Today, we’re going to take a closer look at the ten most addictive games you can play in 2023, picked by me–A lifelong gamer who racked up over 1200 games over nearly 40 years of gaming.
Sometimes you start playing a game, and you don’t stop. You find yourself the next day, drinking energy drinks, maybe eating some chips, with a head burning with the realization that you’ll eventually have to go to sleep.
Then you go to work, and you can’t stop thinking about doing one more quest, leveling up one more building, and scratching your new gaming itch.
The games on the list today are all games that make you feel that way. Are they the best games? Sometimes.
What’s most important, though, is that they keep you coming back for more.
10. Stardew Valley
Stardew Valley is an excellent entry point into addictive games. There’s no real risk of failure, there are loads of things to do, and you have multiple items to level up with your hard-earned money.
You’ll find yourself going, “just one more day,” or “I just need to reach harvest, and I’ll stop.”
There are countless goals you can make for yourself, and even after a farm has run its course, you’ll often find yourself starting a new one to revisit the feeling you got when you grew your farm from nothing.
When you finally finish, when you’re all burned out, you’ll look back and go, “I guess I’m done,” and then pick it all up again next year when you’ve forgotten everything.
There aren’t many people that haven’t heard about Skyrim.
Its vast open world, numerous random encounters, and regular endorphin hits from leveling up still provide one of the best gaming experiences to this day.
It gives players vast choices in character creation, how you level your character, storylines, and a combat system that is easy to master, no matter the player’s level.
Mods, both fan-made and official, are continually adding to the experience, and new versions of the game are being released on newer consoles as they come out.
Whether you like it or not, you’ll find yourself spending hundreds of hours in Skyrim more than a decade after its release.
The only reason Skyrim isn’t higher on this list is because the experience it offers is getting played out. Mods are doing a great job of keeping it fresh, but the core gameplay needs an update.
Still, it’s good enough to keep players busy until the next Elder Scrolls comes out in 2038.
This game came out of nowhere. Tetris has always been addictive, but it was a dry experience. Your skill in manipulating the shapes and getting four lines at once was satisfying, but it rarely was visually and audibly addictive.
Tetris Effect changed all that. The sounds blend with the music almost seamlessly. The music shifts between different genres and styles as you max out your bonuses. The visuals pulse and react with every movement you make.
It is an experience that is hard to describe fully.
It makes you want to keep playing to do better. You’ll wonder what you’ll see and hear if you push your bonuses just that much further or whether you can beat your all-time record.
Once Tetris Effect has its hooks in you, you’ll definitely not forget it.
There are a lot of phone games with gameplay like Clash of Clans, but it’s hard to argue with its success as one of the founding members of the build, upgrade, fight for cash genre.
Its addiction comes in little bites, little tastes of gameplay. You find a nice fat base ripe for the taking, make as thorough a plan as you can during the short pre-fight countdown, and send in the troops.
If you plan well, you’ll pick off key defenses piece by piece and find yourself with a satisfying, enriching, three-star attack. If you don’t, you’ll end up with less. Either way, you always feel like your plans make a real difference in the outcome.
And then you start upgrading. The waits at the beginning are short. You’ll find yourself clawing upwards at a rapid pace.
Every 10-30 minutes, you’ll get a “ping” as your phone notifies you another building is done or that your troops are ready for another battle. This digs into your psyche and prepares you for the longer waits as you claw higher and higher. You’ll be waiting, eager, for another opportunity to use a new troop you just got or for the start of the clan war league.
Few games in the genre can ever get that feeling quite as well-tuned as Clash of Clans, and that alone makes it one of the most addictive mobile games on the market.
Minecraft is a kid’s game. It’s also an adult’s game. It brings simplicity of gameplay merged with a long and deep experience.
It’s an art program, a host for endless mods and roleplay, and a generally blank slate that you can fill with anything you like.
It’s unique in this list in that it is addictive, but the addiction doesn’t really come from a pre-designed experience. The experience set by itself is mostly empty. But when you start pouring your creativity into the world, it becomes endlessly rewarding.
Even today, the game bucks the standard gaming trend where there are fewer users as time continues forward. More and more users are flocking to it, and few are leaving.
It is a canvas that the world cannot get enough of, and it’s not likely to be leaving any time soon.
