The Best Video Games of 2023

From terrifying journeys to dark woods, to crafting ridiculous machine contraptions, the best games of 2023 had it all.
best video games 2023 gameshub goty list

We’ve finally made it – we’re at the end of 2023. What a wild year it’s been. Whether you spent your time fumbling in Baldur’s Gate 3‘s Underdark, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom‘s Depths, or the spooky forests of Alan Wake 2‘s The Dark Place, there were so many great adventures to be had in gaming. That’s not even mentioning the surreality of Super Mario Bros. Wonder‘s best and most glorious worlds, multiple games with musical segments, and the time we spent putting together funny little postcards for our friends in Gubbins.

In a year of great tumult and change – and countless games industry layoffs – playing video games was a welcome escape. We should always celebrate the achievements of the talented developers working to create these experiences, and remember to celebrate that games can be so impactful, and so heartwarming, heart-breaking, and heart-mending.

In 2023, there were so many games we absolutely loved. From grand horror adventures with twisting metanarratives, to epic fantasy tales of kingdoms at war, this is GamesHub’s ranked list of the best games of 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

marvel's spider-man 2 video games as art
Image: Insomniac Games / Sony

Before we begin our formalised ranking, we should start with the honourable mentions – the games that several of us loved and listed, but didn’t quite get a place in the Top 10 due to our voting and scoring criteria schema. First up, we have Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, a sweeping action-adventure with a gorgeous world and breakneck narrative. We also have Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty, a sci-fi spy adventure with plenty of style and panache.

There’s also Street Fighter 6, which entranced us with its strong fighting mechanics and its community-minded multiplayer, and the Resident Evil 4 remake, with its heart-stopping approach to survival horror. Octopath Traveler 2 was another highlight, with its unique RPG stylings and epic sprawling narrative, as was Shadows of Doubt, a unique detective experience where the smallest of details matter. Venba also got a shoutout in our initial rankings, for its warm depictions of family and shared culture, and Knuckle Sandwich was also mentioned, as a uniquely Australian RPG with plenty of style and cool ideas. Rounding out our list of highlights was Master Detective Archives: Rain Code, the excellent supernatural mystery game from Too Kyo Games and Spike Chunsoft, and a spiritual successor to the Danganronpa series.

We loved all these games in 2023 – and we congratulate each developer on their achievements.

Now, we move on to the Top Ten Best Games of 2023, according to the GamesHub team.

10. Gubbins

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

9. Lies of P

Lies of P Review goty best games of 2023
Image: Neowiz

For all the games inspired by Dark Souls, Bloodborne, and the rest of the FromSoftware repertoire, I’ve never seen one that has completely enamoured people like Lies of P. 

Perhaps it’s the stunning art direction, featuring Victorian costumes and creatively macabre mechanical terrors. Perhaps it’s the inventive reframing of the story of Pinocchio, and how the game uses it to do something interesting in examining themes of self-actualisation. Or perhaps it’s the tight and exciting combat, featuring inventive weapons and an entertaining array of prosthetic limbs, whose abilities can completely change the way you approach things.

Read: Lies of P Review – The Perfect Game Isn’t Just a Fairy Tale

Whatever it is, it’s clear the developers at NeoWiz have been able to tap into what makes the Soulslike genre resonate so strongly, and have excelled at putting their own unique spin on things. If you’re a Souls fan, do not sleep on Lies of P, and keep a close eye on this studio. – Edmond Tran

8. Super Mario Bros. Wonder

super mario bros wonder
Image: Nintendo

Pure unfiltered joy. That’s what Super Mario Bros. Wonder is. Packed full of surprises that completely upend your expectations for what a Mario game is, Wonder never stops doling out memorable moments, interesting new mechanics, and delightful ideas – it’s a whole song and dance. Sometimes literally!

Read: Super Mario Bros. Wonder Review – A Wonderful World

Nintendo have continued to do what they do best – innovate and push boundaries within existing genres, within existing properties. The idea of a 2D Mario game is no longer old hat, and it’s no longer a sacred text. It’s a sketchbook that is brimming with new ideas, new experiences, and acts as a place of play for an audience of all ages, whether you’re in it for the family-friendly fun, or the crushing, soul-destroying platforming challenges that will eat up all 99 of your lives in the blink of an eye. 

Super Mario Wonder will make you smile from ear to ear, or throw your controller in disbelief (if you want that). Also, elephants. – Edmond Tran

7. Hello Kitty Island Adventure

hello kitty island adventure game gift guide
Screenshot: GamesHub

Hello Kitty Island Adventure caught me extremely off-guard in 2023, largely because of the reputation of licensed video games. But I really should have known better than to underestimate this colourful, loveable adventure sim – because after such a strong year, it’s clear the curators at Apple Arcade know what they’re doing in pinching the best mobile exclusives. In short: this game is the definition of delightful. As a custom Sanrio character, you enter a whole new world defined by friendship, as you get to know icons like Hello Kitty, Kuromi, Keroppi, and more.

