Explore the latest brilliant Brisbane indie games in our Game On 423 (GO423) showcase, Queenland’s annual indie game developer event shining the spotlight on our talented local devs.
When you hear the term “indie game“, do you immediately think of games made in your home town? Maybe your mind goes to smash hits like Bastion, Stardew Valley, or Undertale – popular indie titles that have received global critical acclaim. But chances are there are numerous indie games sitting right on your doorstep, simply waiting to be discovered! That’s exactly what you’ll find at Game On 423 (GO423), Brisbane’s annual game dev event showcasing the best in Brisbane indie games.
In recent years, Brisbane has been home to many of Australia’s best indie games, with titles like Unpacking, Golf Story, and Grow: Song of the Evertree (to name a new) all helping put Brisbane on the indie game dev map. Thanks to Game On 423, we’ll be showcasing the latest Brisbane indie games and exploring the upcoming creative creations from the showfloor at GO423 2022. So if you weren’t able to attend the event, we’ve put together a list of impressive Brisbane indie games you should keep an eye on:
- An Aspie Life: Beginnings
- Smash Crates
- Sky Squadron
- Schrodinger’s Cat Burglar
- The Fertile Crescent
- Swords ‘n Magic and Stuff
- Montrose Games
- Avoid Death
- Moonlander World
- The Oregon Trail
- Brendan Keogh’s Putting Challenge
Game On 423 (GO423) – Brisbane Indie Games Showcase
An Aspie Life: Beginnings
Genre: Action / RPG
Developer: EnderLost Studios
The action RPG with a clever twist! An Aspie Life: Beginnings takes genre staples and incorporates elements of neurodivergence into not only its themes and characters, but also much of its gameplay. Where conversations in most RPGs are back-and-forths involving the mashing of an A-button, in An Aspie Life, even simple interactions like this can be a considerable challenge. The conversation-based combat was impressively engaging and had me bartering with the shopkeeper in a wordplay ping-pong battle.
Beyond combat, even the game’s exploration integrates the daily obstacles posed by ASD, with the characters’ stats involving their sensitivity to sound which is impacted by environmental noise, and facing off against the monsters that represent the player’s negative emotions. On the surface it appears like a standard RPG, but delve further and you’ll discover there’s far more to An Aspie Life.
Find out more here: https://anaspielife.carrd.co/
Genre: Fighting Game / Multiplayer
Developer: Fat Alien Cat
Ever wished an Esky was the newest DLC character in Smash Bros? Well then check out Smash Crates, the manic multi-player party game that’s absolutely smashing! This creative multiplayer game draws upon elements of arena fighting games to create a unique experience that’s perfectly enjoyed alongside a group of friends. The goal of the game? To smash down on your enemies and crush them from above. And although the gameplay is simple, it becomes increasingly frantic with the added mechanics of environmental destruction, stage hazards, and power-ups that influence yourself and all players on-screen.
With 4-player multiplayer both local and online, and a wide variety of crate-based characters to choose from, Smash Crates is at its best in the company of friends as you smash it out to be the top rate crate! If you’d like to give Smash Crates a go, it’s actually available to play at Netherworld here in Brisbane on a full-sized arcade cabinet. So head down with your friends, grab a few drinks, and get smashing!
Find out more here: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1553400/Smash_Crates/
Developer: Witch Beam
We covered Tempopo earlier this year in our PAX AUS 2022 Australian Indie Games Showcase, and it’s back again at GO423! The next game from Witch Beam, creators behind the charming indie hit, Unpacking, Tempopo is a completely different change of tempo from its moving predecessor. This time you’ll be helping an adorable rhythmic creature traverse standalone levels with music to aid as your guide.
While Tempopo isn’t necessarily a rhythm game, its cleverly incorporated songs and sound effects are weaved throughout every aspect of this charming puzzler as the main character joyfully bounces along to the beat. With beautifully vibrant visuals, a delightfully upbeat soundtrack and audio design from Jeff Van Dyk (who I probably spoke to for too long about game music), and approachable puzzle/platforming gameplay, Tempopo will appeal to fans looking for a more laid back and pleasing elements to both their eyes and their ears.
Find out more here: https://tempopogame.com/
Genre: On-Rails Shooter
Developer: Trick Shot Development
Jump in the gunner’s seat and defend the skies of Australia in Sky Squadron! It’s the on-rails shooter that can be played in VR or flat screen and brings back the classic high-intensity rail shooter gameplay of Star Fox and Panzer Dragoon. I’ve been personally helping out with Sky Squadron over the last few months, and honestly it’s been a blast to power through waves of enemies and take down many of the game’s colossal bosses.
