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Top Ten Video Games of 2023

2023 could go down in the history books as an all-timer.

Its hard to remember such a stacked year for the industry where we had such an impressive volume of top tier games spanning multiple genres and platforms.  At this time of year I expect the spotlight will mostly fall on the high profile Game of the Year contenders such as Baldurs Gate 3 and The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom but you definitely shouldn’t sleep on the likes of Hi-Fi Rush, Octopath Traveller 2, Pikmin 4 or F-Zero 99.

Not only is it a great time to play games on the PS5 which is really beginning to hit its stride or the evergreen Nintendo Switch, which arguably had its strongest calendar year despite being seven year old hardware, there are also all kinds of other platforms for gaming that have really come into their own lately.  The Analogue Pocket, Steam Deck OLED, AYN Odin 2, Miyoo Mini Plus and Meta Quest 3 are all fantastic hardware devices depending on your tastes: the latest games, retro games, VR games or indie games.  Whatever your gaming habits and tastes, in 2023 you are going to be well catered for.

As with last year, trimming this list down to just ten games was tough.  My initial longlist was over twenty games long and there’s also a handful of games I’ve thoroughly enjoyed but I know in my heart of hearts I haven’t played enough of them to fully justify adding it to the list.  That includes Baldurs Gate 3, Metroid Prime Remastered, Cocoon and Sea of Stars.  I really hope 2023 is a quieter year so I have ample time to catch up with my backlog which is out of control at this point.

With that said, here it is, my ten favourite games of 2023.

Hi-Fi Rush

Developer: Tango Gameworks
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Platform: Xbox Series X

Hi-Fi Rush feels like a Dreamcast game. This might only mean something to a handful of people reading this but it’s a favourable comparison to make.  There is something about this game’s colour palette, bombastic character artwork, Nineties soundtrack and linear level design that feels like its lifted straight out of the catalogue of Sega’s ill-fated final console.

The game was shadow-dropped onto Game Pass early this year and remains one of the best surprises of 2023.  It’s a rhythm-based action adventure game in which players have to strike enemies and deliver combo attacks in time with the soundtrack.  Conceptually, it sounds like an idea that could be disastrous, and yet thanks to some clever (and forgiving) design choices, it works very effectively.  Once you unlock a majority of the moveset and come to grips with the gameplay mechanics, Hi-Fi Rush’s combat feels every bit as engaging as Devil May Cry, Bayonetta and other classics of the Japanese action adventure genre from the mid to late 2000s.

The cell shaded art style is a winner.  The combat is a delight.  The cherry on top is the glorious Nineties soundtrack featuring the likes of The Prodigy, Nine Inch Nails, Fiona Apple and The Flaming Lips.  The game is bursting at the seams with character and its easily the most stylish game of 2023.


Developer: Black Salt Games
Publisher: Team17
Platform: Nintendo Switch

Dredge is the game you didn’t know you wanted.

Developed by an indie studio from New Zealand (!), you play as a fisherman who arrives at the seaside town of Great Marrow to begin life as the local angler. You start out with a tiny little tugboat with a sputtering engine, catching fish, selling it at local markets, and upgrading your trawler so you can head out further, hold a greater haul and catch bigger prizes at sea.

Eventually you’ll discover some weird phenomena out in the reef. Some of the sea life looks seriously messed up, there are strange lights flashing across the night sky and shadows in the water hint at something sinister in the murky depths.  Dredge is a Lovecraftian fishing horror game.

I loved Dredge.  It has a unique premise, a satisfying gameplay loop and even the narrative manages to hit the mark with twists and turns I did not see coming.

Not only is the game one of the years best, it has been well supported by the developers post-launch with both free updates adding significant quality of life improvements, and also cheap DLC for anyone left hungry for more.  I’ve had the good fortune of playing many great games this year but knowing everything that’s been added to Dredge since I finished it in April, I’ve felt the call of the sea pulling me back.

Alan Wake 2

Developer: Remedy Entertainment
Publisher: Epic Game Publishing
Platform: Playstation 5

Alan Wake 2 is a wonderfully weird and inventive big budget video game and there aren’t too many of those nowadays.  Making video games is an expensive business and its no surprise that for the games with a $100 million+ budget, they tend to be safe, predictable and by the numbers.  I also find that they struggle to hold my attention.  I appreciate that God of War: Ragnarok and Horizon: Forbidden West are technically well crafted but with both titles I tapped out long before I completed their campaign modes.

