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The best video games of October 2023: Mario, Spider-Man 2, and more

October 2023 was one of the best months for video games in a long time. From the indie to the AAA space, there was a spectacular new game coming out every few days. Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 and Super Mario Bros. Wonder arrived and improved upon their predecessors in almost every way, while indies like Jusant and Wargroove 2 hit the scene with fresh ideas. While the phrase “there’s something for everyone” is played out in the game industry, that truly felt like it was the case this month.

Having so much to play can also be overwhelming, though. Players are left to sift through which titles are worth checking out, which are fine, and which should be passed up entirely. To help you out on that search, I’ve rounded up our seven favorite games released during the blockbuster gaming month of October 2023.

Super Mario Bros. Wonder

Mario stands near a Wonder Seed in Super Mario Bros. Wonder.

Nintendo dropped a brand new 2D Mario game this month, and it’s outstanding. Super Mario Bros. Wonder lives up to its namesake, eliciting a sense of wonder with its expertly designed levels that reward players who poke around in them and also feature Wonder Effects that can drastically change what players are doing on the stage. From singing Piranha Plants to a top-down perspective shift, Super Mario Bros. Wonder stays consistently fresh and creative the whole way through.

“With its wealth of unpredictable levels, Super Mario Bros. Wonder is the series’ best 2D entry since its SNES days,” Giovanni Colantonio wrote in a four-star review of Super Mario Bros. Wonder. “It’s still the same familiar platformer, but one that’s been given a new lease on life thanks to a fantastic new art style, delightfully absurd transformations, and flexible difficulty. It’s the closest I’ve gotten to recapturing those magic moments with the original platformers, even if there’s still room for Mario to grow into his new overalls.”

Personally, Super Mario Bros. Wonder is my favorite game of the year and one that I know will appeal to gamers of all ages and skill levels. If you only play one game on this list, I urge you to make it this one. Super Mario Bros. Wonder is available now exclusively on Nintendo Switch.

Marvel’s Spider-Man 2

Spider-Man soars through the air in a biomechanical suit in Marvel's Spider-Man 2.
Sony Interactive Entertainment

Insomniac Games followed up Marvel’s Spider-Man and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales with a sequel that ups the ante in almost every way. Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 looks excellent, taking full advantage of the PS5, and plays just as well thanks to a multitude of improvements that make its combat, swinging around the city, side-quests, and more even better than ever before. And I haven’t even mentioned the story, which gives the Symbiote and Vemon center stage.

Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 throws a lot of ideas up in the air, but juggles them with ease in a grander sequel that’s purposefully overwhelming when it needs to be while delivering a deceptively sleek adventure (even a 100% completion will take no more than 35 hours),” Giovanni Colantonio wrote in a four-and-a-half Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 review. “It can make me feel the enormous weight of Spider-Man’s burden while still getting me excited about unlocking tons of customizable super suits that let me live out my own superhero fantasy.”

The original Marvel’s Spider-Man was already so good that it was tough to know whether or not Insomniac Games could top itself. The developer did, though, by telling an enthralling, emotional, and inclusive story that also provides a kind of superhero experience that’s only possible in the medium of video games. Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is available exclusively on PS5

Alan Wake 2

Alan looks surprised in Alan Wake 2.
Remedy Entertainment

Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 wasn’t the only fantastic sequel to drop this month. Remedy Entertainment’s long-awaited Alan Wake 2 also launched this October, and despite some technical issues, it was still a frightening survival horror game. Remedy continued to do what it does best — mind-bending narratives that aren’t afraid to get high-concept and meta — while also delivering engrossing survival horror gameplay inspired by the recent Resident Evil remakes.

“Save for a few odd gameplay quirks and frustrating tech issues at launch, Alan Wake 2 is Remedy Interactive’s most confident, fully realized creative vision to date,” Giovanni Colantonio’s four-star Alan Wake 2 review states. “It fully pays off the long-simmering potential of the studio’s interconnected universe to create a densely detailed, cerebral experience about the nature of horror – both in the nightmares we face in everyday life and the scary stories we create to cope with them.”

The less you know about Alan Wake 2 going into it, the more surprising (and frightening) it will be, so go check it out now if you love spooky games with compelling stories. The only thing to keep in mind is that you might run into some glitches and other technical problems on lower-end PC consoles, so it might be best to pick this one up on consoles if you don’t have a high-end PC. Alan Wake 2 is available now for PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X/S.

Wargroove 2

A fight in Wargroove 2.

A fantastic indie sequel also emerged as a hidden gem early on in October. Wargroove 2 is a turn-based strategy game in a series inspired by Nintendo’s Advance Wars franchise. Wargroove 2 stands out in the wake of Advance Wars’ remake thanks to a compelling variety of fantasy stories, tactics that encourage deeper thought into the positioning of units, and a roguelike mode that adds lots of replay value.

