Get ready for a HUGE year in Aussie video game releases

Posted on January 22, 2021

It feels like every single year the Australian independent game scene gets bigger and more impressive, with 2021 being absolutely no exception. I can say firsthand that Australia has some incredibly passionate, dedicated, resilient, and talented game devs who, sometimes singlehandedly, create phenomenal world-class game releases.

Last year I took us through 15 upcoming Aussie game releases of 2020. Some of those games admittedly (and understandably) didn’t manage to release on their original schedule. But that simply means 2021 becomes even more stacked with intriguing and exciting upcoming projects. So without further ado, check out these awesome, upcoming Aussie game releases for 2021!

Video World

Release Date: January 22, 2021
Platforms: PC
Developer: Things For Humans (Melbourne)

The first game on our list comes from Melbourne artist and game developer Jacob Leaney, aka Monster Mansion. A man of many talents, Jacob has combined his musical production and writing skills with his game development skills to create an intriguing new project. Video World the game is set to release alongside Monster Mansion’s 3-song EP, also known as Video World. It’s an interesting and creative idea to release both projects in tandem and you can instantly see how one bounces off the other to make for an engaging experience.

Henry Mosse and the Wormhole Conspiracy

Release Date: February 5, 2021
Platforms: PC
Developer: Bad Goat Studios (Melbourne)

Another early release for 2021 will be Henry Mosse and the Wormhole Conspiracy. This point and click adventure is absolutely brimming with personality and those character designs are immediately striking! This “interplanetary coming-of-age story” looks to toe the line between a genuinely intriguing cosmic conspiracy and wacky goofball shenanigans. Safe to say it may well have something for every type of gamer. Most intriguing for me though is that the game also claims to have an “important approach to diversity and representation”. Now that’s what we like to see!

Clea 2

Release Date: March 25, 2021
Platforms: PC
Developer: InvertMouse (Sydney)

Releasing as a follow-up to 2019’s surprising horror adventure, Clea 2 is ready to recapture the essence of the original and bring about new spooks for all those daring enough to try it out. Clea 2 and its predecessor both boast strong horror vibes without the use of jump scares. Instead, the games want to put the control into the player’s hands, with the player’s abilities and actions determining the fate of the characters. There seems to be a surprising focus on skill here, something I wholeheartedly embrace within the survival horror genre.

The Artful Escape

Release Date: 2021
Platforms: PC, Xbox, iOS
Developer: Beethoven & Disonaur (Melbourne)

The Artful Escape is a Melbourne made game that impressed us even way back in 2016 when we first played this game at PAX Australia. The game was due for release last year but a late-in-the-year delay means that 2021 is instead when we’re expected to be graced with this captivating and beautiful piece of art. An audio/visual journey that combines gorgeously vibrant colours with groovy tunes. Annapurna are also on board as publisher for this one and if their past catalogue is anything to go by then The Artful Escape is set to be another winner.


Release Date: 2021
Platforms: PC
Developer: Melting Parrot (Melbourne)

Even in a stacked year of releases, Dap is a title that genuinely stands out. We first experienced this one during PAX Online 2020 where a game demo allowed us to see how creative, mysterious and bizarre Dap really is. It’s a strange game that’s kind of like a horrific, otherworldly version of Pikmin. The narrative was tantalising, the atmosphere was eerie, the visuals were hauntingly beautiful, and the gameplay was engaging. Not many game demos left me wanting to see more as much as Dap’s did, and that’s something worth celebrating!

Wayward Strand

Release Date: 2021
Platforms: PC
Developer: Ghost Pattern (Melbourne)

Wayward Strand is another game we’d had the privilege of checking out previously, this time at PAX Australia 2019. On the showroom floor, it was a real standout. Amongst all of the action games and crazy cooperative shenanigans, Wayward Strand brought a different and much-needed energy. The game was calming, reflective, and cosy. It made you stop and think and take in everything that was happening around you. From the flying airborne hospital to the incredibly real and personal tales of those aboad. Safe to say we can’t wait to see more.

Beyond The Veil

Release Date: “Coming Soon”
Platforms: PC
Developer: Sun’s Shadow Studios (Melbourne)

Beyond The Veil is a game we’ve been tracking for a while. We even had the incredible experience of bringing the game’s creator, Brian Holland, into our live radio studio way back in early 2019. It was a game we were super excited for back then and that excitement is yet to dwindle. Hearing Brian talk about the real horror stories and the meaningful branching narrative he wanted to explore within Beyond The Veil was thrilling. It’s an ambitious narrative project and one that will hopefully send chills up our spine when we finally get to check it out!

