I have spent a lot of time this year playing games. They’ve been a great distraction from the struggles of real life, and they’re also just fun and pretty and interesting!
So these are my favorite games that I either started or finished or both this year (no repeats from previous years). There’s actually a surprising mix here of bigger games, smaller games, free games, and even one mobile game! They’re all pretty chill though. Most are canonically queer. And maybe some of you will find something on this list you’ll enjoy as much as I did!
*If you want to know more about the diversity and accessibility in these games, check out the games section of my Diverse Books/Games page!*
Chronicles of Tal’Dun: The Remainder
This was a dark visual novel about mages trapped in a castle, the player character having lost their memories. I loved the art and was really drawn in by the characters and their relationship and their story.
The Secret Life of Dorian Pink
This game was gay and campy and a lot of fun! The story and characters were ridiculous but still engaging, the mini games were silly, and the art was unique. It’s also fairly short and free!
Cats & Soup
This is a little idler mobile app, but I love it. It’s just so darn cute. A bunch of cats making soup in a forest. Resting in hammocks and fields of flowers. You can decorate their rooms and give them clothes and pets. So cute.
This sorta management survival sim in space is really cool! You have to keep your ship running, grow or trade for food, make sure there’s enough oxygen, keep your ship fueled, explore derelict ships, heal injured crew, and so much more. My first crew were all killed or taken when pirates boarded. My second crew is still out there, having the occasional mental breakdown or malnourishment or fire, but surviving.
This was the first creature collector I played, and it was fun! The creatures are cute. The farming/life sim elements, like romance and house decorating, while not the most in-depth, were cute too. I’ve opened it back up a few times since completing everything, to check out new furniture and find new spirits that have been added.
I had my issues with this supernatural farming sim. Mostly that nothing is explained well, and I spent a lot of time frustrated and confused. But once I got past that and started getting into it, I was glad I played. The characters in this game were wonderfully done. They had depth, and the little town felt so real and alive. I also had fun with the supernatural stuff, like turning into a werewolf and seeing everyone’s reactions when I bit them as a vampire and talking to different animals.
I’m actually including a game on this list that I didn’t play (or at least, didn’t play more than a few minutes of), but I did watch videos of other people playing (like the one above). I couldn’t handle the stress, but I had a lot of fun watching other people panic and scream and run away from the monsters. It’s sort of a farming sim horror survival game, and it’s such a neat and well-made little game with a nice art style and a cool idea. And it’s free!
If on a Winter’s Night, Four Travelers
This is another game that’s free and fairly short, but so well-made. The little stories are dark and interesting, the slight puzzle solving element is fun, and the pixel art is gorgeous! (I’ve been planning to review it but haven’t gotten around to it yet.)
And I once again have two top favorites because it’s my blog and I do what I want…
This was the first farming sim I played, and I loved it! Still loving it! I’ve played 300 hours since I bought it earlier this year. I love the cute pixel art, all the fantasy elements, the sweet NPCs you can romance, all the clothes and house decor, the option to not do combat, and how much freedom there is to get into the roleplaying and make your character who you want them to be.
I Was a Teenage Exocolonist
How to explain this game succinctly? A visual novel + life sim + deck builder, about a group of people starting their lives on a faraway planet, with beautiful art and interesting characters and so many complex endings and ways that things can turn out. You play the main character from childhood to adulthood, you choose who to get close to, and you make decisions that impact both individual lives and the fate of the whole colony. I loved this game so much, and these characters are still living rent-free in my head months later!
Check out my other end of the year posts!
Gamer Musings: Top Ten Games I Played in 2023
Cover Love: Best Book Covers from Books I Read in 2023
Bookish Musings: Top Ten Characters from Books I Read and Games I Played in 2023
Bookish Musings: Top Ten Books/Series I Read in 2023 + Some Non-Bookish Things