Bringing You the Daily Dispatch

Culture Games

The top twenty video games of 2023.

20. Venba

PlayStation 5, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, PC

This is a story-driven game that focuses on the significance of cooking and the immigrant journey. It showcases snippets of a family’s everyday life after moving from India to Canada. The mother uses food as a way to maintain a connection to their homeland, but as the relationship between parent and child changes, we witness the impact. The game portrays the Tamil language, film, music, and cuisine with love, adding depth to the narrative.

19. Chants of Sennaar

The gaming consoles available are PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.

As a tourist in unfamiliar territories, without understanding the native tongues, you must gather hints from the surroundings, blending elements of a puzzle and adventure game. It does not talk down to you. The stunning, simplistic design is reminiscent of Monument Valley, with a striking color scheme that evokes a sense of otherworldliness. A delight for language enthusiasts, but enjoyable for anyone who likes to challenge their cognitive abilities.

18. Assassin’s Creed Mirage

PlayStation 4/5, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, PC

Once again, Ubisoft takes us back to its immersive world of historical assassins and secretive underworld activities. This time, the focus is on Basim Ibn Ishaq, a former street thief who has now become an apprentice assassin in ninth-century Baghdad. The game departs from its predecessors, Origins and Valhalla, in its more focused and intentional storytelling. Players are mostly confined within the city walls, allowing for an abundance of period-specific details to be incorporated into every street, square, and alley. The thrill of stalking targets, sneaking through enemy buildings, and traversing the landscape on camel or horseback all contribute to the overall satisfaction of gameplay. It is evident that the development team has a strong grasp on their intricately designed universe.

Historical hitmen … Assassin’s Creed Mirage

17. Metroid Prime Remastered

Nintendo Switch

A reminiscent look back at a period when first-person games did not solely revolve around shooting, this captivating science fiction adventure from 20 years ago remains unparalleled and is a delight to revisit. Samus Aran, a bounty hunter, arrives on a decaying planet and gradually enhances her spacesuit with blasters, bombs, and grapples to assist in her investigation and uncover the truth behind its demise. It boasts an immersive atmosphere, clever gameplay, challenging obstacles, and an air of intrigue.

16. Thirsty Suitors

The gaming consoles PlayStation 4/5, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and PC.

In this difficult year, it seems that what we truly required was a thrilling tale of love, skateboarding, and role-playing. The story follows a second-generation Indian immigrant as she returns to her hometown to confront her former lovers. Thirsty Suitors can be described as a blend of Scott Pilgrim and the Gilmore Girls, but it offers even more. With its genuine details, it speaks to the challenges of being an immigrant and does so with flair, emotion, and energy.

15. Pikmin 4

Nintendo Switch

As a tiny astronaut, you venture onto a planet resembling Earth and pick plant-like creatures from the soil. You then lead them like a darling army, hurling them at dangerous predators and directing them to carry back large treasures (such as fruit, abandoned toys, and even nostalgic Nintendo devices) to your spaceship. This game is both kind and endearing, going beyond what you would anticipate.

Small, cute army … Pikmin 4

14. Hi-Fi Rush

Xbox, PC
Chai may not be the most successful individual, but he maintains a positive attitude – even when a mishap at a factory results in him becoming a cyborg musician with a guitar-arm that can transform. The world of Hi-Fi Rush is full of energy and movement, inspired by its soundtrack, and defeating robots to the beat is an exciting and fashionable gaming experience. The boss battles, reminiscent of comic books and presented with flair, are especially impressive.

13. Dredge

The gaming systems available are PlayStation 4/5, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
It is quite frankly a scandal that we’ve had to wait this long for a Lovecraftian-style horror fishing simulator, but at last we have one. Created by New Zealand studio Black Salt Games, Dredge has you braving dark, cruel waves while trying to catch increasingly monstrous fish, then attempting to return safely to harbour. Absolutely sodden with eldritch atmosphere, it’s a game that captures the haunting, beautiful danger of the ocean.

Eldritch atmosphere … Dredge

12. Street Fighter 6

PlayStation 4/5, Xbox Series S/X, PC
After more than thirty years since the release of Street Fighter II, Capcom’s iconic fighting game franchise continues to evolve and update itself, much like how David Bowie reinvented himself, with powerful hadouken moves. Featuring a fresh combat system, lively graphics, and an incredibly fun online multiplayer mode, this game is a delightful tribute to a genre that refuses to be complacent.

11. Resident Evil 4 Remake

PlayStation 4/5, Xbox Series S/X, PC

Capcom’s recent return to their survival horror roots has been immensely well-received, as they have effectively captured the scares and thrills of the original games while also updating the visuals and incorporating new plot elements. This particular game follows protagonist Leon Kennedy as he navigates through a terrifying rural landscape in pursuit of the kidnapped daughter of the US president. Many fans consider it to be the standout title in the Remake series, as it expertly intensifies every iconic encounter, from the grisly villages to the grandiose Salazar Castle. It delivers an immersive and exhilarating experience, featuring unforgettable monsters and a striking blend of Grand Guignol horror and stylish flair.