Loot crates have gotten a bad rep over the years, but that’s entirely because they are the epitome of addiction. One of the more recent (and effective) exploiters of this phenomenon is Cookie Run: Kingdom.
You can either grind your way forward through playing the game, or you can spend a healthy supply of your money buying cookies until you get the high-ranked high-power ones you’re looking for.
The game provides regular updates with special cookies, so you never can truly say you have the best or that your collection is complete. It pulls you in quickly, and it refuses to let go.
It also helps that the game also contains the building and unit upgrades found in other similar titles. Even if you’re not that tempted to buy cookies for your battle line, you’ll be tempted to use them to boost your supplies of the many items used when running your kingdom.
There are loads of little things that can keep your attention, loads of little timers that will “ping” you right back.
It’s an addiction factory selling more addiction, which is appropriate for a game centered around cookies.
It’s hard not to acknowledge Wordle. If you’re on any sort of social media, you’ll regularly see people posting their daily bests. It’s easy to understand, fast to play and is most definitely the popcorn on this list.
You’ll play a game and go, “eh, I can do better.” Before you know it, you’ve played hundreds of games, and you’re jonesing for more. The very fact it’s so easy to play is the reason why it’s so hard to stop.
It also helps that your friends and family will be posting their own results.
If the original isn’t enough, there are more and more variants being released every month. Each of these games acknowledge Wordle as the original by ending their game name with the same “dle” as their form of tribute to the game that started it all.
So, whether you play Mathdle, Absurdle, or the Wordle that started it all, it’s unlikely you’ll be stopping.
When Defense of the Ancients began in the olden era of Warcraft III, it was a giant hit. Millions competed as the creators of the map expanded the hero roster, refined the gameplay, and took it about as far as a custom map could.
It was inevitable that the gameplay would be taken and refined outside its host game, and League of Legends has been the biggest success by far.
For those who enjoy the DoTA genre, the simplicity of League of Legends’ adaptation of the mechanics combined with the twitchy nature of its combat has been a huge draw. The focus is on your abilities, your attacks, and the flow of the lane.
The roles are defined, but sometimes a team can go outside the box and make a big play that nobody saw coming. Even when you’re playing as a solo in a blind pick match, each game is a fresh encounter that can go in any number of directions.
You may want to play with every other player in the game muted, but there’s no denying the appeal of the game itself.
Here is a confession of one of the biggest League of Legends streamers:
Kids are more susceptible to an addicting experience than adults. That is an undeniable fact. There’s no surprise, then, that the game has almost sixty million users playing inside the millions of “obbys” created by the users and developers for the game every single day.
The monetization is simple. You like playing games, right? You’d like it even more dressed like your favorite Pokemon!
Since the creations are largely made by the users, not the developers themselves, a lot of intellectual property sneaks in as usable outfits. Kids love that sort of thing.
The “obby” experiences themselves tend to be pretty minimal outside the ones made by actual teams of developers. That said, the ones made by individuals tend to be the ones played the most due to them having fewer paywalls. Big teams want big money, after all.
Still, there’s something for everyone hiding in Roblox. Whether you end up in a horror game, a roleplay about giving birth in a hospital, or diving across a complicated obstacle course, there’s always a new experience just around the corner.
Will you find the perfect game? Not likely. Will you find forty million passable games? Yes.
Action RPGs rarely get monetized to the degree that you’d find in a mobile game. Genshin Impact is a notable, profitable, huge exception.
There are loads of characters to collect, loads of enemies to fight, piles of loot to gather, and enough content to keep you busy for the rest of your known life (mainly because they’ll add more before you get to the end).
It’s actually a really fun game to play when all is said and done. It’s just combined with a lot of the monetization mechanics you’d find in Clash of Clans or Cookie Run.
You’ll get that urge to play just a little longer, to unlock just one more wish, to harvest more primogems, or to spend some time leveling up your new character. There’s always something to do, and the game does its best to bounce you from place to place and keep you feeling a reward buzz.
It’s naturally mixed in with reminders you could get more of a fix by spending cash and bypassing some of the grind, as is expected of the majority of games in the addictive category.
If you haven’t played Genshin Impact or other games on this list, start easy. They’ll have their hooks in you before you realize it.
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There you have it, my selections for the top ten most addictive games you can play in 2023.
Is there a more addictive game I missed? Which game are you going to try?
Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.
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