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Friday, January 23, 2015

The Friday ten; celebrate Australia Day with these ten local games

List by Matt S.

Everyone likes a top-10 list. They're a bit of fun, and always good for discussion. And so every so often we pull together a "top 10" list. These are here for fun and laughs - we're not pretending that we're the authority of good games taste in the world and this is purely the author's preferences. Agree with him/ her or not, it's all good.

On Monday next week it is Australia Day. For people who don't live in the country, it's basically become the day where everyone heads down to the beach wearing Australian flags and swimwear coloured in Australian flag colours. Once there they drink beers by the litre, cook up killer BBQs, and play a spot of cricket.

But other people like to celebrate Australia Day their own way, and what better way to celebrate without going into the sun than settling down for an Aussie game marathon? Here are 10 locally developed games that are available on current platforms that will help you pass the Australia Day long weekend away with.

Don Bradman Cricket 14

Cricket might not be a national sport in Australia as it is in India, but it is nonetheless a passion that many Australians enjoy like Americans like their Gridiron. Because the market for cricket games is so small (after all, the biggest markets for games - America, Japan and China, have almost no interest in the sport) cricket games are typically constrained by limited budgets, but boy does Don Bradman Cricket 14 give a serious simulation of the sport a red-hot go.


From indie developer Nnooo, escapeVektor is a very clever little spin on the Pac-Man and Qix formulas. Players need to navigate across a wireframe and colour it in as they go, avoiding various enemies and traps along the way. On the PlayStation Vita and Nintendo 3DS, this is a huge game by indie standards with plenty of challenging and well-designed levels to play through.

Cubemen 2

Another little indie title, this time from 3 Sprockets, Cubemen 2 is a genius take on the tower defence genre thanks to its user-developed levels and cross-play compatibility. The moment you purchase yourself a copy of this game you have access to thousands of levels to play on, and while it's almost impossible to find a random online game thanks to the tiny community, if you've got friends with the game on any platform (iOS/ Android, PC, Wii U), then you're in for hours of simple, but effective, strategy fun.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution: The Director's Cut

While the original game was developed overseas, when it came to the absolutely brilliant Director's Cut (especially the Wii U version), the work was all Aussie. Straight Right, the talented team that also ported Mass Effect 3 to the Wii U, was able to find a way to enhance the already thick atmosphere and stylish stealth action gameplay. This is the definitive version of an already very good game, and we can thank the Aussies for it.

Malevolence: The Sword of Ahkranox

How's this for a one-man development project; Malevolence is quite literally an endless RPG in the vein of Wizardry or Might & Magic. You've got a procedural world to explore that dwarfs the size of the likes of Skyrim, and unlimited quests to complete, along with many dungeons to explore that are deeper and larger than most entire RPGs. If you want one single game to get you though the long weekend, this is it.


Australia Day is also about hanging out with family and friends. A little like Thanksgiving to Americans, only instead of happening before Christmas, it happens afterwards. Anyway, Screencheat is an Aussie-developed game that is the perfect party game. Matches are short and sharp and when you're hosting a BBQ with a group of people, and it's too hot to spend much time outside (because we do have 40 degree Celsius days in Australia at this time of year), that's exactly what you're looking for.

Crossy Road

If you are intent in heading out to the beach, then you might not have much time for games. That's okay too, you can still support the local games industry on your train or bus ride to the beach! Crossy Road has been a megahit new mobile game from a talented Aussie indie developer, and its endless Frogger formula is very much of the addictive "one more play" structure. Just be careful that you don't miss your bus or train stop while playing.

Infinity Wars

There are plenty of different CCGs out there on the digital market, but for Australia Day, why not play a home grown one? Infinity Wars offers up some unique mechanics and some amazing, fully animated card art to give the game a different look to what we might be used to in CCGs. It's a saturated market thanks to the likes of Hearthstone, but we hope this one survives on into perpetuity.

AFL Live 2

AFL Live 2 didn't exactly get the world's greatest reception when it was released, but given that it's a sports game for a sport that is literally only played in Australia, it was never going to be competitive with the likes of FIFA. It's a decent recreation of a purely Australian sport, however, and that makes it a perfect Australia Day game, no?

Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords

I imagine that most people have already played Puzzle Quest, given that it's available on almost any platform you can think of, but in the event that you haven't then it's worth grabbing a copy on one of them to experience one of the most influential Aussie games ever produced. There may have been hybrids of RPG and puzzle game that existed before Puzzle Quest, but if so Puzzle Quest showed people how to do the hybrid right, and we've seen a never ending supply of clones since that have never quite managed to top the original.

- Matt S.
Find me on Twitter: @digitallydownld
The Friday ten; celebrate Australia Day with these ten local games
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