Most anticipated games of 2023

My Top 10 Most Anticipated Games of 2023

So how’s this for a change of pace? At the end of every year, you see most content creators and gaming sites making videos about one of two topic, those being the best games of the year, and the most anticipated games of the following year. Both of these formats only exist to heap praises upon the same few overhyped AAA games, And don’t get me wrong, I’m sure Elden Ring is a badass game, but do any of you know HOW many fucking games are released every year? Much more than most of you are capable of playing in a year, that’s for sure!

This is why I don’t write any “GOTY countdowns, namely because I like playing games that were released before the current year. Anticipated games, on the other hand, I think I can manage. Despite the fact that I likely won’t end up playing most of these this year, there’s always new stuff to look forward to. And in typical Guardian Acorn fashion, you most likely will have not heard of most of these!

10: She Dreams Elsewhere

One thing to note is that this list is not going just off of official release dates, but also on games I personally think will be released this year. In the case of She Dreams Elsewhere, the development team has stated” we need a bit more time to craft a perfect dreamworld for you. So we’ll be seeing y’all in 2023!” which could be hinting that they hope to have it done by then, but it’s not a confirmed release date. Anyway, some of you may remember that I covered the demo for this game a while back. In early 2019 of all times. Yeah, this game has been a long time coming.

It’s easy to tell that She Dreams Elsewhere has a lot of heart and passion put into it, and its characters and writing have already proven to be quite strong. The only thing I haven’t seen much info on is the gameplay, which seems to be a fairly standard turn based RPG. But just about everything else shows promise, and for all I know, the gameplay could be more involved then I expect as well. What really intrigues me about this game is how personal it appears to be. I’ve always had a special fondness for games made out of genuine artistic passion rather than just mere entertainment. It also helps that this game clearly takes influence from EarthBound, which is my favorite game of all time.

9: Clive ‘N Wrench

I absolutely LOVE 3D platformers, especially 90s era collectathon platformers, so something like Clive ‘N Wrench is pretty much a dead giveaway for this list. There has been somewhat of a resurgence of this style of platformers in recent years, with games like Super Mario Odyssey, Yooka-Laylee, A Hat in Time, Crash Bandicoot 4, Sackboy: A Big Adventure, New Super Lucky’s Tale, Demon Turf, Frogun, as well as several remasters of older classics. Unfortunately, the genre is still nowhere near as prevalent as it used to be back in the 90s and early 2000s, so every new installment is effectively on my radar by default. Clive ‘N Wrench looks genuinely impressive though.

You can see from the start that there are already impressive visuals, a catchy soundtrack, and worlds that look imaginative and nostalgic. While it doesn’t look like Clive ‘N Wrench is going to do much that’s original, it DOES look like it nails everything there was to like about games like Banjo-Kazooie, Spyro the Dragon, and Jak & Daxter (the first one only). Also of note, this game has been in development since 2011, and was mostly done by one developer. It’s hard to not have a lot of respect and admiration for people who put so much of their time, money, and resources into their dream project, and I can only assume it will all be worth it. And it comes out on February 24th, so you won’t even need to wait that long to play it.

8: SpongeBob Squarepants: The Cosmic Shake

Oh look, another 3D platformer! Unfortunately, these are the only two on the list because they don’t make enough of these. You CAN expect a lot of RPGs though. Anyway, you may be wondering why I’m including a liscensed game on this list, aren’t they all supposed to suck except for Goldeneye, Sweet Home, Telltale’s the Walking Dead, the Batman Arkham games, the NES Batman game, and every Disney game made by Capcom, etc? Well normally yes, but SpongeBob Squarepants: The Cosmic Shake is clearly taking a lot of influence from Battle for Bikini Bottom which you may have heard of since it recently got a full blown remake on modern consoles. Yeah, you don’t see that happen with bad licensed games.

What is even more significant about The Cosmic Shake is that it comes from the same developer as the Battle for Bikini Bottom remake. The remake was bound to already have some issues given that they are recreating an older game from scratch without changing the level design, despite the fact that the much more detailed graphics means longer load times. Yeah, The Cosmic Shake doesn’t have to deal with any of that, and is instead made with modern day hardware in mind. This is in addition to the fact that the level design and gameplay looks incredibly smooth. Also the trailer even re-created the “Sweet Victory” scene, and it is released seven days from now at time of writing. I’m fucking sold!

7: Sea of Stars

See, I told you there’d be a lot of turn based RPGs, and there will be even more further on down. Anyway, this one doesn’t appeal to any specific sub niche of mine like every other entry on this list does, it makes the list just because it looks like a very well made turn based RPG that takes a lot of influence from Chrono Trigger… oh, and it also takes Chrono Trigger’s composer to. Yasunori Mitsuda is doing the music for this game… okay correction, he’s doing some additional tracks while most are being done by Eric W. Brown, but the music I’ve heard thus far is up to the standards I’d associate with Mitsuda, and I can’t tell who composed what, so that’s a good sign overall.