I didn’t have particularly strong hopes for Alan Wake 2 at the start of the year.  Although developer Remedy Studios had raised their profile in recent years thanks to the excellent sci-fi thriller Control, I thought the original Alan Wake had aged poorly and wasn’t a particularly strong foundation for a new game in 2023 with either its narrative or its gameplay.

As it turns out, I needn’t have worried. Sam Lake and his team continue their hot streak by delivering a game with innovative storytelling techniques that blends full motion video and in-engine cut scenes, weaving together the story of two separate characters – writer Alan Wake and newcomer FBI agent Saga Anderson – as they navigate both real world environments and otherworldly planes.

Alan Wake 2 is a very ambitious game in terms of its creative ambitions and although the game has its share of rough edges (some of the exploration and backtracking leaves a lot to be desired), I think its worth it for the end product which is far greater than the sum of its parts.

Street Fighter 6

Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Platform: Playstation 5

Street Fighter V launched in a dreadful state, missing key features and feeling distinctly half-baked.  Several significant updates and iterations over the years eventually lead to a final product that was more respectable but it did feel like it ultimately took a lot of steam out of the venerable fighting game series.

Street Fighter 6 then is a welcome return to form.  It feels like a game that has a strong creative vision of its own – the new Drive system can lead to an excellent ebb and flow in combat and the range of new characters are a blast to play – but its also a response to the feedback fans had for SF5.  By comparison, Street Fighter 6 is absolutely packed with features.  It has a robust single player story mode, the biggest we’ve ever seen in the series that lets the player explore open environments.  There are fantastic accessibility features such as the inclusion of two new control methods that make the game easier for newcomers as well as a terrific tutorial mode that teaches players the fundamentals of its fighting system.  Where Street Fighter V felt like a game built with tunnel vision targeting esports competitors, Street Fighter 6 feels like Capcom throwing the gates open once more and saying this is a game for everybody.

The fighting game scene in a pretty competitive space in 2023 but the truth is all the big players – Mortal Kombat, Tekken and Street Fighter – are all doing great things in their own way so I hope the market is big enough for all three to find success.

Super Mario Bros Wonder

Developer: Nintendo EPD
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: Nintendo Switch

When Nintendo first revealed Super Mario Bros Wonder with that trailer where Mario turns into an elephant, I think there was a collective realisation of just how long it had been since Nintendo really allowed a 2D Mario to sparkle creatively.  The modern echelon of 3D Mario games – Odyssey, Galaxy, Bowser’s Fury – are wildly inventive and showcase Nintendo’s trademark creativity.  But the 2D games?  You’d probably have to go back to Super Mario Bros 3  and Super Mario World and those games came out three decades ago.

Super Mario Bros Wonder is a game that feels fearless.  It finally sheds some longstanding Mario staples that were no longer necessary – such as the time limit – and in its place delivers a grab bag of welcome new ideas into the formula including asynchronous online multiplayer, badges that grant new abilities to Mario’s moveset and the addition of wonder seeds which upend levels and add an entertaining new twist to the stage.

Early reviews of Wonder mentioned that the game feels like a spiritual successor to Super Mario World and they weren’t wrong.  The game finally sheds the soulless art style of the “New” Super Mario games, an aesthetic that Nintendo persisted with for nearly fifteen years, and new life is breathed into the series with its more expressive animations and art style.

It just speaks to what an absolutely crazy year 2023 was for high quality games because I believe in almost any other year, this game is in the conversation for Game of the Year.  It’s the best 2D Mario game in decades and that’s something that everyone should be happy about.

Resident Evil 4

Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Platform: Playstation 5

Resident Evil 4 is the best video game of 2005 and the blueprint for just about every modern action game since.

New versions of RE4 have been ported over to just about every platform conceivable so it always felt very available too. When considered in this light, a top to bottom remake of RE4 might feel unnecessary but when you are the development studio that made the absolutely glorious and transcendent Resident Evil 2 remake of 2019, you should be handed the keys and trusted to make whatever you like.

What they delivered was a wonderful re-imagining of the original that feels faithful to the spirit of that game, but is also an experience that has been amplified tenfold thanks to the addition of modern gameplay controls, top tier production quality and just absolutely impeccable game design.

Let’s face it – the zombie genre is pretty played out. There have been new Resident Evil games every other year for a decade now.  The reason this game still shines and gets showered in accolades is thanks to its best in class design and impeccable craftsmanship.  The pacing of this game is absolutely note-perfect.  The difficultly level puts you under the pump but never feels insurmountable.  And the game is still filled with delights all these years later thanks to its wonderful cast of oddball villains, villagers and monsters.

