The Best Games of 2023

Best Games of 2022: Gadgets 360’s Favourite PC, PS4, PS5, Mobile, and Xbox Games

What are the best video games of 2023? That question has endless answers — and it depends on who you ask. As we approach the end of this year, we posed it to the gamers at Gadgets 360, and we got some truly fascinating answers. Inevitably, we have games that have won multiple awards and sold millions of copies. In them, you traverse treacherous lands or jump across dimensions, taking on all sorts of gnarly beasts and creatures. But we also have games that you might not have heard about. In one, it’s just you and a hose. In a couple, you’re turned into animals — as a determined feline, or a young resurrected ovine. In another, you’re faced with the horrors of rodents, while navigating the horrors faced by two siblings. And we also have a game that’s been out for a couple of years, but still going strong.

But what unites all of them is that they provide unforgettable immersive experiences — like watching a season of a heartwrenching TV series, except you’re tasked with making many of the protagonist’s decisions. There’s nothing like a great video game, and these are some of the best we’ve played in 2023. With that, presenting Gadgets 360’s favourite titles this year, available on PC, Android, iPhone, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series S/X. (Basically, if you’ve got a gaming device, we have a recommendation for it.)

Cult of the Lamb

Cult of the Lamb is what you’d get if you mixed Animal Crossing with an Ari Aster movie — and then decided to turn it into a roguelike.

Do not be misled by your cowering little lamb’s cutesy appearance, who within the opening 10 minutes, has exacted violent revenge on its would-be murderers and pledged allegiance to a heretical outer god, who helped accomplish the task. All you need to do now is repay the debt by forming your own cult and spreading the word of faith among anthropomorphic followers, as your small community thrives in the lush backwoods. I named mine “The Hårga,” after the villainous pagan cult in Aster’s film Midsommar, and embarked on a handful of adventures in one of the mysterious dungeons, unbeknownst to the harsh beasts thriving within.

I kept dying and restarting my runs with a lack of care — as you do in roguelikes — and then randomly found two of my followers’ carcasses rotting away in the hub world. They starved to death when I was hacking away at enemies in randomly generated levels. Before this, my only in-depth experience with roguelikes was in Hades, where the death count had zero implications on the friendlies I interacted with. But in Cult of the Lamb, the stakes are raised, and it truly puts you in the shoes of a responsible cult leader. Even without intelligible dialogue, I was forced to maintain strong interpersonal relationships to further my cause, which in turn, helped with upgrades.

To put it simply, think of it like running a daycare. Each time you go on your wild hunts, collect resources such as food supplies and construction materials to ensure your followers are well-fed and comfortable. In return, you assign them daily chores like growing crops, chopping down trees, and building decorations to spruce up the place. Sure, you can offer gifts and marry some of your followers, but don’t get too attached. For when the time comes to offer their bodies to sacrifice or feed on their dead remains — yes, there’s cannibalism — you can’t have second thoughts.

While Cult of the Lamb made it clear that the followers’ devotion is the source of strength, I was shocked by the kind of tyrannical monster I had turned into. Blinded by an undying thirst for power, I began mindlessly killing my adorable cultists, installing loud propaganda speakers, performing brainwashing satanic rituals, and exiling the naysayers to re-education camps — all with the singular, selfish goal of toppling the main boss.

And oh, I forgot to mention — all this happened within an uninterrupted 11-hour play session. Yep, that’s how addictive it is. — Rahul Chettiyar

Elden Ring

The notion of a Souls-like game set in an expansive, treacherous realm of the Lands Between, where every living thing works together to humble you, was enough to get my masochistic radar tingling in excitement. But even with that mental preparation, my first steps into the world of Elden Ring overwhelmed me with majestic vistas and faraway landmarks, urging me to forget everything that I learned from the franchise’s past and simply go explore.

Featuring some of the most stunning overworlds in all of gaming, Elden Ring sucked me right in, offering delectable treats in the form of twisted caverns, a peaceful village with pot friends, and a “mist”-eriously long elevator ride that plunged me into a breathtaking astral location. All this — and more — is achieved without quest markers, objective checklists, or icon barf, enabling complete freedom in terms of discovery. It’s one of the rare occasions where an open-world title genuinely feels open, with the added benefit of zero hand-holding and a heads-up display that disappears during moments of calm.