With plenty of options for gameplay, including full VR and controller support, Sky Squadron is a simple pick-up-and-play shooter that can be enjoyed by players of all ages. And while making it through each level unscathed can be quite a challenge, the real test is climbing to the very top of the global leaderboard. Sky Squadron also features full co-op to enjoy blasting enemies alongside a mate – so if you’re a fan of rail shooters, be sure to take to the skies!
Find out more here: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1403400/Sky_Squadron/
Schrodinger’s Cat Burglar
Genre: Adventure / Puzzle
Developer: Abandoned Sheep
It’s Quantum Me-cat-ichs! Schrodinger’s Cat Burglar is another title we were lucky enough to include in our PAX AUS 2022 Showcase, and is a delightfully clever game that deserves your attention. While it might seem like another cute cat game, Schrodinger’s Cat Burglar is a puzzle adventure game with a clever catch: Mittens the cat falls into a quantum experiment, giving her the ability to let the player split her into two cats simultaneously.
Literally able to exist in two places at once, helping her (and by extension, you) figure out puzzles and uncover truths at a research facility. However, if someone happens to observe her, things get more… complicated. If you don’t see Mittens, does she really exist? This quantum gameplay leads to some mind-bending puzzles. Anybody itching for a puzzle game based on fun quantum mechanical hijinks should experiment with Schrodinger’s Cat Burglar!
Find out more here: https://www.astragames.org/game-schrodingers-cat-burglar
TFC: The Fertile Crescent
Developer: Wield Interactive
The last of our PAX AUS titles that also appeared at
GO423, TFC is the ideal throwback for RTS fans. Whether you downloaded it, got it for free out of a cereal box, or purchased it with your hard-earned pocket money, many of us grew up with the phenomenal RTS gameplay of Age of Empires. TFC: The Fertile Crescent harkens back to the golden era of RTS and reignites the flame, drawing upon the classic gameplay while adding clever new elements to make gameplay even more adaptive and intuitive.
Simplistic yet detailed pixel art and in-depth real-time strategy gameplay make for a stunning combination in this RTS renaissance. Lead your colony to victory, expand your territory, and see your people flourish. Or will you lead them to their downfall? Only you can decide in The Fertile Crescent.
Find out more here: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1674820/TFC_The_Fertile_Crescent/
Swords ‘n Magic and Stuff
Developer: Kindred Games
Ever wanted to explore the RPG genre but felt a bit overwhelmed at where to start? Then Swords ‘n Magic and Stuff is the perfect choice for you! This charming and approachable entry-level RPG offers a simple and enjoyable experience that can be played either in single-player or in co-op alongside a group of friends. Personally, I feel it’s the kind of game that parents could play with their children to share a love of RPGs.
I spent quite a bit of time checking out Swords ‘n Magic and Stuff, and was quite impressed by its clean, polished art-style and its simple yet engaging gameplay. The lead programmer referred to it as a “Gateway RPG” and I can’t think of a better way to introduce your friends or family into the wonderful world of RPGs. So if you’re looking to explore the massive genre, then this could be the beginning of an incredible adventure.
Find out more here: https://www.playswordsandmagic.com/
Developer: Montrose Games
Quite possibly the most interesting developer on the GO423 showfloor, Montrose Games create short and snappy stylised titles which are all available free-to-play on Newgrounds! That’s right, the wildly-popular internet flash phenomenon has ongoing support from a community of creators, and you can check out a variety of games created right here in Brisbane. All of their games feature impressive character design by KittyHawk, who creates games, comics, and art commissions.
One game in particular that stood out was their retro throwback, Bride, which has been entirely developed for Nintendo’s classic Game & Watch handheld. This game can be downloaded entirely for free and runs within the constraints of the classic handheld, even to the point where Bride has been installed on the more recent Game & Watch devices. Amazing to see continued retro support, and from a developer right here in Brisbane too!
Montrose’s very own Game & Watch title, Bride, running on a mobile.
Find out more here: https://kittyhawkmontrose.newgrounds.com/
Developer: Fake Arcade
It’s a simple goal: Avoid Death. But death is inevitable! You’ll find that out quickly in Fake Arcade’s very first title, where projectiles are endlessly barraged at you in a challenge to stave off death for as long as possible. It’s a simple yet challenging single-screen game that will have you chasing the highest score (and eventually dying in the process).
