The Best Australian Games of 2023

The best Australian games of 2023 showed off just how talented our local developers really are.
best australian games of 2023 stray gods goty gameshub

Australia makes incredible games – and 2023 proved that definitively. From quirky mobile word games to full-blown, genre-defying musical role-playing games, this year had it all. Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical, for its part, achieved rave reviews on release, and multiple high-profile award nominations. It was nominated for a Grammy! It was long-listed for a BAFTA! In a year of hits, Stray Gods was a shining achievement.

But it wasn’t the only brilliant Australian-made game to make an impact in 2023 – there was a host of other excellent games launched by studios across the country. We had the excellent sequel to Moving Out this year, and the phenomenal viral word game, Gubbins. We also had incredibly fun titles like KILLBUG launched in 2023 – and while its home studio Samurai Punk recently announced its closure, it left behind a mighty fine game in its wake.

Here are the GamesHub picks for the best Australian games in 2023.

How does GamesHub pick its Game of the Year list?

GamesHub’s Game of the Year picks are selected collectively by tenured staff and regular contributors. Each participant puts together a ranked personal list of their favourite games released in 2023, and titles are given a score according to their rank, with 10 being the highest, and 1 being the lowest. The scores are collated, and the games are ranked by their collective score, with staff members then deliberating over individual placements, and adjusting where necessary, before locking in the final list.

Honourable Mentions

moving out 2 best australian games 2023
Image: SMG Studio

Before we kick off our main list, we do have a few honourable mentions for great Australian-made games released in 2023 that didn’t quite make our top five choices. First off, we have Moving Out 2 from SMG Studio, an absolutely delightful moving simulator with plenty of high chaos solo or multiplayer gameplay, and a range of gorgeous locales to move within.

We’re also shouting out The Master’s Pupil, an award-winning game from solo creator Pat Naoum, who spent years hand-crafting this painterly adventure, with his talent and passion clear in every locale you’ll travel through. Both Moving Out 2 and The Master’s Pupil are excellent games, and well worth checking out.

And now, he’s our list of the top five Australian games in 2023.

Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical

stray gods erika ishii hermes pax aus 2023
Image: Summerfall Studios

Australia makes incredible video games, and Stray Gods is just another example of the endless creativity and talent burbling in the country. It’s not only a lively and good-looking re-interpretation of Greek mythology, it’s also a musical adventure scored with sweeping tunes and backed by soaring vocal performances from some of the most talented names in voice acting – Laura Bailey, Troy Baker, and Anjali Bhimani amongst them.

Read: Stray Gods Review – Bittersweet Symphony

Beyond all that, Stray Gods is just cool. Its pop art direction is sleek and snazzy, its storytelling is sharp and impactful, and its characters are just absolutely delightful (and yes, a little bit horny). Stray Gods is a mammoth production, and one that the team at Summerfall Studios should be incredibly proud of. It pushes games forward as a medium – more video game musicals, please – and it demonstrates just how much raw willpower and talent Australia’s local game developers have. – Leah J. Williams

Mars First Logistics

mars first logistics
Image: Shape Shop

In the weeks after The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild arrived, to have a game that helped continue fostering the feeling of ingenious creativity was such a fortuitous moment. Though still an Early Access game, there is a lot to love about Mars First Logistics, an incredibly smart and stylish game about building custom Mars rovers to transport goods (some mundane, others ridiculous) across the face of the planet.

Slap some wheels together, fashion a robot arm, or build a giant mechanical monstrosity – let your unhinged imagination loose! The LEGO manual-styled building interface is hands down of the coolest user interfaces of the year, with the minimalist but striking art direction really creating an evocative and sometimes breathtaking environment to peel out in. Also, it has funny little guys in it. The full v1.0 release of Mars First Logistics is due sometime in 2024, but honestly you should just jump in now – it’s fantastic. – Edmond Tran

Knuckle Sandwich

Knuckle Sandwich Review
Image: Andrew Brophy

A long time in the making, Andrew Brophy’s Knuckle Sandwich has oozed personality from its early showings. Finally being able to experience the full Super Nintendo-infused adventure has been an utter delight. It’s an RPG full of style, whimsy, laugh-out-loud moments, and full of endless Warioware-esque mini-games that keep an otherwise traditional 16-bit RPG structure exciting throughout.

Read: Knuckle Sandwich Review

The aesthetics are off the charts, mixing detailed pixel art, crunchy 3D models, and a few other surprises together with really a killer soundtrack, charming writing, and text treatment that gives the game so much character. Its turn-based battles are action-packed, and though the mini-games might wear on you after a little while, some handy accessibility options make sure you can get exactly what you came here for. If you were newly charmed by the Super Mario RPG remake on Nintendo Switch this year, take the next step, and crank the dial with Knuckle Sandwich. Edmond Tran


gubbins word game australian games
Image: Studio Folly

Every day, I wake up and make sure to do my daily Gubbins – that is, play through a whimsical, psychedelic Scrabble-like word adventure where every turn may bring chaos, thanks to tiny little magical creatures called Gubbins. The concept behind this puzzler is very simple – make words from a bunch of letters – but the game’s design and quirky cast of characters are absolutely standout, and what makes it so compelling.

It’s a brain-tickling game, and one that certainly made a bright impact on my days in 2023. Even in tougher times, it was always a welcome relief – particularly when opening Twitter, and finding countless pals posting their Gubbins, revealing new and creative uses for words like “arse” “finger” and “hole”. Given Gubbins was made by a lovely Australian development team, you can certainly understand the creative uses of language that it continues to inspire every day. – Leah J. Williams


Killbug by Samurai Punk
Image: Samurai Punk

RIP Samurai Punk. The independent Melbourne studio that brought us subversive games like Screencheat, The American Dream, and Justice Sucks sadly shut its doors after 10 years in 2023, like so many others. What a fucked year it’s been! But it did leave us with a real banger of a game – KILLBUG.

Read: How Samurai Punk’s lo-fi shooter KILLBUG buzzed into being

It’s an extremely fast-paced first-person shooter with an emphasis on movement and a run-based structure (kinda in the vein of another excellent Australian FPS, Devil Daggers) making it such a thrill to jump into for a couple of runs, and give yourself a dose of adrenaline. You will run. You will dash. You will double jump. You will shoot and maim lots of bugs. You will forget to blink. It will be good. Play KILLBUG, and remember Samurai Punk. – Edmond Tran

Catch up with more of our favourite games of 2023, including platform-specific lists, and picks from special guests on GamesHub.

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