The best anime games of 2023 (so far)

Best anime games; a collection of anime characters
(Image credit: HoYoverse)

My pick of the best anime games of 2023 (so far) offers Triple-A tie-ins that ambitiously adapt awesome arcs, plus remade classics boasting bags of anime-style and free anime games to play for less. If you love bright and colourful fantasy worlds, or are looking for something a bit darker, you’ll find your next favourite here.

As the games editor for PLAY magazine, I play a lot of games. Unfortunately for Team PLAY, I’m also their resident anime nerd - if the Miku Hatsune figurines around my desk aren’t a dead giveaway, then the stacks of Sailor Moon manga definitely are. PLAY is a dedicated PlayStation focussed magazine so you’ll find plenty of the best anime games on PS5 below, but my list also offers action, role playing and strategy anime games for Switch and anime games for PC nerds too. After all, this art form welcomes all.

My best anime games of the year to date include those for all game systems, so its a great time to convince yourself you need a new games console; so read our guides to the best Switch deals (go on, get an OLED), Ian's deep dive PlayStation 5 review and his Xbox Series X review to see which of the best-selling home consoles is for you.

Best anime games of 2023

Below are my picks for the best anime games of 2023 so far. I say so far because there's bound to be something new sneaking into the tail end of this year - hello Persona 5 Tactica. My choices below are not ordered, but I do suggest which is best for certain styles of play you may like. (If you want something a little scarier, read my list of the best horror games.)

One Piece Odyssey

Best anime games; a colourful character faces up to an ape monster

Yes, really. One Piece Odyssey is the best anime adaptation for games, and I guarantee you'll love it. (Image credit: Bandai Namco)
Want more One Piece?

Best anime games; a man in a straw hat lays down laughing

(Image credit: Netflix)

Hundreds of anime episodes is an intimidating prospect. Conversely, Netflix’s live action adaptation is only eight episodes, taking a whistle-stop tour through early plot beats while somehow maintaining the original series’ over the top, campy charm.

Publisher Bandai Namco Entertainment Developer ILCA Platform PS5, PS4, PC, Xbox Series X/S Players 1 Buy from Amazon

Best anime adaptation This list wouldn’t be worth hearing mumbled over a transponder snail without mention of this pirate fantasy behemoth. Based on the long running manga and anime, this RPG commemorates the series’ 25th anniversary by taking a walk down memory lane.

Monkey D. Luffy’s quest for the titular treasure sees him shipwrecked on a mysterious island that can’t let the past go. A mysterious power brings his memories to life, adapting the Alabasta, Water Seven, Marineford, and Dressrosa arcs from early in the series’ run.

Turn-based fights make the most of the strong personalities of Luffy’s crew, recreating iconic moves such as Nico Robin’s many-limbed attacks, or by introducing entertaining complications such as chef Sanji being unable to lift a finger in a fight when surrounded by women.

Fate / Samurai Remnant

Best anime games; a female anime character stands in front of a monster

If you like your anime games fast and frenetic, then Fate / Samurai Remnant is the best action anime game. (Image credit: Koei Tecmo)

Publisher Koei Tecmo Developer Omega Force Platform PS5, PS4, Nintendo Switch, PC Players 1 Buy from Amazon

Best anime action game The original Fate/stay night visual novel doesn’t have an official English-language release, meaning there’s been no good onboarding point for English speaking fans - until now.

From hack and slash royalty Omega Force, this action game sees historic fighters summoned to duke it out in Tokyo during the early Edo period. You play as legend-in-his-own-right Miyamoto Iori, a swordsman who unwittingly summons the magical servant Saber. 

In Dynasty Warriors-esque combat, not only are you trading sword strikes as Iori, but Saber offers devastating backup. Together, you might just survive - or run around the open world petting a lot of cats trying.

