PAX AUS 2023 Indie Game Wrap-up

Couldn’t make it to PAX this year and hungry for the best upcoming games made right here in Australia? Satisfy your cravings in our PAX AUS 2023 Indie Game Wrap-up!

Each year, tens of thousands of eager game enthusiasts descend on Melbourne for their annual pilgrimage to discover the latest and greatest indies made right here in Australia. We braved the crowds (so that you didn’t have to) in our PAX AUS 2022 Indie Game Showcase and brought you the very best of the best last year. Despite the overwhelming number of games on show this time around, we’re back at it again and very proud to present our biggest indie game article to date!

PAX AUS 2023 indie game wrap up

Just a small selection of the PAX AUS 2023 indie game offering!

From the curious and quirky, like well-endowed turnips and crabs piloting killer mechs, through to the solemn and serious, from tense narrative-driven thrillers and emotive animal adventures, PAX AUS 2023’s indie games have it all! So read ahead and discover the best games coming to a PC or console near you in the near future:

PAX AUS 2023 – Indie Game Wrap-Up

Indie Showcase Winner – darkwebSTREAMER

Genre: Procedurally Generated Psycho-Horror Simulation
Developer: We Have Always Lived in the Forest
Based in: Adelaide

Ever thought about taking up streaming? Let’s be real, at some point we’ve all thought about starting a streaming channel, building a community, getting paid to play videogames, and maybe unravelling the innumerable horrors spread across the vast expanse of the darkweb! Okay, so maybe not that last one. But if the thought does tickle your fancy, then the utterly disturbing and intriguing gameplay of darkwebSTREAMER might just appeal to your morbid sense of humour.

Combining retro internet aesthetics with the modern culture of streaming society, interwoven with the curiosity (and danger) of the darkweb, this procedurally-generated horror game will ensure your jaw hits the floor. By building your community though streaming quirky curiosities purchased through the darkweb, you’ll amass an army of loyal (and not so loyal) followers. Eerie narrative twists and a terrifyingly twisted bit art aesthetic make darkwebSTREAMER one of our immediate favourites from the PAX AUS 2023 indie showfloor.

darkwebSTREAMER PAX AUS 2023 indie game wrap-up

Hi guysssss, welcome to my blog :3

darkwebSTREAMER also happened to be one of the winners of the Indie Game Showcase awards, which I personally hosted! We’ve recorded the panel in full, so be sure to check the YouTube channel when it’s available to view.

The game isn’t available to wishlist just yet, but you can join the Patreon here:

Indie Showcase Winner – Primordials Legends: Hollow Hero

Genre: Third-Person Action Adventure
Developer: ToyBox Games Studios
Based in: Melbourne

Two words: COMBAT WOMBAT. What more do you need to know? Last year in our PAX AUS 2022 Indie Game Showcase we first met the team behind Hollow Hero, and this year they’re back again taking their ambitious and lush 3D action adventure to the next level with a greater level of polish. Getting hands on once again with wombat protagonist, Brunt, it was obvious to see just how much the game had progressed and evolved since its last PAX outing.

For those of you who haven’t played it already, this indie team are crafting a fluid action experience inspired by God of War, interspersed with clever platforming, and environmental puzzles. The sheer passion and effort from the team are a testament to this incredible project! Awash with vibrant visuals and far more fluid controls than the last time we were hands on, it seems the team have been hard at work in ensuring the most engaging experience possible.

Primordials Legends: Hollow Hero PAX AUS 2023 indie game wrap-up

No wombats were harmed in the making of this game.

And it also turns out Hollow Hero was another one of the Indie Game Showcase winners! So to find out more and hear directly from the devs themselves, stay tuned for our full panel recording which will be available soon.

Wishlist the game here: Primordials Legends: Hollow Hero on Steam

Indie Showcase Winner – The Drifter

Genre: Point & Click Narrative Adventure
Developer: Powerhoof Games
Based in: Melbourne

From the team who brought you the indie smash hit Crawl comes a chilling and stylish narrative adventure unlike any other I’ve encountered to date. Sporting a sleek and slightly chilling pixel art style with fluid animation to accompany its gritty Australian narrative, you’ll immediately be drawn into the life of a Drifter, Mick, drawing upon the cult Aussie films of the ’70s and with the ambience and mood to match.

With his consciousness quite literally ripped away and stuffed back into him, it’s up to Mick to piece together his own past, unravel a murder that he’s been framed for, and overcome every enemy and obstacle along his way. Although having only played through a portion of the prologue, I’m eager to delve deeper into The Drifter’s compelling narrative, as it had me hooked from the very beginning.

