PAX Aus is right around the corner, and I know the question on everybody’s mind. Australia has things besides spiders, snakes and dropbears? Rude.
Yes we do, and I am lucky enough to not only have PAX in my home town, but also to be invited along as a media representative. As a result, I have been inundated with emails from all the lovely vendors at PAX who are showing off their games, and I am going to share with you some of my favourites. As a warning, these are mostly Australian indie devs, and from the game demos and videos they have sent me, they definitely deserve more attention. This is by no means an exhaustive list, as there are heaps of great talks, tournaments, and places to visit, but for the sake of bandwidth I have to limit myself a little. That said this article will be huge—you have been warned.
So in no particular order, here is some stuff that I am excited about at PAX Australia.
Crawl! is a multiplayer dungeon crawler with a twist—the twist being your friends control the monsters. Created by a duo called Powerhoof from Melbourne, the game managed to snag Australian Game Of The Year at last year’s Australian Game Developers Awards, and it looks well deserved. They were gracious enough to provide me with a demo, but I unfortunately haven’t been able to gather enough people to try it yet, but it will definitely get its own post when I do, as I am definitely looking forward to it. If it looks like something you are interested in, it is currently in early access on Steam.
Ascent – The Space Game
This game is something that impressed me, just because of the sheer scope, and the fact that it’s a one man job. From Joe Lieberman at Fluffy Kitten Studios in Melbourne comes a game that is hopefully going to rival the calibre that Star Citizen set out to achieve, but without the near 100 million dollar budget. The game has a Web Player based demo available here, as well as currently being in early access on Steam.
Powered by Steam VR, but not a first party title as Steam would like it known, is a VR experience set in space. From the people at Opaque Media Group, once again in Melbourne, you jump into the suit of an astronaut and do trivial day to day tasks, but with the effects of microgravity they turn into complex physics puzzles. They have one of those awesome 360 degree trailers, which I have embedded above, but you may need to open it on the YouTube app on your phone for the full effect.
Evergreen is a Zen game from Siege Sloth Games. The goal of this game is to guide and nurture life throughout history. It’s an interesting and original concept, with an almost RPG type of progression system to it. Check out the trailer above to get the grasp of this game, as it is a bit hard to explain.
Armed With Wings: Rearmed
Another Melbournite checking in (REPRESENT!), we have Sun-Studios and the sequel to their well-received original Armed With Wings. Rearmed is a 2D action/puzzle platformer set in the world of Black Mist. Players get to control both a warrior and his eagle companion travelling through various lands filled with puzzle, enemies, and peril. The game is currently in early access on Steam. Once again, the team at Sun-Studios were gracious enough to provide a demo key, and it will get its own post soon.
Lupinball has one of the strangest press emails I have ever seen, and it’s what piqued my interest so I am going to paste it here verbatim. “As a primer, Lupinball is werewolf dodgeball in a top-down arena. Multi-player, single-screen. One hit from an opponent and you’re dead for that round. Think Towerfall, but with wolves. And hadoukens. And orbs. And not much Towerfall at all actually, but it’s still a great way to have a laugh among a group of 4.” So yeah there is that. The game is currently on Steam Greenlight, and they have a trailer out that is above.
Blight Of The Immortals
Blight Of The Immortals is something of an outlier when it comes to real-time strategy games. In the fast paced world of Starcraft and Command and Conquer, Blight Of The Immortals is a game that is played out at a snails pace. Designed so you can play it in 5 minutes of free time, much like Candy Crush except less soul sucking, BOTI has you command armies and towns in your quest to clear the blighted walking dead from the area. The game is currently in open beta and you can play it right here. There is no trailer that I could find, so I have attached the tutorial video.
The first non-game entry in this list, Deakin Motion.Lab is a VR/Motion Capture/Animation/Badass research group, coming out of Melbourne. Housed at Deakin University, they have developed such things as enhanced VR with body motion capture and instant cartoon and cinematic creation tools. They don’t have some all encompassing video available, but they have a whole host of interesting stuff at their website.
Now Suprise Attack isn’t a game, nor do they make games, but they are a PR firm specialising in indie games, and I must say, they are doing a great job at PAX this year. I received an email from them and jumped straight onto Steam and spent a bunch of cash. So here is the ones that excited me the most. I also recommend checking out their full line-up, which I will list below, as they all look killer:
Hacknet is already out on Steam, available right here… HERE. This game excites me the most I think, only because I used to play Uplink for hours upon hours a day. In case you didn’t guess, Hacknet is a terminal based hacking sim for PC that uses real UNIX commands, which on its own makes the game super interesting and a great learning experience.
Dungeon League is a quick fire, multiplayer dungeon crawler, currently in early access on Steam. The dungeon masters got bored of waiting for adventurers to come and traverse their dungeons, so they invited them in and made a spectacle of it. Looks like a fantastic party game, and I am looking forward to playing it at PAX.
Another game that I would be doing an injustice to by saying anything but repeating its own description. “A wise-cracking space marine, an ice cold sniper, a homicidal robot and a chainsaw-wielding aristocrat travel back in time to save Earth from destruction in a co-op roguelike planet-crawler”. Definitely looking forward to that!
For the sake of brevity, and no way an indication of quality, the rest of the Suprise Attack line up is as follows:
- Screencheat – A split screen shooter where everyone is invisible and you have to screen cheat. Showing on Xbox One & PS4. Available now on PC. Coming to consoles in 2016.
- Super Mutant Alien Assault – The Citizen Kane of Super Crate Box clones. Showing on PC. In Early Access now. Launching on PC and consoles in 2016.
- Vertiginous Golf – Arguably the finest dystopian steampunk mini golf adventure game ever created. Showing on PC. Available now on PC, Mac and Linux.
- Western Press – Four second quick-time duels in the wildest of wests. Showing on PC. Launching on PC in 2016.
Mallow Drops is a gravity based puzzle platformer, where you control a marshmallow looking … thing? trying to get from A to B by changing gravity and falling all squishy like. It is a game that I am infuriatingly bad at, but I stilled enjoyed the demo they sent me of nonetheless. In closed beta at the moment, but you can sign up for more information at their site here.
LocoLoco is a puzzle game where you need to build a train track, for a train that is currently moving on the track that you are building … that seems unsafe. The game will be available for iOS and Android on the 29th of October, which is tomorrow if they are going by Australian dates.
WACKY WAVING INFLATABLE ARM FLAILING TUBE MAN! I promise I will never do that again, but Inflatality is just that, except they are fighting, somehow? It’s weird and hilarious, check it out above.
Forts is a mix between Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, a game that was way worse received than I think it should have, and Angry Birds. In this one, you construct a base in basically any shape and form you like, and battle to the bitter end against someone else’s master creation. It has online co-op multiplayer, tech trees, single player consideration, and even mod support. Forts is currently on Steam Greenlight and definitely deserves your support.
Good Game Productions comes in next with Keep Defense, a PVP focused, fast paced, real-time collectable card game. The game has very little in the way of media, but the tagline certainly piqued my interest. You can see the pretty much empty website here.
HIVE: Not By Design
HIVE is a traditional turn based RPG, but with not a whole lot available on what the story is actually about, I am basing my recommendation solely on the art style, which I quite enjoy.
Master Of Orion
And lucky last is Master Of Orion, a remake of the original 4X series from Wargaming. 4X is definitely one of my favorite genres, so this one definitely captured my attention, especially in a time where 4X seems to have been forgotten.
And that’s all folks. If there is anything you think I have missed, drop me a comment.
Are you guys coming to PAX Australia? If so, drop a comment and we should all have a beer!