Honkai: Star Rail

Best anime games; a female anime character dances

Honkai: Star Rail from the Genshin impact studio has become my favourite free anime game of 2023. (Image credit: HoYoverse)

Publisher HoYoverse Developer miHoYo Platform PS5, PC, Android, iOS Players MMORPG Buy from Apple Store, Google Play

Best free anime game You may think, ‘A turn-based live service RPG? Get out of here!’ but trust me, Honkai: Star Rail offers many reasons to hold that train of thought. (It's also a rarity, being one of the best anime games for Android.)

There are gacha mechanics, but they’re generous enough it’s easy to get by without spending real world money. Furthermore, multiple story arcs plus plenty of recruitable characters are offered for free upfront.

You hop aboard as a mysterious protagonist with a universe-destroying Stellaron for a heart. From there you explore a galaxy incorporating familiar sci fi influences alongside what Chinese developer miHoYo has dubbed ‘Silkpunk.’ It’s expansive, it’s genuinely creative, and yes, there are lots of cute space weirdos to recruit along the way. The interstellar group chat has never been more lively.

Atelier Marie Remake: The Alchemist of Salburg

Best anime games; two female anime characters chat

Sometimes you just want a cozy game to snuggle with and Atelier Marie Remake is my pick, especially for Switch, (Image credit: Koei Tecmo)

Publisher Koei Tecmo Developer Koei Tecmo Platform PS5, PS4, Nintendo Switch, PC Players 1 Buy from Steam, Nintendo eShop

Best cozy anime game Alchemist Marie is in her ‘worst witch’ era, threatened with expulsion if she doesn’t make serious academic headway soon. She’s got five years - an actually pretty generous ticking clock you can switch off - to throw everything she’s got into her cauldron and bubble up success.

A remake of a game that never came out in English, I just can’t say no to its determined protagonist or its charming chibi art style. Between gathering ingredients out in the wild, fighting monsters, and fulfilling alchemy requests, this one is well worth curling up with, warm brew of your choice in hand, making it also one of the best anime games on Switch.

Star Ocean: The Second Story R

Best anime games; small anime characters explore an abandoned city

This remake of Star Ocean turned out to be one of the year's most surprising anime games - love it. (Image credit: Square Enix)

Publisher Square Enix Developer Square Enix, Gemdrops, Inc. Platform PS5, PS4, Nintendo Switch, PC Players 1 Buy from Amazon

Best remake Presenting what many fans would describe as the most ‘extra’ adventure in this science fantasy RPG series, this remake pushes the pixelated envelope even further. Predominantly presented in a stunning 2D HD style, the anime influence is obvious from its gorgeous character portraits to its space opera story.

Playing as either space-faring Claude C. Kenni, or prophecy-believing Rena Lanford, you’ll bring two polar opposites of a wide open galaxy together. Assembling a party of star-crossed fighters for flashy, real-time bust-ups as well as plenty of twisty story choices, the fate of Rena’s home world rests in your hands.

PARANORMASIGHT: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo

Best anime games; retro dressed characters

If you like your anime games a little more shocking, then The Seven Mysteries of Honjo won't disappoint. (Image credit: Square Enix)

Publisher Square Enix Developer xeen inc., Square Enix Platform Nintendo Switch, PC, iOS Players 1 Buy from Nintendo eShop, Steam 

Best horror anime game This visual novel borrows liberally from a grab bag of urban legends for its twisting and turning story routes, seeding genuinely inventive gameplay gimmicks throughout that will keep you guessing. (Being an iOS game too, this is also one the best anime games for mobile.)

Set in 1980’s Japan, seven souls seek the ritual that will grant them a single wish - but instead of summoning magical servants to fight by their side, they’ll need to curse everyone else and watch the competition crumble. Happy endings here are few in number and definitely hard won.

Labyrinth of Galleria: The Moon Society

Best anime games; a strange bird chicken monster

There's a lot of competition for being the best anime RPG game, but you can't go wrong with Labyrinth of Galleria. (Image credit: NIS America)

Publisher Nippon Ichi Software Developer NIS America Platform PS5, PS4, Nintendo Switch, PC Players 1 Buy from Amazon 

Best anime RPG No joke, this dungeon crawler is on my personal Game of the Year list. To tell you directly why would be a massive spoiler, so allow me to talk around the point.