The Drifter indie game PAX AUS 2023 wrap-up

Also props to the devs for using legitimate Australian voice acting! It sounds bloody brilliant and brings a level of authenticity to the game in bonding with the main character and the cast of NPCs.

If The Drifter is up your alley, be sure to Add it to your Steam Wishlist and even go check out the demo!


Genre: Narrative Adventure
Developer: Spoonfull of Wonder
Based in: Sydney

Copycat feels immediately welcoming at first glance. Something about waltzing around a suburban home as a cat, hiding in boxes, jumping down the stairs, and ripping up toilet paper evokes a pick-up-and-play allure that will undoubtedly enrapture pet lovers everywhere. Don’t let the fuzzy cuteness fool you, though. This cozy narrative experience looks to provide a relatable depiction of grief, loss, and loneliness amongst its silliness and humour.

Although the gameplay and premise of Copycat looks to make it a purrr-fect addition to the emerging cat renaissance genre, it’s the utter devotion I saw from the talented development duo at Spoonful of Wonder that has truly locked this game in a must-play release.

Copycat indie game gameplay PAX AUS 2023 wrap up

Speaking with Samantha Cable, one of the studio leads, they passionately spoke about how the inception and evolution of Copycat have been inspired by difficult experiences that both they and their partner and fellow studio lead, Kostia Liakhov, have had to deal with over the last few years. The game looks to channel these experiences and invoke the message of “Home is where you are needed the most”, and I cannot wait for their story to be shared with the world.

Copycat is targeting a 2024 release. Be sure to Wishlist on Steam Today and check out the trailer above!

Cyber Paradise

Genre: Roguelike Deckbuilder
Developer: DDMeow Games
Based in: Melbourne

While the indie market may be saturated with pixel art, roguelite and deckbuilder games, Cyber Paradise just feels different. This story driven game about those forgotten sees you fight your way through digital Realms to mend lost souls.

Gameplay wise the controls are very tight and actually feel weighty. It also doesn’t handhold you through the combat. Once I left the tutorial I always felt the right amount of challenge. Also having your trusty K9 companion following you collecting loot means you don’t have to waste time running over every drop. The most important part of the game though? You can pet the dog!

Cyber Paradise indie game pet the dog

Cyber paradise is one to look out for in the future and you can Wishlist the Game here and support them through their upcoming Kickstarter.


Genre: Platformer / Metroidvania
Developer: Vivink Studios
Based in: Sydney

Ailuri is immediately impressive from the second you see it. Boasting beautiful, hand-drawn 2D animations and level art crafted by Vivink Studios lead Liezl Ronquillo, this action-packed puzzle platformer is engaging, exciting, and features the cutest red panda you’ve ever seen!

Ailuri explores the themes of conservation and environmental destruction. Whether it’s the mechanical monsters you face or fierce forest fires ravaging the background environments, exploring the expansive levels can be as evocative as it is challenging. You won’t have to venture forth alone, however, thanks to the inclusion of Drop-In-Drop-Out Co-op.

Ailuri Indie game PAX AUS 2023

We were very lucky to chat with Tom Connell, the composer for Ailuri. Coming from a classical music background, Tom spoke about how they look to interweave a symphonic soundtrack with industrial samples to create a score that demonstrates the conflict between nature and manufactured machines.

A lot of passion, polish, and attention to detail from the whole team is on display in Ailuri, and we can’t wait to play more when it releases on Steam and Switch. Be sure to Wishlist on Steam Today, where you can also download the demo, and check out the trailer above!


Genre: Multiplayer, Couch Co-Op
Developer: MAXART Games
Based in: Brisbane

Do you have friends? Do you play games with your friends? Do you like testing the patience of both you and your friends? If so then this is the game for you! Servonaughts sees you and up to 3 friends work as attendants for a space servo (that’s a gas station for you international readers) filling up space cars with different coloured space fuel in SPAAAAACE!

Servonauts gameplay PAX AUS 2023 indie game wrap-up

The chaotic gameplay is very similar to Overcooked and Moving Out where anything can happen especially if you lose track of your character. The levels can range from the mundane and easy to true chaos once hazards like lava are introduced. Not to mention once you get to a level with button operated doors, you just know there will be that one guy who will hit the button at the wrong time on purpose.

Servonauts indie game figures

I’d kill for a physical copy of the game with a set of these little dudes.

With plenty of replayability and enough chaos to drive you mad, this is a game to watch out for in early 2024. Be sure to Wishlist it now!

