The 13 best games you didn't play in 2023 — PS5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X and PC

Lies of P screenshot
(Image credit: Neowiz Games)

It’s been a truly phenomenal year for gaming, with the likes of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, Baldur’s Gate 3, Alan Wake 2 and Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 earning much-deserved recognition. But with so many high-quality gaming experiences in 2023, naturally, a few titles slipped through the cracks or were overshadowed.

That’s why the Tom’s Guide staff has put together this list of 13 games that you missed in 2023. These range from a Soulslike that comes remarkably close to replicating the works of the legendary From Software to a delightfully charming physics-based climbing game with a killer soundtrack. There’s something to fit all tastes down below. So, if you’ve already enjoyed the best games of the year, check out these games that deserve more attention.  

RoboCop: Rogue City 

RoboCop: Rogue City

(Image credit: Teyon/Nacon)

Platforms: PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S

RoboCop: Rogue City is a lovely throwback of a game that has zero interest in microtransactions, skill trees or unnecessary open-world bloat. A tightly focused action game with a smattering of sandbox elements, Rogue City plays out as an exhilarating power fantasy. And that’s mainly because it nails the sensation of being the eponymous 80s anti-hero. With each thudding mechanical movement or bad guy you throw through a window, you feel more and more like one of the most iconic action movie characters ever made. 

It also helps that developer Teyon convinced Peter Weller to reprise his legendary role. Add in the fact this is probably the best example of Unreal Engine 5 tech seen in a console game so far — especially impressive, given Rogue City was made on a relatively modest budget — and it means first-person shooter fans have no excuse for sleeping on this gleefully violent gem. Now give us a decent Predator game, dammit! — Dave Meikleham

Lies of P

Lies of P screenshot

(Image credit: Neowiz Games)

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S

In a year that has seen the launch of several instant classics in beloved franchises, it’s a first-time effort from South Korean developer Neowiz Games that I cannot stop thinking about even months after rolling credits. Lies of P is the Bloodborne sequel I’ve spent the best part of a decade waiting for. This Soulslike isn’t afraid to wear its influences on its sleeve but it mixes the best part of its obvious inspiration with a unique setting and a collection of truly memorable boss battles. 

A twisted reimagination of Carlo Collodi's classic fairytale Pinocchio, you play the puppet come to life as he explores the city of Krat, a stunning gothic metropolis that has descended into complete chaos after a brutal puppet uprising. As is traditional for the genre, combat encounters can be extremely tough, but the story and setting are so compelling that you’ll want to push through the pain just to explore whatever twisted location is around the next corner. — Rory Mellon

Dredge 

Dredge screenshot

(Image credit: Black Salt Games)

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S

Dredge is the rare horror game that even a wimp like me can play. Gameplay-wise, it’s a cross between Citizen Sleeper with the impeccable cozy vibes of Animal Crossing, all in a Lovecraft-inspired world where sea monsters lurk just below the surface. You’ll get terrifying firsthand experience with them as a contract fisherman working to help a remote island settlement that’s seen better days. 

During the day, you set out on the seas, casting your line at the shadows of fish that dance just beneath the waves and managing your cargo space to get your haul back to shore before it spoils. But when night comes and the fog rolls in, you’ll soon discover why some of these waters are best left undisturbed. At just around 12 hours to beat, Dredge is an easy game to fit into your hectic holiday schedule. — Alyse Stanley

Jusant 

Jusant screenshot

(Image credit: Don't Nod)

Platforms: PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S

Imagine that amazing mountain climbing documentary, Free Solo, and you’ve pretty much pictured what Jusant is all about. Alright, that’s a bit of a lie, because if you tried to scale this game’s seemingly never-ending summit, you’d die about thirty seconds in. A gorgeous game about a young boy and the stupidly adorable water-based critter that lives in his backpack, the central mechanics in Jusant involve using your rope and pitons to scale its mighty peaks. 

