Well, it’s the end of 2023, and what a year it’s been. We’ve gotten some really… Questionable releases from the triple-AAA scene this year. Whether that’s disappointing equals, poorly made PC ports, or even downright scams, it’s certainly been something.
But don’t get despared by all the poorly received triple-AAA games released this year, because indie games are here to save the day! Here in this list, we’ll be going over five of my best picks for some of the greatest games to come from small studios in 2023.
#5 – Darkest Dungeon II
First up, I’d like to talk about Darkest Dungeon II. Now I know that the game wasn’t as well received as the first one–changing up a lot about the formula–but even with that setback, it’s still a quality game that I think is worth your time. This is a grim dark tactical party-based RPG. You’ll lead a gang of adventures through monster-infested dungeons with the goal of getting rare loot.
This is a really challenging–yet very rewarding game–that forces you to make harsh decisions that will heavily impact your play through. It’s a very tactical and strategic experience that rewards careful decision-making. While I would definitely recommend the first game over this one, Darkest Dungeon II is still a really fun experience.
#4 – DAVE THE DIVER
DAVE THE DIVER is next on this list of the Top 5 Best Indie Games of 2023. This is a 2D RPG game in which you play as, well, Dave The Diver. Your goal is to set out and explore the ocean blue, fishing for various species and collecting other resources, which you’ll bring back to your restaurant so it can be chopped up and sold as sushi!
This story goes beyond just basic fishing mini-games and can include side quests and various other challenges to keep you engaged. The game is just fun, plain and simple, there’s no other way to put it than that. Throw in the good writing and witty humor, and you have what I think is one of the best indie games to be released in 2023.
#3 – Bramble: The Mountain King
Bramble: The Mountain King is a spooky, dark adventure following the tale of a little boy who must travel through a strange and terrifying land to find his sister. It’s a 3D platforming horror game that you’ll surely love if you are into Little Nightmares and/or other similar games. Bramble: The Mountain King is an incredibly atmospheric game, with beautiful yet grim environments and an even more grim story.
The game is pretty short, and most people should be able to beat it in around 4-5 hours, but that shouldn’t turn you off from playing it. Even with its shortness, it’s still a really fun and memorable game that manages to use those 4-5 hours to their fullest potential. I definitely recommend it if you love story-driven games and/or survival horror titles.
#2 – Cassette Beasts
Cassette Beasts is the spiritual successor to Pokemon I didn’t know I was waiting for. In this open-world tactical RPG, you will explore a beautiful island inhabited by strange monsters. Using some special cassette tapes, you can “record” the monsters onto the tapes, and then deploy them later to battle against other monsters, similar to what you can do with Pokeballs.
Not only that, but this game lets you combine two different creatures together to forge brand-new allies with unique abilities! This is a really sick game that takes a lot of elements from Pokemon, while managing to find its own path and do things a little differently. This is a great game for all the RPG-lovers out there, and I can’t recommend it strongly enough.
#1 – Bomb Rush Cyberfunk
And in first place, I’ve got the obvious choice: Bomb Rush Cyberfunk! This is a heavily stylized 3D platformer that takes lots of influence from the Jet Set Radio games. In this game, you play as a skateboarder and graffiti artist, maneuvering through a funky cityscape as you try to learn more about your past and try to become the best graffiti team there is.
The game is incredibly fun and satisfying to play, and it reminds me a lot of the Tony Hawk series of games. As previously mentioned, you are a skateboarder. You’ll pull off all sorts of insane tricks to rack up higher scores. The vibrant art style and great music enhances this even further. It’s a fantastic game that has certainly earned its spot on this list.