Every year the video game industry is growing. Not just in profits from mobile games and triple A experiences, but in the amount of often very small and indie oriented development teams around the world and the quality of games we are seeing from them in every genre too. Australia is no exception.
In the past few years we have watched as the Australian development scene has taken leaps and bounds, particularly with the amount of active indie developers we have seen emerge throughout our massive continent. And these indies are making some incredible games right now.
So we wanted to make a list of our most anticipated Australian games coming in 2017. Which was not easy, as there are plenty coming out! In fact we had to cull it down a bit. But what we have left, well it’s an exciting and diverse line up to say the least. One every Australian gamer can be proud of.
Developer: Jacob Janerka – Perth Release Date: February 2017 Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
The first game on our list is not only the most likely to be out first this year, but is also one of the weirdest, wackiest and enduring games I’ve ever played. Paradigm is a point and click adventure game from Perth developer Jacob Janerka, and you can tell he’s poured his heart and soul into every inch of this strange, surreal experience.
The story revolves around the exploits and trials of the mutated character Paradigm, who faces off against his mortal enemy the insecure sloth, Olof. When all he really wants to be doing is working on his next electronic EP.
Taking inspiration from Eastern Europe and the 70s and 80s, the post apocalyptic world Paradigm lives in is filled with strange, ridiculous and outright silly characters. All whom are damn funny. In fact, the whole game is unbelievably funny. So funny each line had me giggling and smiling from ear to ear. Featuring in my favourite games from PAX Aus last year, Paradigm is a gem not to be missed, especially in a day and age lacking point and click adventure games, which aren’t just re releases of Double Fine’s work.
Need To Know
Developer: Monomyth Games – Adelaide Release Date: Middle of 2017 Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
One of many titles on this list which has found funding through Kickstarter, Need to Know is one of several exciting games coming out of the Adelaide development community in 2017. A surveillance thriller simulator (a mouthful I know), Need To Know is aiming to test your integrity in the shadowy world of modern intelligence agencies.
In a similar vain to the recently released Orwell, you’ll be tasked with spying on citizens for a government agency, looking through their data and deciding whether they are a threat to your nation. However, in Need To Know you can use this data for good, fighting back against privacy invasion, becoming a whistle blower. Or, you could use all the confidential data you collect for your own personal gain.
It’s a intriguing premise, one filled with the opportunity for plenty of player agency. And this choice will set Need To Know apart from a market filling up with games which are broaching data surveillance, a topic becoming more relevant to the world every day. Originally set to come out late last year, the small team at Monomyth Games are aiming for a release in the middle of this year, so until then check out their trailer below. It honestly makes my hairs stand on end.
The Adventure Pals
Developer:Massive Monster – Sydney Release Date: Early 2017 Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, Xbox One
Another game which featured in my favourites at PAX Aus last year. Adventure Pals is an action platformer about friendship, wacky one liners and going on epic adventures with your pet giraffe and rock. Taking inspiration from games such as Zelda 2 and Castle Crashers, The Adventure Pals is a silly and addictive title, for gamers of all ages.
You take the role of a young adventurer, seeking to stop the evil Mr B who has kidnapped your Papa, and is hell bent on turning him into a… Hotdog? Yep, that’s right. In your quest to stop your Papa from becoming, a hotdog, you’ll battle through various gorgeous and vibrant stages.
Featuring light RPG elements, tons of unique enemies and bosses and even local co-op, The Adventure Pals is good old fun and a silly time, which has some of the most creative and beautiful animations and art I’ve seen in a 2D adventure platformer.
One of the many games shown at the Indie Games Room at AVCon last year, Icebox is a highly addictive FPS speed runner, with an interesting story at its heart.
Coming from Adelaide developer Carmine Fantarella, Icebox has simple design and visuals, but an incredible amount of depth hidden in its modes. The marathon mode finds you trapped in a digital mind where you must search for and destroy a Central AI system in one long continuous level, fighting enemies as you go. While campaign mode is all about the speed running, as you race the clock in short courses, in an addictive loop of attempting to improve your high score.
Although it may sound simple, the speed running has plenty of depth, as you’ll need to manage your health, special abilities and think on your feet in procedurally generated levels. Along with the addictive and high precision gameplay, Icebox features tron like visuals which make you feel like you are stuck in a digital labyrinth, with no real escape. But boy is it a fun time!
Fan of using unique elemental abilities such as water, fire and earth? How about sneaking through entire levels without being seen? How about combining them together? Well, Wildfire is exactly that. Another title funded through Kickstarter, Wildfire is a 2D pixel art action platformer, based in a medieval world where magic has nearly disappeared and you’re are feared for your supernatural abilities.
You are the hunted. You will need to run, hide and fight your way through various beautiful pixel art levels, all the while saving innocent villagers from captivity. But more importantly, you’ll need to use the elements at hand to explore and make your way past these armies hunting you. Whether its setting fire to EVERYTHING (yes I mean everything!) to scare off your enemies, or create vines to climb to new heights, Wildfire challenges you to think practically with what you have in the world around you.
Coming from Sneaky Bastards, a group drawn together from their love of stealth games, being stealthy plays a large part, as you’ll be able to us the elements not only to fight your enemies, but sneak past them too. If you want to take a friend along for the ride you can in two player local co op. Allowing you to combine your abilities to find new ways to explore the world of Wildfire.
