Thumb Culture Game Of The Year

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2023 is perhaps one of the best years for gaming we have had in quite some time. So much so that I imagine our 2024 list will be l packed with games we are still catching up on from 2023.

So many great games it was extremely difficult for us here at Thumb Culture to pick just one that stood apart from the rest and take the top spot. With great difficulty, we managed it!

Thank you all, the readers so much for supporting Thumb Culture, here’s to another great year in gaming.

Tom – Lil Gator Game

The cover art for lil gator game, showing the main character holding a stick as a sword with his friends in the background. Paddy the thumb culture mascot, a blue controller with a happy face is giving the game a thumbs up.
Lil Gator Game

I honestly expected spider man 2 to be my personal game of the year In a year with already lots of competition, but out from the shadows crept Alan wake 2. Chapter after chapter I felt my love for the game increasing and increasing…and then suddenly, my partner recommended, I play “lil gator game” on the PS5.

Lil gator game is, to me, the perfect video game. It is a flawless experience unless your heart is cold and you heavily dislike cozy games that make you feel fuzzy inside. I joke of course, but even if you’re not you can still walk away lil gator game with at least your moneys worth. from And I’m not the only one who thinks that, the game has gathered a phenomenal 99% overwhelmingly positive review score on steam.

You play as, now hold onto your seat here, a lil gator. A small child with hopes to convince your big sister to play with you again. You set off on a big adventure across an island to make friends and build your castle. It’s simple yet adorable. I ended up crying at the end of the game because of how unbelievably cute it was. And then I felt sad it was over. But incredibly happy I got to spend 5 or so hours playing this lovely, moving experience.

That’s why “lil gator game” is my personal game of the year.

Iain – Spider-Man 2

the cover art for spider-man 2 showing the main characters, peter and miles morales swinging next to each-other with a red background. Paddy the thumb culture mascot, a blue controller with a happy face is giving the game a thumbs up.
Spider-Man 2

If you’re looking for an immersive and engaging gaming experience, look no further than Spider-Man 2. With its lively open world and buzzing streets filled with friendly people who greet you, this game is a true masterpiece. You’ll love the exhilarating feeling of the wingsuit, which is just one of the many ways to traverse the city. And the occasional appearance of another player in fights is well balanced, making the battles even more exciting. It’s amazing how the other character seems to be doing things even when you’re not there, making the game feel even more realistic. Trust me, Spider-Man 2 is definitely worth the play.

Tony – Cocoon

The cover art for the game cocoon showing a small character looking at a ball showing an environment inside of it. Paddy the thumb culture mascot, a blue controller with a happy face is giving the game a thumbs up.
Cocoon

Review Link

Cocoon for me is hands down the standout for 2023. Debut game for the studio that launched so polished and literally took my breath away. It’s a showpiece for game design, pacing and how most importantly how to scope a game correctly for a small team. Stunning audio design and literary controlled from start to finish with one face button and a thumb stick. Can’t wait to see what Geometric Interactive cook up next.

Jessy –  Lethal Company

The text 'lethal company' with a red background, Paddy the thumb culture mascot, a blue controller with a happy face is giving the game a thumbs up.
Lethal Company

Preview Link

My GOTY hands down has to be Lethal Company. Solo dev, self-published indie horror co-op title that has taken Twitch by storm. It is such a fun experience with groups of friends, and it leans into the comedy aspect of horror, so it’s a little more accessible to people who aren’t as comfortable with scary games. It’s still in early access so who knows what else is in store for it. There are already great mods for quality of life changes, but the game is definitely playable in its original form. Crowd Control has also gotten a hold of the game, adding in chat interactivity such as spawning in monsters, resetting the quota and all other manner of chaos!

Jason – Robocop: Rogue City

Cover art for the game showing robocop standing centered with buildings in the background, he is holding a gun. Paddy the thumb culture mascot, a blue controller with a happy face is giving the game a thumbs up.
Robocop: Rogue City

Review Link

Robocop: Rogue City by Devs Teyon is my GOTY. Although it came out in the later part of the year it has been an amazing game to experience. Having been a big fan of the original movie (maybe it’s my age too), there is a lot of nostalgia to be had thanks to playing as Alex Murphy. It’s great to walk the neon-lit 80’s streets dealing with various members of the public through side missions as well as the main campaign story. The targeting system when shooting villains has a true likeness to the film as does the quips that are shouted out here and there. I’m usually very sceptical of games based on films however Robocop: Rogue City is a true example of how to produce one properly. Other Devs, take note!