Pikmin 4

Developer: Nintendo EPD and Eighting
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: Nintendo Switch

This one kind of snuck up on me.  I’ve played all the previous Pikmins and liked them well enough.  Each one is generally a modest improvement on the one before.  But Pikmin 4 feels like it hits different.

On paper it doesn’t look like Pikmin 4 changes anything radically over its predecessors, but the gameplay loop of rescuing astroanauts and collecting materials and fuel satisfyingly clicks into place and is a game that you find yourself coming back to, time and again.  The ‘comfort food’ game of 2023 if you will.

Maybe it’s the addition of Oatchi, the strangest noseless extraterrestrial dog that is the extra spinkle of magic that puts this game over the top.  Or the fact that its existence on the Switch means it’s the first mainline entry in the series on a portable (don’t worry, I still love you too Hey! Pikmin on the 3DS).

Anyway, there’s a lot of games on this list that taken dozens of hours to complete and are big, bold and challenging.  Pikmin 4 is none of those things.  It’s soothing, relaxing and a slice of gaming zen.

Marvel’s Spider-Man 2

Developer: Insomniac Games
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Platform: Playstation 5

I have a funny relationship with Sony’s big budget triple A games.  The whole lot of them – God of War, The Last of Us, Horizon Zero Dawn etc – could collectively be described as highly polished, technically accomplished and generally speaking a solid stable of action adventure games.  They also feel very safe, rather samey and I think we’re on the cusp of one or two these franchises overstaying their welcome.

I think Sony is aware of this.  You could sense it with Uncharted 4 back in the day when they really drove home the point that yeah, this is the last one of these.  It had run its course.

Insomniac ride that line with Spider-man 2.  They know that everyone loves the sense of freedom that comes with traversing New York as Spider-man so they expanded the landscape to include Brooklyn and Queens, and they improved his moveset even further with the addition of web wings, which allow you to fly without swinging, and a neat web catapult that launches you into motion.

Insomniac also understands that the combat in this game, which is directly lifted from the Batman Arkham games, feels extremely played out at this point so they added a web zip line move that trivializes the difficulty by allowing you to stealth attack virtually all the goons on the street. To address concerns that the Mary Jane sequences from the previous games hampered the pacing they made her superhumanly strong so she just steamrolls anyone in her path.

In short, they improved the stuff everyone loves and streamlined the rest.  Then delivered it all with industry-leading production quality.  The streets of New York have never looked more densely packed or realistic.  The presentation of the storyline rivals the MCU fare.  It’s no wonder these are some of the best selling games on the Playstation and the face of the brand.

Like A Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name

Developer: Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio
Publisher: Sega
Platform: Playstation 5

I breathed a sigh of relief when I hit credits on Like A Dragon Gaiden.  The game was magnificent.  As the first new chapter in the series since creator Toshihiro Nagoshi left, Gaiden confirmed to longtime fans that the series was in good hands.  Nagoshi’s proteges at RGG had delivered.

This bite-sized game – 25 hours long but still small by the series’ standards – fills in the gaps for what happened to Kazuma Kiryu during Yakuza Like A Dragon which focused on new protagonist Ichiban.  It’s a satisfying new chapter in the series filled with rich melodrama and dramatic new revelations about the Dragon of Dojima.

For the eighth instalment in a serialised crime drama you could be forgiven for thinking the Like A Dragon series could finally be running out of steam.  Instead the events of Gaiden make it feel like its hitting a crescendo.  The ending sequence ties together storyline threads over a decade in the making and feels like an assembling of mainline characters not unlike the ‘Avengers assemble’ sequence in Avengers: Endgame.  Then the team at RGG saved a final twist in the tale that left fans of the series in tears.  The stakes for Infinite Wealth, the next mainline chapter which is only just around the corner in January 2024, feel like the highest they could possibly be.

It’s crazy.  This was game apparently made in a mere six months.  And yet if it hadn’t been for a certain high profile Nintendo game, it would probably be my game of the year.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

Developer: Nintendo EPD
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: Nintendo Switch


I don’t think it’s really possible to ever recapture the feeling you had as a kid when you first get really drawn into a video game and begin to grasp the possibilities of the medium.  But Tears of the Kingdom comes closer than any other modern title and for me, it took me back to the magic I felt playing The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past on the Super Nintendo three decades ago.

A direct sequel to the acclaimed Breath of the Wild, Nintendo kept their cards close to their chest right up until launch with gameplay previews and trailers that only revealed a fraction of what was in store for players.  Aounuma-san and his team have performed some kind of technical wizardry with the aging Nintendo Switch hardware and Tears of the Kingdom easily surpassed any lofty expectations I had set for it.

