All these factors, combined with a stunning soundtrack that ranges between Vangelis and Nobuo Uematsu, make After Us a must-play game in 2023, and deserves a place on any game of the year list–not just one restricted to indies. For all those moments of satisfaction and glee, you’ll also feel uncomfortable, sad, and maybe even helpless–but again, maybe that’s the point. Sometimes you have to suffer to do the right thing.
There’s a season pass in the works, so LEGO 2K Drive’s foundations may be built on and refined–and its creators are certainly committed to adding to it and improving it in the coming months–but right now, it’s lacking those all-important LEGO hallmarks. You can’t fault the passion that clearly went into it, but it needs to evolve to hit the highs that many gamers will expect from it.
In totality, MLB The Show 23 offers a deep baseball simulation with a variety of new features to gameplay, Diamond Dynasty and franchise mode, but almost nothing new in RTTS.
For all its hidden delights, its strengths shine brightest when you just want to stare into the distance, admiring a beautiful view. When these moments inevitably occur, time stops. There’s no rush. But you will need to carry on, you’ll check your map, and find something else to explore–and you’ll feel rewarded once again.
However, while A Memoir Blue has all the characteristics of a low-key hit–and certainly offers enough for a lot of players who like interaction-light experiences–the sum of its parts doesn’t quite match its intriguing concept, and you may leave it feeling a little empty, with few memories of the memoir.
There’s absolutely no doubt that Glitchhikers will resonate with only certain players. Between its often-complex and challenging source material–combining deep philosophy and abstract concepts–its odd characters and scenes, and often baffling and unnerving art style, there are plenty of reasons why gamers may not understand it, never mind enjoy it.
Given it’s dropping straight onto Game Pass, and by offering a multiplayer experience straight out of the box, there’s every reason Shredders could be one of the most enduring indie games of 2022, especially as FoamPunch continues to refine what genuinely is a compelling, brilliant experience with a nod to all the snowboard gaming greats that came before it.
I cannot call this a “return to form” for Bungie because Destiny has already been so good lately. But if you’ve been missing Halo-style campaigns with variable difficulty, gorgeous level design and impressive fights, Witch Queen checks every box. This is the best thing Destiny has produced in seven years.
It’s not perfect, but for the five hours of core single-player gaming you’ll get out of its challenge mode–and many more that casuals and die-hards alike will glean from its simple arcade mode and online leaderboards–it’s a sound casual investment.
Despite its faults, and like Painkiller before it, Kingdom of the Dead is a very playable, wave-based gothic experience complete with ammo-pool weapons, a weird lore, and a surprisingly smooth performance–and to get your money’s worth, you have to ramp up that difficulty.
Most of all, though, Circuit Superstars feels and plays like a game made with love. Even the occasional one-dev indie title can feel a little lacking in this department, but with every turn you take, and every detail you notice, and every precious win, this here gives you something you can’t help but smile at.
However, if that means Drinkbox ought to make a sequel to fully explore the world’s potential, I’m all for it. For action-RPG fans, Nobody Saves the World is a must-play; for Game Pass subscribers, it’s another classic surprise just waiting for you to stumble upon it.
And yet, leveling technical criticism at an experience that is so accessible, loving, and warm feels like kicking one, many, or all of the dogs that star in it. For all its faults, it’s hard to play Pupperazzi without a smile on your face, and this completionist-friendly outing will definitely resonate with players of all ages, even if it fails to live up to its true potential.
Still, mileage will vary and fans of roguelikes will certainly find much to enjoy in Sifu. Hopefully further balancing and updates will help as well. The combat really is slick and fun and gives you lots of options to kick ass and take names, and the graphics and art-style are terrific. I just wish it wasn’t a roguelike.
Nonetheless, and even if it’s a reskinned copy of the two Far Cry 6 DLCs that came before it, there’s a lot of challenge in Joseph: Collapse. It might also be the most beautiful of the three, too, especially with its revelations and cabin experiences. It’s just a shame for Joseph Seed that he once again had to follow Vaas and Pagan Min–two characters whose internal monologues could never get old.
Sure, right now might not be the best time to root for an eccentric Russian with a loose grip on reality, but that’s the least of its issues. In its quest to make a casual and fun encounter, Little Orpheus over-relies its strongest assets–great voice acting, an intriguing script, beautiful art, and engaging gameplay–and doesn’t hit these highs with its core gameplay.
Twelve Minutes isn’t perfect, but it’s one of the very few games I’d recommend everyone should play. While it’ll offer an experience many won’t enjoy, understand, or figure out, it’ll stays with you for a long, long time–even if its repetition results in Pavlovian conditioning. I now can’t hear my doorbell without thinking I’ll be choked to death within 60 seconds.
Ultimately, The Artful Escape’s title couldn’t be more apt: it’s a masterfully crafted, beautiful experience, and one that completely removes you from the world around you.
And yet, if you’re coming to Embr thinking it’s the latest in a long line of multiplayer-oriented classics, your hopes may be snuffed out by how it performs right now. Luckily, plans are in place for updates in the coming months–the fires of passion may burn brighter in the near future.
By ironing out its UI, making career mode more accessible, and generally stripping back those unnecessary complexities surrounding an otherwise brilliant experience, KT Racing has every chance of making next year’s WRC 11 one of the very best racing games in the last ten years–a show-stopping swansong for a studio that’s clearly dedicated to constant improvement.