For a series that’s lauded for its tough-as-nails combat, you’ll notice I’m rambling too much about its open-world aspects. But it’s for a simple reason — Elden Ring rewards exploration. The fear of dying repeatedly and a steep learning curve are what prevented newcomers from embracing FromSoftware’s identity. While previous Souls games forced you to “git gud”, either through skill or mundane grinding, Elden Ring makes the latter exciting by throwing in tonnes of world bosses and dungeons to clear, and farm runes (XP) from.

It’s near impossible for anyone to get hard-stuck at a boss this time, as the game delivers ample side elements to tackle, ranging from obscure questlines to discovering overpowered armaments that turn the odds in your favour. Once you’re strong enough, you may return to humiliate the boss at your own pace, without having wasted a lick of time.

Elden Ring may not have an obvious “difficulty slider,” but there are things you can do to make combat less taxing for you. Spirit summons, for instance — again, gained via exploration — is a massive game changer, letting you call upon spectral beings to create a 2v1 situation. Similarly, you can spam weapon arts that use invincibility frames, or fully re-spec your character midway to experiment with new, hybrid builds.

These welcome additions make Elden Ring the most accessible Souls game of the bunch. The wonders of exploration also seep into the narrative, where you stumble upon arcane scriptures and NPCs (non-playable characters) that reveal key lore. You’re handed complete reigns over the direction and set free onto this wretched domain, to connect plot threads and uncover ghastly tales of a warrior lord’s brain infected by rot, or a power-crazed demigod who fused himself to the God-Devouring serpent. Crazy boss designs that FromSoftware consistently delivers on.

Looking back at the 173 hours I’ve poured into Elden Ring, there wasn’t a single time I closed it out of boredom or frustration. But rather, because I realised how much of a no-life loser I was turning into. In the years to come, this Game of the Year winner will undoubtedly command and influence the open-world genre, acting as a reference point for studios. Its impact on the industry has been nothing short of severe — and that has me thrilled for the future of gaming. — Rahul Chettiyar

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Genshin Impact

Launched in 2020, Genshin Impact is not a new game like the other entries on this list. However, this action role-playing title has managed to keep gamers (like me) hooked. Being a cross-platform game with multiplayer support, I can play it on my iPad with a game controller, while teaming up with friends who only play on their PC, Xbox, or PlayStation.

While Genshin Impact is free-to-play, the gacha game mechanics for monetisation can get a little tiring. That said, it is possible to play the entire game with free-to-play characters, using potions and stocking up on food and “artifacts” that provide an additional buff.

Fast traveling can be super handy when you need to get across the vast land of Tevyat, so it’s worth spending time unlocking various teleport locations on the map. The developers keep unlocking new locations on the map every few months — the most recent region unlocked is called Sumeru, and brings new enemies, characters, wildlife, a new storyline, and even a new way to move around quickly.

MiHoYo has kept me coming back to this live-service title this year with several updates that added new challenges, and several in-game events that feature the same, great storytelling that makes the original game a joy to spend time with. — David Delima

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God of War Ragnarök

How do you follow up a critically-acclaimed and universally-loved soft reboot that reinvigorated a franchise? Simple, you do more of the same. Faced with the unenviable task of crafting a sequel that would also serve as the finale to 2018’s God of War, Santa Monica Studio — smartly — chose to double down on what worked.

God of War Ragnarök stuck to its cinematic one-take approach but expanded the canvas it operated on. You could visit even more worlds than before, as you went about your bloodthirsty interdimensional rage. It added new layers to the father-son dynamic — between Kratos (Christopher Judge) and Atreus (Sunny Suljic) — that was at the heart of its predecessor.

The story benefited from the time jump, with Atreus being more assertive and opinionated. God of War Ragnarök benefited as a game too. It could now thrust players into missions where Atreus was by himself, and more than capable of handling what came his way. Well, mostly anyway. More importantly, having time with both father and son on their own gave us new perspectives.