Hellish rural horror … Resident Evil 4 Remake

10. Sea of Stars

PlayStation 4/5, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, PC

During a successful year for Japanese role-playing games, Sea of Stars stood out for its exceptional homage to Super Nintendo classics like Chrono Trigger and Vagrant Story. The predictable storyline follows two young Solstice Warriors as they team up to defeat an evil alchemist, but the real pleasure of the game lies in its leisurely pace, stunning 2D graphics, and captivating turn-based combat. It pays tribute to a more uncomplicated era.

9. Star Wars Jedi: Survivor

PlayStation 4/5, Xbox, PC

The follow-up to Fallen Order from 2019, Survivor, is a thrilling Star Wars journey that seamlessly incorporates elements from the movies, TV shows, and vast amount of background information. The protagonist, rebellious Jedi Cal Kestis, returns to face old foes with newfound abilities. The iconic settings, sound effects, and action scenes perfectly capture the essence of the films. A fast-paced demonstration of masterful expansion within the franchise.

8. Super Mario Bros Wonder

Nintendo Switch

Coming back to the charming and delightful realm of Mario is always a pleasure. However, while some of the newer 2D multiplayer Mario games may have fallen short in terms of their enchantment, this one has it in abundance. Each level presents a unique and creative transformation, playfully subverting traditional Mario elements in a manner that will captivate both children and experienced gamer parents.

Magic in spades … Super Mario Bros Wonder

7. A Space for the Unbound

PlayStation 4/5, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, PC

This is a game that combines magical and realistic elements, taking place in rural Indonesia. The storyline follows two high school students during the late 90s, as they navigate their own personal issues and also help others by using a special notebook to explore their thoughts and emotions. The inclusion of supernatural elements adds an intriguing twist to the typical coming-of-age narrative, turning it into a mysterious and captivating experience.

6. Alan Wake 2

The gaming consoles available are PlayStation 5, PC, and Xbox Series S/X.

Taking inspiration from popular shows and movies like The X-Files, True Detective, The Silence of the Lambs, and Twin Peaks, this eerie sequel delves into the supernatural as FBI agent Saga Anderson delves into a string of bizarre cult-like murders in the same town where famous horror writer Alan Wake vanished 13 years ago. With its twisted and surreal plot, this unique action-adventure game explores parallel universes and occult themes. In a time where blockbuster games may lack creativity, it’s refreshing to see titles like this still exist.

Twisted and surreal … Alan Wake 2

5. Dave the Diver

Nintendo Switch, PC

During the day, you take on the role of Dave, a chubby scuba diver, as you explore a deep underwater trench filled with perilous and unusual sea creatures. Your activities include spearing objects, fending off sharks, and gathering valuable items. At night, you can enjoy the fruits of your labor by dining at a lovely sushi restaurant. This game offers a captivating and addictive gameplay experience, which only becomes more entertaining, intricate, and captivating as you progress. Allow yourself to be amazed by the game’s hidden depths.

4. Cocoon

The gaming consoles available are PlayStation 4/5, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and PC.

This game allows you to bear the weight of worlds on your shoulders, enclosed in orbs that your moth-man character can enter, altering the structure of the worlds within. Subtle yet powerful audio and visuals enhance this clever puzzle game, created by the creators of the acclaimed games Limbo and Inside.

Quietly brilliant … Cocoon

3. Marvel’s Spider-Man 2

PlayStation 5

The second installment of this ambitious game features both Miles Morales and Peter Parker, as they navigate through a larger New York City filled with new enemies and personal obstacles. The gameplay remains intuitive and enjoyable, with the added bonus of being able to fly short distances and explore Brooklyn and Queens. The enemies, Kraven the Hunter and Venom, provide interesting challenges and are cleverly tied to the dramatic storylines of our web-slinging heroes. While the Marvel Cinematic Universe may be slowing down, Spider-Man 2 proves that the game franchise still has plenty of life.

2. Baldur’s Gate 3

The gaming systems available include PlayStation 5, Xbox Series S/X, and PC.

If you started playing this expansive fantasy role-playing game inspired by Dungeons & Dragons in August, it’s highly unlikely that you have played any other game since then. It offers a vast amount of well-crafted and cleverly designed adventures that adapt to the player’s decisions and actions so seamlessly that it truly gives the sensation of being able to do anything in the game. Definitely worth the time spent playing.

Intelligent and flexible … Baldur’s Gate 3

1. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

Nintendo Switch
Yes, this latest tale of magic and adventure takes place in the same world as Breath of the Wild, and you will recognise many villages, forest glades and mountain views as you search for the ever-imperilled princess. But Tears of the Kingdom is crammed with fresh sights and experiences, from sky islands to an entire underground mirror kingdom. It also allows you to craft vehicles, weapons and other gadgets, opening up incredible creative avenues. Sometimes a game comes along that makes you feel privileged to play it. This is certainly one of those those.

Source: theguardian.com