AUSTRALIA Day 2023 is here and in addition to the traditional BBQ/backyard cricket/beach trip/generally enjoying a day off work, it’s also a good opportunity to celebrate some of the great video games developed right here in a land down under, where you can watch the lightning crack over canefields, laugh and think “This is Australia”.
Bet you thought I was going to go with the obvious Men At Work reference there, didn’t you?
Anyway, because it’s Australia Day 2023, here are five of my Australian video game recommendations, in no particular order:
BIG BASH BOOM (Big Ant)
Australian summer and cricket are natural friends, and one of the most popular forms of cricket is the kind where you and the family or some mates grab a cricket bat, a ball, and a wheelie bin or some driftwood to act as wickets and then have some wholesome fun.
Big Bash Boom, developed by Melbourne-based Big Ant, is essentially the arcade-style version of T20 cricket, and provides a fun, accessible, family-friendly sports game. Think a cricket-themed take on something like NBA Jam and you’ll be heading on the right track.
My kids and I have had a lot of fun with this and I think you and your family or mates will too – which means it’s just the thing for an Australia Day gaming session.
WYLDE FLOWERS (Studio Drydock)
If you need some magic or coziness in your life right now, Wylde Flowers from Melbourne’s Studio Drydock comes highly recommended.
Gameplay wise, it draws from titles such as Stardew Valley, Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing, but the magical twist on things and lovingly crafted world full of engaging characters and activities.
It’s just such a nice game with a lot to like, and something for everyone – even I loved it, despite it being about as far from the sort of game I’d usually play; I reckon it’s just the thing to unwind with on a day off work.
CULT OF THE LAMB (Massive Monster)
While it’s been a while since we’ve seen an Australian Lamb ad achieve mainstream status, but that doesn’t mean your Australia Day has to be totally without lamb references – because you can play Cult Of The Lamb, developed by Massive Monster in Melbourne.
Described in Arlentric’s review as “as a rogue-like, action-adventure, town-management game with a gruesome yet ‘cutesy’ aesthetic”, Cult Of The Lamb has proven to be a cult (heh) hit internationally – so if you’re looking for something with a twisted vibe that doesn’t take itself completely seriously, yet still manages to be rather unsettling, then this might be just what you’re chasing.
UNTITLED GOOSE GAME (House House)
It might be set in a quaint English village, but Untitled Goose Game is very much an Australian affair. Developed by Melbourne-based House House, the game casts you as a goose hell bent on causing havoc in a village for whatever the Anatidae equivalent of “the lulz” is.
From its simplistic but colourful art style to its delightful and emotive piano musical score, as well as being able to cause G-rated chaos while being a goose, it’s no surprise the game was a hit – and might be exactly what you need to unwind on a day off from work, too.
MOVING OUT (SMG Studio)
We’ve all moved house or flat at some point, and we’ve all wished we could just yeet boxes of stuff out the windows instead of carrying them around to the moving van (or your mate’s ute) like civilised people.
Moving Out, developed by Sydney-based SMG Studio, is a couch co-op game where you and the other players are removalists trying to get everything out of the client’s house and into the removal van before time runs out. Since you’re not remotely concerned with whether the stuff gets to its new home in one piece or not, you can throw TVs through windows, lob games consoles across swimming pools, and play catch with small appliances.
It’s a fantastic, inclusive game that’s a lot of fun, leans into its own silliness, and can be enjoyed by everyone – so just the thing to be playing together on a public holiday.