene Bulkin
Gazkul

ISAWdano
Iofur93

Jacob Dylan Riddle
Jordan Gear

Justin Dent
Lee Berman

Macewindow54
NWDD

Nate Graff
Patrick Rhomberg

Peter D. Tomasic
Phoenix Thurisaz

Rederdex
RegalRegex

ReysDad
Rrajigar

Sheldon Hearn
Simon Jakobsen

Sir Snakespear
Steve Riley

Strategia in Ultima
Theforbiddenshrimp

Tin Marković
Ty Guerin

Tyghorn
Tyler Duncan

Uprising
WhimsicalWisp

Zach Brantmire
Zach Grendel

Okay that’s me done for the
year – have a happy 2023,

or else I’ll kick down your door and force
you to. How’s about that. Until then… bye!