Svoboda 1945: Liberation defines why some stories should be told in the medium of games. This multimedia experience is filled with impactful emotions and hard truths that are long overdue in lesser known war stories. Although its short lived as far as games go, the lessons you learn are so unique that Charles Games has set a precedent in storytelling.
Crea-ture Studios have achieved a great feat by making the most authentic skateboarding game to date, seconded only by going out and practicing kickflips yourself. The physics-based controls are incredibly intuitive and satisfying to learn. There’s a steep learning curve that may put players off but if you stick with it, there’s no other game that does skateboarding as well as this. It’s not without its minor flaws, but look past them and you’ll find a game with endless replayability.
For those wondering where the great classic survival horrors have gone – Signalis is right here, ready to welcome you. Rose Engine have taken inspiration from the greats in the genre. In some ways it pushes the genre forward. You may not vibe with how it plays on occasion but beyond that is an incredible story, with a memorable dystopian sci-fi aesthetic you’ll find hard to let go.
DREDGE’s numerous gameplay systems that don’t overwhelm but invite players are a cloak and dagger for the true horrors that’ll keep you lost at sea. Phenomenal in its art direction and engrossing to play, it’s clear that Black Salt Games have dredged up a mystifying debut.
Tinykin’s 3D Puzzle/Platforming and Collectathon experience is one really worth having in your collection. The cutesy and nostalgic presentation offers unique charm in a space that has felt saturated. It’s clearly a game that has been made with love throughout. A few bugs notwithstanding, this is one that should be on your radar.
Justice Sucks: Tactical Vacuum Action rights all the previous wrongs that Roombo: First Blood set. The presentation, gameplay improvements and variety this game has to offer when you’re just a Roomba killing folks makes for an entertaining gameplay loop that finally sucks the landing.
NBA 2K23 has something for everyone to get stuck into – whether you want to get engrossed in the Jordan era or have your own come up in MyCareer, all provide a lot to work with. With some of the best visuals to hit consoles and deep gameplay that plays so solidly, NBA 2K23 is a great iteration of the franchise.
Akane’s break-neck pace and cyberpunk setting is not one to overlook. The lack of variety isn’t a huge issue when everything it presents is impeccable and you get as much as you put in with the game. The arcade elements make for an addictive game play loop that’ll keep you repeatedly fighting through the night.
Penko Park plays mechanically better than others in its genre and is a strange blend of the cute and unsettling. It’s a little bit on the short side, but there’s never a dull moment when you’re taking snaps of all the weird and wonderful wildlife.
Railbound is a quaint, confident and colourful puzzle game that’ll charm your socks off if you let it. The presentation is welcoming, while the puzzles are challenging, all chocking up to a well-designed puzzler that’ll keep your brain boggling for hours.
Sable’s ability to make the player feel so involved in such a hands-off approach to its open world is one that should be celebrated. The gameplay is a little one-note and the framerate can buckle under pressure, but it’s a game full of intrigue and wonderment that captivates you immensely. Not to mention exceptional cel shaded visuals and a zen like soundtrack that makes Sable enrapturing to explore.
A Space for the Unbound shoots for the stars and lands in the Milky Way, making it a 2023 stand out already. Whilst the gameplay wanes in the final hours, the story, characters and plot conclude in an immensely satisfying and emotional way.
Mile 0 is a new and exciting avenue for Road 96. The rhythm sections are euphoric and the world-building is complex and fulfilling. Zoe and Kaito’s story is a great entry point but it does feel like it’s just getting started as it ends, falling under the traps of being a prequel.
NotGames have commandeered the airwaves with Not For Broadcast. An immensely funny satirical romp through the lens of news broadcasting that really hasn’t been done before. Its specifically British tone might not click, but the surreal and poignant narrative is one to admire. The gameplay is overwhelming and it doesn’t develop, leaving me wanting more. However, if you like your FMVs and branching narratives, this one has it in spades.
Sleek presentation and engrossingly deep gameplay makes Wildfrost a distinctive roguelike deckbuilder. It’s a brutal learning curve that might snow you in, but if you persevere and learn you’ll have an overall great time with the game.
Live A Live makes an impressive case as to why classic RPGs are not to be forgotten in time. The vignette style of storytelling brings an epic scale to an otherwise modest and sometimes unevenly paced narrative. The HD-2D visuals and recomposed soundtrack are standouts in what is already a stellar package that all RPG fans need to play.
The Ascent: Cyber Heist is unbalanced in its offering. Some much welcome additions like the melee combat are bogged down by the lacklustre length of the story. However, if you liked The Ascent enough, you’ll get some enjoyment if you do revisit.
Voyage is a wonderful piece of art that will wow you visually and sonically at every turn. It’s the gameplay that sadly holds it back from greatness. An awesome debut, Venturous are a developer to watch.
Alfred Hitchcock Veritgo takes some steps to tell a mature story that has an incredible mystery behind it. Certain parts are difficult to play through due to the subject matter, but if you’re after a narrative adventure that shares thematic depth of cinema, then you’re in for a treat. The gameplay doesn’t compliment the story telling too often and a few performance issues hold it back. However, if you can look past those flaws there’s a unique story to unravel.
Being a step beyond inspiration and dated in its mechanics, Airoheart is an obtuse yet magical game to delve into. Pixel Heart Studio’s debut is great but often hindered by its imitation. Though the unique aspects are what kept me playing, I just wish there was more originality.