Read: Hello Kitty Island Adventure review – Reach for the stars

While this game learns a lot from Animal Crossing, it also maintains its own bright sense of identity with cool little platforming puzzles and adventures, an array of bite-sized quests, and friendship levelling mechanics that keep you coming back for more adorable adventures. It’s clear developer Sunblink had a lot of fun with this game, and the team’s passion shines through in every part of it. – Leah J. Williams

6. Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon

best games 2023 goty list
Image: FromSoftware

Even more so than its previous games, FromSoftware’s Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon makes every major victory against its overwhelming odds, and its fearsome boss characters, feel exhilarating, well-fought, and hard-earned. In a desolate far-flung future where industry mars the world, corporations are at each other’s throats, and alliances change on a whim, it feels like there is no hope. But that’s what makes charging through the awfulness feel so liberating. 

Read: Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon Review

No RPG levelling, no hand-holding – it’s just you and the mech you built against the world. If you fuck up, maybe you change out your parts, your weapons. But at the end of the day, it comes down to you and your persistence, your focus, and your mettle. It’s a power fantasy you have to work hard for. When you hear the crunch of metal and see the dramatic slow-motion effect when your killing blow lands… it feels like you could punch the moon. – Edmond Tran

5. 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

4. Dredge

dredge game goty 2023 best video games
Image: Black Salt Games

What a vibe. What a loop. Unknown horrors lurk just below the surface in Dredge, just out of view, just out of reach. That tantalising ‘almost’ feeling is intoxicating, and permeates every facet of this horror fishing game. A fishing game! We’re talking about a fishing game here, folks. How can a fishing game be so engaging? So unnerving? So moreish? 

Read: DREDGE review – An inescapable siren song

It’s that habitual feeling of wanting to try and catch just one more fish before darkness covers the ocean, and you start to see scary things. To sail out just a little bit further to reach the next safe haven across rocky waters. You’re constantly pushing yourself to the brink for that extra bit of a gain, or to get a peek at what’s through the veil – even if in the back of your head, you really don’t want to. Dredge is a masterclass in atmosphere that gets stuck into your brain. It’s an unforgettable journey with some seriously fucked up fish. – Edmond Tran

3. Baldur’s Gate 3

baldur's gate 3 xbox series x/s consoles release
Image: Larian Studios

Baldur’s Gate 3 is an incredible role-playing experience that seems to change shape based on individual players. Nearly all of my friends became Baldur’s Gate 3 stans in 2023, and we all played the game in tandem, making for an ultra confusing time when we frequently wound up in different areas, meeting different people, and experiencing different events. I will never forget when someone told me they’d just fought dinosaurs, and I had zero clue how that was even possible.

Read: Baldur’s Gate 3 Review – Glory, guts, and brain worms

In true Dungeons & Dragons fashion, it’s a game that gets incredibly wild, and one filled with wacky, wonderful moments at every turn – whether you choose to indulge in mind worms, romance a Mind Flayer, piss off a genie, find the pieces of a dead clown, or otherwise spend time actually playing through the game’s sweeping plot. No matter what you choose, you’re in for some real gold. – Leah J. Williams

2. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

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Image: Nintendo

No other game captures the sheer exhilaration of discovery and creative freedom like The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom does. The realisation that you are completely unrestricted in how you want to explore the world and achieve your goals. The understanding that every puzzle you solve and challenge you overcome can be through a solution completely of your own design.

It’s such a bonkers concept. How did they pull it off? How did they manage to build the tools and puzzles to be so flexible and so rewarding? How did they manage to make me, the most uncreative builder in the world, feel like a genius every time I built something? It’s a game full of breathtaking and fist-pumping moments, many of which will be entirely unique to you, and many of them that just didn’t exist in Breath of the Wild.

Read: The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Review – Sky’s The Limit

From the charming writing of each and every character, to the thrill of being shot into the sky, to the fear of falling forever, down into the Depths – Tears of the Kingdom is an exceptionally high watermark for what games can do. It’s a thing of beauty that pushes player creativity and expression, and creates strong emotions entirely through experience. – Edmond Tran

1. Alan Wake 2

alan wake 2 review ps5
Image: Remedy Entertainment

Alan Wake 2 positively blew me away in 2023, after more than a decade of waiting for it. Frankly, Remedy Entertainment outdid itself with this sequel. It’s creepy, and gorgeous, and extremely obtuse, in a way that’ll have you salivating for answers, generating conspiracy theories, and going deeper into its strange, winding lore. Remedy is a company known for its storytelling, and Alan Wake 2 represents the best of what the studio is capable of.

It’s a multi-threaded monster. A literature-minded horror adventure with sprawling plot threads that dangle and tease, inspiring questions, curiosity, and an ever-forward march as it spins a complex web of terrors. But while it weaves a tale that seems to dance out of reach with every strange chapter, as the interlocking stories of Saga Anderson and Alan Wake play out, deft writing and a strong plot means the answers eventually coalesce in gripping fashion.

Read: Alan Wake 2 Review – Save The Writer, Save The World

That’s not to mention that Remedy hid a full-blown musical in this game, and plenty of other quirks besides. It’s a phenomenal experience and one well worth exploring yourself. – Leah J. Williams

Catch up with more of GameHub’s favourite games of 2023, including platform-specific lists and picks from special guests in our Best of 2023 roundup.

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