Keeping track of the latest video games released is an increasingly complex task, with multiple interfaces to PC, Xbox One, PS4, Switch, mobile, and more to keep track of, but don’t worry, I’m here to help. Each month, I’ll be running the games you need to keep an eye on, from the big three titles, to exciting indie games you might otherwise ignore.
January is usually a bit slow as the industry continues to recover from the hangovers of the holiday season, but the first month of 2023 comes in as a surprisingly hot one. Gamers can look forward to Square Enix’s next big RPG, Forspoken, Dead Space remake, Fire Emblem Engage, and more. Meanwhile, on the indie front, there’s the locomotive love letter SimRail: The Railway Simulator, Atmospheric Season: A Letter to the Future, and more.
Noticeable: Although I may have played demos or gained early access to some of the games recommended in this article, in most cases I simply choose the ones that look promising, and I can’t guarantee the final product. Don’t wait for reviews before buying!
However, here are the games you should be looking out for in January…
The Clash With Fire Emblem (Switch, January 20)
Nintendo’s Fire Emblem franchise returns in January with something a little different. Fire Emblem Engage’s colorful animation rendering and traditional JRPG premise were somewhat divisive, but Engage’s new system, which lets you pair units with the spirits of fan-favorite characters from the past like Marth, Ike, and Lyn certainly shows promise. Here’s everything you need to know about Fire Emblem Engage for those feeling the RPG strategy itch. You can pre-order the game here.
Forspoken (PC & PS5, January 24)
Coming from Luminous Productions, developer of Final Fantasy XV, Forspoken attempts to give the JRPG formula a bit of a kick in the pants. Protagonist Fry feels more real than most RPG heroes, and the game’s parkour traversal system promises to make exploration more dynamic and challenging. It remains to be seen if Forspoken’s experiences are all inclusive, but it’s nice to see JPRG exploring new territory. Here’s everything you need to know about Forspoken. You can pre-order the game here.
Dead Space (PC, Xbox Series X/S & PS5, January 27)
The Callisto Protocol didn’t end up being the successor to Dead Space that many had hoped, but don’t worry, because Dead Space itself is coming back in January. Developed by EA Motive, the new Dead Space is not only a visual makeover, it also improves and updates the horror classic in a number of ways. Expect a smooth remastered map, new dynamic horror events, even more gruesome scripted moments, and more. Here’s everything you need to know about the new Dead Space. You can pre-order the game here.
SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake (PC, Xbox One, PS4 & Switch, January 31)
The remake of SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom has proven to be a solid hit for THQ Nordic, so developer Purple Lamp Studios is back with an all-new SpongeBob adventure. SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake sees our eponymous hero jump between one-of-a-kind worlds and don a variety of fun costumes. This looks like an above-average amulet stand, which is good, because your kids will make you buy it either way. You can pre-order the game here.
Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider (PC, PS4, PS5 & Switch, January 12)
Enter the new year with a blast from the past. A tribute to the old 16-bit action games, Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider offers pixel art, chiptunes, and the ability to customize your playable character with a variety of mod chips. Developer JoyMasher has been the old thing for a while, producing entertaining throwbacks like Oniken and Blazing Chrome, so there’s every reason to believe this would be another good time to test your thumb. Here is the Steam page for Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider.
SimRail: The Railway Simulator (PC, January 13)
The title SimRail: The Railway Simulator says it all. If you love trains and all the little things that go into them, this is the game for you. Jump on a set of trains from different eras and ride hundreds of kilometers of real roads recreated in meticulous detail. The game’s demo released last year was well received, so expect good things from the full game now that all of its train cars are in working order. Here is the Steam page for SimRail: The Railway Simulator.
Unlimited Space (PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, PS5 & Switch, January 19th)
A Space for the Unbound is a laid-back adventure game that combines something many players are familiar with – ’90s nostalgia – with something only a small percentage have experienced – rural Indonesian life. However, it’s not all slice-of-life moments, as you can expect plenty of supernatural elements as well. Indie games can be a great window to other places and cultures, so get ready to be explored. Here is the Steam page for A Space for the Unbound.
Season: Message to the Future (PC, PS4 and PS5, January 31)
Season: A Letter to the Future is a visually stunning adventure in which players cycle and record various details of their semi-earth-based fantasy world (think Studio Ghibli instead of Tolkien) before it is completely destroyed in a mysterious apocalypse. The game has suffered some bumps in the road, including accusations of managing toxic substances at Montreal-based developer Scavengers Studio, but is now on track for a January release. We hope you play the game as nicely as it looks. Here is the Steam page for Season: A Letter to the Future.
The full list of games worth watching in January:
- Children of Silentown (PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, PS5 & Switch, January 11)
- Aquatico (PC, January 12)
- Lone Ruin (PC & Switch, January 12)
- Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider (PC, PS4, PS5 & Switch, January 12)
- One Piece Odyssey (PC, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, PS5, January 13)
- SimRail: The Railway Simulator (PC, January 13)
- UnderDungeon (PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S & Switch, January 13)
- Space for the Unbound (PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, PS5 & Switch, January 19th)
- Tortuga: A Pirate’s Tale (PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4 & PS5, January 19th)
- The Clash With Fire Emblem (Switch, January 20)
- Forspoken (PC & PS5, January 24)
- Hyperdimension Neptunia: Sisters vs Sisters (PC, PS4 and PS5, January 24)
- OddBallers (PC, Xbox One, PS4 & Switch, January 26)
- Wonder Boy Anniversary Collection (PS4, PS5, and Switch, January 26th)
- Dead Space (PC, Xbox Series X/S & PS5, January 27)
- Raiden IV x Mikado Remix (PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, PS5, January 31)
- Season: Message to the Future (PC, PS4 and PS5, January 31)
- SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake (PC, Xbox One, PS4 & Switch, January 31)
And these are the games you should be watching in the coming month. What games are you planning to catch in January? Did I miss anything you are looking forward to?