A Plague Tale: Requiem

Rarely comes a narrative so immersive that it makes you lose sleep over the fate of its characters. The plight of the de Rune family, especially Amicia and Hugo, is soul-stirring. On top of that, even the supporting characters are fleshed out — providing an alternative perspective without undermining the protagonists. The incredible artists that lend their voices to these characters do a fantastic job of bringing them to life.

Some of the moments of rage are captured so vividly that I was left with my jaw dropped on multiple occasions. I was surprised by how naturally the game explores the influence of violence on an individual. No matter how noble her goals are, Amicia is deeply affected by the lives she has to take for the sake of her brother’s well-being. Usually, such a connection between the gameplay and narrative is absent in most story-driven games.

A Plague Tale: Requiem sucks you into the grim reality of surviving in times of a rampant plague. It adds a bit of a fantastical twist to it without compromising the seriousness of the setting. I would argue that the monstrous shapes the rat plague took were doubly haunting. The aftermath of these rat swarms is shocking to behold and the game doesn’t shy away from depicting its gory nature.

I can confidently say that Requiem is one of the best visual and auditory experiences I have ever had while gaming, let alone in 2023. — Siddhant Chandra

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PowerWash Simulator

Video games are work. They require obsessive commitment, considerable skill, and hardened perseverance to play and finish. You sink dozens of hours in a role-playing game, building your character and beefing up your stats. You exercise your grey matter in puzzle games, solving obtuse visual riddles that stand in your way to the next. You beat your head against the wall, trying to vanquish that one unfair, unkillable boss (I’m looking at you, Elden Ring). Video games are indeed hard work. But then some games recognise leisure as a fundamental essence of the play. PowerWash Simulator belongs in that category.

At its core, there’s not much going on in PowerWash Simulator. You’re just the owner of a small business, hosing down dirt and grime one dirty scene at a time, as you try to build your power wash empire. Armed with a high-pressure hose and a variety of power-wash guns and nozzles, you take up jobs and go around cleaning backyards, mansions, theme parks, and even a massive train.

There are no deeper mechanics at play here as well — you just point and shoot. But to see that jet of water wash away the black muck is a deeply satisfying experience. The low hum of the power washer, the fuzzy sound of the water hitting what’s in front of you, and the triumphant little ‘ting’ you hear when you completely clean a surface are as therapeutic as games can get.

PowerWash Simulator stands out from other simulation games too. It doesn’t try to simulate the action as much as it simulates the gratification you get from completing that action. To look back and marvel at your work after you’re done with a cleaning job is almost like an act of self-love. “Good job, man,” you say to yourself as you do a virtual pat on the back. “Now let’s do the next one.”

There were many great games this year, but PowerWash Simulator was one of the very few that prioritised chilling. Its therapeutic emphasis on the mundane helps it stand out in a crowd of games all desperately trying to be interesting. — Manas Mitul

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There is a dedicated ‘meow’ button — what else can you ask for? But in all seriousness, Stray was a breath of fresh air and deservingly earned all the success it has achieved. Playing as an adorable feline lost in a dystopian cyberpunk world is not something I ever thought I wanted. But the developers have very thoughtfully taken various charming or annoying aspects of a cat, and woven them through the gameplay, be it (endlessly) scratching on surfaces or pushing things off of high places.

Straying off the path and slipping through every nook and cranny of its beautifully designed cyberpunk world is a visual treat. Interacting with the humanoid robot inhabitants of this dystopian world is equally delightful. It was the ultimate stress buster for me. Why scroll through your social media feed for cute cat videos, when you can embark on an adventure as a cat. Stray is almost therapeutic in that sense.

It’s not the most challenging of games out there, nor are its puzzles that tough to crack. But it is the satisfying feline movements that kept me engaged. Stray has a simple mechanic that has been exceptionally executed by the developer. I am hoping we get a sequel soon, with even more refined mechanics, and an even larger world to explore. — Siddhant Chandra

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