What I know about this game is that it’s also a prequel to Sabotage Studio’s previous game, The Messenger, which was a Metroidvania that seems to take influence from Ninja Gaiden. Aside from the music, the pixel art in this game looks like the logic extension of games from the 16-bit era, where it’s still done with pixels, but with far more detail than would be capable on hardware of the time. Just as an aside, that’s why it pisses me off when people describe games like Sea of Stars as “16-bit.” They clearly aren’t made with a limited color pallet. Hardware at the time could not have made shit like this! Also “bits” have nothing to do with graphics anyway, that was literally something made up by marketing teams. Anyway, there isn’t a known release date, but it IS slated for this year.

6: Girls! Girls! Girls!?

Some of you may be surprised to see that this is the only visual novel on the list, given how well known I am for my visual novel coverage. The reason for this is that most of the visual novels set for release this year are lesser known indie VNs, which are often brief and lacking in content. While this doesn’t make them bad by any means, it also means I’ll only get truly excited if they have a specific premise I really like. Girls! Girls! Girls!? on the other hand, is stated to be a very dense game, AND has a premise that my trans ass if naturally drawn to.

First thing to note, that fucking art style is gorgeous, and these boys are so damn cute! Yet I also know from the devs own words that they plan on having this be so much more than just a silly meme game, and that all these boys will be given serious development and backstory. But yes, there will also be 18+ scenes, which makes it the only eroge on this list, meaning this is yet another surprise given what I’m known for. The only reason this one isn’t higher is because there hasn’t really been much detail on the story, and the demo is now out of date since they went back and rebuilt it. But one can really tell there’s going to be something interesting with this game. This is another game where there isn’t an official release date, but it feels like a safe bet that it will be released this year.

5: Kitsune Tails

So, here’s a premise for you. Imagine Super Mario Bros 3, but with gay fox girls! Okay, but it gets better, there’s also a story, which Super Mario Bros 3 didn’t have! But in all seriousness, I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while. Kitsune Tails comes to us from Kitsune Games, the developer of Midboss, Super Bernie World, and Ultra Hat Dimension. Also worth noting that one of Kitsune Game’s founders, Eniko Fox, is a trans woman, and it was actually through her Twitter that I discovered this game.

Anyway, despite my joke at the start, it looks like there’s going to be a lot more to this game than just a straight up recreation of SMB3, and I don’t just mean the story. The visuals are absolutely gorgeous, the character designs are adorable, and the music is catchy. I also have recently played the game’s prequel, Kitsune Zero, which was released as DLC for Super Bernie World. I quite enjoyed the story content, and it’s easy to see that this game is dripping with charm. It also nails the aesthetic of SMB3, and the thing just looks like a lot of fun, and I have a very good feeling about it.

4: Infinity Nikki

You don’t often get a combination of games as unique as Infinity Nikki. I don’t know if I can think of the words “open world dress up game” and think of literally anything else… I guess it depends on how open the world of Final Fantasy X-2 is. Anyway, you know Infinity Nikki looks amazing because it managed to get me hyped for a fucking gacha game. First of all, just fucking look at those visuals! This game looks gorgeous in both a technical and artistic sense.

Infinity Nikki already looks to have a few of my favorite things, exploring an absolutely beautiful looking world, and girly dress up mechanics! Infinity Nikki is actually the fifth game in its series, and I didn’t even know this one existed until I saw someone post about it on Twitter. On top of this, the game’s executive producer is Kentaro Tominaga, who previously served as a designer and DLC director for Breath of the Wild. On that note, Tears of the Kingdom isn’t on the list since I haven’t played a Zelda game since Skyward Sword, with the exception of the Link’s Awakening remake. Anyway, I’m really excited for this one because I’ve always wanted to play a dress up game that wasn’t just some short browser game, and it looks like the next step in the evolution of dress up games has finally arrived.

3: Lucid Soul

So you want an RPG where you enact genocide, but you don’t want to shell out $60 for Hogwarts Legacy? Well have I got the game for you! Lucid Souls may be one of the most obscure games on this list, but I can assure you there is plenty to like about it. The game can best be described as something like Final Fantasy IV, Lunar, or Breath of Fire, but you’re instead playing as the bad guys. And the game’s trailer is unrepentant in this, with all the villains seeming straight out of a Saturday morning cartoon, but there’s just the right mix of camp and genuinely dark themes. Lucid Soul’s Steam page states that the game contains “Implied Sexual Assault, Self-harm, Pixelated Gore and Nudity, Adult Themes with handling children in a horror fantasy setting, death and depravity, horror elements, mutilation and violence.”

Lucid Soul is stated to take inspiration from Lunar: Silver Star and Eternal Blue, Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger and Silent Hill, which really helps separate this from the loads of retro throwback RPGs inspired by the 16-bit era. The art direction perfectly captures the evil vibe, and the music, well, just listen to Battle Against Heroic Bosses. God everything about this game vibes so well with my tastes, I had genuinely considered putting it at #1 at points. There are two reasons I haven’t. The first is that this is from a first time developer, which means there’s plenty of room for error. The second is that there’s hasn’t been much info about the gameplay. Lucid Soul is set for release in Q2 of this year.