Metal Heads

Release Date: Q1 2021 (Early Access)
Platforms: PC
Developer: Otreum Games (Australia)

If you like head-banging music and intricate minigames then boy oh boy are you in for a treat! Metal Heads is what would happen if you took a Mario Party game, stripped out the actual boardgame part, and turned the minigame dial up to 11. It’s a bombastic and chaotic multiplayer romp that we found incredibly addictive back at PAX Aus 2019. It’s also a game being developed almost entirely by one man. We had a chat with Nathan Francis all about being a developer on a tiny team and it’s clear there’s some serious dedication fueling this release.

Heavenly Bodies

Release Date: 2021
Platforms: PC, PlayStation
Developer: 2pt Interactive (Melbourne)

I had never laughed as much on a PAX showroom floor as I did when I played the ridiculous, physics-based coop game Heavenly Bodies. Two players, no gravity, guaranteed stupid shenanigans. The game plays a little bit like if you took the physics-based movement of QWOP, added a second player for extra lunacy, and then thrust those players into a spaceship with tasks to complete. The game will be playable solo as well, but there’s certainly something special about getting in the way of you coop partner whilst you try to awkwardly fling your way around a spaceship.

The Dungeon Experience

Release Date: 2021
Platforms: PC
Developer: Bone Assembly (Melbourne)

What happens when two crazy, creative and hilarious people join up to make a video game? You get an unhinged, bizarre and amazing experience. That’s exactly what The Dungeon Experience seems to be and it’s a collaborative project between Paradigm’s Jacob Janerka and Ring of Pain’s Simon Boxer. I also had an opportunity to talk to these two creatives about The Dungeon Experience and that simply made me more excited. It just looks like an absolute laugh. The game’s official Steam page lists the release date as “when the four moons of Xogris align and the Messiah Khidrius returns”, which I’m told will happen sometime this year.


Release Date: 2021
Platforms: PC
Developer: Witch Beam (Brisbane)

The worst part about moving house is packing. The best part, however, is arranging your precious belongings in perfect harmony in your new digs. There’s a real Virgo sense of inner peace in seeing your DVD collection ordered by series, director, and release date. Unpacking from developers Witch Beam captures that zen feeling and sets it to a gorgeously meditative soundtrack, with light puzzle gameplay that sees players finding a home for their possessions in numerous houses. Pedro got lost in its satisfying trance during PAX 2019, saying he “zoned out and let the magic of unpacking boxes and creating a home take me over.”

Sports Story

Release Date: TBD
Platform: Switch
Developer: Sidebar Games (Brisbane)

After the runaway success of their 2017 golf-based RPG Golf Story, Brisbane’s Sidebar Games hit an albatross in the hearts of their fans when they announced a sequel during the late-2019 Nintendo indie showcase. While the original game had players using their golfing skills in a variety of wacky situations, Sports Story expands that premise to include tennis, soccer, and other sports in what looks to be a wild ride through dungeons and across sporting fields. It was delayed from its original mid-2020 release, so we’re certainly hoping we’ll be seeing Sports Story sometime this year.

The Forgotten City

Release Date: Autumn 2021 (or Spring for those in the Northern Hemisphere)
Platform: PC, Xbox
Developer: Modern Storyteller (Melbourne)

I remember being absolutely blown away by the scale of The Forgotten City when it first released as a mod for Skyrim back in 2015, and it’s so exciting to see developers Modern Storyteller reinventing the mod’s incredibly intricate story into its own original and standalone experience. The game takes place in an ancient city where a mysterious curse activates the apocalypse whenever a crime is committed. Part Groundhog Day time-loop and part whodunnit, The Forgotten City is a complex character study and I can’t wait to see how it has grown from its humble roots.


Release Date: 2021
Platform: PC
Developer: DragonBear Studios (Melbourne)

An adorable fantasy tavern in a world with anthropomorphic platypuses, wombat mounts, and literal cat burglars, with the frantic co-op gameplay of Overcooked? Sign me the hell up! Cal got hands-on with DragonBear Studios‘ Innchanted during last year’s PAX Online and had a blast concocting potions and fending off monsters in this Indigenous Australian inspired fantasy world which promises “a fresh take to tired old fantasy tropes.” That cultural representation is also just so good to see!

