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Saturday, December 2, 2023

8 overlooked games you might’ve missed in 2023 (that are rather good)

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There are several video games. More video games than you or I could buy, let alone play. It’s understandable that some may have eluded your awareness. Let’s take a moment to reflect on the gems from the recent past (nine months or so) that we think deserve a closer look.

Deceive, Inc.

Released: Mar 21, 2023
Genre: Extraction shooter
3 things we love about it:

  1. Mechanically inventive, original FPS concept that deviates from the well-tread military mold
  2. Sneaking around in disguise activates that wonderful “I know something you don’t know” feeling
  3. Colorful and playful “spy-fi” art direction harkens The Incredibles

More reading: Deceive Inc. review 

Moons of Darsalon 

Released: April 19, 2023
Genre: Platformer/puzzle
3 things we love about it:

  • Darsalon is a rare Lemmings-like, tasking you with rescuing little spacemen and guiding them to the level exit. There just aren’t a lot of platformers that play like this, and Darsalon’s levels are as much little puzzle boxes as they are reflex challenges.
  • No two levels are alike. Across dozens of stages, you’ll have to wrangle a laser rifle, terrain generator, jetpack, teleporters, dropship, and more to rescue your little guys.
  • I love the Sega Genesis look and feel of everything, with richly painted backgrounds and sprites that look like old ’90s SGI renders. It’s also got a great, cheeky sense of humor with the back talking, wiggly little friends you have to rescue.

More reading: Moons of Darsalon might be the perfect Steam Deck game 

Stranded: Alien Dawn 

Released: April 25, 2023
Genre: Survival, simulation, colony builder
3 things we love about it:

  1. It produces great survival stories as you struggle to keep your colonists alive, happy, productive, and sane
  2. Deep colony management systems and loads of fun tech to research and build, from air conditioning to battlemechs
  3. Truly excellent tutorials that are broken into sections covering everything you need to know to get started

More reading: The ending of this survival game is the most tension-filled fun I’ve had in ages 

Cassette Beasts 

Released: April 26, 2023
Genre: Turn-based strategy RPG (it’s like Pokémon)
3 things we love about it:

  • Tons of elemental interactions between attack types and monster types
  • True to its cassette tape theme, has a genuinely fun and funky soundtrack
  • No level grinding to make the monster you just recorded actually viable in combat

More reading: Here’s 16 minutes of gameplay from a new Pokémon-inspired monster collecting RPG coming to Steam later this month 


Released: March 30, 2023
Genre: Lovecraftian fishing horror
3 things we love about it:

  • Some wickedly twisted fish variations that left me desperate to 100% my encylopedia.
  • An enjoyable, chilled-out fishing experience coupled with a mysterious narrative to create the ultimate atmospheric cosy horror.
  • Can complete it in around 12 hours, perfect for bitesize sessions over a couple of weekends.

More reading: Dredge review: A fantastically twisted fishing horror full of charm 

The Case of the Golden Idol

Released: October 13, 2022
Genre: Mystery/adventure game
3 things we love about it:

  • A surprisingly evocative and detailed pixel art aesthetic that moves like a gif
  • The story is a rabbit hole of murder, cults, and magic, but it’s all essential to solving each crime
  • Encourages creative thinking and has a very approachable Mad Libs-style solution form  

More reading: The Case of the Golden Idol review 


Released: October 13, 2022
Genre: Singleplayer FPS
3 things we love about it:

  • An excellent, grimy retro FPS with modern quality-of life touches
  • When you kill cultists sometimes you can pick up their eyeball and throw it another cultist; they don’t like it when you do that
  • The perfect 5-6 hour game to knock out in a weekend

More reading: Cultic might be the year’s grungiest retro FPS 


Released: August 25, 2022
Genre: FPS speedrunner
3 things we love about it:

  • Tight, Call of Duty-like shooting
  • Few gimmicks, just speed and FPS fundamentals
  • Cheap ($5/£4)

More: Watch the trailer 

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