Video game releases have been a roller coaster. It felt like it was shot out of a rocket in the beginning of the year. The release schedule fell off a cliff. It has been a great year for blockbusters, little-known independents, and deeply imaginative narrative games.

We have a list of things you can do if you recently built a new desktop PC, received a gaming laptop, or received a Steam gift card. While there are many great games you can spend your time with, here are 10 absolute gems across a variety of genres and price points you won't want to pass up.

Vampire Survivors

A screenshot from Vampire Survivors’ expansion, “Legacy of the Moonspell.”
Vampire Survivors.
Image: Poncle

Since it reached version 1.0 in 2022, it seems more and more of us are getting Vampire- pilled. Vampire survivors is a survival game that hides a lot. The only way to play this game is to use the analog stick to move around the screen to avoid enemies. It sounds simplistic, but it is so enjoyable. There isn't a vampire to be seen within its near absence of a story, but its characters and settings are cool enough that you may find yourself inventing your own back stories.

The game's creator initially worked on software development for casino games, and Vampire survivors shows that with each and every gratifying gem and coin pickup sound. The loop is great, the music is good, and the updates keep coming. If the game clicks with you, you may be able to play it for over 50 hours. It is an absolute steal to get the base game on Steam and the recent DLC expansion for just $4.99.

Vampire Survivors


Vampire survivors is a time survival game with a lot of elements from Castlevania.

Elden Ring

A green and yellow fantasy landscape with a knight on horseback and ruins of a castle.
Elden Ring.
Image: FromSoftware

Since this Game of the Year winner mostly needs no introduction, FromSoftware's dark fantasy epicRPG is an obvious recommendation. Elden Ring's world of the Lands Between is dense and rich with interesting characters, mysterious lore, and beautiful visuals, and it's a really good game. It is an exceptional use of the open-world mechanic since it allows you to bite off as much as you please.

Elden Ring is a great introduction to the "soulsborne" subgenre. I can assure you that this one can put its hooks in you, even though it will make you suffer at times, but as a person who has already played Dark Souls and other similar games, I can assure you that this one can put its hooks in you. If you find yourself questing and leveling for hours until you are ready to go back and try again, just race your horse off somewhere else. Elden Ring doesn't feel like a lot of work, but it does feel rewarding.

Elden Ring (PC)


Elden Ring is a dark fantasy world full of enemies and lore to discover.


In a screenshot from Tunic, the main character stands with his sword raised on a plot of blocky land.

Tunic blends a bit of Dark Souls with some heavy Legend of Zelda vibes in order to create something very unique. You are playing an adorable fox in a green tunic and wielding a sword and shield to cut through enemies. It has lushly colored landscapes with dramatic lighting and deep dark dungeons, but it is its sense of mystery that makes it truly beautiful.

While Tunic is an homage to one of gaming's most classic franchises, it also pays a loving respect to a meta aspect of gaming itself, old fashioned instruction books and strategy guides. Much of the in-game text is in a cipher-like language, but things are slowly revealed as you discover pieces of an in-game guide. Anyone who grew up reading printed guides or issues of Nintendo Power will love the artwork of the guide. Tunic is an incredibly charming game because it is an engaging way to discover a world andunlock a story.

Tunic (PC)


The cute aesthetic of Tunic betrays the difficulty of this stylish isometric adventure game.

$30 at Steam$30 at Epic Games

Metal: Hellsinger

A gameplay screenshot of Metal: Hellsinger.
Metal: Hellsinger.
Image: The Outsiders

It's a good idea to crank. There is an upward movement. It. It's f*$@ing. There was a lot of volume. Metal: Hellsinger is a first-person shooter that has fun gunplay and heavy metal music. That may sound like a teensy bit, but it is also a rhythm game. When you shoot your guns and slash your sword at the music, the music will come to life. If you listen to metal music on your speakers or headphones, you will get the feeling that you are fighting demons and ghouls.

There is a charm to the simple story. It has the gothic stylings of a metal band T-shirt, but it also has a lot of fun with it. The hairs on my neck stood up when I heard the narrator say "South of Heaven... way, way south" You may almost feel compelled to throw up the horns to your monitor if you tap your foot along to the beat and the shot is fired.

Metal: Hellsinger


A game of first person shooter and rhythm game. Players are asked to slay demons and stay in time with heavy metal music.

Return to Monkey Island

A monkey and a man stand around a campfire on a cliff.
Return to Monkey Island.
Image: Terrible Toybox

Return to Monkey Island is an excellent revival of the classic adventure. The best part of the game is how easy it is to play. Monkey Island can be enjoyed by both seasoned and first time Monkey Island fans.

