On an average day about a dozen new games are released on Steam. And while we think that's a good thing, it can be understandably hard to keep up with. Potentially exciting gems are sure to be lost in the deluge of new things to play unless you sort through every single game that is released on Steam. So that’s exactly what we’ve done. If nothing catches your fancy this week, we've gathered the best PC games you can play right now and a running list of the 2023 games that are launching this year.
Release: December 9
Developer: Guy, Daisy Games
If you're like me and harbour a weird obsession with obscure operating systems, Crossroad OS will definitely appeal. It's a puzzle game set in a disturbing dungeon that looks a lot like an uncanny creepypasta take on the Windows 3D Maze screensaver. This dungeon represents the operating system itself, and contains a number of applications that take the form of mini-games. Yes, it's a puzzle game, but it's also a horror, so be prepared for that element. I didn't ever expect a game to blend The Witness with TempleOS but I'm glad it's happened.
Release: December 7
Developer: Nayuta Studio
Set in 1980s small town Japan, Hollow Cocoon is a first-person horror with multiple endings and, dare I say it, a vague resemblance to Fatal Frame when it comes to atmosphere. Protagonist Minato Jinba receives an urgent call to visit his grandmother in the mountain town of Ichinose. He hasn't seen her for a long time and actually dislikes her, but goes anyway, and this being a horror game, presumably comes to regret it. This is a passive horror, in the sense that you'll spend most of your time hiding from terrifying things rather than blasting them with shottys. Still, it stands apart from your Outlasts and your Amnesias for having branching narrative paths and a mood of its own.
Release: December 6
After a stint in Early Access, this blood-spattered first-person western gets a full 1.0 release. Combining weird west vibes with immersive sim inflected stealth, it kinda comes across as Thief via Redneck Rampage, with a clean '90s approach to 3D (it kinda looks like a Quake engine game). Blood West demands a slowly-slowly approach to its puzzle-centric stealth encounters, and like all good stealth games, it rewards careful exploration and attention to your surrounds. There's a progression system that means you can go in all-guns-blazing if you want, but you'd probably miss a lot of the finer touches that makes Blood West look so cool.
A Highland Song
Release: December 6
Developer: inkle Ltd
Here's a gorgeous narrative platformer about a girl crossing the Scottish Highlands. That may put you in mind of Celeste, but A Highland Song has some curious similarities to Death Stranding. You won't be carting parcels, but the landscape is threaded with lots of different ways to traverse difficult terrain, and weather is a huge factor that will determine, at random, whether one path is more sensible than another. Not only that, but the landscape is shaped by the musical accompaniment, so there's even a rhythm game element here.
Release: December 5
Developer: Hanki Games
Launched into Early Access last week, Sledders is a "realistic, physics-based snowmobile simulator". That is a niche I'm sure has a specialist audience of its own, but even to me—someone who has never given a single thought to snowmobiles nor potential games about them—this looks appealing. You're basically plowing around a big snowy open world littered with mountains, cliffs and dangerous obstacles. The game is pretty freeform at the moment, albeit with multiplayer support already, but it'll get missions, more sleds and maps, and other additions during its EA stint, which could last until 2025.
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Shaun Prescott is the Australian editor of PC Gamer. With over ten years experience covering the games industry, his work has appeared on GamesRadar+, TechRadar, The Guardian, PLAY Magazine, the Sydney Morning Herald, and more. Specific interests include indie games, obscure Metroidvanias, speedrunning, experimental games and FPSs. He thinks Lulu by Metallica and Lou Reed is an all-time classic that will receive its due critical reappraisal one day.