PAX Aus 2023: David’s Indie Demo Picks

PAX Aus 2023: David’s Indie Demo Picks

There were so many indies at PAX Aus this year that it has taken me a full day to bring this list down to just five favourites. I would love to dive into games across every section of the show floor, from the Made in SEA booth to the CODE NZ legends (and we will, Kotaku AU community member Renee O’Flynn is putting together her annual PAX wrap as we speak).

But there were a few games that caught my eye as I wandered the floor, buffeted by the storm of light and sound that accompanies any trip into the Expo Hall. Here, in no particular order, are some of my favourites from this year’s PAX Aus convention.

The Drifter


The vision of the future Grist presents is almost unbearably horrid, but that’s also why I loved it. Grist, by Melbourne’s Chironex Studios, is a game in which you are a starship captain. On your journeys across the stars, you’ll need to recruit crew for your ship — scientists to develop her systems, mechanics to keep her running, and mercs to protect her from trouble. You’ll need to send your crew into increasingly perilous situations in hopes of bringing back useful tech or salvage with which to improve your ship. And if those crew members should happen to perish in the pursuit of their duties? Why, simply convert them into Grist, a material that both gives life and keeps a ravening cybernetic plague from overwhelming you all.

You see what I mean, right? Bleak shit. I love it.

Memory’s Reach

Described as a first-person puzzle adventure and metroidvania, Memory’s Reach is a game about picking your way through giant alien labyrinths. For those that love the Metroid style of slowly expanding a map and doubling back with upgraded abilities, Memory’s Reach can scratch that itch. It’s also got some of the most striking 3D visuals of any game at the show. Really lovely stuff from 100 Stones Interactive, who are based here in Melbourne!


Update 13/10/23: THEY SENT ME A TRAILER!! Thank you, Sean from Towerpoint! — David.

I WISH I had a trailer I could show you for Anvilheart, because it was one of my favourite little discoveries of the show this year. Made by two-person team Towerpoint Games from Adelaide, Anvilheart is a shop management RPG about being a blacksmith. Your goal is to create and customise special weapons for various townspeople to suit their specific traits. It’s this social aspect that really drew me in — the more you learn about a given customer, the finer the detail you can pour into your work for them. The greater the quality of your work, the more the game’s branching story will unfold before you.

Remarkable gear. Really taken with it. Towerpoint, please send me a trailer link if you have one, and I will happily embed it here. You can check out their site and devblog right here.

Solium Infernum

After hearing lots about it during this year’s GCAP conference, I had to stop by League of Geeks to check out Solium Infernum. One of two games the Melbourne outfit have in development right now, Solium Infernum is a ground-up remake of the classic grand strategy game set in hell. Though first-timers will note its superficial similarity to other 4X strategy titles like Civilization, Solium Infernum requires careful political manipulation of Hell’s forces as much as open warfare. Combat cannot be entered into without first serving them a kind of High Court summons and working legislative numbers to goad them into battle. If all of this sounds good, I urge you to try the demo on Steam.


Ailuri is a lovely little sidescroller with hand-drawn animations that wants to impart strong messages about environmentalism and wildlife conservation. Created by Vivink Studios, it is a game about rescuing native fauna and driving out the invasive species that seek to do them harm. A cool note: all of the animals featured in the game are on the endangered species’ list. Great gear, and development is bubbling along after a successful run on Kickstarter last year.

Image: League of Geeks

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