The Dungeon Experience

Genre: First-Person Narrative RPG
Developer: Bone Assembly
Based in: Melbourne

As a long-time Dungeons and Dragons nerd with an affinity for silly humour, The Dungeon Experience immediately spoke to me. Presenting as a first-person narrative explorer, The Dungeon Experience was pitched to me as a high fantasy theme park where the ‘Dungeon Master’ is really passionate but has no budget or idea what they’re doing. In this case, the DM is a mud crab who guides you through his entrepreneurial playground filled with laughs, adventure, minigames, and the occasional sensual saxophone session.

In speaking with Jacob Janerka of the Bone Assembly team, The Dungeon Experience is inspired by games like The Stanley Parable and hopes to bring players a witty, weird, and unforgettable experience when it is released on PC. Be sure to Wishlist on Steam Today and check out the trailer above!

Spin Rhythm XD

Genre: Rhythm Game / Music
Developer: Super Spin Digital
Based in: Melbourne

As an absolute rhythm game nut, Spin Rhythm XD and its glorious beats echoing across the PAX AUS showfloor immediately caught my attention. But it wasn’t just the music alone, it was the fact that people were playing the game… with an actual DJ mixing deck!

Spin Rhythm XD indie game DJ mixing deck controller PAX AUS

By spinning the turntables and tapping in time with the beat, players were deftly conquering every track. So naturally I had to give it a shot! What I encountered was one of the most intuitive, pick-up-and-play rhythm games ever made. With barely an explanation needed, I was immediately smashing out tracked and vibing to its glorious 60 song setlist!

After a brief chat with the dev over the sound of blasting beats, it was obvious just how impressive this game’s music was going to be. Beyond original tracks composed for the game, Spin Rhythm XD also features a wide range of licenced music, and even remixed tracks from other prominent game music composers, including Lena Raine and music from Celeste!

You can pick up Spin Rhythm XD right now on Steam, and it also launches soon on Nintendo Switch. So if you love game music as much as me, be sure to give it a spin!

Letters to Arralla

Genre: Cosy Narrative / Simulation
Developer: Little Pink Clouds
Based in: Melbourne

On our second day at PAX Aus, I ran into a friend and asked if they had seen the game with the vegetables with absolute dump truck butts. We subsequently spent 15 minutes watching gameplay at developer Little Pink Clouds’ booth! While the thick fruit and veg are definitely alluring, it’s only a portion of what makes Letters to Arralla captivating.

With cosy, open-ended gameplay, you take on the role of a mail-delivering turnip charged with delivering letters, packages, and postcards all over the island of Arralla. Taking inspiration from the slice-of-life genre, this character-driven adventure features relaxing exploration and puzzle-soft gameplay.

Letters to Arralla indie game PAX AUS 2023 wrap-up

What’s more, Letters to Arralla is heavily inspired by Australia, with native Australian birdlife and flora featured throughout the game’s visual and audio design. We can’t wait to visit the island of Arralla and have a cheeky little time when Letters to Arralla releases on PC first, with Switch to follow.

Be sure to Wishlist on Steam Today and check out the trailer!

Diets and Deities

Genre: Rhythm Game / Music
Developer: Larrikin Interactive
Based in: Northern Territory

There’s no denying that food is an essential part of our culture. We share food, bond over meals with our families and friends, even pass down recipes through generations. The sheer cultural impact of food couldn’t be more obvious than in Diets and Deities – a rhythm game almost entirely dedicated to… you guessed it… food! It’s the rhythm game you can taste! No, actually.

Diets and Deities draws inspiration from Indigenous culture of various locales through both food and music, including Australia, Bali, and Brazil. Its gameplay is akin to the rhythm game “Everhood” (which we reviewed here!), whereby the player dodges obstacles in time with the music, moving left and right over 5 columns.

Diets and Deities indie rhythm game PAX AUS 2023

But the real hook is that each level provides you with a real-life recipe that you can recreate at home, allowing you to experience each of the cultures through food! Such a unique way to be presented with recipes that you can take home and try in your own kitchen.

Diets and Deities gameplay damper recipe

Honestly nothing beats a good damper. Dig in!

As somebody that loves to cook and experience new food, this game seems like the perfect way to treat my tastebuds all while enjoying the blissful beats from composer, Liam Budalasia. Diets and Deities has a Steam release targeting Q1 2024, with Mobile and Switch later. You can Wishlist it Now!


Genre: Rogue-lite / Dungeon Crawler
Developer: Battle Brew Productions
Based in: Singapore

Back again for another serving and almost ready to be plated up is Cuisineer! We checked out this adorable rogue-lite last year and were thoroughly impressed with its charming blend of cooking gameplay and dungeon crawling elements, mixing together like a tasty stew. And we’re happy to say the game is launching on the 10th of November!