Not only did they effectively triple the size of the landscape from Breath of the Wild by seamlessly adding the sky islands and the depths to explore, they also empowered the player with a handful of new abilities: allowing the player to reverse time, the power to fuse virtually any two items together to create something new, building make-shift vehicles out of bespoke parts and teleporting through the environment.  I feel individually any of these abilities would have felt like a sufficient addition for a less ambitious developer but for Nintendo, they gave you the lot, made sure it ran perfect, then gave you a world that let you use these abilities to their full potential.

Shrines and dungeons in Tears of the Kingdom can be tackled in any order and often have multiple solutions.  I can’t recall another game where you feel so empowered to overcome obstacles and clever application of this multitude of new abilities often make you feel like you’re somehow getting one over the developers.  The world of Tears of the Kingdom is immensely satisfying to explore and that feeling carried me through nearly two hundred hours of playtime before I eventually hit credits.  Many evenings I’d pick up the controller with a rough idea of what I planned to do but then I’d quickly find myself getting distracted – whats that over there? – and losing myself down a rabbit hole that I spotted out of the corner of my eye.

Time and perspective will help solidify my opinions on Tears of the Kingdom but for now, its on a short list of my favourite games of all time.  The game rightly received plenty of plaudits and commercial success and yet to me, it somehow still feels underrated.  I can’t quite believe what Nintendo achieved here.  In their already formidable catalogue of games, Tears of the Kingdom is surely one of the finest.

Honourable Mentions

Final Fantasy XVI [Playstation 5]

FF16 is basically an anime version of Game of Thrones.  If you want political drama between noble families in a medieval setting but also like giant kaiju fights where monsters shoot laser beams at each other, this is your game. 

Cyberpunk 2077 [Xbox Series X]

Three years after its disastrous release, CD Projekt Red ‘finished’ Cyberpunk with the launch of version 2.0.  It turns out when the game isn’t a bug riddled mess its actually pretty good.

Pistol Whipped [Playstation VR 2]

One of my favourite PSVR2 games is this fun arcade shooter.  Its easy to pick up, fun as hell and a great cardio workout.

Star Trek Resurgence [Playstation 5]

A fun narrative driven game that comes closest to capturing the feel of Star Trek over any of its predecessors.

Sea of Stars [Nintendo Switch]

An enjoyable retro-styled homage to classic 16bit RPGs with specific influence and reverence for Chrono Trigger.

Mortal Kombat 1 [Playstation 5]

It wasn’t the radical reinvention of the series that the title would suggest but it’s a solid successor to MK11 with an entertaining over-the-top multi-verse storyline that has lots of fun reimagining some of the most famous characters of the MK series.

Clash of Heroes: Might and Magic HD [Nintendo Switch]

One of my favourite puzzle games of the PS3/360 era gets a welcome new addition that will hopefully find the game a new audience and who knows, maybe even a sequel one day.

Venba [Xbox Series X]

An incredibly moving, heartfelt tale about a migrant family’s experience in Canada and examines what it feels like to be a stranger in your own country.  Deeply moving and the experience is made all the richer with the mouth-watering meals you prepare in between each chapter of the story.

Cocoon [Xbox Series X]

A fantastic spiritual successor to Inside from the same talent who have started their own studio.  I’m only a couple of hours in and haven’t had the time to see it through but I’ve loved what I played so far.

Super Mario RPG [Nintendo Switch]

A very surprising but incredibly welcome new coat of paint for a SNES classic.  It does such a good job of bringing a decades old game to a new audience it has me wondering and wishing that perhaps Nintendo could consider some other classics from that era for a similar treatment.

Agatha Christie: Hercule Poirot – The London Case [Nintendo Switch]

As a diehard Agatha Christie fan, I have very much enjoyed publisher Microids regularly releasing games that are based on both classic Christie stories (ABC Murders and Murder on the Orient Express) and original material (The First Case and now this).  The new storylines feel faithful to Christie’s vision of the famous Belgian sleuth and are a delight for fans who want more Poirot.  Now how about giving us a Miss Marple game next, Microids?

Best of the Backlog

Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past [Super Nintendo]

This year I treated myself to an Analogue Super NT (a Super Nintendo FPGA clone system) and a near mint complete in box copy of my favourite game The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.  Revisiting this game on the Super NT playing the original cartridge has been one of my favourite gaming experiences of 2023.

Persona 5 Royal [Nintendo Switch]

I’ve been meaning to play Atlus’ longstanding JRPG series for many years and this was the year I finally got around to it.  All 105 hours of the mainline story (not counting sidequests).  It was every bit as good as I had hoped.  Incredible cast of characters, great dungeons and I got totally absorbed following these characters across an entire year of their lives.

