Happy New Year! 2023 has barely started and there’s already so much I’m excited to play this year and thought I would write about some of them. As usual with these sorts of lists, there’s going to be so many games I just forget to list. Some of my favorite games are those that come from nowhere or are games made by single developers so this will probably actually not even be close to what my favorite games of the year are. Some of these games are available on other platforms but because of my unusually specific interests, all of them are on the PC and most are adventure games.
She Dreams Elsewhere
She Dreams Elsewhere is a surreal RPG with a stunning art style. The art and creature design look wild and I’m looking forward to exploring this world when the game comes out.
Tactical Breach Wizards
Tactical Breach Wizards is the newest game by Tom Francis, designer of Gunpoint and Heat Signature. It looks to be a fun tactics game with a fantasy influence and the screenshots showing off dialog indicate that it has the same humor his earlier games had.
Acronia is a queer DOS game inspired by Apogee-era shareware games such as Duke Nukem 1 and BioMenace. I loved the alpha version of the game that is available on their Itch page and hope that we see a full version released this year.
The Crimson Diamond
The Crimson Diamond is a point-and-click adventure game strongly influenced by Sierra’s 1989 adventure game The Colonel’s Bequest. I’ve been following the development of the game for a while now through the developer’s weekly dev streams and the demo on the game’s Steam page and everything indicates this should be a great mystery to solve.
Super Space Club
Super Space Club is a chill arcade space shooter. I really like everything about the presentation of the game and there’s a demo on Steam too.
The Drifter is a point-and-click adventure by Powerhoof, developers of games like Crawl. This is their first commercial adventure game but they’ve done a few short, free adventure games that I’ve enjoyed. It’s developed with their Unity plugin PowerQuest and it’s nice seeing another tool pop up for adventure game developers as well.
Exophobia is a Metroidvania FPS inspired by FPS from the 90s. I enjoyed my time with the demo when it came out. I don’t know if the Blake Stone series was an inspiration for this game but it reminds me of that era of FPS instead of most of the retro FPS revival shooters that seem to be inspired by ID Software and Build-engine games.
Rosewater is the next point-and-click adventure by developer Grundislav Games. It’s a western set in the same universe as their previous game, Lamplight City. I’m excited for the diverse cast of characters, focus on multiple solutions, and love the rotoscoped animations.
Frogsong is a cute action-adventure where you play as a frog named Chorus and need to explore strange lands so you can save your village. I really liked playing the demo with my daughter and we’re both looking forward to the full game scheduled for release early this year.
SKALD: Against the Black Priory
SKALD is a party-based rpg inspired by 80s CRPGs. I haven’t played the demo yet but I really like how it looks, I’m interested in the setting they’ve been showing off so far, and as a fan of the era of games that inspired it, I’m looking forward to seeing how they modernize that style of game.
As a longtime fan of Cyan and the Myst games, it is always a huge delight to see them create new adventure games. I was a big fan of Obduction, their last game that was set outside of the Myst series and this is looking great as well. The game was designed for, but does not require, VR devices and after playing their Myst remake in 2021, I would say they have a very good grasp on how to design games for virtual reality.
Old Skies is the newest game developed by point-and-click adventure game studio Wadjet Eye Games. While they’ve produced other adventure games in recent years like The Excavation of Hob’s Barrow, this will be the first they’ve developed since Unavowed. The time travel premise sounds like a lot of fun and it features great art by Ben Chandler.
Hellscreen is a fast-paced FPS set to enter Early Access early this year. The game has a novel mechanic of having a rear-view mirror to help you see what’s happening as you fight. I really like the use of color and cosmic horror theme.
Agent 64 is a new FPS inspired by Rare’s classic N64 games Goldeneye and Perfect Dark. I think it emulates the style of those games perfectly and the demo, which is available on the Steam page, was a lot of fun.
Thirsty Suitors looks like a very stylish adventure game with a fun variety of mini-games to keep players engaged and as a fan of the writers involved, I’m sure the story will be a delight to follow as well. A demo is available on the Steam page.
I loved the original version of this game that appeared in the 2020 AdventureX game jam and this looks like a nice remake of that game with improved graphics. I’m interested in seeing how they expand the story as well.
I was a huge fan of Hypnospace Outlaw so it’s a delight to see that we’re getting two games set in that universe coming out this year. Slayers X is a FPS with numetal vibes that seems to be inspired by Build-engine era FPS, games like Duke Nukem 3D and Blood, that is “designed” by Zane, one of the characters from Hypnospace Outlaw. I enjoyed the demo and I’m looking forward to playing more.
Dreamsettler looks to be closer to a sequel to the original game but this time inspired by early 00’s internet. I’m looking forward to exploring that world again.
Llamasoft has been delivering bangers for over 40 years now and this looks like another one. Akka Arrh is a remake of a prototype of a game that was never released until it was leaked very recently and has everything you’d expect from a Jeff Minter game like bulls, audio samples, and bright, flashing colors.
