Came close to making this more like my books list and just including the favorite games I played this year, but played just enough brand new games to put together a top 5 from games that actually came out in 2023. I continue to play all my games either handheld or while on the elliptical, so the Asus ROG Ally was big addition this year letting me play pretty much every game on this list that’s not on the Switch.
Anyways, here’s my favorite games of 2023…
1. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom for Nintendo Switch
A truly remarkable achievement in ways that I’m not sure any of us could have guessed when Nintendo announced they were making a sequel to Breath of the Wild. Tears of the Kingdom refined pretty much everything my former (spoiler) favorite game offered and added seemingly endless new ways to traverse, interact, and manipulate the vast world. Put in over 220 hours into it. Maybe my favorite game of all time.
2. Sea of Stars for PC/Xbox
Finished every single thing you can possibly do in this game, unlocked all the secret endings, and played over 55 hours of it and loved every minute. I’ve never actually played Chrono Trigger, but maybe how much I loved this is sign I finally should?
3. Lego Fortnite for PC/Xbox
Apparently I play Fortnite now? Me and the youngest have been into the new Lego game mode that’s half Minecraft and half Valheim. She mostly spends her time building in the Minecraft side of things while I explore and do combat and collect resources in the Valheim side. Super fun and looking forward to see how they continue to add to it. (God does it need a freaking compass.)
4. Super Mario Wonder for Nintendo Switch
Can my number four game of the year also be my most disappointing? I liked this less the recent 3D Kirby and Yoshi games and SOOOO much less than the fantastic Odyssey and 3D World, so not sure if it’s 2D games I’m not digging or if it just isn’t good as I had hoped. Maybe I’ll hop back in and try to 100% it and see if that improves my enjoyment.
5. Dave the Diver for PC
Loved the main gameplay loop but bounced off of this once they started adding more and more on top of the diving and fishing I bounced off it a bit. I had about 12 hours of a TON of fun though before that.
Favorite Retro and New to Me Games of 2023
Thanks to the ROG Ally and Anbernic RG35XX, also had a chance to catch up with some games that have long been on my backlog…
- Uncharted 4 for PlayStation 4 (2016) – Technically I played the remastered PS5 version that came with the Legacy Collection but I’ve owned the original PS4 game since I preordered it back in 2016. Played almost all of this via Remote Play on my ROG Ally and really enjoyed it, for whatever reason I just had trouble sitting down and focusing on this on the actual TV.
- CFB Revamped for PS3/PC (2013/2020) – The emulated PS3 modded version of NCAA Football 14 is super fun to have on a portable device. Recruiting is still too complicated in these last versions of the game, but even 10+ years later this is still so much more fun than Madden. Can’t wait until the new NCAA game comes out, though I fear EA will muck it up somehow.
- The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap for Game Boy Advance (2004) – A fun, great looking game reminiscent of LTTP W so many unique items and gameplay features. Loved the Minish size transformation and puzzles.
- Marvel’s Spider-Man for PlayStation 4 (2019) – Best traversal of any game ever? Button mash-y combat was right up my alley as well.