If you suffer from acrophobia, this isn’t the game for you. For those of you out there with no problems with heights, though, the physics-based fun and head-scratching conundrums of climbing such a colossal mountain present are well worth diving into, especially if you’re an Xbox Game Pass subscriber. — Dave Meikleham

Persona 5 Tactica

The Phantom Thieves in Cafe Leblanc at the beginning of Persona 5 Tactica

(Image credit: Atlus)

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S

Just when I thought I was finally finished with Persona 5 and The Phantom Thieves, Atlus has once again found a way to bring me back with Person 5 Tactica. A first for the series, the latest game in the Persona universe is a tactical RPG set between the second and third semesters of Persona 5 Royal. Joker and the rest of The Phantom Thieves are back but this time, the game uses a chibi art style similar to the Persona Q series on the Nintendo 3DS. 

Even though you’re now fighting enemies from a top-down perspective and need to strategically move your teammates across the battlefield, the fighting and gameplay have a similar feel to Persona 5. If you’re a fan of the Persona series or tactical RPGs, Persona 5 Tactica is certainly worth your time and you can play it on Xbox Game Pass right now. — Anthony Spadafora

World of Horror

World of Horror screenshot

(Image credit: Paweł Koźmiński / Ysbryd Games.)

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, PS5

Released initially in early access back in 2020, Junji Ito’s mindtrip of a retro 1-bit horror experience may have flown under the radar but it has finally made its official debut to terrifying acclaim. Whether you’re a horror aficionado or just enjoy a nice indie escape from time to time, World of Horror is an exceptional escape offering players a gripping look into the dark recesses of both Junji Ito’s and HP Lovecraft’s imaginations. 

You won’t need the best Christmas horror movies this holiday with the dark, apocalypse-looming Shiokawa at your fingertips. This is World of Horror’s fictitious Japanese setting that is filled with menacing intrigue wherein players must solve puzzles to explore and fight hostile creatures in turn-based combat. A preview for the game is available to play free for Game Pass subscribers and it’s all but a mere $20 on Steam, an utter steal for a few otherworldly screams. — Ryan Epps

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora

Avatar Frontiers of Pandora screenshot

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

Platforms: PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S

If you’d told me a few months ago that my biggest surprise gaming package of the year was going to be an Avatar game, I would have called you a filthy liar. But here we are. Not only is Frontiers of Pandora a winning spin on Ubisoft’s tried and tested Far Cry formula, it’s also an astonishingly good advert for high-end PC gaming. While this first-person sandbox runs decently on consoles thanks to well-calibrated performance modes, it’s utterly stunning on PC. Thanks to AMD’s FSR 3 upsampling techniques and frame generation features, it’s possible to play this vibrant adventure at well over 120 fps, even at 4K. If you own a good GPU, this incredible tech showcase is a must-play experience. — Dave Meikleham

Dark Pictures: Switchback VR

The Dark Pictures Switchback VR screenshot

(Image credit: Supermassive Games)

Platforms: PSVR 2

Sometimes the simplest ideas work the best in VR, and that’s certainly the case with The Dark Pictures: Switchback. This PSVR2 exclusive straps you into a rickety cart and throws you down a series of nightmarish rollercoaster tracks. Fortunately, you do have a pair of firearms to defend yourself from the many terrifying foes that will jump out at you — if you can stop screaming long enough to aim accurately. 

Because of its relatively simple premise and super easy-to-grasp gameplay, The Dark Pictures: Switchback is a great title for introducing newcomers to the joys of gaming in virtual reality. Plus, fans of The Dark Pictures franchise will get a real kick out of each new location as Switchback's levels are inspired by the four games within the horror anthology series. Developer Supermassive Games has also done an admirable job supporting the game post-launch with a string of patches ironing out some visual hiccups, as well as adding an arcade horde mode as free DLC which is great fun for high-score chasers. — Rory Mellon

Tchia 

Tchia screenshot

(Image credit: Awaceb/Kepler Interactive)

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5

Set in the South Pacific, this charming island-hopping adventure really zones in on the simple joys of video game movement. Playing as the titular character, it’s your job to explore a vibrant archipelago as you try to find her kidnapped father. There are so many delightful ways to interact with this glorious environment, though, no one could blame you if you gave up on trying to rescue your pop. Soul jump into over 30 animals! Use palm trees to catapult yourself through the air! Embrace that joyous “Snow Day” spirit and slide down mountainsides! 

