Lindsay’s top five games of 2023

Missed any of these? Catch up before the New Year begins!

7 mins read
Artwork for Path of the Midnight Sun depicting Lady Faratras coming down stairs in the castle, with knights bowing.

It’s the end of the year! And, as always, it’s a good idea to look back and remember the year that was, while looking forward to the new year ahead. 2023 was a bumper year for high-quality games. Here’s Lindsay sharing the five highlights of her 2023 – if you haven’t played these yet, then you should make sure you get on top of that before the flood of 2024 begins!

Path of the Midnight Sun

Path of the Midnight Sun is an indie JRPG that focuses on exploration, strategic maps, and turn-based battles. The story is classic for the genre: the Demon King’s power was contained within a human body 60 years ago; that human is known as the Vassal. Today, Lady Faratras is the Vassal and she must keep the Demon King under control. When she’s attacked by people within her own castle, she doesn’t fight back because people may think the Demon King is influencing her actions. A stranger with red eyes steps in to help her. Lady Faratras also has red eyes. In fact, only descendants of the royal family have red eyes… Lady Faratras will need to convince the world she hasn’t been corrupted before she’s replaced.

Path of the Midnight Sun is developed and published by Studio Daimon; it is available for PC via Steam.

Ten Dates

If Five Dates (2020) was good, Ten Dates must be twice as nice, right? Okay, that logic doesn’t quite pan out because I can’t score the game over five stars, but Ten Dates was quite good. Both games are FMV dating games, but Ten Dates expands on the premise from Five Dates. In Five Dates, one man dates five women via video chat due to COVID lockdowns. In Ten Dates, players choose from one of two protagonists (Ryan or Misha). Each main character can date five other characters. It’s a bit more diverse than the first game, sexuality-wise anyway. Start with five speed dates, then two follow-ups, and one final date. What you choose to say or do on your dates will impact how that person views you.

Ten Dates is developed by Wales Interactive and Good Gate Media, and published by Wales Interactive; it is available for iOS/Android, PC/Mac via Steam, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series, and Xbox One.

Murderous Muses

My favourite developer was back this year with FMV murder mystery game Murderous Muses. An artist is dead, but which of his muses is the culprit? The game was a departure from D’Avekki’s last trilogy of titles, as it was set in a 3D procedurally-generated art gallery that the player could walk around in. It combines more traditional gameplay technique with video “paintings.” Each night, there is a puzzle to solve that involves hanging the right painting over the right name tag. Each night, you’re working towards something specific (like an alibi). D’Avekki took a bit of a risk with this one, but I think it paid off.

Murderous Muses is developed and published by D’Avekki Studios; it is available for PC via Steam/GOG, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series, and Xbox One.

Sticky Business

Every now and then, a game comes about that just makes me happy. This year, that was Sticky Business. The cozy, colourful game is about creating stickers by combining pre-existing assets and opening up an online shop to sell them. You’re the packer, too! There’s quite a bit of creative freedom here, including sticker paper type, box bonuses, and packing material. Each customer order includes a list of stickers they want. Some include little bits of story to follow along with and see how your stickers actually influence the lives of others. It’s a really clever way to add a narrative element to what is basically a creative management sim. The game has been receiving regular updates since launch, too.

Sticky Business is developed by Spellgarden Games and published by Assemble Entertainment; it is available for PC via Steam.

The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood

My absolutely, number one obsession (as far as the gameplay goes, anyway) this year was The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood. Developed by the same studio behind the incredible The Red Strings Club and Essays on Empathy, The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood follows a witch – Fortuna – who is banished from her coven and sent to live out a thousand years on a faraway meteor. After a mere two centuries, though, something happens that changes the course of Fortuna’s life and she begins to craft her own unique tarot-style divination cards. The cards are crafted by the player, choosing what elements to put with what elements. The player also chooses how to interpret their own cards when they’re drawn. After a few readings, Fortuna is drawn in a complex political plot that will define the Cosmic Witch society. Before its launch, Matt previewed the game and claimed it was a potential narrative masterpiece; I’d definitely remove the word “potential” now. The game is an outright narrative masterpiece.

The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood is developed by Deconstructeam and published by Devolver Digital; it is available for PC via Steam and Nintendo Switch.

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Lindsay picked up an NES controller for the first time at the age of 6 and instantly fell in love. She began reviewing GBA games 20 years ago and quickly branched out from her Nintendo comfort zone. She has has developed a great love of life sims and FMV titles. For her, accessibility is one of the most important parts of any game (but she also really appreciates good UI).

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