Best Video Game Levels Of 2023

Highlights

  • 2023 has been a year for excellent game levels that both challenge and entertain you with a variety of gimmicks, intense boss battles, or iconic locations
  • For instance, the Serene Shores level in Pikmin 4 breaks the trend of water levels being disappointing and offers a beautifully crafted water setting for players to explore with the help of the blue Pikmin.
  • Another example would be the opening chapter of Resident Evil 4 Remake, which perfectly captures the magic of the original game while adding new dynamic layers.

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The mark of a truly excellent game is how good its levels are. As gaming has pushed further into open-world gaming, developers seem to continue moving away from traditional level design (though it should be noted that open worlds can be considered to be levels in a variety of different ways as well).

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2023 was home to some great levels from both major series and new ones. A lot of remakes managed to stand out as 2023 was home to many of them, and those remakes took steps to make sure that already-excellent games were made even better, something that extended to all those excellent levels. So let’s go over the best game levels we got to experience in 2023.

10 Super Mario Bros. Wonder – Bowser’s Blazing Beats

elephant toadette posing in knuckle fest bowsers blazing beats

Super Mario Bros. Wonder

Franchise
Super Mario

Released
October 20, 2023

Genre(s)
Platformer

Multiplayer
Local Co-Op , Online Co-Op

ESRB
Everyone: Mild Fantasy Violence / In-Game Purchases

If you’re looking for an excellent Mario level that throws absolutely everything at you and asks you to succeed, Bowser’s Blazing Beats from Super Mario Bros. Wonder is a fantastic level. The level starts out simple enough, with some basic enemies and blazing fists to avoid.

As soon as you get that Wonder Flower, the level turns into a massive jam-fest. You’ll need to grip the beat of the music in order to properly avoid the blazing fists for the rest of the tricky level. All those springing platforms certainly don’t make things easier, but at the end of the game, you’ll be more than ready for the challenge.

9 Pikmin 4 – Serene Shores

Serene Shores From Pikmin 4, a group of Pikmin ride over a body of water

Pikmin 4

Released
July 21, 2023

Developer(s)
Nintendo

Publisher(s)
Nintendo

Genre(s)
Puzzle , Real-Time Strategy

Multiplayer
Online Multiplayer , Local Multiplayer , Online Co-Op , Local Co-Op

Engine
Unreal Engine 4

ESRB
E for Everyone // Comic Mischief, Fantasy Violence

There may be a lot of action gamers who avoided the exploration- and puzzled-based Pikmin 4, and if that’s you, you’d be missing out on the fantastic Serene Shores level. It actually breaks a trend with Nintendo games and stands out as excellent despite being at a water level.

The level still features all the Pikmin action that you’d expect, but based in a beautifully crafted and designed water setting. The blue Pikmin are going to be your best friend in this level as you use your new little friends to explore for treasure in the massive environment that can dynamically change depending on the time of day.

8 Resident Evil 4 – Chapter 1

Resident Evil 4 - Remake: Leon Kennedy Being Attacked By Villagers

Resident Evil 4 Remake

Released
March 24, 2023

Genre(s)
Survival Horror

Engine
RE Engine

ESRB
M for Mature 17+ due to Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language

It may sound silly to call the opening of the Resident Evil 4 Remake the best level in the game, but when a game is of such high quality, it can be hard to decide. Since the opening perfectly recaptured the magic of the original while adding new dynamic layers, it has to be mentioned.

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Whether it is the new horrific opening that immediately shakes things up or the village fight that is just as thrilling as the original, the opening of this game really shines. You learn everything you need to immediately in a fair way, while also being bombarded with enemies to skill test you for the rest of the game.

7 Tears Of The Kingdom – The Lightning Temple

Queen Gibdo flexes her arms in her cutscene in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.

While some still weren’t thrilled with the temples that were included in Tears Of The Kingdom, a few still stand out as fantastic levels for 2023, with the Lightning Temple being one of them. Sending you into an Indiana Jones-style adventure, you have to enter and navigate through a massive pyramid.

With a lot of tricky puzzles to figure out in whichever way you want, the freedom almost makes the challenges more difficult. Additionally, you get to have a great fight against Queen Gibdo at the end, something that ties all the dreary and sandy atmosphere together perfectly.