Celestialinari – Persona 5 Tactica

The cover art for the game showing the main cast of characters together with the game title next to them. Paddy the thumb culture mascot, a blue controller with a happy face is giving the game a thumbs up.
Persona 5: Tactica

I’ll be the weird one and say that Persona 5 Tactica when it comes to triple A section. When it comes with an indie scene it’s a tie between Cuisineer and Tevi. The art done when it came to the food in Cuisineer were really a treat to the eyes and mind. The fighting mechanics of Tevi was refreshing when it came to playing Metroidvanias. And when it came to P5T, it gave me that scratch for what I’ve been missing from the lack of FF Tactics. It was difficult for me to pick on game for GOTY, but I just choose three.

Paul – Baldurs Gate 3

Cover art for the game, showing the cast of characters all together with the text 'baldurs gate 3' next to them. Paddy the thumb culture mascot, a blue controller with a happy face is giving the game a thumbs up.
Baldurs Gate 3

BG3 is hands down my GOTY for 2023. I put almost 200 hours into the game so far without finishing a single playthrough, spending the time between a co-op campaign with my partner and a solo one. Larain have captured the scale, complexity and freedom of a TTRPG so fantastically well it’s hard to see anyone coming close anytime soon.

On top of all the mechanical achievements, the writing is also top-notch. So many characters and personalities are included, with a branching narrative that, whilst trending the same main path, feels expansive and reactive.

I’d not played a Larain game prior to this, but I’m definitely keeping an eye on what they do next!

Rowen – Laika: aged through blood

the cover art showing the main character and a child ride a bike away from bird-like enemies holding guns. Paddy the thumb culture mascot, a blue controller with a happy face is giving the game a thumbs up.
Laika: Aged Through Blood

Review Link

Bloody, gritty, gratuitous and thoroughly engrossing – Laika: Aged Through Blood is my 2023 GOTY. Laika is a rare title that manages to balance vehicular gameplay and profuse violence with a powerfully emotional story. The mammoth task of maintaining a child’s innocence in times of war and losing oneself when surrounded by death is ever-present. The undercurrent of societal views regarding a woman’s purpose is especially poignant. And the soundtrack by Beicoli, complete with aetheric vocals, is first-class!

Alex – Resident Evil 4 Remake

the cover art for resident evil 4 showing leon kennedy, the protaganist on the left side of the screen with the right side being the character you have to save, ashley walking in the woods. Paddy the thumb culture mascot, a blue controller with a happy face is giving the game a thumbs up.
Resident Evil: 4

My game of the year is the Resident Evil 4 remake … not because it’s groundbreaking or anything like that but because there’s so much nostalgia packed into that game for me. I’ve bought this game so many times on so many different consoles, even the Wii (yeah I know) and being able to go back to a game that looks as good as RE4 does and have the same experience that I had when I was tiny and had no business playing horror games it was impossible for me not to love it. The new graphics make everything feel that bit more intense and, whilst I miss running away from a big robot statue, it has really done the game a favour in many other elements. The new graphics give everything a new lease on life, even the lighting feels like it’s making everything more creepy and building on suspense and the gameplay tweaks have added to its worth – even escort missions don’t feel like an absolute drain anymore. So, purely for nostalgia purposes, I couldn’t put anything else as my game of the year.

All that being said, we give 2023 the Platinum Thumb Culture Award

So that’s a wrap on 2023! Again a massive thank you to you all from the whole team here at Thumb Culture.

What games do you think take your #1 spot, what do you love about them? let us know!

About Author

Being a relatively young gamer I still grew up with and appreciate the classics. I was raised on Tony Hawk, resident evil, Majoras mask and many other early 2000s titles. When it comes to my taste in games, I typically gravitate towards narrative games, that’s why my favorite game of all time is life is strange. Though I enjoy every type of game so long as I have fun! Going in a totally different direction, my favorite game series is the Yakuza/Like a Dragon franchise. I typically try to 100% and get the platinum trophy for every game I play. The number one thing a game needs in my opinion is a great soundtrack, everything is amplified when it’s accompanied by good music.

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