Early Access games are everywhere on Steam, with hundreds available now and more coming this year. But which Steam Early Access games are the best and most promising in 2023? Which unreleased games should you keep an eye on?
Here’s our list of the 24 Steam Early Access games we think are the most interesting, fun, or notable, in no particular order.
The 24 Best-ish and Most Promising Steam Early Access Games in 2023
1. Going Medieval
Going Medieval is a city builder in which you must build a fortress and defend your colony against raids, welcome new people into your village, and make sure to keep your villagers fed, warm, and happy. The depth and breadth of the city builder simulation is where the game truly shines, with terrain and building tools to make a cool fortress, individual traits for villagers that affect their actions, animal taming, and even more on the way in updates.
Going Medieval is already extremely popular and will likely continue its success as the small dev team traverses its roadmap towards a full release.
Fraymakers is a Super Smash Bros.-like platform fighter in which you play as a variety of popular and indie game characters, with assists from even more indie game favs. It features air dashes, rollback online play, and wave dashing, as well as other typical platform fighter mechanics.
Fraymakers is notable for a few reasons: It’s made by the same studio as Super Smash Flash 2, it features beautiful hand-drawn animation of beloved indie characters and covers of the music from those games, and it has a powerful mod tool called FrayTools. With FrayTools, fans can create their own characters and stages, and you can expect an explosion of creativity from fans following its Steam Early Access release on January 18.
3. Soulstone Survivors
An already popular entry in the Vampire Survivors-esque horde roguelite genre, Soulstone Survivors features you, an enormous horde of monsters, and a variety of ways to become completely overpowered. More ranged enemies, some differing upgrade systems, and 3D graphics set this apart from the competition. More variety is being added as the game moves through its roadmap towards 1.0 late this year.
If you liked Super Smash Bros. Brawl’s Subspace Emissary, Spiritfall might be for you. It’s a platform fighter-inspired roguelite with both run-specific synergies and long-term upgrades to your character. If you’re looking for an action roguelite with Smash Bros.-like combat, this could be a great time when it releases in March 2023.
5. Crab Champions
Crab Champions features fast-paced crab third-person shooting. You move fast, take out enemies, and get upgrades in this shooter with roguelite elements and multiplayer. There’s currently a playtest going on, but the game hits early access proper in April 2023.
Another big hit in recent times, Valheim is an immensely popular 3D survival game in which you play as a Viking exploring and building in a land full of deadly monsters and mystical secrets. Rather than bothering you with the constant need to eat or die of starvation, Valheim focuses on the creative, fun parts of survival games like building and exploration, and it allows for up to 10 player co-op.
7. Disney Dreamlight Valley
Disney Dreamlight Valley has a bunch of Disney characters you can make friends with and more coming through its Steam Early Access period. It features an addictive mix of crafting, farming, social interaction with Disney characters, and other life-sim elements. Sadly, there are no marriage candidates. The full version will release sometime in 2023.
8. Against the Storm
Against the Storm is a roguelite city builder set in a dark fantasy setting. You get to establish a city, then create more that can trade and interact with your previously established cities, each receiving the benefit of your persistent upgrades. Even if your city falls to the ancient threats and endless storms, you can just make another. Your villagers are lizards, harpies, humans, and beavers, with another species coming alongside more variety and depth throughout its Steam Early Access period.
A pachinko roguelite may immediately hook you or not mean much, but Peglin is a fantastically refined orb shooting experience. You find and upgrade orbs with different effects and synergies with one another, then shoot them at pegs to deal damage to enemies that hit you every turn or two. Right now the game only features one playable character, but the game already has multiple difficulty levels, varied peg layouts, and a copious amount of orb puns. It’s expected to leave early access in 2023.
10. Rhythm Doctor
Rhythm Doctor is a story-based rhythm game in which you save patients’ lives by defibrillating in time with their heartbeats. The game has local co-op, a level editor, and an overarching story campaign that’ll be completed when the game emerges from early access.
11. Agent 64: Spies Never Die
A GoldenEye 007-style FPS in 2023? Yes. Agent 64: Spies Never Die is a retro FPS heavily inspired by GoldenEye’s single-player mode, featuring the same multi-objective levels and spy-focused story. You will also be able to make and share your own campaigns. It will be released into Steam Early Access sometime this year and share new story missions as time goes on. A free demo is available now.
12. The Wandering Village
The Wandering Village is a city builder set on the back of a giant creature. The creature wanders through a post-apocalyptic world afflicted with poisonous spores, bloodsucking parasites, and dangerous weather that you’ll have to survive in order to build a thriving village. The Wandering Village will wander its way through Steam Early Access until at least late 2023.