6 Dead Space Remake – Chapter 6: Environmental Hazard

Dead Space: The Leviathan Forming Onboard The Ishimura

Dead Space (2023)

Released
January 27, 2023

Developer(s)
EA Motive

Genre(s)
Survival Horror

ESRB
Rated M for Mature for Blood and Gore, Strong Language, and Intense Violence.

For a lot of people, there really aren’t any weak levels in the Dead Space remake, and that’s just one of the many reasons why it’s so loved. Plenty of levels are named as the best, but Chapter 6: Environmental Hazards certainly stands out.

With plenty of great enemy encounters, a creepy trip to hydroponics, rooms that challenge you by limiting your air, and a great chapter-end fight against your first encounter with Leviathan, Chapter 6 is a mammoth challenge. It’s not as stressful as some other levels, but if you’re not one for the Hunter, Chapter 6 might be your favorite too.

5 Star Wars Jedi: Survivor – Koboh

Exploring Koboh cliffs and a sunset

There is a lot of linear progression in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor when compared to the first game, which might be why the planet Koboh stands out so much to many players. More or less Cal’s hub world, Koboh offers you much more than a simple base for customization.

There is a surprising amount to explore on a planet that is generally much safer than the others. There are a lot of fun challenges to undertake on Koboh, making it a great place for players to spend time when they just aren’t feeling the main story progression or want to hone their skills.

4 Lies Of P – St. Frangelico’s Cathedral

Lies Of P character enters St. Frangelico Cathedral

Lies of P

Released
September 19, 2023

Developer(s)
Neowiz Games , Round8 Studio

Publisher(s)
Neowiz Games

Genre(s)
Soulslike

Engine
Unreal Engine 4

ESRB
Mature 17+ / Blood, Violence

This massive Gothic cathedral feels much more like a castle than anything else in Lies of P, and that might be part of what makes it so special. Lies Of P has some great areas to explore, but this one that centers around the poison-like decay as the main gimmick is one of the best.

The tricky nature of the level rewards you the deeper you go, as eventually, you’ll be able to remove all those decay spots in order to adventure around much more easily. With plenty of tense traversal moments and a great boss for the area, this is one level you’ll want to give a try.

3 Hi-Fi Rush – Track 10

Hi-Fi Rush Key Art

Hi-Fi Rush

Released
January 25, 2023

Developer(s)
Tango Gameworks

Genre(s)
Action

Engine
Unreal Engine 4

ESRB
Rated T: Fantasy Violence, Language

If you somehow missed it, Hi-Fi Rush is a fantastic marriage of both the action and rhythm game genres. Track 10 is one of the longer levels, but it’s also one of the most beautiful from a design standpoint and the most fun to play.

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You have so many great fights to go through in this level, with some of the best encounters in the game. The whole level is funny, awe-inspiring, and filled with fantastic music while you beat down the baddies, and that final massive wolf boss is always a wonderful final challenge to the level.

2 Diablo 4 – Scosglen

an art piece of scosglen, an arch is lit with flames with many mountains in the background

Diablo 4

Released
June 6, 2023

Genre(s)
Action RPG , Hack and Slash

Multiplayer
Online Co-Op

Engine
Proprietary

ESRB
MATURE 17+ // Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Language

Diablo 4 is yet another game people can’t stop talking about, and if that includes you, you might also be one of the many who love Scosglen. The dreary and expansive area feels like you’re running around ye olde Scotland, and so many people love it for that very reason.

With so much to explore in Scosglen, so many interesting people to meet, and even more great quests to do, you can spend tons of hours in this single area. Despite how dreary Diablo 4 can be, Scosglen is a place that can offer a lot of levity if you know where to look.

1 The Legend Of Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom – The Depths

Link enters The Depths in Tears of the Kingdom.

A lot of people thought that the sky was going to play a massive role in Tears Of The Kingdom, but no one had any idea how important the Depths would be. Kept a complete secret, this area underneath Hyrule mirrors the land in a dark and twisted way.

You have to navigate through the dark, fight some of the toughest enemies in the game, and even a few new enemies. With entire questlines forcing you down there and even the final portion of the game taking place in the Depths, its exploration is a must, and it’s always a joy to stumble through the dark to uncover something new and exciting.

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