PAX Rising - The indie games of PAX AUS
The independent (indie) gaming scene in Australia is gaining momentum, and PAX AUS seems to be the perfect place to showcase some of the best stuff coming out of backyard garages, home workshops and small studios across the country (and I'm going to include New Zealand as part of Australia in this special, as there were a couple on display from the land of Orcs and sheep). The PAX Rising area seemed to have been even larger than last year, and although quantity isn't a normally a good indication of quality, there definitely were a number of games that took our eye. Below are just a few of our favourites (in no particular order).
Hive: Not By Design - C117 Games
A lovely JRPG style game which has been a year or so in development. The game has a largely Nintendo 64 Zelda feel to it. The game has you taking the role of a young woman known as Shae, as she journeys throughout the land. When complete, the min story will take around forty hours to complete, although this will depend on which branches are taken throughout the story. Along the way, relationships with NPCs will alter the way the story progresses. With the game beginning in a small medieval village, there is plenty of crafting and farming to be done, with the farming working similar to Farmville whereby crops require a certain period of time to grow.
For more info or to download the demo visit the Hive: Not by Design website.
Evergreen - Siege Sloth
Watching grass (or in this case, a tree) grow is often a synonym for something boring. But although Evergreen has you doing just that, it is anything but boring. Evergreen has you taking the role of a young sapling in various scenarios through history and has you attempting to grow your tree into a mighty structure whilst helping to evolve the world around you. For example, an early level has you trying to lure a fish out of water in order to begin colonising the earth. Weather effects need to be taken into consideration as well as keeping an eye on making sure the root system is just as healthy as the part sticking above the ground. The developers have spent much time researching historical periods in order to make the scenarios realistic. Evergreen is one of those games where kids could actually learn something as they progress in this vibrant looking game.
For more info, visit the Evergreen website or check out the game on Steam Greenlight.
Earthlight VR - Opaque Media Group
What do you get when you cross the International Space Station with the Oculus VR device? Earthlight VR, is the answer. Earthlight has you strapping on a VR headset and complete with a couple of special controllers, has you completing a spacewalk on the ISS The VR headset gives a fully immersive experience as you slowly make your way towards completing the mission goal.
Inspired by Apollo 13, as well as the more recent Gravity and The Martian, Earthlight delivers an authentic and scientifically accurate setting. And with support and collaboration from NASA and astronauts, the developers are attempting to make Earthlight as realistic as possible
For more info, visit the Earthlight VR website.
Forts - Earthwork Games
Forts is a rather cool RTS that looks at first as though it is a modern version of the old Tanks game whereby there are two players on each side of the screen and then have to shoot and destroy each other (in this case, their forts). What sets this recently Greenlit game apart from that retro title is the fact that each player is constantly in the process of improving and expanding their forts in real time. Players can build bridge like structures to nearby locations on their map which opens up improved weapons, but must also keep an eye on defending against attack. With a range of maps (including a map editor) Forts has a Worms-esque visual style which adds to the fun atmosphere of this online multiplayer or co-op game. It also has a single player campaign for those who like to play alone.
For more info, check out the Earthworks Games website.
Lupinball - Craftven
Lupinball is a hectic four player party game that has games taking on the role of a werewolf in a dodgeball experience. Players run around a small pixel art arena collecting orbs. Once they've collected three orbs, players can then fire off a powerball at their enemies. These balls will then ounce around the screen, requiring players to dodge them whilst attempting to collect more of the ever so important orbs. Special boxes then throw some added mayhem into the mix with reverse controller, upside down and teleportation functions. Great fun with mates sitting on a sofa.
For more info, visit the Craftven website or vote for it on Steam Greenlight.