A staple part of any walk through of the PAX Australia expo halls is the wide selection of indie games on display and this year was no exception. With plenty on offer across a wide range of creative directions and genres, there is something for everyone, and too much to cover in one article, we’ve picked out some of the highlights on show this year in our indie game roundup:
Pride of place this year as attendees entered the main hall from the line hall was The Godfeather, a top-down, roguelike “shooter” where you’re tasked with taking out “hits” (poops or swoops) on your mafia rivals, basically anyone who isn’t a pigeon. This isn’t the first title shown off by Hojo Studio, the Sydney-based developers who’ve previously shown off The Inflatality. The Godfeather launched just in time for PAX 2023 on Steam, with a version for the Nintendo Switch launching early 2024.
A throwback to old school MS-DOS style games, Grist is a procedurally generated space exploration and mission management game. Players need to assemble a crew that works well together, manage resources and make a series of tough decisions in order to ensure hold the cybernetic virus at bay and ensure the mission is a success. With a rich-TUI (Text User Interface) it feels very retro but with all the quality of life perks of a game developed in 2023. Grist is a solo-effort game by Chironex Studios set for release in mid-2024, but currently in early-access on Steam for those keen to get a taste.
A stylistic mix between Terraria, Rimworld and Fallout Shelter, Adaptory puts players on a planet where they base-build, mine down and attempt to survive in a hostile environment, while keeping their crew alive and building out their colony. This is the first title put out by New Zealand studio, Stormcloak Games set for release on Steam in 2024.
After five years of development, Broken Roads was showing off it’s latest role-playing game set in a futuristic, post-apocalyptic Australians outback. Stylistically, a mix between Fallout 1 or 2, and Baldur’s Gate, players must journey through a futuristic and devastated Western Australia, while meeting allies and making tough choices along the way. Developed by Drop Bear Bytes in Victoria, Broken Roads is set for launch on Steam and consoles 14th of November
Monster Racing League
It’s not often you see cart racing games in the indies section at PAX, especially ones with combat and support for 10 player multiplayer to boot, but Monster Racing League comes in and ticks a lot of boxes. Aiming to be accessible with both automated and direct steering options, players can pick from a range of monsters, each with their own abilities and both fight and race their way to victory. Developed by New Zealand studio Flightless the game is currently out in Early Access with a full Steam release due at the end of 2023.
Showcasing their second game after the success of Pico Tanks, Panda Arcade bought Hissy Fit, their second title to PAX this year, a modern recreation of the classic snake game many millennials would no doubt be familiar with. Featuring full physics as you feed your snake people, zombies or buildings as you chew through a town in one of three game modes, however players need to watch out as zombies or army solders dropped in will attempt to break your snake down while you attempt to complete your objective. Hissy Fit slated for release on iOS and Android in 2024, in the meantime you can check out their previous Pico Tanks title or check for updates through the website.
The Dungeon Experience
In something of a first, the pitch for The Dungeon Experience was presented to visitors as pre-recorded tape-deck message. Seemingly the best way to describe The Dungeon Experience is a Dada-esque as you
work with, help out, um get bossed around by a level 1 mudcrab as you explore an Inn within a dungeon, remove asbestos clear the corruption, and achieve financial independence along the way. Developed by team of two, one of whom co-created the Seinfeld Game Pitch, and both of whom clearly spent too much time stuck inside The Stanley Parable, hopefully they can reclaim some semblance of sanity before their mid-2024 Steam launch.
Metal Gear Solid meets Ring Fit Adventure ? It was this interesting cross-over of a pitch that drew us to this booth, control your character’s movement by performing a series of squats, timing them to avoid security and sneak through a series of levels, while taking breaks between levels by listening to exposition about the story. Developed by Melbourne-based Parasol Corp, who’ve previously produced a fitness adventure audiobook, this is their first foray into games. Squat Ops is set for iOS release in 2024.
Go Go Town!
Rebuilding a tourist town and restoring it to glory is a challenge for the best of times, and that’s the challenge for players as they become the new mayor of Go Go Town. Work with the locals, pull together resources and make decisions about what, where and how to rebuild Go Go Town back into a thriving tourist destination. The visuals look vibrant and the game has a really playful energy to it, with clearly set challenges for players to work through as they rebuild the town. Developed by Brisbane-based developer Prideful Sloth, who’ve showcased some of their previous titles at PAX before. Go Go Town is set for Steam and console release in 2024.
Cat adoption is a process of familiarization, personal growth and change and Copycat seeks to explore this dynamic as you play a recently adopted shelter cat who seeks nothing more than to escape from the new environment and adapt to your new owner. Featuring full narration, a simple but thoughtful artistic style and a wholesome story of growth, Copycat was a fresh sense of calm in an otherwise busy PAX show floor. Developed by a team of two from Sydney-based studio Spoonful of Wonder, Copycat looks to be a serene piece of storytelling, due for Steam set for release in 2024.
These are just the games that stood out the most this year at PAX, there were a whole bunch more that we couldn’t cover here shown off at PAX Australia 2023, for a full list of what was being shown off, check out the PAX Australia 2023 exhibitor list and filter for indie.