“The fact that Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp launched earlier this year seemed like it could reduce the necessity of a game like Wargroove 2, but that’s not the case,” I wrote when explaining how Wargroove 2 was one of October’s hidden gems. “Wargroove 2 is a deep and engaging strategy game that emphasizes terrain and the tactical relationship between standard units and powerful Commander ones, which are active on the field in this game.”

October 2023 was a surprisingly solid month for strategy games in general, with The Lamplighters League, Total War: Pharaoh, Star Trek: Infinite, Disgaea 7: Vows of the Virtueless, and Front Mission 2: Remake all also coming out this month. If you’re a strategy game fan with time to only check out one of them, I’d recommend going with Wargroove 2. Chucklefish’s latest is available now for PC and Nintendo Switch.


The player hangs from a cliffside in Jusant
Don't Nod

As this list is otherwise made up of direct sequels or the latest entries in long-running franchises, Jusant is a welcome standout as an original idea. It’s a meditative, dialogue-free game from developer Don’t Nod about climbing a gigantic tower in a world where water no longer appears to exist. At times melancholic and relaxing at others, Jusant emphasizes climbing by making players grip holds with the triggers and place pitons as they climb so they can swing around, wall run, or climb further without the danger of falling very far.

“Despite the drastic differences from Don’t Nod’s past work, Jusant is one of the studio’s best games since it left the Life is Strange series behind,” I wrote in a four-star review of the game. “Its trigger-based control scheme makes climbing and traversal fun, and the constant introduction of new ideas and twists across its five chapters overshadow any jank that emerges in a five-hour playthrough.”

I used my review playthrough of Jusant throughout October for some respite between these other big titles, so it’s a good title to keep in your backlog for when you want something calming to play. Don’t be fooled by its chill vibe: It tells a sobering story about humanity’s relationship with nature that will probably only get more relevant with time. Jusant is available now for PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X/S and is included with an Xbox Game Pass subscription.

Hot Wheels Unleashed 2: Turbocharged

The player drives toward an octopus boss in Hot Wheels Unleashed 2.

Hot Wheels Unleashed 2: Turbocharged is a follow-up to a surprise arcade racer hit from 2021 featuring the titular toy cars. Like all the other sequels on this list, it improves upon what came before in all the right ways. That mainly happens through new mechanics tied to boosts like jumping and strafing, as well as the new Waypoint mode that lets players race around large environments, like a dinosaur museum.

Hot Wheels Unleashed 2 isn’t the most complex or challenging racer. It has a nonsensical story mode and some gambling-like presentation when unlocking cars that I don’t love in a game made for kids. Still, a few key additions go a long way toward making a faster, more fun racing game for kids (and kids at heart),” I wrote in a three-and-a-half star review of Hot Wheels Unleashed 2: Turbocharged.

If you’re looking for a fun game for kids that isn’t Super Mario Bros. Wonder, Milestone’s newest racing game is a solid pick. Hot Wheels Unleashed 2: Turbocharged is available now for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and Nintendo Switch. 

Forza Motorsport

A single car makes a turn in Forza Motorsport.
Xbox Game Studios

If simulation racing games are more your speed, then October 2023 still has you covered. Forza Motorsport is the long-awaited Xbox Series X entry in Turn 10 Studios’ long-running racing game series. It takes full advantage of the Xbox Series X’s power and looks gorgeous as a result. It is also a compelling simulation racer that lets players tweak almost every part of the and constantly rewards them with progression systems in and out of races.

Forza Motorsport cements itself as one of the best-looking and most approachable racing simulators to date,” I wrote in my four-star review of the game. “It can sometimes feel too clinical, but the core driving is perfectly fine-tuned. It’s a tremendous first-party visual showpiece that demonstrates the power of the Xbox Series X and provides a consistent sense of progression to modify the experience.”

It’s a must-play for any Xbox Series X or S owner. While Xbox struggled to create compelling exclusives for a long time, that’s starting to change with games like Hi-Fi Rush, Starfield, and now Forza Motorsport. It’s available now for PC, Xbox Series X, and Xbox Series S, and as is the case with all of Microsoft’s first-party titles, it’s part of the Xbox Game Pass subscription.

Editors' Recommendations

Tomas Franzese
Gaming Staff Writer
Tomas Franzese is a Staff Writer at Digital Trends, where he reports on and reviews the latest releases and exciting…
Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is eyeing a fall 2023 release date
Miles Morales and Peter Parker stand together in Spider-Man 2.

Marvel's Spider-Man 2 has a new release window. According to a new PlayStation Blog post, the upcoming superhero game will launch sometime in 2023.

We haven't heard much about Marvel's Spider-Man 2 since it was first announced with a teaser trailer. All we knew was that it would launch sometime in 2023. According to developer Insomniac, we now know it'll launch in time for the holidays, barring delays.