Dead Static Drive

Release Date: “Coming Soon”
Platform: PC, Xbox
Developer: Team Fanclub (Melbourne)

A game that can be described as “Grand Theft Cthulhu” is an instant winner. We first heard about Dead Static Drive back in 2017 when Cameron chatted with its creator Mike Blackney at PAX, and its eldritch mid-western aesthetic made it stand out among titles in the survival genre. Its isometric lo-fi visuals and premise of hurtling along Route 666 in an 80s muscle car to halt the apocalypse is immensely compelling, and we’re looking forward to getting our hands on this stylistic adventure sometime soon.

Conan Chop Chop

Release Date: Early 2021
Platform: PC, Xbox, Playstation, Switch
Developer: Mighty Kingdom (Adelaide)

Despite the recent death of Flash there will always be a place in the world for Stickdeath-levels of gory, cartoonish carnage, and this roguelike hack and slash set in the universe of Conan the Barbarian looks like it will not disappoint in that regard. Allowing up to four players to delve into dungeons for delicious loot and slay fearsome cartoonish bosses in a blaze of bloody glory, this title delighted Kieren back at PAX 2019 and looks set to delight the rest of us when it launches sometime in the next few months.

Lost and Hound

Release Date: 2021
Platform: PC, Switch
Developer: Daisy Ale Soundworks (Perth)

Combining an adorable, furry protagonist with a great pun title is a sure-fire way to get your game noticed by the Checkpoint team. Lost and Hound harnesses the superpowers of our canine friends by allowing them to use their super perceptive senses of smell and hearing to hunt down criminals and help those in need. One amazing thing about this game is that it’s developed to be totally blind-accessible. That means the game will have audio cues for all important bits of information and is designed to be playable for those who are sight-impaired. What a phenomenal design philosophy!


Release Date: Q3 2021
Platform: PC, Switch
Developer: Daisy Ale Soundworks (Perth)

Daisy Ale Soundworks are about to have a big 2021 because there’s a second game they are releasing by the name of Legacies. You can pretty much consider this team as the experts of blind accessibility because they’re once again looking to prove that vision isn’t a mandatory sense for playing video games. In fact, in Legacies you’re even playing the role of a blind man who takes to the deep ocean in his submarine to protect the natural habitat and fight back against poachers and those looking to damage the underwater ecosystem.

Misc. A Tiny Tale

Release Date: 2021
Platform: PC
Developer: TINYWARE GAMES (Perth)

Certainly one of the most adorable games on our list of 2021 releases is Misc. A Tiny Tale. Focussing on teeny weeny robot pals, Misc will take players on a journey through real-world environments that look daunting and colossal to our tiny friends. With narrative and characters at the forefront, players will find themselves engaging in a heartfelt adventure as Buddy and Bagboys journey into the world, collect cogs, engage in perilous platforming, unlock new areas, and reflect on the world around them.

Exo One

Release Date: “Coming Soon”
Platform: PC, Xbox Series X
Developer: Exbleative (Adelaide)

Perhaps the most zen game on this list is Exbleative’s Exo One. Watch some videos or try the demo on the game’s Steam page and you’ll pretty quickly realise that Exo One is a mesmerising, calming, and satisfying experience. Controlling a strange alien craft, the player will go on an otherworldly journey as they careen through gorgeous landscapes. You’ll uncover a vast range of highly detailed environments as you push to new speeds and heights. It’s a bit of a strange game, but one that we’ve found super engrossing in the past.

22 Racing Series | RTS-Racing

Release Date: 2021
Platform: PC
Developer: GOATi Entertainment (Melbourne)

22 Racing Series is a game that’s been in development for a very long time. Still advertising a 2020 release on its Steam page, it’s clear that this game didn’t quite manage to make its release target. But we can only assume and hope that it will instead be releasing sometime this year. 22 Racing Series is a 3D racer, allowing players to race super high-speed vehicles along the walls and ceilings. This futuristic racer also has an increased focus on strategy and seems to be full of unique ideas. The game certainly looks like a huge amount of fun.


Release Date: “Sucking Soon”
Platform: PC
Developer: Samurai Punk (Melbourne)

Not content with creating just one game based on the life of a sentient vacuum cleaner, Samurai Punk have returned after the successful release of Roombo: First Blood to bring us its followup, JUSTICE SUCKS: RECHARGED. An adorable rumba protecting its house by slaughtering intruders, what more could you ask for? JUSTICE SUCKS: RECHARGED is another game we got to take a peek at during last year’s PAX Online and I have to say, this series of games brings a real irreverence and energy that’s hard to ignore.

