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.
Sludge Life 2
Release: June 28
Developer: Terri Vellmann, Doseone
Launch price: $15 | £12.79 | AU$21.95
Chris enjoyed the first Sludge Life, and how couldn’t you? It was a photography and vandalism sim set on a shitty little island surrounded by sludge. This sequel follows the same format, with surrealistic first-person exploration and lots of bizarre interactions with listless NPCs. In Sludge Life 2 you’re tasked with looking for Big Mud—a rapping frog—in the “sprawling” Ciggy City Suites, so sprawling that it even has its own beach (Ciggy Beach!). If Sludge Life 2 is for you, you’re almost certainly sold already, but to make matters better this instalment has double jump and a Portable Launcher, all the better to hurl yourself through the majestic Ciggy Suites with ease. A weird game. Kinda like if Hubert Selby Jr and Todd Solondz collaborated on an Adult Swim cartoon.
Release: June 29
Developer: Kitten Cup Studio
Launch price: $14.39 | £12 | AU$21.20
If Sludge Life 2 has too much edge for you, why not offset it with the
suffocating cheerful whimsy of Pekoe? It’s a “cat-filled tea-making simulator” that has you running a teahouse. In addition to brewing tea and concocting new and experimental tea combinations, you’ll get to build and kit out your own teahouse. As you meet new townsfolk (all of whom are cats, by the way) you’ll need to work hard to make the kind of tea that best suits their palette. It’s a game about making tea for cats, OK? Incomprehensible that it’s never been done before. Pekoe is in Early Access and will launch into 1.0 in early 2024, and it’ll get new modes, ingredients, recipes and more in the meantime.
Release: June 29
Developers: Red Square Games
Launch price: $17.49 | £14 | AU$25.54
Here’s a stylish isometric shooter based on the novels of Polish author Michał Gołkowski. SlavicPunk is a gritty sci-fi affair following the conundrums of Yanus, whose job as a private investigator sees him coming into regular conflict with gangsters and corporate stooges. Thankfully, Yanus knows how to handle a gun. The action looks satisfying, but the studio’s attempts to imagine an Eastern European equivalent to “Blade Runner’s L.A. or Akira’s Neo Tokyo” sounds especially interesting (Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, anymore?).
Release: June 27
Launch price: $9 | £9 | AU$13.05
Nowadays the words “rogue-like” and “deck-building” in the same sentence makes my eyes glaze over, but Shogun Showdown seems to have found a substantial audience in an utterly saturated market. Launched into Early Access last week, studio Roboatino isn’t afraid to mention Into the Breach, Darkest Dungeon and Slay the Spire on its Steam page, but this game does have some flair of its own, with gorgeously detailed pixel art and atmospheric music. The Early Access period is expected to last a year, while a bunch of new stuff is added including new playable characters, skills, locations and much more. Sure, the genre is saturated, but it’s also very moreish, so this looks like a worthy contender for enthusiasts.
A Long Journey to an Uncertain End
Release: June 29
Developer: Crispy Creative
Launch price: $21.24 | £17.84 | AU$31.02
This is a narrative-driven management space opera where you play as a spaceship—not its pilot, not its crew, but the spaceship itself. The problem is, sentient spaceships are frowned upon in this fictional universe (probably would be in this real one, too), so it’s important to have a good, sympathetic crew on your side. As a result, a big part of A Long Journey… is about gathering and coordinating your crew. It would seem sentient spaceships can also have relationships too: “Take any job you can to keep one step ahead of your abusive ex, and keep flying towards freedom,” reads the Steam description. This looks fascinating.