Games of the Year

RPGFan Games of the Year 2023: Best Indie Game

GOTY 2023 Best Indie RPG Sea of Stars

Winner: Sea of Stars

It was clear from the first trailer that Sea of Stars had the potential to be something special, and the final product did not disappoint. Wearing its retro inspiration on its sleeve, the game has gorgeous pixel art, snappy combat with timed mechanics, a fun adventure story, and a catchy soundtrack featuring music from the venerable Yasunori Mitsuda. Though there are a few quibbles here and there, the overall experience is undeniably charming and nostalgic. It made me feel like a kid again, and after the last couple of years, that is a precious gift.

by Caitlin Argyros

Runner-Up: Thirsty Suitors

Representation matters, and indie games like Thirsty Suitors are usually at the forefront of authentic and diverse representation. Thirsty Suitors‘ ethnically diverse and LGBTQIA+ friendly cast of characters effectively personify complex issues that audiences (particularly those of South Asian descent) can relate to. Along with its top-notch representation, Thirsty Suitors is an excellent game in both design and execution. A vibrant visual style beautifully juxtaposes the mundane with the absurd. Tightly fluid skateboarding, cooking, and JRPG gameplay mechanics coalesce into an enticing entity. Like a complexly layered and delicious home-cooked Indian curry, Thirsty Suitors is a fantastic game that is truly more than the sum of its parts.

by Neal Chandran

Readers’ Choice: Best Indie Game of 2023

Winner: Sea of Stars (73.3% of votes)

Runner-Up: Cassette Beasts (6.6% of votes)

Caitlin Argyros

Caitlin Argyros

Caitlin joined RPGFan as a podcaster but has since expanded her collection of hats to include reviews, features, and proofreading. When she's not writing for the site, she's saving the people of Eorzea in FFXIV, slaying gods in the Xeno series, and globetrotting across Zemuria in the Trails games. Oh, and petting every sweet cat and good dog she comes across.