6 Incredible Indie Games We Spotted at PAX West 2023

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PAX West has just wrapped up for 2023, an event that was positively bursting with new and interesting games. Here are six indie titles that caught our eye at the event!

Leaf Blower Man by Unbound Creations

We love that there are games about everything these days, including a brand new entry about cleaning up your driveway. This is Leaf Blower Man by Unbound Creations, an arcade-action game about well, blowing leaves from one end of the screen to the other. That’s really all there is to it in this game! You’ll rack up points for blowing leaves, other objects and for annoying your neighbors in the process. There’s hints at a pretty dramatic storyline and there will also be a Horde Mode separate to the main campaign where you’ll be able to leaf blow thousands of sword-wielding, militant leaves.

It’s worth mentioning that the Unbound Creations team are adamant that there will be no pay-to-win microtransactions in this game and that any future DLCs will be optional and will not provide any gameplay advantages. The Leaf Blower Man demo is available on Steam for you to try. Expect the full game to release sometime in 2023.

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Star Salvager by A-Game Studios

2023 feels like the year of space-themed games in every variety. Enter Star Salvager by A-Game Studios, an homage to arcade hall classics with a disco twist. Touted as Tetris meets breakdancing, this retro puzzler will have players merging blocks together to obtain ammo and blast through an alien horde. Game maps are procedurally generated to ensure each run is unique in its own way. There’s even a light bit of stage progression for players to stay motivated and keep going. 

Star Salvager is the kind of game that will be truly addictive once you start, with a heart-thumping soundtrack that will have you dancing or at least, vibrating in your gamer chair. While there’s currently no release date, you can Wishlist the game on Steam or follow the developers on Twitter to stay informed on when the stars of Star Salvager will begin to align.

Rabbit and Steel by mino_dev

If you like magical girls and rogue-likes, give Rabbit and Steel a try. Play as a rabbit-eared girl with supernatural abilities, join up with more rabbit girls and investigate  Moonlit Kingdom. The game allows for both online and local co-op for maximum enjoyment with friends, but there is also a single player campaign centered around uncovering the mystery of Moonlight Kingdom. Unlike other rogue-likes, Rabbit and Steel also comes with heavy MMORPG gameplay elements such as being able to choose your class, global cooldowns, gear effects and resolving boss mechanics through teamwork.

Developer mino_dev also previously released Maiden & Spell, another magical girl battle game with a similar look and feel. If you’re a fan of the artstyle and the spirited JRPG-esque soundtrack, make sure to follow their Twitter account for more updates. Rabbit and Steel releases in 2024. 

Floppy Knights by Rose City Games

Remember old school floppy disks? Not many gamers these days might but they take a central role in the game Floppy Knights by Rose City Games. This is a turn-based tactics card game about a young inventor named Phoebe who develops knights from floppy disks to assist her with odd jobs around the town. While deckbuilders are fundamentally strategy games, Floppy Knights promises snappy battles and numerous card combinations to keep both veterans and players new to the genre highly entertained. Different decks come with different knights and ability cards to suit new kinds of playstyles and we love how adorable the hand-drawn art style is. 

Floppy Knights is available on Steam and Nintendo Switch. At the time of writing, a discounted Rose City Games Collection that includes Floppy Knights is also available. 

Spirit Swap: Lofi Beats to Match-3 To by Soft Not Weak

For a game that hits all the right notes, try Spirit Swap, an action-puzzle narrative game about witches, being queer and crashing the biggest concert of the year. Players take on the role of Samar, a young witch investigating the recent spike in spirits from another dimension. Gameplay-wise it’s a lot like other color-matching puzzle games we know and love, with a few alternative game modes to keep things interesting. We love the strong story elements that bring to life characters and plot beyond just the puzzle mechanic. The colors of the game are lush, the music is lo-fi and the characters positively sparkle, 

A demo for Spirit Swap is currently available on Steam. The full game is set to release in 2023, wishlist on Steam and follow the developers on Twitter for more updates.

Botany Manor by Balloon Studios

Plant parents, get ready to live out your greatest greenhouse fantasies in Botany Manor, a game about growing and researching plants. Players resume the role of retired botanist, Arabella Greene during the 19th century. You’ll be able to explore a beautiful English manor set in the countryside and enjoy all the cozy cottagecore vibes this game has to offer. Gameplay-wise expect puzzles to solve in the form of growing plants, from seeding to potting and ensure they live their best leafy lives. Information isn’t just handed to you however, you’ll have to gather it from your environment such as through newspapers and paintings. Slowly piece together what you need while also discovering the true life and career this information of Arabella.

Botany Manor has yet to announce their release date. Follow the developers on Twitter to hear more about the game’s development.

Rino
WRITTEN BY

Rino

Rino is a Tokyo-based writer, covering the local and international indie games scene.

Their favourite indie game is A Short Hike.