A display of quality
PAX Australia was definitely a boon for the indie scene in Australia and for those in Melbourne in particular. Below are some of my impressions on those indie titles that I had a chance to see and play at PAX. Some I was seeing for the first time, whilst I had seen others (most of the Indie Showcase titles) prior to PAX AUS. Each of the games is in various stages of development, some near completion whilst others in early pre-alpha builds. But each has had plenty of effort put into it by the small teams working on them. There were other indie titles on show but I cannot cover them all, so the list below contains only my favourites.
The Last Stand: Dead Zone
Dead Zone is the latest instalment in The Last Stand series. As such, it already has quite a large fan base. This browser based zombie themed Tower Defence / RTS game is quite cool and has something of a Diablo meets Fallout look and feel going. Players start out by building a base of operations that allows you to recruit new citizens to your squad as they enter your compound. New citizens can then be assigned one of five specializations. Your squad can then scavenge around the town to find resources. Some resources are used to house your inhabitants; other resources keep them nourished whilst ammunition protects them from the zombie invaders.
And the zombies will attack at least once per day. As you increase in rank, the zombie waves will include more or simply better equipped zombies. Making you base defendable is a high priority. The game is free-to-play and players are encouraged to use microtransactions to purchase better items or speed up building. The Last Stand: Dead Zone is playable via Facebook, Armor Games or Kongregate.
For more info visit the Dead Zone website
The pre-alpha build being shown at the expo had only been in development since January but looked remarkably good despite that short period. The game is a cross between the gameplay found in Shadow of the Colossus and your average Tower Defence game. Burden has gamers using their avatar - a giant creature - to carry special cargo from one destination to another. But whilst the colossus is traveling along his path – the pre-alpha build is decidedly "on rails" – he will be attacked by a range of smaller foes. This is where the Tower Defence comes in. Towers can be erected on specific points on the creature’s body and are then used to fend off the attackers so that it can continue on its journey.
Plans are in the works to include a greater variety of avatar creatures, to add new tower types as well as a range of landscapes to give the player some change of scenery (the preview build was a sandy desert). We’ll certainly let you know when more info comes to hand.
For more info, visit PixelPickle on Facebook
Another game still in development, this 3D platformer puts you in the shoes of a postman making deliveries to mysterious locations. The preview build on show was set in a rocky desert area where our postman hero ventured, walking amongst what seemed to be some sort of mining facility.
The visuals look great and the ragdoll effects when the postman meets with tragedy had people making him die on purpose, just to see him flop down into a canyon. The preview build only had a desert Setting but there are plans to include forest and city areas as well. We can’t wait to see more of Postman’s Odyssey and will keep a keen eye on its progress.
For more info, visit the Considerable Content website
Freedom Fall is a beautiful looking platform game designed by artist Lisa Rye. The game is a story of a boy's (whose name is Marsh) escape from a prison cell after being accused of stealing a special potion. The game plays as a simple platform game that introduces new obstacles as you descend further into the tower in which you were held prisoner. Devices such as a glider can be built when you collect a certain amount of cogs. These help to reach bonus areas as well as making it easier to traverse some areas. The game is currently a Steam Greenlight title, and the developers are hoping to add some cool Steam achievements if the game passes the Greenlight test.
I especially loved how the story is told through scribblings on the walls as you progress through the game. You will find out why your character was in there to begin with and how your escape was formulated. The story involves a princess, as well as the discovery that escaping prison was set up.
For more information on the game, visit the Freedom Fall website or check out our review shortly.
Indie developers often have some great game ideas. Wander is a non-combat, non-competitive, collaborative multiplayer game. OK, it doesn’t sound really exciting, but once you enter the gorgeous realm, it is hard not to be drawn up into the story. Wander is all about co-operation, community and exploration. Instead of combat, players encounter challenges and puzzles that can be solved more easily with the co-operation of others. You begin as a tree (not dissimilar to Treebeard in Lord of the Rings), a griffin or an elf and wander throughout lush rainforests, over stunning beaches and over icy mountains. Wander immerses the gamer within beautifully rendered locations which really come to life with the planned Oculus Rift support.
For more info on Wander, visit the Wander website
Dungeon Dashers looks like an old-school RPG along the lines of the Ultima series. This turn based dungeon crawler plays like an old school board game in which the aim is to accumulate as much wealth as you can. Looting is a key mechanic of the game and helps you to acquire better equipment. Equipment upgrades can be crafted and abilities improved as you progress.
Dungeon Dashers currently has 40 levels spread out over 5 different environments, heaps of enemy types and a range of player skills and equipment. Online co-op for up to four players is also available. Similar to other games on show, Dungeon Dashers is looking for support on the Steam Greenlight project.
For more info, visit the Dungeon Dashers webite