If you’re not familiar with Cuisuineer, the one key thing to know is that every meal is part of the adventure! You take on the role of Pom, whose beloved family restaurant on the brink of collapse. By restoring the restaurant to its former glory and gathering the most delicious ingredients from dangerous dungeons, you’ll be able to treat customers to meals they couldn’t even comprehend.

Cuisineer PAX AUS 2023 indie game wrap-up

For fans of cute and cosy games wanting to explore the genre of dungeon-crawling or roguelikes, Cuisineer might just be the perfect taste test. Harness the power of flavour and imbue your food and your items with the power of Sweet, Salty, Bitter, Sour, and even Umami! With a wide variety of enemies, unlockables, and procedurally-generated levels, no two playthroughs (or dinners) are the same.

Get cooking and pre-order Cuisineer here to play when it launches next month!


Genre: Survival Horror / History
Developer: Catchweight Studios
Based in: Melbourne

Warfare in video games is a tale as old as time. But a survival horror game in the trenches during the battle of Verdun in WWI that draws inspiration from old-school Resident Evil? Now that is something new. Taking control of a lone French soldier, you scour the trenches in search of your MIA brother to make sure he gets home. Along the way you will take on the horrors of war as you solve complex puzzles and scavenge for limited resources.

The gameplay is challenging and it shows that you don’t need the supernatural to make a survival horror game. Sometimes real world horrors are enough. The art is reminiscent of the grainy style for PS1 games, packed with an impressive amount of environmental detail and coupled with chilling audio design, which is perfect for setting the mood.

Honestly, the most impressive thing about this game is it was all made by 1 person over the course of 6 years while they were also studying a history degree at the same time! If you’re curious, download the demo and Wishlist the game here.

Skate Bums

Genre: Sports / Simulation
Developer: Lucky Last Studio
Based in: Melbourne

Skate Bums caught my eye from the moment I saw the banner at PAX. The bold contrast between the bright blue and hot pink against the darker hues used by the surrounding devs, made Skate Bums stand out above the rest before even having a turn at the game.

This side-scrolling platformer brings all of the vibes straight from the 80s and 90s, paired with artwork that shows a quirky side. Gameplay starts off simply with a tutorial to get a hang of the controls then you find yourself thrust into the mix. You play as Lux, facing off against bosses (known as Skate Bums), the police and obstacles as you create your own path through each level.

Skate Bums indie game PAX AUS 2023

Be sure to keep your eye out for the hidden secrets littered throughout the levels. Each location offers up unique visuals and personality. This is the perfect game for casual gamers who just want to have fun while also posing a challenge to those completionists out there.

Skate Bums indie game gameplay PAX AUS 2023

Skate Bums is set to be released in early 2024 so if you’re looking for a game that will look amazing on your OLED Nintendo Switch, Skate Bums is the perfect fit. This game oozes attitude. And I mean, who doesn’t want to grind a skateboard across the roof of a cop car?!

We’d also like to thank MikeDropGames, a guest author and Qualbert community member, for letting us include his coverage of Skate Bums. Be sure to check him out on Instagram, Twitter, and Twitch!

Go-Go Town!

Genre: Simulation / Town Builder
Developer: Prideful Sloth
Based in: Brisbane

Plan, build, and prosper in Go-Go Town!, the adorable town simulation game from Prideful Sloth, the devs behind Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles and Grow: Song of the Evertree. Known for their laid-back, vibrant, and feelgood games, Go-Go Town! continues that theme in a completely different genre. We met with the team recently at Queensland Games Festival and loved experiencing the first half-hour of the game.

This cosy simulation game draws inspiration from Animal Crossing-style gameplay but incorporates additional depth through the use of automation. Plenty of additional gameplay has been added since our last hands-on, including drop-in-drop-out co-op allowing two players to interact and build their town together at the same time.

Go-Go Town indie game PAX AUS 2023

Can’t wait to turn my town into a kart track!

We were most excited to see that a wide variety of new items are being incorporated into the game, including vehicles such as bikes and karts. With open-ended gameplay and so many possibilities for customisation, I can’t wait to see what the community are able to create in Go-Go Town!

Be sure to Wishlist the Game now and keep up-to-date with progress closer to launch.


Genre: First Person Shooter
Developer: Samurai Punk
Based in: Melbourne

Sometimes the biggest appeal of a game comes from its simplicity, and that’s certainly the case with KILLBUG, the latest title from tongue-in-cheek, comedic indie devs, Samurai Punk. Its gameplay is all in the name: kill bugs. With crunchy pixel graphics and a boomer-shooter aesthetic, fans of Quake or Duke Nukem will feel right at home.

