GOTY 2023: Sea of Stars

by on December 31, 2023

It took us longer than ever this year, but we finally decided what our collective GOTY was in 2023. In over sixteen hours of podcasting across five days we talked about an unprecedented number of sensational video games, but one stood above all the rest and stole our hearts – Sea of Stars.

It was pretty clear even from some of the earlier days that Sea of Stars was in for a chance of winning our overall GOTY award, as it was nominated in categories like Best Audio, Best Visuals and Best Story. The heart and soul of the game Garl even won the Best New Character award outright, and deservedly so.

Sea of Stars combo skills locations guide

When I reviewed the game back in August I was pretty confident that nothing else could top this game as my personal GOTY, but in a year where the games just kept coming, I’d be lying if I thought I’d be able to convince the rest of the GodisaGeek team that it should take our top spot. It turns out they didn’t really need a whole lot of convincing though, as it captured the hearts of the majority of the team and did the unthinkable – toppling games like The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, Super Mario Bros Wonder and Baldur’s Gate 3 in the process.

Sea of Stars takes everything I love about those classic SNES-era RPGs and turns it up to eleven. There isn’t a single section of the 30+ hour game that felt unnecessary or a single mechanic that felt shoehorned in. It is the dictionary definition of all killer and no filler, and the charm of this joyous game is so damn infectious.

It’s so easy for RPG combat to get a little boring after hundreds of encounters with grunts between story beats, but the lock system of Sea of Stars makes every single battle feel engaging. Solving the puzzle of which moves to use to weaken the enemies’ offense is just so damn satisfying no matter how many times you do it, and having to nail the timing on your attacks makes the combat feel so much more involved than a more static system.

Sea of Stars demo will be coming to other platforms

It’s the positive vibe of the game that kept me eagerly coming back the most though. It’s so easy for a video game about saving the world to overdo the angst and misery, but Sea of Stars manages to feel cheery and light-hearted for almost all of the game which makes the darker moments hit even harder. It also means that when tragedy strikes you know you can trust in your party that things will be okay eventually, and honestly I needed that reassurance.

I could talk for hours about all the aspects of Sea of Stars that I love. The gorgeous pixel art visuals, the banging soundtrack, the true ending, there’s just so much about the game that makes it special. I’m so pleased to be able to officially announce that Sea of Stars is the God is a Geek GOTY 2023.