PAX AUS 2017 Indie Roundup
The PAX Rising area at PAX AUS was definitely my favourite place to hang out during PAX AUS (and probably has been for the last few years. It’s the place where local developers can showcase their metaphoric sweat and tears to thousands of attendees. And although each of the booths didn’t have the same flashing lights and gimmicks as the big developers and publishers, there is certainly a greater sense of enthusiasm for the products they’re displaying.
The games in the list below all took our eye in one way or another, and each are, in their own way quite unique. There were a number of great games (such as Forts, Inflatality and Damsel) that have been featured in past PAX Aus Indie Specials and have definitely been refined, but with so many great games at this year’s event, we have chosen to bypass them in this year’s roundup.
So without further ado, here is this year’s crop of favourites...
Hand of Fate 2 – Defiant Development
This year featured our first PAX AUS Indie sequel – Hand of Fate 2 (we discovered Hand of Fate at the 2014 PAX AUS). It’s clear that the team at Defiant Development have been working hard on improving and adding to the original title. The Computer Card Game / Action Game hybrid still retains the same premise of the original – take on the dealer in the card game portion of the game, and then move to the third-person action phase of the game. The outcome of the card game will often determine the difficulty of the action sequence. But Hand of Fate 2 adds new combat styles and companion characters as well as a host of new enemies. These new challenges make for an even more exciting game.
Visit the Defiant Development website for more info, or pick it up on Steam when it releases on November 7th.
Putty Pals – Harmonious Games
This wonderfully vibrant and cute two player co-op game has players controlling a couple of globs of putty, working together to overcome the obstacles placed in front of them. The putty-based characters can mould into a pillow trampoline to allow teammates to jump higher, they can swing across ceilings by holding hands, and can even launch themselves like a catapult in order to traverse the platform game. But getting past each level will require teamwork, as only working in tandem will each level be conquered.
For more info, visit the Putty Pals website or buy it on Steam.
Dumb Ways to Die VR - Metro Trains
It’s hard to believe that an advertising campaign to raise safety around the local transit system in Melbourne became so popular that it spawned a series of mobile games. But those games themselves became hugely popular for the fun ways in which safety aspects and deadly consequences are depicted. As an emerging medium, the team at Metro Trains have moved to VR to keep the safety message going. PAX AUS featured a basic VR game which had players working through a fire lighting scenario, all shown it the typical Dumb Ways to Die style.
For more info, visit the Dumb Ways to Die website.
Heist – Atomizer Gamer
We saw Heist a couple of years ago, early on in its development, and it has certainly come a long way since. Heist sees gamers take on the role of a cat burglar in 1920’s period of prohibition. With wonderful black and white Film Noir visuals, gamers must sneak through various locations using shadows and a range of gadgets in order to reach their goals. Heists must be well planned, and three gadgets chosen to be taken into each heist. Levels can be played out in a range of styles depending on those gadgets selected, allowing for multiple playthroughs. A new mission summary shows how you performed after completing each mission.
For more info, visit the Heist website.
Ultra Break – Autotelic Games
Being an older gamer, I do like a good retro game, and Ultra Break fits the bill. Ultra Break could be considered as a modern version or Arkanoid or Breakout, as you control a paddle at the bottom of the screen and hit a ball so that it destroys the bricks at the top of the screen. With a host of cool features including the Chrono Shift ability that temporarily slows down time, this game will bring back some great memories. With sixty colourful levels and a level editor, there is definitely some fun to be had.
For more info, visit the Ultra Break website.
Rumu – Robot House Games
You would expect the life of a robot vacuum to be pretty boring as you move back and forth picking up dirt and other spills left by humans. Rumu is a game that has you playing as the titular robot vacuum in anything but a bland existence. Your job is to keep the house clean, but a wonderful narrative has Rumu going beyond the initial programming and facing a number of moral dilemmas not ordinarily faced by such a sentient device.
For more info, visit the Rumu website.