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SYN Nation

Top 5 Indie Games at PAX Aus 2016

There were a lot of amazing indie games at PAX Aus this year. I didn’t get to play all of them but here are my top 5 favourites (in no particular order).

 

Ticket To Earth – Robot Circus

If there was one game at PAX that continuously caught my eye it was Ticket to Earth. It can best be described as a puzzle/strategy/RPG game in which the player can power up abilities and attacks by tracing paths across a grid. Whilst at first it seems a little overwhelming it doesn’t take long to get the hang of it and slip into the rhythm of combat. The plot surrounds a number of characters who have to fight on a dying planet to find a way back to Earth. This game features some of the best art design and in my opinion, the best character designs I saw at PAX this year.

It’s due to be released Q4 this year so should be available soon on mobile and desktop.

 

Paradigm – Jacob Janerka

It’s no secret that I am a fan of point-and-click adventure games. And weird games. This year at PAX was a game that was both.

Paradigm is a game set in post-apocalyptic Eastern Europe about genetically modified golden children gone wrong. It follows a pretty normal point-and-click structure although some of the other content i’ve seen for it hints at forays into fighting games and RPG styles, if only briefly. You get to play as the titular character Paradigm on his quest to finish his EP and make some ‘phat beatsies’. It also comes with a side game which is a dating sim in which you can date a duck man, a guy with noodle arms or a toaster. Let’s just say if you pick the last option things get pretty… toasty.

The full game is being released early 2017 so get ready for more weirdness.

 

The Artful Escape of Francis Vendetti – Beethoven and Dinosaur

Wanna know what the prettiest game at PAX was? For me it was The Artful Escape of Francis Vendetti. It was described to me by the developer as a game based on if David Bowie had gone on a magical journey to find his musical persona and came back as Ziggy Stardust. You follow Francis Vendetti on his musical adventure through bizarre landscapes whilst coming across weird and wonderful creatures. Part music game, part sidescrolling platformer it manages to capture some magical, cinematic moments, even on the show floor at PAX.

The Artful Escape is predicted to be out early next year so keep your eyes open and ears ready.

 

Blockpocalypse – Dime Studios

Who likes party games? I know I do. The team and I played a variety of them at PAX but this was my favourite in terms of sheer sillyness.

Best described as a competitive (and sometimes cooperative) block stacking game, Blockpocalypse puts us in our dark apocalyptic future where various characters must duke it out to survive. These characters include a unicorn, a horse who really wants to be a unicorn and Left Shark. It has a variety of modes the best one we tried was Blockball a 2v2 basketball like game in which it is possible to have someone slam dunk you through the hoop whilst you hold the ball in epic slow motion. Also you can see what it would be like if a monk and dracula teamed up.

If you wanna throw a bear into lava you can play it in early access right now on Windows and Mac.

 

The Eyes of Ara – 100 Stones Interactive

Everyone loves a mystery. The Eyes of Ara is an atmospheric puzzle game based around clues in the environment. The player is lead to an abandoned castle in the wilderness where strange things have been happening. You get to twist and push objects in the environment as solutions fall into place with a satisfying click allowing you to move on to the next area. It’s been awhile since i’ve played a game that focuses solely on its puzzles and The Eyes of Ara delivers.  Also it’s really pretty, the lighting is pretty amazing.

The best thing is it’s out already so if you’re interested you can pick it up now on Windows and Mac.

 

If you want to know more about any of these games our interviews with some of the developers are up now on Omny.

 

Honourable mentions:

Roto Colour Runners – Blue Volcano Studio

Wildfire – Sneaky Bastards

BrambleLash – ByteSprite

Kieru – Pine Fire Studios

Killing Time at Lightspeed – Gritfish

Continuum – Luminous Koala

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