Avoid Death gets progressively harder to the point where it plays like a bullet hell game, requiring precision perfect movements to dodge the onslaught of projectiles. So if you’d like to give the game a shot, you can actually play it for free below and see long you’re able to avoid death! Try to beat my high score of just over 3 minutes (the Qualbert team will give you a digital high 5 if you can).
Find out more here: https://fakearcade.itch.io/avoid-death
Genre: Tactics / Roguelike
Developer: twopm studio
If chess is so good, then why is there no “chess 2“? That conundrum has now been answered by Brisbane indie devs, twopm studio, with their creative blend of chess and tactical roguelike gameplay in their upcoming title: WizardChess. Set within a randomised chequered dungeon, players must take control of a party of warriors all assigned particular movements and abilities. Drawing inspiration from ancient games that pre-date chess and mixing in elements of Magic: The Gathering and modern roguelikes, WizardChess is a tactical experience like none other.
As a sucker for a good roguelike, WizardChess definitely piqued my interest with its unique gameplay mechanics, challenging combat, and eye-catching art-style. If it’s a fan of tactical games that genuinely require you to think, and looking for a game with near infinite replayability, then delve into the endless dungeons of WizardChess.
Find out more here: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1274210/WizardChess/
Developer: Daniel Griffin
What could be so challenging about successfully landing a spacecraft? Well, everything as it turns out. Inspired by the classic arcade sci-fi simulation, Lunar Lander, Moonlander World takes this formula one step further into outer space with 66 unique levels and a procedurally-generated adventure mode. It’s an addictive game that takes incredible persistence and practice to master!
This arcade throwback feels like a modernised retro experience, and will appeal to players who love chasing high scores and time trials whilst testing their precision perfect skills. This is Daniel’s first ever public demonstration of one of his own creations, and honestly feels incredibly polished and ready to be enjoyed by players all over the galaxy!
Find out more here: Moonlander World GO423 Gameplay Footage
The Oregon Trail
Genre: Simulation / Adventure
Nothing builds your spirit of adventure quite like a bit of a cross country trek… until you end up dying of dysentery. Yep, that’s the Oregon Trail, the iconic retro adventure game that first debuted way back in the 70s. Tasked with revitalising this retro classic, Gameloft have brought The Oregon Trail into modern society in their reboot with stunning updated visuals and enhanced gameplay for a 21st century audience.
And while the visual and gameplay enhancements should be obvious, one of the most impressive elements of Gameloft’s updated The Oregon Trail is its historical attention-to-detail. Where the original game was released at a time where people of colour and Native Americans were rarely represented accurately in media, The Oregon Trail portrays this with historical accuracy that was unheard of back in the 70s. Ready for adventure? Then set off on The Oregon Trail.
Find out more here: https://theoregontrail-game.com/
Brendan Keogh’s Putting Challenge
Genre: Sports / Simulation
Developer: Brendan Keogh
Lastly, the most tongue-in-cheek game of the entire Game On 423 event, Brendan Keogh’s Putting Challenge markets itself as the golfing game with all the boring bits left in. Taking inspiration from The Simpson’s hilarious Lee Carvallo’s Putting Challenge, Brendan Keogh’s Putting Challenge is not just a polished retro golfing experience, but a social commentary on golfing games and videogames as a whole.
Where most games focus on the green and offer instant gratification for players, Brendan has crafted a golfing experience that is as true to real-life golfing as possible. Players will need to walk between each hole, retrieve their ball, and even head back to the Pro Shop to refill their ball bucket if their golfballs take an unfortunate plunge. I played through all 9 holes and thoroughly enjoyed the game’s comedic tone, but also its deeper insight into games in general.
Find out more here: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1625830/Brendan_Keoghs_Putting_Challenge/
And that’s it for our GO423 Brisbane Indie Games Showcase! While we weren’t able to cover every single game (as some were just too popular to get to in time!), we’d strongly encourage you to attend any indie gaming events in your area, and uncover a world of local indie gaming talent. You might just discover your next favourite game is being made just a few blocks away!
Game On 423 was hosted by the Brisbane Powerhouse – for more information, head to the official GO423 event page or keep up to date with the latest Brisbane indie games news via the Brisbane International Game Developers Association.