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RPS@PAX 2023: 5 more indie games that caught our eye

Plants, turnips and farming are a major theme here, with some added horror thrills

A huge glass house surrounded by trees and plants in Botany Manor
Image credit: Whitethorn Games

Liam and I played a lot of games at PAX East, like a lot. Most of them we managed to make videos for, but there were many more that we just didn't have the time to cover, and that were also very good! So here's a quick list of five more games I wanted to spotlight in written form while Liam's busy in the editing mines working on all the community videos we filmed (the first of which is out right now, chronicling the PAX Facebook group that takes a community photo every single year). It's very wholesome. We've got more community videos coming out this week, plus an article listing our absolute favourite games we played throughout the entire event, so keep your eyes peeled for those, too. For now, though, let's dive into some more indie highlights.

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World Of Horror

A man wrapped in bloody bandages in World Of Horror

I played an early access build of World Of Horror when it first released back in February 2020, so seeing that publishers Ysbryd Games had a new build with them for PAX East, I decided to check it out. And yep, it’s still as creepy as ever. In case you haven't seen it before, World Of Horror is a 1-bit horror game that peels its inspirations from the pages of HP Lovecraft and Junji Ito, especially its body horror inspirations. Actually, I think World Of Horror has some body horor scenes that would make both of their respective skins crawl.

You're cast as a high schooler solving a pinboard full of local mysteries in a Japanese seaside town gripped by dark forces. You need to defeat these evils by collecting objects, exploring different parts of town, and surviving encounters with horrible beings. I'm talking bloated corpses, masked cultists, ghost girls with curtains of long black hair, and other supernatural terrors. I had a great time in the new demo (when I wasn't freaking out next to a very understanding PR person) and I can’t wait for the game’s full release - a date we’re still waiting on, but is currently slated for sometime this summer. If you want to delve in the action sooner, you can play it in early access £11 on Steam, and it's in pretty great shape.

Turnip Boy Robs A Bank

A small turnip runs through a bank firing a gun at other veggies in Turnip Boy Robs A Bank

I had an absolute riot playing Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion, so I was desperate to check out Snoozy Kazoo’s newest game, Turnip Boy Robs A Bank. Looks like our little sprout friend has gone from life as a mischievous troublemaker to a full-blown criminal, and I'm here for it. Instead of exploring a cute Zelda-like adventure, you’ll be running around shooting other shrubberies in fast-paced roguelike action (it's still very cute though).

In the demo I played, you take control of Turnip Boy as he runs around a bank, guns blazing, shaking down innocent veggies for their pocket change, raiding golden vaults, and dodging incoming security guard fire. It still has all the humour of the first game which I love, like how the owner of the ‘Botanical Bank’ is a moustachioed sleezy onion named Stinky, and how you can surf the dark web for weapon upgrades. The Steam page also promises some deeper history of Turnup Boy’s world, which I am incredibly invested in, so I’m definitely looking forward to that.

Botany Manor

A garden shed filled with plant pots and flowers in Botany Manor

Any game about growing plants and I leap at the opportunity to play it. In Botany Manor, you’re tasked with exploring the inside of a large English manor house and its surrounding gardens solving plant-related puzzles as you go. It's like The Witness meets Strange Horticulture.

Each plant puzzle involves getting a seed and figuring out how to make it grow, and with each flower being incredibly fussy about its habitat, you’ll often have to think outside the box. One of the puzzles I played in the demo, for example, had to be figured out through environmental clues - a seed I had favoured flashes of lightning in its natural habitat, so I found an old pinhole camera complete with accompanying flash bulb to simulate the same effect. After taking a photo of the pot, the seed was nestled in it bloomed into a beautiful flower. Very cool.

Roots Of Pacha

A women from the stone age waters her garden in Roots Of Pacha

Roots Of Pacha was on the booth with the giant robotic dinosaur that Liam sat on in our showfloor tour, and it’s certainly one way to grab the attention of passers by. Another reason why it grabbed my attention was that it's essentially a Stardew Valley-like but in the Stone Age, so of course I was going to play it.

I didn’t get a chance to properly root around in Pacha's farming systems, but on the surface it’s exactly like other farming sims - growing crops, getting to know the locals, unlocking a technology tree, and so on. But one thing that really stuck out for me was the water irrigation system - and hell yeah, if you like farming sims you know how big a deal this is. In the 30 minutes I spent with the demo, I planned out the perfect layout for my water canals and crops. When everything was set, I started to pump water, and all my crops were thoroughly watered without me having to bumble about watering them all individually. Exciting, I know. I’d like to play more of Roots Of Pacha, and looks like I won’t have to wait long as the game is out on April 25th.


A screenshot from Vice NDRCVR which shows the Amigo OS' cluttered database and tabs.

In this narco thriller, you’re tasked with rummaging through the digital innards of a PC in the 1980s. Playing as a cop, you need to go undercover as a computer operator working for a cartel group, attempting to implode their drug ring from the inside.

It’s similar to the likes of Her Story and Hypnospace Outlaw, where the entire story takes place on the desktop of an old battered PC, and you'll need to look through databases, email chains and personal records to sniff out clues. You’ll get contacted through text chats by detectives asking you for leads and the cartel demanding your help with their operations, so balancing your time between both is key to learning as much as you can to bring this whole empire down. I love desktop dramas, so I’m keen to play more when Vice NDRCVR releases “soon.”

PAX may be over but we've got more videos and indie spotlights to come, and you can find all our PAX East coverage over on the RPS@PAX tag. If you'd like to see what other indies we covered (including interviews with the devs), you should check out chaotic roguelike Pizza Possum, Resident Evil-like Alone In The Dark, beautiful and unsettling Metroidvania Animal Well, dino teen music adventure Goodbye Valcono High, fiendishly fast action-platformer Hell Of An Office, and spooky Persona-like Demonschool.

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