Developer: Kyle Mckellar – Sydney Release Date: First Half of 2017 Platforms: PS4, PC
Another title which took our interest at AVCon last year, Retro Vision instantly catches your eye with its vibrant visuals and fast paced gameplay. Part of the PS First initiative through publisher Nnooo and PlayStation, Retro Vision is a music rhythm/speed runner, from indie developer Kyle Mckellar.
Taking inspiration from the likes of Audiosurf, REZ and Super Hexagon (you remember when we were all addicted to that a few years ago right?), Retro Vision combines high scores, with customisable stages, and music which is randomised every time you play, to create a fun, fast paced experience.
And the visuals! Mind blowing and numbing at the same time, in a good way. They’re intense and give a 80s tron like feel while you’re dodging obstacles and collecting power ups. Coming in the first half of 2017, if you’re a lover of neon and music rhythm games, Retro Vision will likely be your cup of tea.
Developer:Wicked Witch – Melbourne Release Date: First Half of 2017 Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC
Being developed by the same developers who have created the past few AFL games, Wicked Witch are back for the first Aussie rules title since 2013 with AFL Evolution.
The Melbourne development team say they are building the new entry to the AFL video game series from the ground up, taking the best bits from AFL Live 1 and 2, to create the best game for fans of the sport. Similar to other sports series, there will feature a career mode where you’ll be able to manage teams and a pro mode. Where you’ll be able to play through one player’s career, starting right from the bottom in under 18s, working your way through the VFL to make it to the big league.
Coming to the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC, AFL Evolution looks set to take the next step visually. With photo shoots taking place at all 18 AFL clubs, in order to create highly detailed renders of each individual player in the league. Adding to the realism, the main commentator for Evolution will be none other than the now retired Dennis Cometti, with extra commentary from Richmond star, Matthew Richardson. And the feature star for the cover? Premiership player Marcus Bontempelli from the Western bulldogs, as voted by the fans.
Developer:Route 59 – Melbourne Release Date: October 2017 Platforms: PC, Mac
You know one genre we really don’t see enough of in the video game industry? Visual novel games. But a number of Australian developers are trying to change that. Including the newly formed Melbourne based Route 59, with their debut title, Necrobarista.
Necrobarista is a supernatural visual novel, which follows the events around a unique cafe, where the living mingle with the dead. Although there aren’t many details released about the project yet besides from what was shown in the first trailer, what we have seen already looks promising.
In particular, the game’s stylised visuals and cinematics which are largely influenced by anime aesthetics, are absolutely gorgeous, and look to feature a quirky and interesting cast of characters. But best of all, Necrobarista is set in a fictional version of Melbourne! So hang onto your pants Melbourne visual novel fans and hipters, cause Necrobarista is coming this October (it has seen been delayed 🙁 ).
From creators of the well received party game Screencheat, which was one of our favourite Aussie games to come to console last year, comes the next title from Melbourne development team Samurai Punk, The American Dream.
Staying in their preferred genre of development, The American Dream is a first person shooter virtual reality game, in which your guns are hands. You heard me. A satirical experience based in a 1950’s world’s fair, where you learn the virtues of guns for the common citizen. It’s a title which actually makes me want to buy a VR unit.
Although it is a VR title, it stays true to the developer’s style of quirky, fun gameplay, with simple visuals which don’t get in the way of the action. In a time where Virtual Reality is taking the game development industry by storm, the technology and VR platforms need solid games to get gamers on board, and the American Dream looks like a winner.
Developer:Team Cherry – Adelaide Release Date: First half 2017 Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, Mac, Linux
Last, but most certainly not the least, is the debut title from Adelaide studio Team Cherry, Hollow Knight. A 2D action platformer adventure game, with its roots in the Metroid and Castlevania series.
For this side scrolling hack and slash adventure, you play as the Hollow Knight. Traversing the depths of the forgotten kingdom, in order to unravel its many mysteries and defeat the evils that lay below.
There is so much to be said about Hollow Knight. For starters, the vivid hand drawn art style and visuals are incredible. The amount of detail in each scene is mind blowing and the elaborate animations for each character and enemy make you aware of how much time and thought has been put into every part of this game.
The variety of enemies itself is ridiculous, with an astonishing 149 unique foes to face throughout the entire game. Which from such a small team, is damn impressive. Thirty of which are bosses, so be ready for plenty of challenging encounters. The gameplay itself is fast, sharp and as satisfying as it gets in this genre. And now after years of development we are nearing a release date for this breathtaking game. And notably, it is one of the many ‘Nindies’ coming to the Nintendo Switch.
Hollow Knight is a title we have been anticipating for a long time now and honestly can see it being the next Shovel Knight in terms of popularity, and maybe even exceeding it in quality.
So there you have it! These are our top 10 most anticipated Australian games coming out in 2017. But there are many more which we didn’t have time to include, but you will hopefully be seeing more of in the near future.
Regardless we hope this list has you as excited as us for the year ahead, but if you want to play some incredible Aussie games right now? Well we’ve got you covered, as you can check out our favourite Aussie games which came out last year right here!