PAX Australia 2015 has been and gone. Fun was had, games were played, and now people are sad it’s over. For those that didn’t attend PAX, you can find my from the floor article here, where I give a brief overview of what I played and what I thought. If you read that article you may have noticed that there was an entire section that was left uncovered, the humble indie titles. There was an entire smorgasbord of indie titles available this year and one thing I really enjoyed was talking to the passionate people behind these games. Being able to play a title then talk directly to the people that made it is a very different experience. You can see the tension on some of their faces as people play and critique their creations right before their eyes, but the overall vibe was quite positive. For the most part I found players were giving positive and constructive feedback and the developers all seemed genuinely happy that people were playing and enjoying their games. Here’s some of the indie titles that I got a chance to play this year at PAX.
Crawl is the brainchild of Powerhoof, a Melbourne based developer consisting of two men, Barney Cumming and David Lloyd. Born from an event dubbed “The Multijam”, where a group of game-dev buddies came together to make a bunch of local multiplayer games and brought them to Dave’s place to play. Barney brought along a game titled “4P RPG”, which he had made in a few days using Multimedia Fusion. The game turned out to be a winning formula and Crawl was born.
Crawl is a game that’s best played with 3 friends. In it, one player controls the hero, exploring the dungeon, killing monsters and collecting gold. Sounds simple enough right? The catch is, the other players’ control wraiths, which they can use to control traps and monsters as the hero makes their way through the dungeon. As each monster is slain the hero gathers XP and the wraiths gather wrath. When the hero reaches the end of the level the wraiths can spend their wrath upgrading monsters, levelling the playing field. Through my time playing Crawl I found that this mechanic helped to balance the game quite well, and I never felt that either the monsters or the hero was overpowered.
When the hero dies, the player that killed them then becomes the hero, killing monsters and levelling up until one player reaches level 10. When Level 10 has been reached you have to make your way to a type of summoning chamber to fight the boss. The boss that I came across was a horrible tenticly monster, on which there were 3 parts that players could control. The fight is intense and it’s more than a simple hack away until it dies. There is a strategy to it and you have to constantly stay on your toes to stay alive.
All the gameplay mechanics come together well in Crawl. There’s plenty of times you’ll be cursing your friends, but the tide of battle turns frequently enough that the game feels constantly fun. There’s plenty of upgrades for the hero, both in weapons and abilities, and some pretty cool higher level monsters that will keep you coming back for another game.
Crawl is available now through the Steam’s Early Access program and you can buy it here.
Also, check out their website for more info.
If you were at PAX Aus last year then Swordy might not be a new title to you. If, like me, you didn’t get around to playing i last year, Frogshark brought Swordy back this year bigger and better than ever. With new weapons and a few new features I decided to try Swordy out with a few of the Another Dungeon crew, and I can honestly say I had a blast.
In a nutshell, Swordy is a top down physics based brawler. You start out unarmed so the first thing that usually happens is everyone rushes to pick something up, and chaos quickly ensues. The controls are pretty basic, with players moving around with the left thumbstick and the right thumbstick being used to swing your weapon around. Our typical matches consisted of four players flailing around, constantly swinging their weapons around and trying to get their timing just right so they can connect with someone else. And so ensues a ballet of sorts, four players wildly swinging an array of weapons while edging back and forth, ever so carefully trying to dodge an enemy mace while trying to hit them with their axe.
I found myself steering away from the mace and axe, as I didn’t enjoy the constant swinging in circles. I instead would lean towards the sword, and try to thrust it into other players with precision, often at times failing miserably. I also had a little bit of luck with the shield. While you can just use it as defense, you can also charge straight at enemies, knocking them around and, with enough successful hits, you can kill people with it.
The team at Frogshark are constantly updating and adding new features to Swordy, and while you can’t get your hands on it yet, it’s slated for release in Q2 2016.
To keep yourself up to date on all the progress the team is making, head to their official website.
by Hojo Studio
If there’s one thing Andy came out of PAX Aus 2014 with, it was an addiction to a game called Nippy Cats. Both Andy and Dave enjoyed this little title a lot and when we didn’t see it present at PAX this year, we wondered what had happened. After having a brief talk with Rick Salter, one of the founders of Hojo Studio, I found out that they were behind the addicting Nippy Cats and they were her to show off their latest creation, Inflatality.
I was able to head over to their booth with Greg, and I want it on record that I kicked his ass, more than once. Inflatality is a crazy physics based fighter where you control one of those whacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube man and try to deflate the other whacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube man. You control the body with the left stick and the arms the right stick, using the right trigger to switch between left and right arms. You basically just end up hugging each other and slapping the other guys butt until they deflate, but once you get the hang of it there is some strategy in the way you position your body and using the right arm to get around your opponent’s defenses. As you land successful hits you fill up your super meter which, once filled, gives you access to the doom hammer, which transforms one of your arms into a powerful weapon, giving you an edge for a limited amount of time.
At this stage there is only one arena and one super move available, but as development continues, more arenas and super moves will be added. The version we played did have a large amount of player customisation, with plenty of body colours, eyes and mouths to pick from. Each of which, changes the name of your character. As I spoke with Rick he did let me know that there are more customisation options planned for full release, but as it stands I believe there’s enough content to wet your appetite and give you a good overview of what Inflatality will be like when it releases, hopefully in early 2016.
For more information head to the Inflatality website.