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The best video games of October 2022: Mario, Bayonetta, and more
An angry Wiggler ambushes the heroes from behind in Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope.

After some odd summer months that were dominated by indie and AA games, the AAA part of the video game industry is finally back in the swing of things. October 2022 saw the release of the year's biggest games, and many of them didn't disappoint. From ambitious sequels to games taking bold risks with established franchises, this October was the most exciting month for gaming since March 2022. 
With so many fantastic games coming out, some of them might not be on your radar. That's why I've rounded up the eight best games from October 2022 that you need to check out before the end of the year. 
Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope 
Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope: Story Trailer
Ubisoft finally released a sequel to 2017's surprise strategy game hit Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle and innovated while doing it. This game drops the grid setup common in the tactics genre, giving players the option to run around with their characters each turn, jumping off allies and dashing into enemies along the way. This change to the game's turn economy was risky but ends up making the game much for free-flowing and approachable for newcomers. 
"The sequel brings a host of important changes that improve on the original’s ideas rather than throw them out the window," Giovanni Colantonio wrote in a four-star review of the game. "Less rigid combat, a greater emphasis on exploration, and a stronger approach to character building all make the sequel feel as fresh as the original did in 2017."
The game's story and visuals are full of charm too, making it feel like a first-party Nintendo game even though it was developed by Ubisoft Milan. Although it's not the only fantastic Nintendo Switch game to come out this month, Switch players can't go wrong in picking this one up. Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope is available now exclusively for Nintendo Switch. 
A Plague Tale: Requiem
A Plague Tale: Requiem - "End of Innocence" Gameplay Trailer | Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase 2022
A Plague Tale: Innocence was a surprise sleeper hit in 2019, following a young brother and sister as they try to survive during an Inquisition and plague in the 1300s. Its sequel, A Plague Tale: Requiem, ups the ante on almost all accounts: there's more story, more combat, and more rats to chase the siblings. It's a beautiful game, one of the best-looking on current-gen yet, even if its story about violence gets a little muddled.  
"A Plague Tale: Requiem is a fantastic sequel on several counts," Giovanni Colantonio wrote in a 3.5-star review. "It improves on its predecessor in just about every way by finely tuning its stealth and navigation systems, adding more gameplay variety, and delivering a visually stunning world that puts games with much larger budgets to shame. Its weak spot comes down to its messy storytelling, which exposes the thematic limits of a medium that’s over-reliant on violence as its primary form of interaction."
For a AA game from a somewhat smaller team at Asobo Studio, A Plague Tale: Requiem is a really impressive-looking current-gen game that expands on the formula established in its predecessor. If The Last of Us Part II's story about violence annoyed you, though, parts of this game might feel like a slog to you as well. A Plague Tale: Requiem is available now for PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X/S, with a cloud version playable on Nintendo Switch.
Bayonetta 3
Bayonetta 3 - Ways of the Witch - Nintendo Switch
Despite a voice-acting controversy leading up to its launch, Bayonetta 3 didn't disappoint upon release, launching to critical acclaim. PlatinumGames is known for its stylish action games, and the Bayonetta series remains its crown jewel. With a bombastic opening and fast-paced combat that feels great and rewards skillful combos and dodges, Bayonetta 3 was worth the eight-year wait. The game does push the Nintendo Switch to its limits, though. 
"Bayonetta 3 is the series’ wildest entry to date, mixing PlatinumGames’ knack for fast-paced combat with unbelievably entertaining set pieces that just get bigger and bigger," Giovanni Colantonio's four-star review of Bayonetta 3 explains. "The massive scope of it all makes for some sloppy moments, both technically and narratively, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find an action game that’s having as much fun as this one."
Even though the discourse around this game was messy leading up to its launch, don't let that prevent you from checking this great game out. PlatinumGames continues to prove that no one can make action games that feel quite as refined and satisfying as its games. Bayonetta 3 is available now for Nintendo Switch. 
Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed
Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed - Now Hiring!
Illfonic's track record with 4v1 horror games based on famous franchises isn't great, but they've finally nailed the formula with Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed. Unlike Friday the 13th: The Game or Predator: Hunting Grounds, Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed feels polished, decently balanced, and doesn't take too long to get you into a match. Though an asymmetrical multiplayer game where one player haunts a building as a ghost and four Ghostbusters try to hunt them down and trap them wouldn't be my first idea for a Ghostbusters game, Illfonic nailed that concept here.
You can really tell they love this franchise too, as the Firehouse is lovingly recreated to serve as your base of operations between missions. Dan Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson even return to voice their characters in this game and do it well, making it feel like a more credible licensed game. While Ghostbusters video games can be hit or miss, Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed will provide a good time for those looking for a new game to play with friends. Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed is available now for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S. 
