— Toge Productions

2023 is shaping up to be one of the . The short narrative investigates how food can be linked to identity and memory while being so delicious and comforting at the same time. The game’s delightful food puzzles are satisfying — though they will likely leave you salivating so have some snacks nearby.

9. Chants of Sennaar

There’s a good reason Inverse’s Willa Rowe calls takes Rockstar’s bullet-time shooter as inspiration but uses it as a venue to tackle trauma, toxic relationships, and substance abuse. Challenging mechanically and emotionally, El Paso, Elsewhere shows that even fast-paced shooters have the potential to make you cry.

3. Mediterranea Inferno

A summer vacation becomes a surreal exploration of trauma in Mediterranea Inferno. Set in 2022, this gorgeous visual novel follows three friends reuniting for the first time since the start of lockdown. Channeling the break from reality so many of us have felt the past few years, Mediterranea Inferno is packed with exquisitely stylish, hallucinatory visions that are equal parts terrifying, funny, and horny.

2. He Fucked the Girl Out of Me

He Fucked the Girl Out of Me is an unabashedly queer story that functions as a visual novel but in actuality feels more like a semi-autobiographical memoir. It’s a short experience that only runs roughly 40 minutes, but packed into that time is a deeply personal story that isn’t afraid to talk about physical intimacy, loneliness, and the process of healing.

1. Misericorde: Volume One

So many elements of Misericorde make it one of this year’s standout indie games. The isolated but mysterious world, the loveable (and detestable) characters, the striking black and white art, the eerie music. It is all amazing. But what makes Misericorde shine is the writing. It takes advantage of the visual novel format and tells an enthralling story about a nun thrust into the role of detective in a 15th-century abbey.

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