Featuring a singular level that builds in intensity as waves of increasingly threatening insects descend from every crevice, you’ll need to deftly draw upon ranged and melee attacks combined with fast-paced platforming. Within a minute I was able to pick up and play and enter the slaughterhouse, splattering abdomens and carapaces left and right.

Killbug indie game PAX AUS 2023

Featuring a simple gameplay loop and high-score chasing leaderboards, KILLBUG is made with mastery in mind, encouraging players to push themselves further and unlock hidden mechanics the devs have littered throughout the game. At a bargain price of just $7USD on Steam, you’re really going to bug me if you don’t pick this one up.

Put down that can of Mortein and grab KILLBUG now on Steam.


Genre: 2.5D Fighting Game
Developer: Two Lives Left
Based in: South Australia

When you imagine a “mecha game”, maybe a certain few titles come to mind. You might be thinking of intense games like Armored Core, Kojima’s sci-fi epic Zone of the Enders, or perhaps one of a hundred Gundam games. Punchimals is here to flip the mecha stereotype on its head! Sporting a charming, whacky aesthetic and absurd physics, it’s a feast for the eyes and for the fists.

With adorable animals taking control of their own pugilistic giant robots, you’ll be going head-to-head in gameplay that genuinely feels like the videogame adaptation of rock ’em sock ’em robots. It’s simple to pick up and play, doesn’t take itself too seriously, but features a surprising amount of depth to its combat for fighting game aficionados.

Punchimals indie game PAX AUS 2023

After playing a few rounds with the developer, it was impressive the sheer attention to detail that had been included with every attack, movement, and in particular the game’s physics. Look closely and you’ll notice visual details like Crabitron Jr.’s water sloshing around in his cockpit, which is seriously impressive given this is a solo dev project.

Ready to duke it out? Download the Punchimals demo and be sure to Wishlist on Steam!

Kādomon: Hyper Auto Battlers

Genre: Monster Tamer / Idle Game
Developer: Dino Rocket
Based in: Adelaide

Welcome to the world of Kādomon! Featuring over 100 unique designs that can all be used to build your ideal team, you’ll be fighting, collecting, and evolving without the hassle of needing to battle. Because your Kādomon are here to do all the hard work for you!

Blending together the beloved monster-taming gameplay of titles like Pokemon and Nexomon with the growing popularity of the auto-battler genre seems like a match made in heaven. Immediately, the super crisp character designs drew me to Kādomon, like a love letter to the game that inspired it but given an added layer of charm.

Kadomon Hyper Auto Battlers indie game PAX AUS 2023

Although I didn’t actually get the chance to experience the gameplay (as the booth was constantly busy!), the game seems incredibly approachable and the perfect kind of accompaniment to distract you while you’re studying, watching a stream, or heck, maybe even playing another game!

If you’d like to give it a shot, be sure to download the demo and Wishlist the game now!


Genre: Multiplayer Card Game
Developer: Loaded Deck Games
Based in: Melbourne

We’ve saved the crappest game in the entire showcase for last! No, literally. Bullcrap is a game of “lies, poop, and deceit” as its tagline suggests, and harkens back to traditional tabletop card gaming. Drawing inspiration from a card game whereby players must lie about the contents of their hand, BULLCRAP! takes this concept to the next level, adding in a wide variety of offensive and defensive cards to the mix.

The game features a fully-fleshed campaign mode complete with story, testing your skills of bluffing against increasingly difficult AI. And if you think single player is a bit sh*t, then multiplayer is truly where the game shines! Jump into online cross-platform multiplayer with friends through Steam, iOS and Android. It’s simple to pick up and play and also the perfect way to test your friendship.

Bullcrap indie card game PAX AUS 2023

There’s also a physical card game version on the horizon which the developers kindly gave us a deck to play at home. And as a solo dev project, we’re incredibly impressed with just how enjoyable it is and packed with clever details and easter eggs!

If you’re ready for some BULLCRAP, you can pick up the game now on Steam, Google Play, and the App Store.

That’s it for our PAX AUS 2023 indie game wrap-up! While we weren’t able to cover every single game (as this would have been physically impossible and we were flat-out all weekend), we’d strongly encourage you to attend PAX next year and experience these phenomenal indies for yourselves.

And if you’re an indie dev that we didn’t get to chat to at PAX this year and would like your game featured, reach out to us here, jump on the Qualbert Discord, or shoot us an email! We’d love to hear from you and find out all about what you’re working on.

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