2023 had probably the worst setbacks in video games history. But amongst everything, some games might’ve gone under the radar. Maybe they spawned without much hype or announcement, but the gaming community discovered them and gave them highlight they deserve. This is the list of the best 2023 games you might have missed.
Cocoon is a third-person puzzle game with top-down perspective. It’s developed by Geometric Interactive and published by Annapurna Interactive. You control a bug like creature and explore worlds, then you hope into an orb with another world inside. Gameplay includes traversing through the worlds, solve various puzzles, and confront boss in each worlds.
This game is full of details and thoughtful level designs. It’s atmospheric visuals and soundtrack will keep you absorbed in it. Each world is vastly different and offers different types of puzzles and enemies. The enemy design isn’t a slouch either. They all have different move sets and mechanics to keep you away from progressing. They are more of a puzzle and obstacles then just typical enemies who want to beat you up.
So, check out Cocoon. It’s on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows, Xbox One, & Xbox Series X/S; that’s every modern platform for you.
Pizza Tower is the game when you want to let loose and yank everything on your way. Developed and published by Tour De Pizza, it follows an irate pizza chef who must scale a tower to prevent the destruction of his pizzeria.
Through 20 side-scrolling levels, you have to amass points by collecting items and defeating enemies to construct combos. Finishing each level triggers an escape sequence, setting off a time-attack to return to the starting point. Notably, Pizza Tower departs from conventional health and lives systems, with its difficulty dynamically shaped by the player’s objectives. You can walk, run, jump, roll, slide, body slam, grab & throw, and parry. The animation and the level design are pretty engaging so you won’t get bored even after long sessions of gameplay.
Pizza Tower is only available on Windows and it doesn’t require much to play it perfectly. So, get your Pizza… Tower… 🍕.
Viewfinder takes a simple concept and turns it into a creative and playful puzzle game. You capture a photo with a camera, align the photo with the terrain, and bring the elements captured in the photo in reality. It feels so much satisfying doing so and mind-boggling too. There are other puzzles and explorations as well.
Viewfinder is developed by Sad Owl Studios and published by Thunderful Publishing for PS4, 5, and Windows.
El Paso, Elsewhere
El Paso, Elsewhere is a third-person shooter video game developed and published by Strange Scaffold. It took the retro aspects of the 2000’s games including the difficulty and graphics and gave an overhauled experience. It plays like Max Payne including the bullet-time mechanic, but you have to shoot vampires. It has more darker and horror aesthetic to it that fits the premise of the story.
El Paso, Elsewhere is available on Windows, Xbox One, & Xbox Series X/S.
Bomb Rush Cyberfunk
Bomb Rush Cyberfunk is the mix of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, Cyberpunk, and hip-hop music with a story. You navigate the fictional city of New Amsterdam using a skateboard, inline skates, or BMX bike, pulling off tricks along the way. You can also unlock a superpowered backpack and use it when you feel like blitzing by. The gameplay involves grinding around the city, marking buildings with graffiti to enhance the gang’s reputation (REP). As REP rises, players can challenge rival gangs to gain control over the five boroughs of New Amsterdam. As you playthrough, you progress the story, learn the characters, and unfold what happens next.
Bomb Rush Cyberfunk is out on Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, & Xbox Series X/S; another all-platform game in this list.
Hot Wheels Unleashed 2 Turbocharged
What can I say, it’s a sequel to the first Hot Wheels game from 2021 which was amazing. Hot Wheels Unleashed 2 is an upgrade and offers slightly better gameplay.
It’s out on Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, & Xbox Series X/S so no need to worry about availibity.
Persona 5 Tactica
One of the stylish games returned in chibi format in Persona 5 Tactica and the gameplay is just as good as the main games. The Phantom Thieves are transported into another world where they have to fight to ensure peace. The gameplay is strategy RPG, grid-based navigation, weapon affinity system and turn-based combat, and some other mechanics seen in Persona franchise. It’s fun, cute, exciting, and addicting.