Return to Monkey Island has a hint book in the game that you can use if you get stuck on some of the puzzles. The hint book doesn't just contain generic tips, but specific clues to guide you on the exact puzzle you're working on, and it does it without giving up the fun.

Return to Monkey Island


The newest game in the series features the return of creator Ron Gilbert and a new art style.

The Quarry

A man in a uniformed stands by a window and looks out at you.
The Quarry.
Image: Supermassive Games

While watching a horror movie with friends makes for the best experience, playing a choose your own adventure thriller is more fun with company. In The Quarry, you play as a group of teenage counselors at a summer camp where murders and disappearances are afoot.

The story unfolds based on the dialogue choices you make and the quick- time events you succeed or fail at. The choices you make will have consequences on who lives and who dies. You have to make a lot of decisions under a very short time crunch. The Quarry is a great experience if you have a group of friends playing together. The game has built-in co-op functions to allow players to play specific characters, but it's fun even if one person is at the helm of the controls This game may become an annual ritual for spooky season for me.

The Quarry


The studio behind horror games like Until Dawn is behind The Quarry.

Citizen Sleeper

A character in a cape walks along the ledge of a building with other buildings in the background.
Citizen Sleeper.
Image: Jump Over The Age

One of the best narrative games of the year is Citizen Sleeper. If you enjoy sci-fi stories, gaming, and the dread of living as a person's synthetic copy sold into corporate servitude, this is the game for you. Survive is the primary goal of the day. Your escape from your controlling overlords has caused your manufactured body to degrade. You need to make money, afford more stabilizer, and develop a community on The Eye if you want to keep going.

Citizen Sleeper is heavy on text and dialogue, but it is an enjoyable experience with beautiful music and slick art. Even though it is not a long game, it feels dense. Some of the endings you can get are filled with sadness. It is a beautiful journey that asks you to think about what it means to be a manufactured copy.


Two blue figures with large heads and red capes in a room with text in a box on the side.
Image: Geography of Robots

Norco is an excellent narrative point-and-click game that takes you on a journey to a futuristic version of an oil refinery. It begins with a simple premise, that you must return to your hometown to find your brother after your mother dies. It's an increasingly poignant take on memory, religion, and revisiting your childhood town.

This crumbling American suburban landscape can be seen through the eyes of the game's oil painting-likepixel art and lo-fi electronic soundtrack. It may be just as engaging for the person watching as it is for the person doing the pointing and clicking. Both player and onlooker may hold back some tears as a result of Norco's positive themes.

Neon White

A man in white in front of an angular white house; a sign says “Elevate.”
Neon White.
Image: Annapurna Interactive

If you've ever watched a stream of Games Done Quick where the pace is fast and the inputs are perfect, you should give Neon White a try. Neon White is a first-person shooter set in the afterlife where you play a demon hunter trying to get into heaven. The story is quirky and has recognizable voice actors like Cowboy Bebop's Steve Blum. The conversations among characters can be fun but the real joy comes from the fast action.

Neon White's combat and platforming is all about speed. The first time you run through the arenas, you are unsure of how you are supposed to match the goal times. The secondary fire of the card-based weapons you find will teach you how to be faster.

The game makes you feel like a speedrunner by showing you how you can shave off fractions of a second and reach the next rank. It remains rewarding if you have a knack for competition because you also get a personalized leaderboard for your friends on steam who play the game. You may come out of Neon White with a greater appreciation and connection to what you see at the next AGDQ event if you don't light up the charts with record scores.

Neon White


A first-person shooter with a soundtrack by Machine Girl is all about speed running.

Marvel Snap

Screenshot from Marvel Snap featuring the game’s battlefield populated by three zones
Marvel Snap.
Image: Second Dinner

Do you mean a free-to-play game? Did you mean on PC? Just let me know. It's not just a phone accessory. It is an excellent one-on-one card battle game, and if you play it on your PC monitor you will see the fantastic comic book artwork. Once you power up some of your cards to give them an animated or 3D effect, they really come to life in the larger size, and the in-game effects of Carnage are much better with more real.

You can use the game to play quick matches side by side on the same screen with your work. I'm not doing that right now because I'm late for an article. It's not at all.

Microtransactions allow you to pay to accelerate your progress and get the newest cards earlier, but I can tell you that you don't have to put a dime into it to have a great time. Maybe you won't feel obligated to reach max level for every season, but if you enjoy card games like Magic: The Gathering or Slay The Spire, then you should. We need that update so we can play against friends.

Marvel Snap (PC)

There is a card game where each card has a unique character. In-app purchases are free.