While it might be a new year, let’s not start 2023 with a lie: it’s still the same old us, and we’re still rattling off some of the biggest new games you can expect each month. 2022 had plenty of excellent games, but 2023 could be even bigger — and if January 2023 is anything to go by, we’re definitely off to a good start.
January is typically a slower month in the games industry. Most companies use January to recuperate from their biggest games released before Christmas last year. That being said, there’s still a good selection of titles from acoss a wide variety of genres that are well worth keeping an eye on. Here’s the biggest new games of January 2023.
January 2023 Games
Lone Ruin| January 12th 2023
Developer: Cuddle Monster Games
Publisher: Super Rare Originals
Platform(s): Switching between PC and Switch
Roguelikes have become one of the most popular genres on the market at the moment, so it’s not surprising that there have been many indie developers making their splash on the genre recently. With so many competing titles, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it’d be hard for a new roguelike to really make an impact, but Cuddle Monster Games are hoping that Lone Ruin can be the next big roguelike hit.
You’ll play as an explorer who finds the titular Lone Ruin, an ancient and magical city that houses some incredible power in its centre. You’ll just need to fight your way through hordes of monsters and creatures in order to get there. A twin-stick shooter using spells as a basis, you’ll customise your skills and abilities throughout your run to maximise your destructive potential, making for a rewarding gameplay loop.
| January 13th 2023
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Platform(s): PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X & S
One Piece has firmly taken its place atop the anime and manga world as the biggest franchise going at the moment, but it’s still yet to have that defining game sitting alongside it. Pirate Warriors 4 may be the best, but because it heavily relied on the Musou formula, it feels like an overkill. One Piece Odyssey will hopefully be the definitive One Piece title.
Odyssey is a new adventure set in One Piece. Players control Monkey D. Luffy, and other Straw Hat members, who are stranded on an island. They were separated by their ship after a storm destroyed it. You’ll have to help the crew deal with the locals, fend off some monsters and ultimately reunite and leave the island entirely, which is going to be easier said than done.
Fire Emblem Engagement| January 20, 2023
Developer: Intelligent Systems
Fire Emblem was a great but often overlooked strategy series for most of its time. However, that all changed when the Nintendo Switch’s Three Houses really catapulted the franchise into the mainstream, and Nintendo look like they’re showing no signs of slowing down the hype train, as Fire Emblem Engage hopes to continue that upwards momentum into 2023.
Engage is a Fire Emblem title that focuses on new characters but with a twist. You’ll play as Alear, a Divine Dragon charged with ensuring that the Fell Dragon Sombron doesn’t wreck havoc on the kingdom of Elyos once again. In order to do so, you’ll need to gather various Emblem Rings, which contain the souls of warriors from previous Fire Emblem games.
| January 24, 2023
Developer: Luminous Productions
Publisher: Square Enix
Platform(s): PC, PS5
Forspoken is perhaps most famous for its 30 second trailer, which was admittedly poorly conceived and sounded like the worst dialogue. It’s a shame, because from a gameplay perspective, Forspoken looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun, even if that’s because we’ll be able to do magical parkour across a vast open world. Never the combat, we’ll just be gliding across the desert, thanks.
Far from just being a magic running simulator, Forspoken’s story sees players controlling Frey Holland, an average young woman living in New York City who is mysteriously transported to the mystical world of Athia. Frey will need to team up with other allies (including her sentient bracelet) to escape the clutches of the Tantas family.
| January 27th 2023
Developer: Motive Studio
Platform(s): PC, PS5, Xbox Series X & S
Now that The Callisto Protocol has finally launched and hasn’t really lived up to the expectations many people had for it, all eyes have now moved towards Motive Studio and their work on the Dead Space reboot. With such an iconic and enjoyable foundation to pull from, Motive Studio have practically got a home run on their hands already, and it’s looking likely that they’ll deliver the goods when Dead Space launches.
A retelling of the game’s original story, Dead Space sees engineer Isaac Clarke responding to a distress signal on the planet-cracking spaceship, the USG Ishimura. Recently, the Ishimura discovered a Marker beneath the surface of the planet. Unfortunately, the curse proved to be too much for most of the crew, who have now become violent Necromorphs. Isaac must fight alone against the Ishimura horrors, equipped only with some deadly tools.
Season: A Letter to the Future| January 31, 2023
Developer: Scavengers Studio
Publisher: Scavengers Studio
Platform(s): PC, PS4, PS5
One specific genre that’s seemingly emerged over the years is the passive open world experience; one where there’s no combat, only good vibes and plenty of secrets. The pull of this type of game is with the world it offers, and unravelling the various mysteries surrounding it, and from the sounds of Season: A Letter To The Future’s premise, this is certainly going to be one of the most interesting.
Season: A Letter To The Future casts players as Estelle, a member of a secluded village in the mountains who’s leaving home for the first time to catalogue the people, places and culture of the wider world. Estelle wants to ensure that her world is documented for the future. Who said games without combat couldn’t have high stakes?
SpongeBob SquarePants | January 31st 2023
Developer: Purple Lamp
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Platform(s): PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X & S, Switch
The SpongeBob SquarePants series is pretty out there at the best of times, but Purple Lamp and THQ Nordic’s upcoming game, The Cosmic Shake, looks set to be the yellow mascot’s most ridiculous adventure yet. To be fair, it was only a matter of time before SpongeBob SquarePants went to the multiverse, or Wishworlds as they’ve been called here, though hopefully that silliness will lead to an excellent platforming adventure.
SpongeBob, Patrick and a Mermaid Tear have been granted the power to grant wishes. This has clearly led to the unravelling of the entire universe. SpongeBob, along with Patrick’s balloon, will need to travel to seven Wishworlds. These Wishworlds include Wild West Jellyfish Fields or Halloween Rock Bottom. There they will learn various platforming skills and costumes and help save the world. All in a day’s work for a goofy goober.
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