The first-ever SXSW Sydney took place in October, marking the international expansion of the renowned tech, film, music, and games festival. Following hot on the heels of the Melbourne International Games Week and PAX Aus, independent game developers still managed to showcase their exciting projects at SXSW Sydney. Here are nine of the most intriguing upcoming games that caught our attention:
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1. The Dungeon Experience
Have you seen those viral TikTok clips of a crab with a lot to say? Well, “The Dungeon Experience” is the game responsible for that memorable footage. Developed by the Australian studio Bone Assembly, this fantasy-themed role-playing attraction is like an escape room crossed with a live-action role-playing game. However, there’s a catch: the entire experience is run on a shoestring budget by a clever crab who may be trying to recruit you into a multi-level marketing scheme. Expect absurdity and voice-acted dialogue reminiscent of “The Stanley Parable.”
2. Drag Her!
You can’t deny the appeal of drag queens fighting each other in a 2D side-scrolling fighting game. Developed by Fighting Chance Games, “Drag Her!” features an all-star cast of real drag performers, including the likes of Kim Chi, Laganja Estranja, and Alaska Thunderfuck 5000. Each queen has her own unique set of creative and thematically-appropriate attacks, and you can even switch up their outfits by changing their color palettes. Get ready for some fabulous battles!
“Drăculești,” also known as the “gay Dracula game,” is a beautifully illustrated visual novel developed by Fine Feathered Fiends. In this captivating story, you assume the role of Roger M. Renfield, a timid lawyer visiting Vlad Dracula’s estate on a business trip. However, things take a dark turn as you discover that the castle’s inhabitants are far more sinister than initially believed. The game explores the question of how far you would go for love, while also offering alternative love interests and multiple routes.
4. Hotel Magnate
If you’ve ever dreamed of managing your own hotel, “Hotel Magnate” is the game for you. Developed by Arcade Oven, this hotel management simulator combines the best elements of “The Sims” and “Two Point Hospital.” From building rooms and facilities to hiring staff and meeting guests’ demands, every decision you make will impact the success of your hotel. Keep an eye on this game as it continues to develop during its early access phase.
5. Winnie’s Hole
Prepare for a unique horror-themed strategy game called “Winnie’s Hole.” Developed by Twice Different, this game takes you on a journey inside the gut of Winnie the Pooh. As a virus invading Pooh Bear’s body, you’ll strategically spread and gather upgrades by connecting tetrominoes. Along the way, you’ll witness Pooh’s transformation, growing new limbs, eyes, and other unsettling mutations. Can you help Winnie find his way back to normal before it’s too late?
6. Crab God: Mother of the Tide
In “Crab God: Mother of the Tide,” you become the divine protector of a colony of crabs. Developed by Chaos Theory Games, this game draws inspiration from “Kingdom” and “Reus.” Your objective is to guide your crab babies, ensuring their survival by destroying invasive plants, attracting sea life, and gathering resources. Fail, and you may have to make tough sacrifices. Traverse the ocean depths from the Great Barrier Reef to the Mariana Trench in this charming and engaging game.
7. Enter the Chronosphere
“Enter the Chronosphere” is an intriguing fusion of real-time strategy and turn-based gameplay. Developed by Effort Star, this sci-fi roguelike requires you to save the universe by disabling chronospheres that threaten reality. The game features diverse biomes, weapons, enemies, and items, allowing you to strategically navigate through each area. With an eclectic cast of characters and thoughtful action gameplay, “Enter the Chronosphere” offers an immersive and challenging experience.
Embark on an emotional journey as Dawn, a shelter cat, in the narrative-driven game “Copycat.” Developed by Spoonful of Wonder, this fully voice-acted walking simulator explores themes of love, loss, and finding one’s way home. As Dawn, you must navigate through various environments and overcome obstacles to return to your beloved owner. Experience a heartwarming tale that captures the essence of companionship.
9. Lil’ Guardsman
Imagine a bureaucratic adventure where you, as Lil, a 12-year-old protagonist, take on the duties of a city guard. Designed by Hilltop Studios, “Lil’ Guardsman” offers a friendly and lighthearted experience reminiscent of a Saturday morning cartoon. Questioning those who approach the city gates and making important decisions is all part of the fun. Dive into this retro fantasy world and discover the joys and challenges of being a young guardian.
These are just a few of the incredible games showcased at SXSW Sydney. Each offers its own unique gameplay, story, and entertainment value. Keep an eye out for their release dates and get ready for some unforgettable gaming experiences.
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