Early reviews for indie JRPG Sea of Stars put it among 2023's biggest GOTY contenders

 Sea of Stars golem
Sea of Stars golem

Our Sea of Stars review gives the long-awaited JRPG 4.5/5 stars, and its broader critical reception has been equally glowing, to the point that it's quickly become a Game of the Year contender alongside giants like The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and Baldur's Gate 3.

Sea of Stars is currently sitting at a score of 95 on OpenCritic's top games of 2023, putting it in third place – again, only behind Baldur's Gate 3 and Tears of the Kingdom. MetaCritic, meanwhile, has it at a score of 91 on Switch in 11th place for the year, and again at 21st on PS5 with a score of 90. For comparison, the previous game from Sea of Stars developer Sabotage, a delightful Metroidvania called The Messenger, is sitting at an 86 on both aggregates.

There are a few important caveats here. First of all, reviews are still being tabulated. OpenCritic, in particular, is missing a lot of the bigger Sea of Stars reviews that have already been published, many of which hover around the 4/5 range. Metacritic's score is likewise in flux; even as I was writing this, Sea of Stars dropped from a unified 91 to an average of 90 across three platform-specific ratings.

Metacritic also has a somewhat confusing list of 2023 releases, with a lot of them being DLC or remasters for older games or, like with Sea of Stars, repeats of the same game on different platforms. Metacritic's 2023 roundup has Metroid Prime Remastered at number three, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Complete Edition for Xbox Series X at four, Tetris Effect: Connected for PS5 at five, three versions of Street Fighter 6 at seven, nine, and 20, and the fourth DLC for 2022's Xenoblade Chronicles 3 at eight. That's to say nothing of Quake 2 Enhanced Edition and Persona 4 Golden.

Metacritic's list could arguably be trimmed to: Baldur's Gate 3, Tears of the Kingdom, Resident Evil 4, Street Fighter 6, Diablo 4, and then Sea of Stars. But no matter how you slice it, and even if you don't remove anything other than the oldest ports and obvious repeats, that's incredible company for an indie JRPG to keep.

Sea of Stars has lived up to our anticipation, and it was only possible thanks to its developer's smash-hit Metroidvania, The Messenger.