New Tales from the Borderlands
New Tales from the Borderlands - Official Announce Trailer
Tales from the Borderlands was one of Telltale's best games, so it was great to see Gearbox Montreal finally deliver a follow-up, even if it features an entirely new cast. The aptly titled New Tales from the Borderlands follows a scientist named Anu, her hustler brother Octavio, and frogurt shop owner Fran as they find an object that can heal any injury and garner the attention of the evil corporation Tediore. 
"Thanks to entertaining writing, strong characters and performances, and a different game engine that enables more seamless cinematography, I’d recommend New Tales from the Borderlands to fans of the original and those yearning for a very traditional Telltale-like experience," I wrote in a four-star review of New Tales from the Borderlands.
Although it doesn't really push the boundaries of what a narrative adventure game can be from a gameplay perspective, New Tales from the Borderlands tells a captivating story that should entertain fans of this sci-fi series. New Tales from the Borderlands is available now for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Nintendo Switch. 
Marvel Snap
Mobile games don't have the best reputation, but Marvel Snap is one of the most entertaining games I've played this year. It's a collectible card game based on the Marvel superhero universe where players fight for control of at least two of three locations, playing cards at the same time each turn. Add special location and card abilities on top of that, and you have a speedy card game with a whole lot of depth. And if you want to risk it, you can snap during a match to double your rewards. While its progression system to acquire cards is still flawed, even basic starter decks are fun to use in Marvel Snap.
Microtransactions are present in Marvel Snap but aren't intrusive. You can buy a season pass or gold that can be used to acquire new card variants or currencies to level cards up, but those are purely visual upgrades. Marvel Snap is the best mobile game of 2022, and I highly recommend that fans of Marvel or card games check it out when they can. It's available for free on the iOS App Store and Android's Google Play Store. 
The Case of the Golden Idol
The Case of the Golden Idol - Official Release Date Trailer
Ever since playing Return of the Obra Dinn, I've learned that I love a good deduction game. We've gotten a few great ones this year, like Strange Horticulture, but The Case of the Golden Idol is an absolute standout. The point-and-click game places players in different murder scenes and asks them to piece together what happened. To do that, they'll need to click on objects scattered around and collect keywords like names and verbs. The goal is to fill out a Madlibs-style crime report in each level, deducing who killed who just from clever sleuthing.
It starts simply enough, with a scene of one man pushing another off a cliff. However, it escalates from there in complex and surprising ways. By the end of the game, I'd uncovered a massive conspiracy that revolved around a creepy cult, a corrupt political party, and a mysterious golden idol capable of performing magic spells. If you're looking for a challenging mystery game, you can check it out on PC. ~ Giovanni Colantonio
Gotham Knights
Gotham Knights - Official Cinematic Launch Trailer
I've saved Gotham Knights for last because it's the most divisive game on this list. WB Games Montreal's first game in nine years takes some bold narrative swings, following four of Batman's sidekicks as they fend off the Court of Owls in Gotham following Batman's death. It also lets you go on patrol and explore the entirety of Gotham City with a friend. That said, some have been turned off by some gameplay issues and technical problems, so this game isn't for everyone.
"It’s not as good as the best Batman games from the last decade due to a lack of gameplay ambition and performance issues," I wrote in a three-and-a-half-star review of Gotham Knights. "Still, it overcomes those flaws to entertain Batman fans who have always wanted to play a game that lets them explore and defend the streets of Gotham with a friend."
While Gotham Knights isn't perfect, diehard Batman fans should still get a kick out of its story and patrolling the streets of Gotham City in co-op. There's simply no other Batman video game that's quite like this, for better and for worse. Gotham Knights is available for PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X/S, but be aware of its technical issues before deciding which platform to pick the game up on. 

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Cities: Skylines II beginner’s guide: tips and tricks to get started
A screenshot from Cities: Skylines 2's cinematic reveal trailer.

The city-building genre has served a niche audience for the decades since the original Sim City popularized the idea of allowing players to design and manage their own little utopias. With that original franchise on ice, it fell to a newcomer, Cities: Skylines, to take up the mantle as the major player in the genre, and it managed to be a well-received replacement. That title got tons of support from the developers and community, but it finally came time for a sequel to freshen things up. Cities: Skylines II is building on the same foundation as city builders of the past, but it also brings in new features and mechanics that even seasoned city planners will need to wrap their heads around. Whether this is your first time raising a city from scratch or you've poured hundreds of hours into urban design, these are the essential tips and tricks you need to know when starting out in Cities: Skylines II.
Picking your plot

The first major choice you will need to make in Cities: Skylines II is where you want to actually go about building your dream society. At launch, the game comes with six maps to pick between, but this decision carries more weight than just aesthetic differences. Yes, each map has its own look that will determine how your buildings, homes, and even vehicles look, but there are deeper mechanical changes you want to plan for.

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