As we come to the end of another year, it’s easy to focus on the big triple A releases during the holiday season and forgot about the huge lineup of incredible games coming out of the Australian video game industry at the moment. Therefore, we’ve decided to highlight our favourite Aussie made games of 2016. From arcade twin stick shooters, to western duelling party games or meditative puzzle games, local developers are creating some truly fun, interesting and unique games right now. Which really deserve your attention.
Not only was it one of my favourite games at PAX Aus this year, but one of the best to come out of the Australian scene, in 2016. Developed by Tasmanian studio Giant Margarita, Party Golf is an addictive and fun party game, which has a ridiculous amount of customisable settings, to make sure no round is the same. And although the objective may seem simple, getting your ball into the hole, things never turn out quite that easy in Party Golf.
It made headlines when it released, as it was the first Tasmanian developed game to come to the PlayStation 4. So if you are looking for a party game to play with family and friends on your PS4 over the Christmas break, look no further than Party Golf.
Push Me Pull You
Another fantastic party game, but with a strange twist. Push Me Pull You, from Melbourne based devs House House, is a ‘sports’ game, about “friendship and wrestling”. Which kinda says it all while giving nothing away at the same time.
Played with 2-4 players (4 is ideal), you are joined at the waist with your partner, sharing a strange yet hilarious worm like body (let’s try and avoid human centipede comparisons here). The objective? To wrestle your opponent for control of the ball. It might sound strange, and it is. But Push Me Pull You is not only brilliant to play but to watch too, as it has you giggling within moments of starting a game. Couch co-op games ain’t dead just yet.
Tahira: Echoes of the Astral Empire
Taking a shift away from the party games for a moment. Tahira is a tactical turn-based RPG, set on a world which has fallen into a medieval dark age, after the collapse of a space faring civilisation. If that doesn’t have you intrigued, I don’t know what will!
The story follows the 20-year-old princess Tahira, as she attempts to save her people from the genocidal Astral Empire. It’s the debut title from Canberra studio Whalehammer Games (epic name!) and like many other Australian indie games in recent years, was funded through Kickstarter. Featuring an art style inspired by The Banner Saga, Tahira is one not to miss if you’re lover of tactical turn based games.
Killing Time At Lightspeed
Have you ever wanted to browse social media at the speed of light? Maybe. How about watch your friends grow old in the blink of an eye? Not so much. Or tell your friends you love them for the last time? Ok, now this is getting dark. Welcome to Killing Time At Lightspeed.
The original concept and design came as a part of a game jam, back in 2014, from Sydney based developer Gritfish, who is a one man team with a revolving door of artists and musicians, to help out along the way. Earlier in the year we did a feature on Killing Time At Lightspeed, a visual novelesque game which, although is dark, is also a very interesting commentary on current social media, and an experience you just have to try for yourself, since we aren’t heading to Mars just yet.
Another game from Gritfish, although with a rather different tone and genre from Killing Time At Lightspeed. Mallow Drops is a gravity puzzle game, where two kiwis must regather their eggs in a shattered world.
A meditative puzzle game which will require you to look at puzzles at every angle, as you slide around various maps avoiding deadly traps and saving your eggs. It’s out on PC, but really its a perfect fit for mobile, and one of the smartest, fun and relaxing experiences, you’ll have on your mobile dvice this year.
Screencheating is as old as local multiplayer shooters themselves, and likely you’ve been ridiculed for doing it at some point while gaming. Well, that’s all different now, as Screencheat actively encourages it!
In Screencheat, every player is invisible, to yourself and your opponents. So, you have to look at your opponents screen to determine where they are on the map, and hope they don’t find you first. Featuring a number of silly and ridiculous weapons and a good variety of maps, Screencheat is a bundle of fun, and is sure to ruin friendships just like when you first started screencheating, in Goldeneye or Halo. Although it released on PC back in 2014, Melbourne creators Samurai Punk brought the party game to consoles this year, where it really shines.
If you’re looking for a fast paced dubstep filled arcade shoot em up, then SMAA is for you. It comes way of the one man Sydney team Cybernate, who has crafted a fun and challenging shooter, featuring randomised levels, tons of weapons, tough as nails bosses and unique enemies. SMAA is truly a rare worthwhile treat.
This is as polished as games get, and with the amount of replayability at hand, its well worth its price tag. I could tell you more here, or you could go check out our review of SMAA. Spoilers, we loved it.
Aussie developers are really killing it when it comes to local multiplayer games this year, and the guys at Bandit-1 are no exception to the rule. As Western Press is another killer party game. Literally.
The western frontier duelling game, in which opponents (in tournaments of up to 16 players) face off in a rapid fire game of death is deadly fun, and is likely to become a must have for gaming tournaments in the future. Duels only last for a second, as you press the buttons on-screen fastest to win. The pixel art style adds to the silly and fun tone, which I’ve seen make people laugh and yell at each other at conventions all year round.
The Warlock of Firetop Mountain
Another Kickstarter backed Aussie indie project, The Warlock of Firetop Mountain is a tad different from the rest here, as it’s a tabletop adventure come to life. Originally a fighting fantasy game book from 1982, Melbourne’s Tin Man Game’s have transformed the epic paperback story into a real life adventure, in what is a dream come true for any Fighting Fantasy fans.
Featuring detailed turn based combat and beautiful characters and environments, its easy to be drawn into and immersed in this gorgeous single player experience.
Assault Android Cactus (Console)
To round-up this incredible list, we have, wait for it, another local co-op game! Assault Android Cactus comes way of Brisbane developer Witch Beam, and was originally released on PC last year. But this frenetic twin stick shooter local co-op game, couldn’t stay away from consoles for long, hitting the PlayStation 4 earlier this year.
Jump in with up to four friends as you battle giant bosses to a heart pumping soundtrack in this award-winning game. Featuring a unique art style and battery game mechanic, Assault Android Cactus is a big game, with a 25 stage campaign which will likely keep you and your friends busy for a while.
Going over this fantastic list of Aussie games to come out this year, it’s interesting to see Australian developers keeping ageing genres going. From arcade and twin stick shooters, to single player storybook adventures. That’s not to mention the fact the Australian games industry is obviously keeping the party game and local co-op scenes alive by itself.
But what did you think of the list? Have a ton of games to catch up on and enough party games to last you a lifetime now? Or did we miss one of your favourites for 2016? Let us know!