Dinkum is a mix of elements from Animal Crossing and farming games. You can catch bugs and fish, customize your town, farm crops and animals, and convince human villagers to move to your town in a world inspired by Australia. It also has wombats. What more can you want?
14. Coral Island
Yet another farming game, but one with pretty graphics and an eye towards restoring a damaged environment. There are to be 25 marriage candidates, a diving feature that lets you help restore the coral reef, and Merfolk, although not all of this content is currently complete. Coral Island features character customization, farming, most of the romance events, people befriending, and more in its current early access form. It’s expected to hit 1.0 towards the end of this year or the start of 2024.
15. Core Keeper
Core Keeper blew up last year on Steam Early Access, and it looks set to continue expanding its survival mining sandbox action throughout the first half of 2023. Core Keeper has been praised for its fun 2-8-player co-op, its detailed building, crafting, and survival mechanics, and overall feeling fresh in an overstuffed genre. The devs expected to hit 1.0 last year, so the game should leave early access sometime this year.
16. Marvel Snap
Marvel Snap, the new mobile-focused card game, is technically in Steam Early Access. It’s quite addictive to fight your way up the ranks using overpowered combos and familiar Marvel superheroes. The pace is fast for an online card game, with each match involving a healthy dose of randomness and guessing your opponents’ moves as you aim to control at least two out of three locations to win each match. It’s free to play, but season passes will give you cosmetics and even some new cards. Once early access is over, the game will have a UI better suited to PC, and it should hit 1.0 in mid 2023.
17. Hellish Quart
Hellish Quart is a realistic physics-based sword dueling game featuring characters with different fighting styles and tense, lethal fights where removing limbs is an everyday occurrence. Unfortunately, the game only features local multiplayer, so you’ll need friends to get the most out of it even if you use remote play together over the internet. However, a story mode is in the works, and it’s an interesting premise for a fighting game.
18. Little Witch in the Woods
Little Witch in the Woods is a cute story-focused life sim in which you must complete your witch apprenticeship by helping the townsfolk using magic. More story and more content for the life sim elements will be added before it hits 1.0 sometime in 2023.
19. Glimmer in Mirror
This is an unusual candidate for Steam Early Access, being a beautiful story-focused Metroidvania in which you shoot enemies and platform around using magical powers. Glimmer in Mirror will launch into early access in January and release more segments of the world map and chapters in the story until the game is finished.
20. Death Trash
Death Trash is an action RPG with an unusually gross, cosmic horror-themed apocalypse. There’s gore, nudity, vomit, and weird fleshy monsters, as well as player freedom, plenty of sidequests, local co-op, and an alien world to explore. If it sounds off-putting to you, it probably will be, but the game has been praised for its sharp writing and immersive and weird world. Death Trash should emerge from Steam Early Access sometime in 2023.
21. FORZA POLPO!
In FORZA POLPO!, you play as Polpo, a tiny little robot who can jump and hover and must use his abilities to investigate the calamity that froze the world and made 99.9% of humanity disappear. This is a first-person platformer that is inspired by Jumping Flash! and Pilotwings, so it’s a little different from your typical 3D platformer. FORZA POLPO! is set to leave early access in the first half of 2023.
22. King of the Hat
A party game where you must both use your hat as a weapon and protect your hat from being crushed, King of the Hat features a washing machine as a playable character alongside a growing cast of other characters, each with unique traits. It has online multiplayer and will be getting a ranked mode, new stages for the golf mode, and more content for existing modes until it exits early access sometime this year.
23. Baldur’s Gate 3
After 20 years, Baldur’s Gate 2 is getting a sequel by the developers of Divinity: Original Sin 2. It looks to be a fantastic old-school RPG with the only wrinkle being that updates will occasionally wipe your saves, meaning this could be an early access game to wait for. Nevertheless, the game is constantly being updated with new parts of the story, new classes, and even more reactive quests and choices. Baldur’s Gate 3 is set to hit 1.0 in August.
24. Seal World
Finally, a wildcard: Seal World is a small 1-2-hour exploration game with a silly sense of humor. Everyone is a seal. You can swim, eat fish, do some simple platforming, and relax in a game that is set to grow in size a little, but it isn’t aiming to be a massive world-changing game. During early access it’s only $2.99, but it’ll be more expensive after the final area is added and the game hits 1.0 sometime this year.
That’s it for our list of the best Steam Early Access games to look out for in 2023!