Remnant game is basically dark souls with guns. You don’t just blindingly point and shoot everything in front you. The enemies are like puzzle and you have figure out how to outmaneuver them. You wield 2 guns and a melee weapon and choose between different classes to fit your playstyle. The overall game design is significantly improved over the first game in Remnant 2.
Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon
As the name suggests, Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon is the origin story of the series’ protagonist. It’s developed by PlatinumGames. The gameplay is exploring, solving puzzles, and defeating enemies. You control 2 characters at the same time with 2 switch joy-cons from the top-down view. The game has a fairy tale book like aesthetic and the design sets that motif perfectly. It’s fun, cute, and also relaxing.
Sadly Bayonetta Origins is only on Nintendo Switch. I hope some modder can adopt the games mechanics into PC.
Jusant is a beautiful game featuring exploring, puzzle solving, and platforming from a third-person perspective and it’s made by Don’t Nod. You have to climb a desolate tower and the further you climb, the more you explore and learn the lore and history of this place. The puzzles and mechanics changes too. The visuals and the sound will keep you captivated in the entire playthrough.
Jusant is available on PlayStation 5, Windows, Xbox Series X & S. I highly recommend this game and it’s not that long either. It’s easy to pick up, adopt, sit back and enjoy.
Here’s a game that makes boat riding and fishing horrifying. Dredge lets you take control of a motorized fishing boat, sail into the sea to catch fish, and salvage items from underwater. There’re day-night cycles so if you stay up late, the panic meter rises causing hallucinations, the entire area changes and monsters show up. But some fishes are only available in nighttime, forcing you to stay up night. You can sell your catch, upgrade equipment, and unlock more areas. It’s fun but also sends shiver down the spine.
Dredge is developed by Black Salt Games, published by Team17 and available on Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, & Xbox Series X/S.
Everspace 2 is an action, shooting game developed and published by Rockfish Games. You fly a spaceship in an open-world setting, exploring different planetoids, asteroids, space structures. The game is equally atmospheric and action heavy. Although I wish the combat was a bit more depth to it, it’s still very fun, a hundred times better than Starfield.
What surprised me is that Everspace 2 is created by a team of 20 people Rockfish Games yet it’s much more polished than many big company games. It’s available on PC and PS5, Xbox Series X & S.
Wild Hearts plays like Monster Hunter world with Fortnite‘s building mechanic. But it’s much smoother, dynamic, and satisfying. You can build stuff like barriers, traps, etc. in the middle of fighting. The rest of the game’s elements are pretty self-explanatory once you hope in.
Season: A Letter to the Future
Season: A Letter to the Future is an exploration, adventure game. It’s premise itself is enough to make you feel existential as you explore the area around you, all by yourself, documenting everything as it all will come to an end. You just playthrough while contemplating on the final moment. It doesn’t have any hard puzzles since that’s not the focus of the game rather it makes you feel something other than just turning off your brain and having fun. Almost makes you appreciate what you have instead whining all day.
Season: A Letter to the Future is developed and published by Scavengers Studio for for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Windows.
Finally, one of the most played games of 2023, Lethal Company from Zeekerss, even though it’s only an early access. It’s a multiplayer co-op game (up to 4 players max), you explore in a retro-futuristic world (there are many levels and areas), collect scraps & stuff and sell them to meet daily quotas. You can buy gadgets & such to make the gameplay easier as some areas are harder.
The game became insanely popular in a short amount of time. It’s fun, chaotic, horrifying in some ways, and the in-game proximity chat makes it more engaging. Fans are already going wild on this as so many mods are being released, thus adding more fun. It’s only on Windows for now.
So, what are your thoughts on this list? Did any of these games interested you? These are certainly a bunch of unique games different from one another. 2023 had it good but sullied by the big disappointments. Hope more obscure and underrated gems get highlighted in future or uncovered from the past.