PAX Rising - The Indie Games of PAX AUS 2023

PAX Rising - The Indie Games of PAX AUS 2023


With another PAX AUS down – it was the 10th year of PAX Down Under – our team at Hooked Gamers reflect on some of our favourite indie titles from the event. With dozens of wonderfully unique games on show during the three-day event, it was hard to narrow down our list of upcoming local (Australia and New Zealand) talent in just a few pages. But we tried anyway, and this is the result (in no particular order) …

If you're interested in any of the games, please help out the developers by Wishlisting the game on Steam. Some of the titles have demos currently available to play on Steam, so feel free to check them out for yourselves.

Go-Go TownPrideful Sloth

The team that made Yonder have done it again with another fun, gorgeous , family oriented title. Go-Go Town has players (either alone or as 2-player split screen co-op) taking on the role of mayor of a rundown town. It is your job to rebuild the town by constructing a range of buildings and hiring staff to run them and eventually attract tourists to the town in this story driven game with a touch of humour.

Players will not only be able to place down buildings, but they will be able to terraform the land and lay down fresh roads to make it easier to get around town. And there are numerous ways to get around, whether it be by skateboard, go-cart or even a unicorn tricycle. With cute characters and a fun story, Go-Go Town has an Animal Crossing meets Sim City vibe that is easy to play and is accessible to younger gamers as well as more experienced players.

Wishlist Go-Go Town on Steam

On PointActuator Digital

If you ever played a light-gun game in the arcade during the 90's, then On Point will have a familiar vibe – but in the fully immersive experience of VR. Players will take on a variety of wacky minigames that will test their skills and accuracy – all in non-violent scenarios. Players will shoot targets, smash up a ceramic warehouse, shear sheep by shooting the wool off and even try to keep themselves alive by shooting at falling volcanic debris in the thirty levels. Some levels focus on speed, whilst others will focus more on accuracy and On Point will have three different difficulty modes which will allow for gamers of all skills to have fun. Competitive leaderboards will have players coming back to try and beat their top scores.

The game looks like a 1990's arcade shooter with its bright colours, and it is clear that games such as Point Blank have been an inspiration. And with the game being optimized to have a consistent output of 120FPS, there will be less likelihood of the motion sickness that other VR titles can often produce. A fun shooter for all the family.

Wishlist On Point on Steam

Beyond These StarsBalancing Monkey Games

At last year's PAX AUS, we got to check out Before We leave – the predecessor to Beyond These Stars. The team at Balancing Monkey Games have clearly been working hard on the sequel, as the game looks absolutely stunning.

In this game, players will build their cities similarly to the previous title, but with the limitation that they’re building on the back of a space whale. Players must manage their limited resources wisely as they build up their cities and upgrade their technology. Some areas of the whale will be inaccessible to start with, but with terraforming (one of the new mechanics) and technological advances, new areas will become available for players to build and sustain. All this whilst still co-existing with your new host – the space whale Kewa.

The hex-style layout has had a bit of a make-over with roads being more proportionate to the buildings and the Peeps, and it is clear that the team have spent some time on ensuring that players have some wonderful visuals – we were impressed as the sun shone through and above the trees at sunrise.
Beyond These Stars is a relaxing city building experience that we at Hooked Gamers are looking to see more of as it develops and near release.

Wishlist Beyond These Stars on Steam

ServonautsMAXART Games

With inspiration from games such as Overcooked and Moving Out, Servonauts is a casual co-op party/puzzler where up to 4 players attempt to manage a service station in space. You play as a Servonaut, a replaceable cloned and danger-prone minion whose purpose is to keep the customers happy by connecting the right fuel (indicated by coloured pipes) to space age vehicles that need refuelling. The game can be played solo or as a group of up to 4 in couch co-op to overcome traps, pipes and each other across a series of whacky levels and environments. Levels start out quite basic but can soon become hectic as players need to connect and disconnect pipes to serve the customers.

The controls are simple, and the visuals are colourful and well laid out, and if you're a fan of couch co-ops, then Servonauts will be right up your alley.

Wishlist Servonauts on Steam