PAX AUS 2014 Indie Game Special

PAX AUS 2014 Indie Game Special

Feature

The Indie Game scene is booming in Australia, based purely on the number of games on display at PAX AUS 2014. We take a look at our favourites.

Train Conductor 3 - The Voxel Agents (iOS/Android)
How easy is it to get trains from one point to another? Pretty easy, unless there are other trains in the way, broken tracks, or even mountains blocking your path. Train Conductor 3 has you solving those issues, getting you to make new tracks, pause trains so they don't crash into each other and generally getting the trains and their cargo from A to B. The third iteration in the series has been given a graphical overhaul, and some cool new game mechanics, allowing for curved tracks and the ability to lay secondary tracks for the same train in advance. The touch screen control system is easy to use, but things can get hectic as you progress through the more difficult levels. The colourful graphics give the game a fun, casual feel. And the relatively short levels mean that you can be playing Train Conductor 3 during your morning commute.

For more info, visit the Voxel Agents website.


Light in the Dark - Dreamgate Studios (iOS/Android)
Light physics based puzzle game, one that is suitable for all ages. It's great for young kids as the early levels will teach them colours and what happens when they are mixed. But it is also great for older folk, as the game ramps up the difficulty with a range of obstacles such as boxes and mirrors. The aim of the 120 levels (more levels to be added shortly) is to move a light source to the matching colour star. The visuals have a 'Cut the Rope' style to them with some bright cartoony characters in an ancient Egyptian setting. A star rating is given for each level as well, giving completionists added replay value.

For more info, visit the Dreamgate Studios website.


Expand - Chris Johnson and Chris Larkin (PC)
Expand is a minimalistic looking game with its monochrome geometric design. But it is a wonderfully addictive game that requires gamers to move a pink square through an ever-changing circular labyrinth. Indeed, the basic visuals work extremely well with the puzzle nature of the game, allowing the player to focus on the task at hand - getting the square to the exit. Expand also has a wonderfully composed soundtrack which puts the gamer into a relaxed frame of mind. The simple controls (simply moving the square around the labyrinth) mean that the game is a simple one to pick up and play.

For more info, visit the Expand website.


Hand of Fate Defiant Development (PC)
Part tabletop card game, part action combat game, Hand of Fate provides both a strategic and action packed experience. You begin by building a deck of twelve core cards and it is with these cards that the strategic portion of the game takes place. The cards work like a D&D session, in essence selecting the path in which you will take in order to defeat the 12 boss characters. Luck plays a small part in the setup of the battle, but once the battle phase begins, it is skill in combat that will get you through. Combat is fairly basic, with three basic moves attack, roll and defend. It is often the defensive and rolling actions that will determine the outcome of the battle, so even if the cards didnt fall your way, there is still hope if you perform well. Better armour and weapons can be collected from fallen foes during the course of the game, enabling you to take on the stronger enemies as you progress.

Hand of Fate is currently in Early Access on Steam, but you can find more info at the Defiant Developments website.


Wave Wave - Thomas Janson (iOS/Android in future)
Flappy Bird meets Snake was how designer Thomas Janson described Wave Wave. And it's fairly accurate. The Snake moves through a series of geometric shapes with you controlling the Snake with controls similar to that of Flappy Bird. Wave Wave plays like a GPS map in which you must drive your car through the maze of streets with only one direction in which you can turn your car. And if you don't turn your car, it will automatically turn the other way, often crashing into a wall. Death occurs often, and very quickly. Frustrating but addictive as you want to beat your best score and work your way further through the maze.

For more info, visit the Wave Wave website.