5 promising Indie games at PAX Australia 2023: Footy Bash, Monster Racing League, more

Eleni Thomas
Indie Games PAX Australia header

Indie games dominated much of the show floor at PAX Australia 2023, allowing smaller and mainly local development teams more space than usual to showcase their latest efforts. From classic point-and-click adventures, some violent Australia Football games to addictive roguelikes, here’s a look at some of our favorite standouts.

Each year, the video game convention PAX Australia allows independent developers the opportunity to showcase their upcoming titles to thousands of attendees over the 3-day long event.

It can certainly be draining but it allows devs to receive some crucial feedback as well as put all their hard work into action, even if they are still a year or two out from any sort of proper release.

And while some games are certainly further along than others, and certain titles stood out with their loftier production value, a few managed to steal the show with their imaginative systems and refined gameplay loops.

Last year, we touched on our favorite indie games from PAX Australia 2022. Now a year on, Dexerto is back with our best Indie titles from the convention for 2023.

Footy Bash (Danger Thumbs, Australia)

Best Indie Games PAX 2023 footy bash
Footy Bash is a gritty spoof on the Australia Football League

For all the Australians out there, this one is definitely for you. Footy Bash is a sporting experience that pairs Australia Rules Football with a bloody twist. With up to 4 players, the objective is to score as many goals as you can before the final whistle blows. Sounds familiar, right? Just wait, it gets wild.

While AFL is a physical sport in itself, dev team Danger Thumbs has brought some gore to the sport. Instead of tackling players down to the ground, the game allows you to beat up the opposition, blood oozing onto the field when you knock an opponent out and steal the ball from them. Think NBA Jam with Mortal-Kombat-esque violence.

While the game is still in very early stages of development, the team is hard at work and hoping to add a full-fledged career mode and more for a Steam launch during the first quarter of 2024.

Cyber Paradise (DDmeow Games, Australia)

The best way to describe Cyber Paradise is that it is a platformer, rogue-lite title with a deckbuilding twist and a cyberpunk and neon-stylized theme. What more could you really want from an indie game?

Developed by Melbourne-based company DDmeow, Cyber Paradise will have players battling their way through ever-changing realms, the objective to mend lost souls and help build a, yep you guessed it, Cyber Paradise.

However, the game does allow you to take a breath. Between each fight and level, players are transported to Mini’s Cafe, an area wherein you can interact with NPCs, forge connections, and learn about the greater world of Cyber Paradise.

While there is no confirmed release date at the time of writing, the dev team is aiming to have the game ready to go by 2024.

The Drifter (Powerhoof, Australia)

It wouldn’t be an indie showcase wrap without including at least one classic point-and-click adventure game on the list. The Drifter is a horror, puzzle-solving experience that includes a fully voice-acted mystery for players to uncover.

Australian developer Powerhoof has been hard at work for just under a year bringing this new title together. Fast-paced and never a dull moment, The Drifter is shaping up to be a great mystery-based game. One that harkens back to the 1970s-style horror games and movies with fully stylized animation and graphics.

While the title is aiming for a PC release, the devs still have a year or so to go before the game will be available to play. However, a demo of The Drifter is ready to be enjoyed on Steam right now.

Up to Par (It’s Anecdotal)

Another rogue-lite game that stole our hearts was Up to Par. Believe what you’re seeing, it’s really a rogue-lite mini-golf game and we couldn’t get enough of it.

Dropping into randomly generated levels, your goal is to clear each stage while keeping under par. Fail to do so and your run ends, but should you prove successful, rewards are waiting for you. Between sections you’re able to spend your remaining shots on extremely powerful upgrades. One may automatically push you into a nearby hole if you’re close enough. Another may let you take another shot entirely.

Each stage gets increasingly more difficult, meaning you’re only a few strokes away from failure at all times. Add multiplayer to the mix, with optional collision to boot, and you’ve got a recipe for endlessly replayable, chaotic, mini-golf fun.

You can already check out the Up to Par demo on Steam ahead of its full release in the final quarter of the year.

Monster Racing League (Flightless, New Zealand)

Mario Kart meets Fall Guys meets Rabbids in this new racing experience that actively encourages players to sit back and take their hands off the wheel, letting the assisted driving feature take control. Of course, you can still take matters into your own hands and take a front-row seat into the madness, but your top priority isn’t actually steering the vehicle.

Monster Racing League, while a driving game at its core, focuses more on combat than the actual racing. With each monster equipped with different abilities and boosts, players are able to attack others, overtake them, and strategically move their way up to the number one spot by the finish line.

Each race supports up to 10 players and is currently on Steam in Early Access. However, the dev team is currently working on a mobile version of the game as well as the current PC model.

Making it all the more sweet, Monster Racing League will also be the first game to support what IGC has coined as ‘Next Generation Collectibles.’ Rather than buying physical merchandise of a default character like everyone else, here, you’ll have an option to get a custom, one-of-one replica of your in-game model. We saw some of these concept figures in person and got a glimpse at how the modeling all works, and if the dev team manages to pull it off, it could just shake up the collectible industry in a big way.

About The Author

Eleni is a Melbourne-based journalist. Having completed her Bachelor's in communication (Journalism) at RMIT University, Eleni is now a Senior Writer for the Dexerto Australia team. A big Nintendo fan (with a Triforce tattoo to prove it) and a lover of the zombie genre, Eleni covers gaming, entertainment as well as TV and movies for the site. She is also passionate about covering Queer and female representation. Contact Eleni at eleni.thomas@dexerto.com