Welcome back to This Week In Games Australia! The week ahead is entirely bereft of AAA launches, but that just means we get to dive into all the interesting indies rushing to fill void. From tactics to racing, shmups to classic 3D platformers, it’s all happening in the indie space this week.
Let’s dive in.
Hot Lap League (NS)
Hot Lap League is a racing game somewhere between a Hot Wheels racer and Trackmania. Twisting, acrobatic courses and a lot of flashy drifting opportunities. Seems like it’ll fill a bit of a gap in the racing genre on the Switch, which would do with more strong arcade racing.
Azure Striker Gunvolt 3 (NS)
Azure Striker Gunvolt 3 has been around for years now, but is arriving on Switch for the first time this week. It’s a sprite-based side-scrolling beat-em-up that feels like a throwback to the SNES era and is perfect for scratching that retro itch. One to check out if you’re a fan of the genre.
Vactics by Aussie studio The Lemur Conspiracy. It’s a mech-building tactics game with roots in chess. It actually came out on July 22, but I somehow missed it and wanted to make sure it got a spotlight in TWIG. Check out the trailer, you might see something you like. And what a look this one has. Brilliant.
Wavecade was another Aussie indie that flew under my radar in July, but launches today on the Switch. It’s a rhythm-based shmup inpsired by the genre’s arcade greats, with a side of vapourwave colour and sound. Developed in Melbourne by Andrew and Lewis Spalato.
Before We Leave (NS)
Before We Leave is a hex-based cozy city-builder. It’s been out on PC for a little while, but makes its debut on the Switch today. Perfect if you want something that will tickle the organisational part of your brain, but overwhelm you with options either.
Frogun will definitely be Ruby’s game of the week. An adorable little puzzle platformer about a girl and her extremely versatile frog companion, Frogun is a throwback to the N64 and PS1 era when this genre ruled the world. A perfect way to rekindle your love of the classic 3D platformer with plenty of modern flourishes.
Mark’s Magnificent Marble Maze (PC)
Made in Canberra by Mark Schramm, this perspective puzzler is all about classic marble mazes. You solve each puzzle by rotating their wooden boards this way and that, rolling the marble around a complex inner maze. Perfect for unwinding after a long day at work, or keeping your hands moving while mulling over a problem.
Camp Canyonwood (PC)
A game about rebuilding a rundown old summer camp while avoiding the clutches of overbearing camp management, Camp Canyonwood combines 2D pencil art with a cozy management sim. One to dig into while you wait for Cult of the Lamb.
Hard West II (PC)
Hard West II has a lot going on. It’s a turn-based strategy similar to XCOM and Desperados III, it’s got Weird West occult elements and even deckbuilder mechanics for powering up your squad. Check it out if Desperados left you hungry for more cowboy strategy.
Hindsight (PC, NS)
Hindsight is game about memory and perspective. In it, players use and arrange everyday objects in such a way that they can view the past and even uncertain futures. It’s super different, very arty, and one I plan to check out this coming weekend.
Voidcrisis is a tower defence game full of off-brand Gundams, which is an incredible pitch, to be honest. There’s a small subsection of you reading this that have already closed the tab, opened Steam, and preordered.
GigaBash is a multiplayer kaiju brawler that looks fun as hell. Old school Toho-style designs, sprawling city crushed beneath your feet. Good, silly multiplayer fun for the whole family or some friends when they pop over for Friday drinks.
Papers, Please (AND, IOS)
One of the great narrative experiences in video games makes its way to mobile this week. Papers, Please is a game about being an immigration officer in the fictional Eastern Bloc nation Arstotzka. As people attempt to cross the border into Arstotzka, you must check their credentials. Everyone’s situation is different, and everyone’s got a story. Some have the necessary papers and some don’t. It will be up to you to decide who to let through and who to knock back. If you are caught letting someone through illegally, you will have to wear the consequences. It’s a game of little victories, small acts of rebellion that fly under the radar. If you’ve somehow never played it before, consider this one unmissable.
Recipe For Disaster (PC)
This one feels like it’s got a lot of Two Point Hospital‘s DNA in it. Recipe For Disaster is a management sim about running a restaurant. You must build your premises, hire a staff, decide on a menu, and keep your customers happy. You decide on the tone and tenor of your kitchen and staff — do you want a screaming perfectionist running the show or an experimental rockstar? It’s all up to you.
Tiny Tactics (PC)
Lots of tactics games this week, huh? Tiny Tactics is a turn-based tactics game in the vein of Auto Chess. It’s all about positioning and reading your opponent’s moves several turns ahead. For those in the audience who can’t get enough Auto Chess, this will be one to throw on the wishlist.