Eureka needs a job. She’s tried everything, failed at everything, and her search leads her to the employ of the mysterious Madame Marta. On her first day, Eureka is bound to a strange green spirit (that’s you), who she then must assist in the search of very specific treasure throughout a deadly labyrinth. Obviously, nothing is as it seems.

In between creating a unique army of puppet soldiers, smashing through dungeon walls, and surprisingly poignant musings on the artistic process, you’ll find an anime game quite unlike anything else.

Disgaea 7: Vows of the Virtueless

Best anime games; two anime characters play a board game

The Disgaea series have always been some of the best anime strategy games, and No.7 is my pick. (Image credit: NIS America)

Publisher Nippon Ichi Software Developer NIS America Platform PS5, PS4, Nintendo Switch, PC Players 1 Buy from Amazon 

Best anime strategy game Prepare to feel painfully seen, anime fans. Purilika is a young lady with more money than sense, holidaying in the demonic realm of Hinomoto, home of her latest fangirl obsession - the bushido code. Unfortunately for this catastrophic catgirl, she’s bushido’s number one fan in a steadily shrinking pool of aficionados.

Purilika enlists the expensive help of Fuji, a deadbeat demonic Dad, and together they embark on a wonderfully silly quest that’s literally larger than life thanks to the ability to dominate the battlefield with super sized units. Fantastic comedic English language voice acting makes this one you won’t want to miss (though its lumbering silhouette also makes missing impossible).

Persona 3 Portable

Best anime games; characters face a weird plant creature

Persona 3 Portable is my pick for best anime retro remake. (Image credit: Atlus / Sega)
Summoning more Persona

Best anime games; anime characters splash around in the sea

(Image credit: Atlus / Sega)

While not originally based on an anime series, multiple episodic movies recount the events of Persona 3. These are Persona 3 The Movie: #1 Spring of Birth, #2 Midsummer Knight's Dream, #3 Falling Down, and #4 Winter of Rebirth - though this only retells the male protagonist’s story.

Publisher Sega Developer Atlus Platform PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC Players 1 Buy from Steam 

Best retro port Whether this is your first run around with this tale of teenage despair and connection, or you’re finally seeing what all the fuss is about, this remains a beloved rendition of a classic RPG - and this time you can play as a girl.

Featuring both turn-based fights, visual novel sequences that’ll bring you and your party members closer together, as well as managing all of the non-world-saving responsibilities of a far from average high school student, this is one school year you won’t soon forget.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails to Azure

Best anime games; small anime characters line up to fight a mechanical monster

Trails to Azure will take around 100 hours to totally complete; if you're after an anime epic, this is for you. (Image credit: NIS America)

Publisher NIS America, Inc. Developer Nihon Falcom, PH3 GmbH Platform PS4, Nintendo Switch, PC Players 1 Buy from Amazon 

Best anime-style epic Okay, this is a bit cheeky considering this is the capstone to a sizable arc in the long running, multi-game Trails series - but it could be the jumping on point you’ve been looking for.

Featuring an absurdly huge cast, you won’t have to look far to find your favourite fighter in this tale of a far-reaching, desperate struggle for independence. This long-awaited English language release concludes the Crossbell arc, setting things up for the military school intrigue of the following subseries, Trails of Cold Steel. If you devoured dystopian Young Adult book series once upon a time, then you’ll love this.

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Jess Kinghorn
Freelance writer

Jess is PLAY Magazine’s games editor, and is known for championing the weird, the wonderful, and the downright janky. A fan of cult classic JRPGs and horror, her rants about Koudelka and Shadow Hearts have held many a captive audience. Outside of writing about all things PlayStation, she’s also a lifelong fan of Nintendo’s handheld consoles. Having whiled away most of her college years playing The World Ends With You on the original Nintendo DS, she’s looking forward to uncovering all of NEO’s secrets too. Beginning her career as Official PlayStation Magazine’s staff writer in 2017, she’s since written for PC Gamer, SFX, Games Master, and Games TM.