Well, another year and another crazy PAX Australia event has come and gone. Buoyed by the addition of EB Games’ inclusion, attendance this year seemed to be at an all-time high, and gamers packed the hall in droves to get their hands on some upcoming titles prior to release.
But one thing PAX has always been known for is the promotion of the indie titles, and this year it seemed that a little more care was given to them by moving them to the entrance of the Expo Hall. Being the first thing you see as you enter rather than in the back corner towards the Tabletop and Freeplay areas, PAX Rising and Indie Showcase really seemed to get the recognition it was due, and I don’t think I saw a stand empty with all the games on show.
Of course, personal taste and opinion will vary from person to person, but from the games I saw or got my hands on, the games below were my picks of show.
DOUBLE SHOT (ABERRANT REALITIES)
I played some of this last year and was quite entertained, but the folks at Aberrant Realities really stepped it up this time around and have crafted something ridiculously fun. You become a bartender in a neon-soaked retro paradise, where between making drink orders your rooftop bar is invaded by gangs of evil-doers, and it’s your job to keep the party going and the drinks flowing.
Half the fun is the random assortment of weapons you pull out from your holsters as you take out the enemies, and the other half is making the drinks and being creative as you play around behind the bar. You can even grab bottles of booze and light them up like a Molotov Cocktail to throw at your enemies; but I think my favourite silly thing to do was to just grab things and throw them around.
Guitar Hero and Rockband gave birth to the music-based rhythm games that we know and love, but there’s been significant absence of anything similar in recent times. Spin Rhythm brings you right back into that groove with some tasty beats in the Electronic music space, coupled with a DJ-styled controller that spins the beat wheel and really gets you involved in the tunes.
While I didn’t get to play the game myself, the crowds around it were absolutely jumping when I went past and the songs that were playing were extremely catchy. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for this one as its sure to be a hit.
Never have I seen lawn-mowing at its most competitive. Pit yourself against your friends, your family, even your enemies as you mow lawns for money and take out the competition at the same time in glorious and gory mower combat! The sadistic grin on the faces of the characters is matched only by yours as you chase down your rivals to eliminate them and take their mowing funds, while dodging vehicles that race down the street and mow the lawn perfectly at the same time.
Pico Tanks is one of those games that takes me back to a simpler time – a time where games like Micro Machines were great to play with friends. A mobile-based game, Pico Tanks is a simple yet fun team based mobile shooter where your goal is simple – blow up the other team. Choose your tank and cruise the battlefield hunting your enemies as you seek to rule the field!
The days of fragging and gibbing enemies and having them explode in a shower of polygonal chunks has moved on to realistic graphics and gore – but DUSK harks back to an age where running-and-gunning was chaotic and fun, and enemies would be blasted into pieces by whatever weapon you had on you.
DUSK is a hell of a lot of fun with a relatively simple premise – and the Endless mode had me standing with a childish grin on my face as wave after wave of enemies were blown apart.
This one has been on my list of favourites for the past three years that I’ve seen it, and each time I get more and more excited to see how it has progressed.
Developed by the one-man-marvel Mike Blackney, Dead Static Drive is equal parts Twin Peaks, X-Files and Tremors with a little bit of GTA-style sandbox thrown in for good measure. The art style is beautiful, the gameplay is fun (and you can do a lot of silly things) and his consistent updates via Twitter get me giddy every time.
Of course this is only a small portion of the huge list of games that were on show (which can be found here). What were your favourites? Or what games did we miss that you think are worth a shout-out? Be sure to let us know!