Australia is currently experiencing a local video game boom, with developers churning out some of the best quality titles in years.
Earlier this month, the Victorian government announced a $5 million boost to the local games industry, off the back of the success of games like Cult of the Lamb.
The video game event of the year, PAX Australia, saw dozens of small, mostly local developers showcasing their stuff.
READ MORE: Victorian game takes top gong at awards night
9News.com.au went hands-on with a few upcoming games at PAX, as well as experiencing some new and upcoming demos online.
While the majority of titles on show were Australian made, there was also some exceptional talent to highlight from our international neighbours.
Here are some of this year’s highlights:
A Halloween Valentine
Jacob Leaney is the solo developer behind Melbourne-based game studio Things for Humans.
Leaney, known by his musical alias Monster Mansion, is now working on his second video game release: A Halloween Valentine.
A passionate musician, Leaney says the entire game has been designed around the music.
The story revolves around a queer couple going on a date on Valentine’s Day only to run into Cupid, who is having an awful day.
Cupid has gone through a bad breakup; their only goal is to create mayhem in a haunted amusement park.
It’s full of puzzles, pop tunes and what Leaney calls “Catgoyles”, cat-like statues the player just moves and turns to progress to the next area.
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While I didn’t experience too much of the story, the puzzle elements are satisfying and offer a unique gameplay experience.
Leaney says his game is still at least another 12 months away from completion, but the first song from A Halloween Valentine is out now on Spotify. On release, the game will feature 10 tracks.
READ MORE: Australia’s biggest gaming expo
Kendan and the Gem of Eru
Who says the GameBoy is dead?!
Aussie game developers Stompy Paws Studios from Melbourne have created a fully functioning original Gameboy game, Kendan and the Gem of Eru.
It was unique on the PAX Rising floor this year, with queues of people hoping to get hands-on with the nostalgic title.
The creators stress the main issue with creating a vintage-style game like this is once it is shipped there’s no updating the software.
The game has been created with the help of the online platform Kickstarter, with gamers raising more than $34,000 to see the completion of the game.
You can read more about Kendan and the Gem of Eru here.
If you’re a cat lover you can’t go past the adorable Nekograms, a cat-themed puzzler with the main task of getting these cute felines to sleep.
You’d be forgiven for thinking this game was straight out of Tokyo, but Nekograms was created by the team at Hungry Sky in Western Australia.
Move cushions around to make sure every cat has a comfy spot to sleep – adorable!
This one already has rave reviews and is out now on mobile, both Apple and Android, for the generous price of $2.99.
READ MORE: Aussie’s dinky-di video game a huge hit
Making the trek from Singapore to be at PAX Aus 2022, married couple Ivan and Tanya Moltini have been developing Knight Crawlers for the past four years.
Ivan says it’s only recently he decided to make the jump into doing this full-time.
The game features a “spawn your own enemies” system, enabling gamers to take on the next hoard of undead in their own time.
Ivan and Tanya have also implemented a multiplayer mode, which sees players face off after a brutal solo battle.
It’s a fun rogue-like, with quirky ragdoll animations and (my personal favourite) destructible environments.
Ivan says he has made an effort to make sure crates, barrels, and other objects scattered throughout this medieval/hellish world are destructible and players are rewarded for smashing them to bits.
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The game also includes a card system. Each time the player levels up they’re offered three cards that can improve the player’s skills during each run-through.
There’s still a little work to go for Knight Crawlers but you can wishlist the game on Steam to stay up to date with development.
Amazing Chicken Adventures
Amazing Chicken Adventures is a 3D platformer where you take control of a chicken, steering an egg to safety.
READ MORE: Review: Aussie made game ‘Cult of the Lamb’
The game, from solo developer Piotr Rochala, had one of the most colourful displays at PAX and officially released in September this year.
It’s already available on PC and coming soon to Nintendo Switch.