One of my favourite parts of PAX Aus every year is the PAX Rising area where there’s a plethora of independently developed games ready to play. There’s always new gems to find, fascinating concepts to explore, and cool ideas to dive deep into with the developers usually standing right there with you. You may even break a game or two if you’re lucky which can be a great story later on (maybe not so much for the devs). All this and more can be found at this years PAX Rising event, and to top it all off we now know some of the games we’re going to be playing.
Highlighting the best of the Australian & New Zealand independent development scene, the PAX Aus Indie Showcase brings 10 titles (6 digital & 4 tabletop) selected by industry veterans to the show floor at PAX this year. Previous winners from the 10-year history of the competition include Unpacking, Mini Metro, and Hacknet. Check out more details of the winners below and we will be excited to check them all out in just over a weeks time!
PAX Aus 2022 Indie Showcase Winners – Digital
From Witch Beam Games (Unpacking) comes something completely different – it’s Tempopo, a contemplative puzzle game about planning and execution, in which you restore a harmonious garden by rescuing musical flowers across sky islands.
Developer Sanatana Mishra told GamesHub, ‘anyone who wants to immerse themselves in a charming rhythmic world with puzzles that don’t exert any time pressure should stop by to play Tempopo – especially those who like planning ahead!’
TopplePOP Bungee Blockbusters
A convention favourite, physics-based multiplayer puzzle game TopplePOP: Bungee Blockbusters is looking better than ever as it gets closer to release. Catering to a criminally-underserved genre, you’ll guide bendy animal acrobats on rubber bands to rescue their friends from a jumble of puzzle blocks. The chaos of TopplePOP makes it a great multiplayer game for players of all skill levels to just buck up, but for those who are a little (or a lot) more serious about their puzzle games, there’s a lot of room for finesse and competition here too.
Developer Dan Graf of ArkimA Games said that the team’s goal with TopplePOP’s design was to create a game an accessible game that could be shared as widely as possible. In addition, they hope they have a game that’s versatile enough to create a level playing field for a mix of players.
For those who like to go fast but are finding that games about blue hedgehogs just don’t cut it, look no further than Rooftop Renegade, a 2D action platformer all about hitting incredible speeds and maintaining flow. Boost through levels under constant bombardment, avoid dangerous hazards, and make split-second decisions that could mean the difference between a new personal best or a total wipeout.
Patrick Webb of developer Melonhead Games explained that the vision of the game was to make anyone who picked up Rooftop Renegade ‘feel like a speedrunner’. ‘We offer an accessible way to understand that satisfying feeling of being totally in the zone, blasting through levels at high speeds while chaining movement abilities and making split-second pathing decisions’, he said.
Imagine if The Office was thrown in a blender with Lord of the Rings and South Park, and the resulting product had a Castle Crashers-style video game adaptation. That’s essentially what you’ve got in Box Knight from We Made A Thing Studios. Full of unsettling enemies, cartoon gore, and an engaging combat system, Box Knight puts its own weird twists on the beat-em-up RPG and rogue-lite formula, with a bizarre and unique personality.
One thing creative director Tom Phillips can’t wait to show PAX Aus attendees is the game’s humour: ‘We absolutely love this weird world, and both friend and foe alike have a wonderful amount of character, charm and silliness’.
There is nothing better than discovering a great new mobile word game to obsess over day after day. Your latest should be Gubbins, a friendly puzzle game where players place tiles to construct words, with the help and hindrance of kooky little friends called ‘Gubbins’.
Developer Darcy Smith describes Gubbins as a ‘rouge-lite word game’, which is already a killer hook. But one of the best things about Gubbins is its strikingly quirky aesthetic – Think The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine animated film, but a little more twee.
Graeme from the Repella Fella publishing team invites PAX Aus attendees to come and enjoy making narrative choices with absurdist outcomes. See how those choices affect the rest of the game, and then come back to replay it and see how things can differ.
‘Multiple choices, multiple outcomes, and multiple endings,’ he teases, ‘culminating in the ability for all players to vote on how and where the sequel will begin!’
PAX Aus 2022 Indie Showcase Winners – Tabletop
Pixel Star: Frontier