Gobliiins 5 is another entry in the adventure game series created in the 90s by Pierre Gilhodes and Muriel Tramis. Coktel Vision developed the three games in the 90s with Pierra developing a 4th game in the series in 2009. While I bounced off Gobliiins 4 because of its dull 3D graphics and puzzles (which I heard improve later in the game), I am hoping this is a return to form. I already think the return to 2D graphics is an improvement and it’s fun watching the game get developed in Adventure Game Studio through its Kickstarter updates.
[I] doesn’t exist
[I] doesn’t exist is a text adventure in the spirit of games like Zork but is aimed at being more approachable by having beautiful pixel art and a conversational approach to interact with the game instead of the traditional approach of using a specific set of verbs. Commercial text adventures are rare today so it’s exciting to see this being made.
Nighthawks is a RPG written and designed by Richard Cobbett (Sunless Sea/Sunless Skies) with art by Ben Chandler (Technobabylon, PISS), and produced by Wadjet Eye Games. From following the Kickstarter updates, the worldbuilding seems like a lot of fun and it should be a pretty lengthy game.
Captain Disaster 3
This year we should see the third game in the Captain Disaster series. The first two games were fun sci-fi adventures and I’m really impressed by the improvement in art style in the screenshots that have been posted so far.
Little Nemo and the Nightmare Fiends
Little Nemo and the Nightmare Fiends is a 2D platformer based on the Little Nemo comic series. I think the art is fantastic and as a fan of the character ever since I played the NES game many years ago, it’s nice to see another video game being made starring the character.
A Long Journey to an Uncertain End
A Long Journey to an Uncertain End is a sci-fi management sim where you recruit a crew for your ship and take jobs to keep ahead of your abusive Ex. I like the art and it looks very gay.
Wonky Works is the newest game in development by ondydev. I don’t know much about it but I’m a fan of the developer’s previous games like Tres-Bashers and Binky’s Trash Service
Tachyon Dreams 3
The Tachyon Dreams games are a series of short, comedy sci-fi games influenced by Sierra’s graphic parser games from the 80s like Space Quest. I had fun playing the first two games and it was nice that they were available as Pay-What-You-Want so I’m looking forward to another one. The third game is planned to come out at the end of January or early February.
Sam & Max Season 3 Remaster
It’s not really a new game but I’ve enjoyed the remasters of Telltale’s Sam & Max games by Skunkape. They make the games look like how I remember the game looking and not how they actually looked, and are generally hands off with the content of the game, only making small changes to parts where the humor has not and other small enhancements. The Sam & Max series got better with each season so I’m looking forward to revisiting the best one Telltale made.
A Highland Song
A Highland Song is a new adventure game by Inkle, creators of games like 80 Days and Overboard. I really enjoy the setting and beautiful 2.5D art, and my enjoyment of Inkle’s previous games make this an instant purchase for me when this comes out.
El Paso, Elsewhere
El Paso, Elsewhere is a third-person shooter by Strange Scaffold where you fight werewolves and vampires in a massive hotel. In the early 00’s we had a wave of shooters utilizing features like Bullet Time and diving while shooting after the massive success of Max Payne and then getting dropped completely so it’s exciting to me to see a game revisit this era of action games.
Incubus – A Ghost Hunter’s Tale
I’m a fan of Darkling Room’s Dark Fall series of adventure games and this looks like another fun ghost hunting adventure by the developer. Ghost hunting isn’t something I follow or know anything about but I still think it’s kinda fun getting a peek at that community through these games. I think it looks nice for a game by a small team and I will always get excited by the addition of FMV to adventure games.
After a long period of development, Nightdive’s remake of System Shock is finally coming out soon. The game has run into its issues, it had to make the switch from Unity to Unreal, switch art styles, and reduce its scope, but the game is shaping up to be a solid remake of the classic. With System Shock 3 seeming like it’s no longer in development, this might be all we’re getting from the series for a long time.
Amanita Design has been designing point-and-click adventures for decades so I’m very interested in checking out Phonopolis when it comes out. The game looks like a drastic departure in style from their previous games but the stop-motion animation style they’re going for in this game looks cool to me and I’m interested in seeing how moving to 3D changes how they design adventure games.
Alone in the Dark
Being a fan of Alone in the Dark is the video game equivalent of being a Weezer fan. There hasn’t been a good entry in the series since the first game and even that one gets harder to recommend to people because of the gameplay mechanics aging poorly over time. However, this one is a remake of the first game, set in the early 1900s, and has two playable characters again so could this finally be another good Alone in the Dark game? Maybe?
ScummVM support for Director
This is not a new game but it’s very important to me. ScummVM has been working on adding support for games made in Director for a long time now and maybe this is the year where we finally see it implemented. Imagine a future where you can play Bad Day on the Midway without having to fire up a virtual machine running Windows 95.