The Beat

Release Date: 2021
Platform: PC
Developer: Up Multimedia (Melbourne)

With previous releases like My Ex-Boyfriend the Space Tyrant and Escape from Pleasure Planet, it’s becoming abundantly clear that Up Multimedia are the masters of strange and gay video games. Their next project, The Beat, proves to be absolutely no different. This crime noir game will be launching into Early Access as an unfinished product with a complete release to follow down the track. You play as a beat cop over the course of 7 days and will engage in an abstract investigative narrative game.

This Starry Void

Release Date: 2021
Platform: PC
Developer: Chironex Studios (Melbourne)

It’s a game that looks as if it’s been ripped straight out of a graphic novel, in the best way possible. This Starry Void first got our attention back at PAX Aus 2019 when Charlie got an opportunity to check the game out. She was enamoured by its unique style with the player taking on the role of a robot exploring an abandoned spaceship. A quirky blend of first-person perspective and grid-based movement made this title instantly novel. It apparently explores some interesting ideas about intelligence, autonomy, and what is and isn’t real too. Sign me up!

Operation Armstrong

Release Date: 2021
Platform: PC (VR), Mobile
Developer: Fullbeans Studio (Melbourne)

The Checkpoint team are still finding themselves enamorued in the world of VR, even after the initial hype period has worn off a little. Thankfully developers like Fullbeans Studio are keeping the scene thriving with games like Operation Armstrong. It’s a really clever idea for a VR game too, with the “field operative” donning the VR headset whilst other players assist the operative on their phones. This local mutliplayer concept where a player is in the headset whilst others play on their phones is remeniscent of titles like Acron: Attack of the Squirrels! and it’s a novel idea I absolutely adore.

Guile & Glory: Firstborn

Release Date: 2021 (Releasing out of Early Access)
Platform: PC
Developer: Elston Studios (Melbourne)

Whetting our arcade-style tactical RPG appetites comes Guile & Glory: Firstborn from Elston Studios, which entered early access in July last year. Everything from its pixel art aesthetic to its synthetic soundtrack hearkens to a nostalgic era of turn-based strategy games. We can also expect the game to continue to be updated with story missions and other content throughout the year with a full “1.0” release also expected at some point during 2021.

Len’s Island

Release Date: July 30, 2021
Platform: PC
Developer: Flow Studio (Brisbane)

What would you do if you were a newcomer to a peaceful and beautiful tropical island? Well you’d make the house of your dream, of course! Len’s Island is quite a picturesque game and even just watching trailers you can see how instantly warming and relaxing the game can be. Although with that said, this crafting game also has another side to it and all of a sudden you’ll find yourself adventuring out of your tranquil home to go on quests, fight baddies, and explore the mysteries of the island!

LoveSick Darlings

Release Date: “Coming Soon”
Platform: PC
Developer: Dimitri Odysseus (Melbourne)

No upcoming video game list would be complete without at least one anime-inspired visual novel. This time it’s LoveSick Darlings that gets to take that spot and we’re so glad to see it nearing its final release. From the opening animation alone (seen above) we can tell that the game is able to impart so much emotion and personality from still frames alone. The melodic piano strokes that make up the original soundtrack are perfection and whilst I’d personally prefer to be dating boys in my visual novels, I can appreciate that this game may be ideal for someone else.

TopplePOP: Bungee Blockbusters

Release Date: Coming “Soonish”
Platform: PC
Developer: SAI Games (Sydney)

We love a Tetris-like puzzle title, and in this upcoming release from SAI Games there’s a number of twists on the formula to keep things interesting. Rather than falling from the sky, players control animals on bungee cords to carry blocks onto the game board. In a splash of cutesy horror, your goal is not to clear the board of blocks but to free the “Grumbles” – literally your adorable character’s friends that have been turned into bricks. It looks super sweet and promises heaps of game modes to mix things up: surely one to capture the hearts of Puyo Puyo and Tetris fans alike!

Blob Person

Release Date: Q1 2021
Platform: PC
Developer: Inverted Games (South Australia)

There’s a demo out now for Blob Person and I’m already in love with this round lump of polygons. It’s a 3D platformer where you have to manoeuvre the titular blob “armed with a slingshot, a baseball bat and a booty slam that could finely compact any car” through various environmental puzzles and combat challenges against evil blocky enemies. Silly? Oh yes. I just can’t wait to launch Blob Person from a catapult when this comes out early this year.