2: Knuckle Sandwich

So, we have yet another one for the quirky EarthBound inspired RPGs that may or may not involve depression. What separates this one from She Dreams Elsewhere is that the latter is a more unique game where I could only vaguely see EarthBound’s influence, the former is BRIMMING with it! Everything from the art style, the music, and even the text font really captures the aesthetic of my GOAT game so well. But it also looks as if this game intends to step things up in a few areas. The visuals look significantly more detailed than EarthBound or any of its imitators, and battle system looks like a massively expanded version of Undertale’s.

Much like the previous two entries, I’ve considered putting this one at the number 1 spot. Unlike those entries however, I still think there is a decent chance that Knuckle Sandwich could be a better game than my number 1 pick. The reason I choose to keep this at number 2 is because this comes from a first time developer, which means there’s a bigger risk of inexperience getting in the way. On top of this, number 1 is an entry in an established franchise I’ve grown attached to. There’s a number of sequels releasing this year that are parts of series that I’m not caught up on, and regardless of how good a new game looks, when you are behind several games in the series, it’s hard to get excited. That being said…

1: Neptunia: Sisters Vs Sisters

This is a surprise to everyone except for those that know me. Hyperdimension Neptunia is a series near and dear to my heart. I’ve already written a number of times about how this series helped crack my egg by offering me the closest alternative to female friends that I had growing up. And I’ve also written how much of a gender euphoric feeling I experience when I play these games… errr most of them at least. I mean, you’ve already seen how much I like gay, girly shit, so I think something like this should be obvious, but I feel I should go into more detail about why I love this series so much.

It’s the antithesis of modern gaming in so many way, and I mean that in a good way. Those in leftist gaming spaces may have heard the phrase “I want shorter games with worse graphics made by people who are paid more to work less and I’m not kidding.” This statement is made to call attention to the fact that modern AAA games often have several hundreds of millions of dollars put into them, and are often made via practices that overwork and underpay employees, only for them to come out and be forgotten about within the next few weeks. These games are often a marvel in technical engineering, but are not fun to play, which is the absolute biggest waste of money and manpower that you can get.

Meanwhile, games by Compile Heart are as cheap and low budget as possible, they constantly get dogged by critics, they aren’t overly ambitious or political, yet everyone loves them except for people who hate fun. Also, I don’t remember ever hearing about Idea Factory or Compile Heart using crunch to develop their games. They literally just feel like something made by people who want to make fun games.

And Neptunia: Sisters Vs Sisters, is the most recent mainline entry in the series. The last mainline entry was Megadimension Neptunia VII, and that was absolutely fucking amazing. I don’t know if there’s much I can really say about the game itself because it’s mainly my experience with previous games and my attachment to this series driving me, but God damn I’m looking forward to this one. I wonder when it releases… OH SHIT IT’S ALREADY OUT!!!

Honorable Mentions (Includes games announced after this article was written)


Kargast
Trinity Trigger
Tokyo Necro
In Stars And Time
Elderand
Demons Roots
Loretta
Pizza Tower
Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse
Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
Final Fantasy XVI
Rance IX: The Helmanian Revolution
One Piece Odyssey
Fire Emblem Engage
Octopath Traveler II
Final Fantasy VII Rebirth
Pikmin 4
Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demons
Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key
Goodbye Volcano High
Rhapsody: Marl Kingdom Chronicles (Was announced after this was posted, would be #1 otherwise)
Baten Kaitos I&II HD (Would have def made the list if announced before I published this)
Saint Maker
Doki Doki Dollmaker
The Legend of Heroes: Trails into Reverie
The Legend of Heroes: Trails to Azure
Like a Dragon: Ishin!
Super Mario RPG (Yeah, would have def made the list if I knew about this one)
Super Mario Bros. Wonder (You get the idea)
Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg
Sonic Superstars
Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man who Erased his Name
Dead Space
Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince
Gal Guardians: Demon Purge
Double Dragon Gaiden: Rise of the Dragons
Touhou: New World
Hi-Fi RUSH
Infinity Strash: Dragon Quest The Adventure of Dai
Scarlet Maiden
I’ll KILL HER
Eternights
Mon-Yu: Defeat Monsters And Gain Strong Weapons And Armor. You May Be Defeated, But Don’t Give Up. Become Stronger. I Believe There Will Be A Day When The Heroes Defeat The Devil King (Yes that is the full title)
Dragon Princess is Hungry
Hades II
Mage Kanade’s Futanari Dungeon Quest
Melon Journey: Bittersweet Memories
Ninja JajaMaru: The Lost RPGs
Akai Ito & Aoishiro HD REMASTER (FUCKING NEEEED)
Crimson Song
Eternal Dread 3
Decarnation
Another Crusade
SWOLLEN TO BURSTING UNTIL I AM DISAPPEARING ON PURPOSE
Sona-Nyl of the Violet Shadows
Crymachina
Monochrome Mobius: Rights and Wrongs Forgotten
The Many Deaths of Lily Kosen
Go For A Punch! Saki Sanobashi
Cavern of Dreams
Corn Kidz 64
Pseudoregalia
Little Goody Two Shoes
MyHouse.Wad
Lies of P
Star Ocean: The Second Story R
Blasphemous 2
WitchSpring R

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