I’m keen to seek out more adventures of the Phantom Thieves (of which there are many spin-offs) and also more Persona (of which there are many).  I had planned on hitting Persona 4 next but the upcoming remake of Persona 3 in 2024 might bump that to the front of the queue.

Tetris 2 [Super Nintendo]

I was gifted a copy of this SNES game, one that I had never played before, and ended up really loving it.  It’s a strange twist on the original formula to be sure but one I found compulsively playable.

Slay the Spire [Nintendo Switch]

I went back to this game one day for just ‘one more go’ and ended up sinking another forty hours into it and it was one of my top five most played Switch games this year. Forever a classic.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney trilogy [Nintendo DS]

I made some pretty decent strides with my Nintendo DS game collection and finally got my hands on the entire original trilogy of Ace Attorney games plus Apollo Justice.  They hold up extremely well and in particular, Trials and Tribulations is a stone cold classic.

Tetris Effect and Rez HD [Playstation VR 2]

Lets not beat around the bush. The PSVR2 has had lousy support from Sony since its release.  The first party support is almost non-existent!  And yet I can almost deal with it because the system is so much faster/easier to set up than the original PSVR and it has made these two classic games way more accessible to me for revisiting.  I love both Rez and Tetris Effect dearly and I basically intend to replay them every other year or so.  They are transcendent gaming experiences.

Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster [Nintendo Switch]

I don’t really understand why Square went to the trouble of making this amazing six game anthology on the Switch and then had an extremely limited physical release where you basically had to order hundred dollar copies off Play Asia.  But thankfully I was gifted this set for Christmas and I look forward to a fresh playthrough of Final Fantasy 6.

Best Platform

Analogue Super NT

Analogue are a weird company.  They make some of the finest FPGA game consoles on the market.  Premium quality replica systems of the Eighties and Nineties.  Anyone who is a fan of the NES, Super Nintendo, Mega Drive and Game Boy would appreciate their products.

But the quantity of their products is scarce.  Their communication with customers around new stock seems deliberately obtuse.  And delivery times can be several months or even over a year.

But there’s no denying the quality of the products.  I got my hands on a Super NT from their final production run before it was retired.  I love lots of video game systems but the Super Nintendo will always be my favourite.  To have a system like this that allowed me to play my original cartridges and access my original save files is a dream come true.  Not many game-related moments in 2023 can rival what I felt firing up my end of game save file for Chrono Trigger 27 years after I finished it.


Top Ten Video Games of 2022
Game of the Year Vampire Survivors (Nintendo Switch)
Platform of the Year – Analogue Super NT

Top Ten Video Games of 2021
Game of the Year – Metroid Dread (Nintendo Switch)
Platform of the Year – Xbox Series X

Top Ten Video Games of 2020
Game of the Year – Yakuza: Like A Dragon (Xbox Series X)
Platform of the Year – Playstation 4

Top Ten Video Games of 2019
Game of the Year – Slay the Spire (Nintendo Switch)
Platform of the Year – Playstation 4

Top Ten Video Games of 2018
Game of the Year – Astro Bot: Rescue Mission (Playstation VR)
Platform of the Year – Playstation 4

Top Ten Video Games of 2017
Game of the Year – Super Mario Odyssey (Nintendo Switch)
Platform of the Year – Nintendo Switch

Top Ten Video Games of 2016
Game of the Year – Stardew Valley (Playstation 4)
Platform of the Year – Playstation 4

Top Ten Video Games of 2015
Game of the Year – The Witcher 3 (Playstation 4)
Platform of the Year – Playstation 4

Top Ten Video Games of 2014
Game of the Year – Mario Kart 8 (Wii U)
Platform of the Year – Wii U

Top Ten Video Games of 2013
Game of the Year – The Last Of Us (Playstation 3)
Platform of the Year – Playstation 3

Top Ten Video Games of 2012
Game of the Year – The Walking Dead (Xbox 360)
Platform of the Year – Xbox 360

Top Ten Video Games of 2011
Game of the Year – Clash of Heroes: Might and Magic (Xbox 360)
Platform of the Year – Xbox 360

Top Ten Video Games of 2010
Game of the Year – Mass Effect 2 (Xbox 360)
Platform of the Year – Xbox 360

Top Ten Video Games of 2009
Game of the Year – Uncharted 2: Amongst Thieves (Playstation 3)
Platform of the Year – Playstation 3

About Edo

Edo currently lives in Australia where he spends his time playing video games and enjoying his wife's cooking.

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