It’s rare that we cover games made in Aotearoa, and that’s just not right!
Thankfully, the New Zealand Centre of Digital Excellence has announced that they will be showcasing 8 games made by Kiwi developers at PAX Australia this year. Another banger bit of news for the expo!
The New Zealand Centre of Digital Excellence (NZCODE, for short) is a Dunedin-based hub that supports the growth of a sustainable game development ecosystem through grant funding, curriculum and industry capability programmes and community support.
All the games being featured at their booth at PAX Australia have been made possible through the support from NZCODE, and I thought it would be neat to go through the games and tell you a little bit about them all before you decide to swagger up to their booth at PAX this year.
Toroa is a PC/console exploration adventure game developed by Atawhai Interactive. You play as an albatross as you fly through the skies in an epic journey home across the Pacific Ocean, completing quests for different animals in the process.
This game looks so incredibly beautiful, and features many aspects of Māori culture, from the language spoken within the game to the lush soundtrack of taonga pūoro (Māori musical instruments) and waiata (songs) sung in te reo Māori.
Before We Leave
Balancing Monkey Games
Before We Leave is a PC/console city building simulator developed by Balancing Monkey Games. While looking similar to Dorfromantik in its hexagonal design, the game is more of a 4X strategy game but without the violence. Unless you count human impact on the natural world.
While Before We Leave did come out in 2020, it will be available to see at the NZCODE PAX booth as well as Balancing Monkey Games teasing their new project with some hints and concept art, according to a Steam community post.
Picky Meowy is a mobile strategy puzzle game developed by Cheese Berries. It’s their very first game, and is purported to be releasing on mobile devices next year.
In the game, your simple task is to gift a very picky cat (pictured above) precisely what it wants at any given time. The only thing is, as suggested by the title, the cat is quite finicky and your missions will be based on how it’s feeling.
Deep Field Games
Abiotic Factor is a PC/console retro-style survival-crafting adventure game developed by Deep Field Games. The year is 1999, and you’re a member of a science team that must forge a path to safety after being trapped by a trans-dimensional experiment gone wrong.
In this co-operative multiplayer romp, you and your co-scientists must craft all sorts of science tools, food, gear and weapons to defeat some big nasties. It looks like a whole heap of fun and a great little throwback.
Blackheart is a PC/console 2D dark fantasy action RPG developed by Hyporeal. The game revolves around the royal Blackheart family and the internal problems that are tearing them apart.
As described by one of its developers, it’s an ‘adventure-focused action RPG with a narrative centred around the [Blackheart] family’, where you, according to the studio’s website, make friends with a mysterious creature to stop an apocalyptic event from taking place. I personally love the sound of that.
Bustin’ is a mobile shoot-em-up game developed by Mad Carnival. You play as Jesse Latreen, a courageous delivery driver that must make fast-paced toilet paper delivery in a world that’s gone mad from the absence of toilet paper.
You drive around in your toilet paper delivery truck and shoot rabid cityfolk with toilet paper rounds in order to calm them and satisfy their monstrous desire for buttwipes. I have a hinting suspicion this game was inspired by the empty TP aisles at your local Woolworths back in 2020.
It’s Only Money
Usual Suspects Studios
It’s Only Money is a PC/console open world simulation game developed by Usual Suspects Studios. You play as an Undercity resident, who is essentially a person considered too poor to live above ground, and you must venture to the surface to steal, fight and destroy.
The working class uprising is in full swing here, as your job is to band together with your Undercity neighbours to take down corporations and win back the city you were once shunned from by the evil and corrupt Mayor.
Under The Tavern
Under The Tavern is a PC/console co-op dungeon crawler developed by Mune Studio. In the game, you traverse through the cellars of the Muneshine Tavern beating drunk baddies and playing over-the-top tavern games.
The game will support up to 4 players and will include randomly generated elements, and will include ‘bombastic’ combat and magical brews. Anything that involves goblins is interesting to me, so I’m interested.
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