Tchia is such a pleasure to control in all of its moment-to-moment interactions that it’s almost impossible not to get sucked into its many side distractions. Sorry, Pa. Your captors can have you for the time being. We’ve got trees to joyously fling ourselves from. — Dave Meikleham

Terra Nil  

Terra Nil screenshot

(Image credit: Free Lives/Devolver Digital)

Platforms: Mobile, Nintendo Switch, PC

Booting up a city-building game is satisfying because you get to see your digital metropolis grow, but Terra Nil showed me it's satisfying to see it shrink too. Taking the role of an environmental restoration team, you clean up a toxic biome in several different ways to encourage life to grow back, creating power networks and unlocking new machines to help you as you go. But once the plants bloom and the animals wander back to their habitats, you're then tasked with gathering all your buildings and transporting them back to your ship to leave no trace once you head out. 

It's a fun spin on what I've already enjoyed doing in City: Skylines and other games, and even more chill thanks to the relatively straightforward mechanics of earning points and spending them, along with a growing chorus of nature sounds as you progress. It's not a long game, but it may be the unwinding method you have ready and waiting on your phone, computer or Switch for when you need it. — Richard Priday 

Cypher 007  

Cypher 007 screenshot

(Image credit: Tilting Point)

Platforms: Mobile

Apple Arcade is low-key one of the best value game subscription services you can snag. Many people laugh when I say that, but for $7 per month, I’m laughing all the way to the bank — playing the incredible likes of Sayonara Wild Hearts, Fantasian, and this excellent but shockingly unheard-of Bond adventure.

Coming from the team behind the awesome isometric action series Space Marshals, Cyper 007 gives the same experience, but gives you a license to kill and keeps your feet firmly placed on planet Earth. With surprisingly complex level design that gives you a variety of ways to approach — from stealth to shooting everyone in the face — to a range of gadgets and an addictive gameplay loop, this is a fantastic little title that is well worth your time. — Jason England 

Teardown 

Teardown screenshot

(Image credit: Tuxedo Labs)

Platforms: PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S

An overlooked gem that recently featured as a monthly PS Plus game. This is a title your inner child (or actual kids, if you have offspring), will adore. Why? Well, the selling point is right there in the title. Simply put, this is a game where — you guessed it — tear stuff down. Its endearing voxel-based graphics prove a perfect match for its physics-based destruction, and there’s a surprising amount of tension packed into this sandbox puzzler thanks to the presence of timers and having to escape certain missions in a getaway vehicle. Teardown is like no other game that was released in 2023, and for that alone, it’s well worth a look. Turns out, smashing buildings to bits is a whole lot of fun. Who’d have thunk? — Dave Meikleham

Synapse

Synapse screenshot

(Image credit: nDreams)

Platform: PSVR 2

No game in 2023 made me feel like more of an all-powerful action hero than Synapse. The basic setup of this PSVR 2 exclusive sees you invade the subconscious of a notorious army colonel on a mission to extract vital secrets. You're tasked with battling through increasingly tough levels to reach your goal as his mind resists your unwelcome presents. Upon death, you start the whole process over again, but with each new run, you unlock permanent upgrades that make each subsequent trip into the colonel's psyche a little bit easier. 

Even better, Synapse doesn't just give you guns to blast away your foes, you also get access to telekinetic powers that allow you to pick up and throw enemies into the air before sending them crashing to the floor with a thud. Being so overpowered after just a couple of hours of play does significantly blunt the game's difficult level, but Synapse swaps its early challenge for pure fun factor, and that's a trade-off I'll happily make any day. — Rory Mellon  

More from Tom's Guide