GOTY 2023: Lyle Carr

by on December 26, 2023

It’s that time of year again, the time where we look back at all the video games that have made our lives better, and time for my personal GOTY 2023 list.

But this year isn’t like most years, though. This year has been overwhelmingly stacked with more games than anyone could feasibly play. I can’t think of another year of video games that has even come close to 2023, both in terms of quality and quantity, and it has truly been a wild time to be a reviewer. For me personally it’s been a year where I’ve needed games to get through some of the stressful events life threw my way, and they certainly did their job in that regard. Now enough about me, let’s talk about the wonderful games of 2023.

GOTY 2023 Honourable Mentions

Blood West: I’m not somebody who usually cares too much about shooters, but this throwback is punishing and satisfying in all the right ways.

Jack Jeanne: The best visual novel I’ve played in some time, this charming story has a wonderful drama school setting and loads of interesting characters.

30XX: If you love Mega Man and you love Roguelikes then this is your dream game, 30XX is incredibly moreish and is packed full of clever ideas.

Subpar Pool: The fact that a game that blends crazy golf and pool is almost good enough to make a GOTY 2023 list is incredibly impressive, but that speaks to the quality of Subpar Pool.

Persona 5 Tactica: A really inventive tactics game that manages to capture the essence of Persona in grid based combat, and in doing so is the best Persona spin-off to date.

10. Astral Ascent

Astral Ascent

A game that finally manages to capture the pure Roguelike magic that Dead Cells did, Astral Ascent is a game I will be playing for years to come. Set in a world governed by Zodiac themed bosses, you’ll die over and over again trying to beat them all in glorious combat. With four totally unique playable characters, an absurd amount of unlockables and some of the nicest pixel art of the year, Astral Ascent is a game that delivers in every conceivable way.

GOTY 2023: 9. Final Fantasy XVI


The amount that Final Fantasy XVI differs from other games in the series came as a huge surprise to me, but that didn’t mean I enjoyed it any less. Now closer to a character action game than a traditional RPG, combat as protagonist Clive is ridiculously fluid and packed full of a variety of glorious and flashy special attacks. The story holds up its end of the deal too, with an epic tale packed full of massive monsters and betrayal. For the visual spectacle alone Final Fantasy XVI is worth playing, but it’s also so much more than that.



When I first got to experience the blend of horror and fishing that DREDGE has to offer I was simply in awe. Who were the mad geniuses who decided to combine the relaxation of fishing with a whole lot of Lovecraftian nightmare fuel, and how did it work so well? With a lovely little boat that you can upgrade in all manner of ways and the delightful Resident Evil 4 style inventory management, DREDGE has all the hooks you could ever need to play your way through to the particularly shocking ending.

7. Dave the Diver

Dave the Diver

Apparently 2023 has been the year of fishing for me, although Dave’s adventures are considerably less bleak. Tasked with running a sushi restaurant and sourcing the ingredients yourself, Dave the Diver begins with a simple but compelling loop of harpooning fish then serving all sorts of maki and sashimi to your customers at night. It doesn’t take long for the game to show its true colours, as it starts adding new mechanic after new mechanic to an almost comical degree. No game consistently surprised and delighted me quite like Dave the Diver this year, and in a year like this that’s bloody impressive.

6. Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon


After being slightly disappointed by Bayonetta 3 last year, I thought I was done with the outrageous hair witch and her video games. It turns out what I really wanted was Bayonetta Origins, a game so full of storybook charm that I couldn’t help but love it. With clever dual stick gameplay reminiscent of Brothers: A Tale of Two sons, Bayonetta Origins felt like a wonderfully unique take on an action packed series while also fleshing out the backstory of a character I didn’t know I cared that much about.

GOTY 2023: 5. Alan Wake 2

Alan Wake 2 Nightingale Guide

It was a long time coming, but man was Alan Wake 2 worth the wait. Returning with new protagonist Saga, everyone’s favourite writer is back and having an awful time dealing with the forces of darkness. The story of Alan Wake 2 is ridiculously gripping from start to finish, and some of the moments peppered throughout it are absolutely spectacular. After finishing the latest entry of the series I couldn’t be more excited to see what Remedy has in store for us next, although I may need to get some fresh underwear in for then.

GOTY 2023: 4. Octopath Traveler 2

A screenshot of Octopath Traveler II

The series that started the HD 2D trend is back, and is absolutely better than ever. With eight characters that all have engaging (and often pretty dark) stories to experience, this traditional turn-based RPG is compelling from start to finish with quite possibly the best combat the genre has to offer. The break system that allows you to stun and deal bonus damage to enemies by hitting their weaknesses is just so clever, and with the addition of new ultimate abilities and secondary jobs the amount of customisation you have over your team is wild. Octopath Traveler 2 might not quite be the best RPG of the year, but despite being around 60 hours long I still really want to play through it all over again.

3. Super Mario Bros Wonder


Like everyone else, I wasn’t sure the 2D Mario games were really for me anymore. A lot of this is down to the “good but not great” New Super Mario Bros games, and because of them I just assumed that 3D Mario was where my platforming heart would beat truest going forward. Well Super Mario Bros Wonder changed all of that, by creating a game so full of charm, colour and surprises that I never wanted to end. The Wonder events are the star of the show here, managing in every single level of the game to do something totally wild all while throwing the Mario rulebook out of the window. If I’m ever in a gaming rut I’m going to go back to Super Mario Bros Wonder, because I could not sit and play that game without a big stupid grin on my face.

GOTY 2023: 2. Resident Evil 4 Remake


Resident Evil 4 was my entry point in the survival horror series that started it all back on the GameCube, and it blew me away. The perfect blend of action and horror, with a cheeky sprinkle of campy nonsense, it quickly became one of my all time faves. Well the remake has all of that and more, with all those moments I knew and loved alongside some wonderful new mechanics and jaw dropping visuals. Using the knife to parry incoming axes never stopped feeling badass, and Capcom even managed to make Ashley less annoying. I didn’t think there was a way I could love Resident Evil 4 more than I already did, but this ground up remake just made everything about a stone cold classic even better.

1. Sea of Stars


Where do I even begin with Sea of Stars? Sea of Stars is an RPG that just feels perfectly crafted in every conceivable way. The vibe of the game is one of pure whimsy and positivity, even in the darkest moments, and the combat and lock system manages to make every encounter feel like a puzzle that’s solvable if you just use all your tools correctly. Visually it’s absolutely gorgeous with incredible lighting and charming pixel art, and the soundtrack is out of this world. A special mention has to be made to Garl, easily the best character of this year of gaming and the heart and soul of this joyous adventure. Sabotage Studio made the game they always wanted to make in Sea of Stars, and it turns out it was also the game I’ve always wanted to play. Never has it been so easy at the end of a year of sensational video games to pick my personal Game of the Year, and I can’t think of a game that has ever deserved that title more.