Games of the Year

RPGFan Games of the Year 2023: Best Unconventional or Hybrid RPG

GOTY 2023 Best Unconventional or Hybrid RPG Theatrhythm Final Bar Line

Winner: Theatrhythm Final Bar Line

No more seeking out All-Star Carnival in random mall arcades! We finally got the robust musical Final Fantasy experience we’d all been waiting for with Theatrhythm Final Bar Line. This latest iteration in the Theatrhythm franchise is grander than ever, boasting a vast array of songs, including several options from Square Enix’s non-FF series arriving in DLC waves. This game even covers current game music with selections from Final Fantasy XVI. The more Soken, the better, am I right? And you can play these new songs comfortably because Final Bar Line has also embraced several quality-of-life updates, including a slightly new but easy-to-intuit control scheme for PS4 and Switch, and finally making the special effects in versus mode optional. Pick up Final Bar Line and you never have to hear, “You’re falling behind, kupo!”

by Hilary Andreff

Runner-Up: Thirsty Suitors

Thirsty Suitors is a turn-based RPG whose strong narrative features memorable characters. Thirsty Suitors is also a skillful cooking game filled with scrumptious South Asian recipes and a nimble skateboarding game that allows players to pull off all kinds of tricks and stunts. If any one of Thirsty Suitors’ hybrid gameplay elements were cherry-picked out and turned into their own games, they would be hits because those elements are that good. But Thirsty Suitors is more than just the sum of its role-playing, cooking, skateboarding, and other miscellaneous parts. It is simply a fantastic game that celebrates diversity through its characters, visual style, music, and gameplay.

by Neal Chandran

Readers’ Choice: Best Unconventional or Hybrid RPG of 2023

Winner: Theatrhythm Final Bar Line (32.4% of votes)

Runner-Up: Dave the Diver (30% of votes)

Hilary Andreff

Hilary Andreff

Officially, Hilary focuses on proofreading and QA here at RPGFan and has been with the team since early 2017. You can also find her on the occasional podcast, doing a music review, or helping make a news post once in a while. Unofficially, she responds immediately to any talk of a Quintet game or the Shadow Hearts series and is known for pushing RPGFan's graphic adventure coverage. She may be one of the most likely staff members to make a friendship speech.