In a recent study highlighting the most cost-effective games of 2023, Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition emerged as the top title while Nascar Arcade Rush and Peppa Pig: World Adventures were identified as offering the least value.

The research, conducted by social casino website McLuck, analysed more than 480 video game releases from January 2023 onwards. By comparing the price of gameplay against the hours required for total completion, the study aimed to assess and rank the titles with the most and least value.

The best value video games were:

Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition stands out as the most cost-effective game, offering gameplay for as low as $0.13 per hour. Initially released for other consoles in 2019, it debuted on the Xbox Series X and Xbox One in January. This historical realtime strategy game boasts a minimum completion time of 158 hours. With a remarkable 9/10 score on Steam, the game has garnered praise for its extensive gameplay and enhanced graphics.

Priced at $20, Valheim carries a value of $0.14 per hour, offering at least 140 hours of gameplay. Published by Swedish developer Iron Gate Studio, the survival game’s addictiveness and popularity contribute to its notable 10/10 rating among users on Steam.

Ranking third and fourth, making their debut to newer consoles, are Persona 4 Golden and Persona 3 Portable respectively. Initially released in 2012 and 2006, both games saw re-releases in January. Priced at $0.15 per hour of gameplay, Persona 4 Golden requires a minimum of 136 hours for completion, while Persona 3 Portable, at $0.16 per hour, needs 123 hours of gameplay. Each costing $20, both games are hailed as two of the finest Japanese RPGs to date.

In its highly anticipated debut in December, Against the Storm transitioned from early access to a full release. This dark fantasy city-building game boasts a remarkable 10/10 rating on Steam with users praising its uniqueness and replayability. Priced at $29.99, Against the Storm costs $0.17 per hour of gameplay, with a minimum of 180 hours of content.

And the worst value video games were:

Nascar Arcade Rush emerged as the least cost-effective, demanding $20 for every hour of gameplay. Launched across multiple consoles in October, this arcade racing game reportedly boasts a completion time of just under two and a half hours for all features. Despite earning a 58% score on Open Critic, numerous reviews have highlighted concerns over the game’s repetitive nature and limited track options.

Priced at $40, Peppa Pig: World Adventures carries a value of $20 per hour, given its completion within a brief time frame. Amid its brief escapades spanning various climates, the game’s tailored simplicity for four-year-olds contributes to its notable 8/10 rating among parents on Steam.

Released in November, Universe for Sale is a sci-fi game developed by Tmesis Studio that offers players a mystery adventure set in the clouds of Jupiter. With an 8/10 rating on Steam, the game has also earned award recognition for its hand-drawn visuals and storyline. However, the experience can be concluded in 48 minutes, and for $15 per hour, the value is calculated at $18.74.

Nimbus Infinity, a mecha combat game with high-speed action, can be completed in as little as an hour maintaining its value at the initial price of $14.99. With mixed reviews and a Steam score of 6/10, numerous players depend on updates, drawing comparisons to the previous instalment, Project Nimbus, and hoping for improvements.

Also making its debut in November is EA Sports WRC, another racing video game. Priced at $14.28 per hour of gameplay, this simulation game has earned a score of 7/10 on Steam. However, it hasn’t escaped criticism for stuttering issues and locked content. With a total cost of $49.99, the main story can be completed in as little as three and a half hours.

Next on the list is ReactorX 2 at $11.88 per hour, closely followed by Creed: Rise to Glory at $11.43. Wrapping up the list, each offering a value of $10 per hour of gameplay, are WarioWare: Move It!, The Walking Dead: Destinies, and The Grinch: Christmas Adventures.

“It’s crucial to exercise wisdom in the timing of game purchases, especially during the January sales when cost-conscious decisions become challenging,” a McLuck spokesperson says. “Before taking the plunge on a game with a hefty price tag, take the time to delve into the content, read reviews, and assess each title’s overall gaming experience. This approach guarantees that your purchase aligns with your budget and provides genuine value for your investment.”