Spies & Soldiers

Release Date: Early 2021
Platform: PC
Developer: Ghostbat Games (Melbourne)

For those looking for a classic PC strategy game with a twist, look no further than Spies & Soldiers. At first glance, this strategy title about expanding your empire, seizing control of cities and building towards a victory may sound like plenty of games that have come before it. But Spies & Soldiers still finds ways to differentiate itself. The game’s uniqueness not only comes from its beautiful watercolour art, but also from its approach to accessibility that removes the overwhelming complexity of the genre and instead replaces it with simple mechanics that still facilitate deep strategy!

The Ocean Will Have Us All

Release Date: 2021
Platform: PC
Developer: Moloch Media (Canberra)

From the developers who previously released Mars Underground comes their next game, The Ocean Will Have Us All. This title has some weird vibes and honestly, I’m absolutely here for it. You play as Moira Leech in her day to day life. Go to work, go home, go to sleep. Or you can choose to go off the beaten path. There’s some essence of The Stanley Parable here and I’m intrigued to see exactly what kind of hijinks you can get into or if there’s a mystery here that runs deeper. Whilst this game’s Steam page simply says “in the future”, we’ve been told to expect a 2021 release.

Umbra: Journey Home

Release Date: 2021
Platform: PC
Developer: Thomas Wray (Perth)

Any game that puts me in control of a floating stone creature instantly gets my attention. Umbra is a surreal, 3D puzzle game coming to us from solo developer Thomas Wray. The game is set in a fantastical, underground world where you need to avoid lights and stick to the shadows. By manipulating your surroundings you’ll be able to create new shadows allowing for safe passage. The game also promises to offer more secrets and truths to discover which I’m very excited to see.


Release Date: 6 Feb, 2021
Platform: PC
Developer: Gaterooze, Ink (New South Wales)

Releasing in early February this year is Ampersat, an Action RPG / rogue-lite that’s singlehandedly ensuring ASCII art is still celebrated in gaming. This handcrafted adventure comes to us from a solo developer based near Newcastle who’s taken inspiration from games like Gauntlet and Zelda. This game is said to blend the old-school with new-school sensibilities and I’ll be excited to see if the looting, killing and adventuring feels as good as I’m hoping!

The Last Stand: Aftermath

Release Date: “Coming Soon”
Platform: PC
Developer: Con Artist Games (Melbourne)

Coming in as a release for an already well-established series of games, The Last Stand: Aftermath is ready to get you excited to kill zombies again! This post-apocalyptic action rogue-lite will task players with fighting and sneaking through a dangerous wasteland filled with fast-moving infected. Scavenge for materials, craft weapons, mutate yourself to grow in strength, and try not to die in a world that is set out to kill you. And if you do die, roll a new character and start again with new unlocks based on previous progression!


Release Date: Maybe 2021
Platform: PC
Developer: Black Delta (Melbourne)

Is Mario Kart a little too arcadey for your taste? Looking for something a little more realistic? Perhaps Kart Kraft is the answer! This racer goes all out to bring players an in-depth karting experience. Fully customisable vehicles and even “laser scanned circuits” will ensure you’re able to experience authentic karting. This title has been in Steam’s Early Access for a little while now and to be honest even the creator couldn’t guarantee the full release would be this year. Although I’m willing to hold hope on a solid “maybe”!

Broken Roads

Release Date: Late 2021
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Developer: Drop Bear Bytes (Torquay)

An absolute standout for me in this list would have to be Broken Roads. We’ve seen this one at PAX Australia before and everybody I speak to about it has the exact same positive impression. This deep and rich RPG is soaked in personality and charm. The representation of a desolate, inhospitable, future Australian outback is unique and super captivating. Every time we see this game we’re impressed by the narrative, characters, world, art, and way more. Safe to say this game’s release can’t come soon enough.

Honourable Mentions

Even with a list as long as the one above, unbelievably there’s even more titles that deserve at the very least an honourable mention. Some games, for instance, don’t yet have a release date of 2021 set and are instead listed as “TBD”. These games, however, could theoretically release this year and absolutely deserve a nod. The most well known is Hollow Knight: Silksong which may unironically be our most anticipated game here at Checkpoint. It’s been teased for a while and surely it can’t be too far away from release. Melbourne based Powerhoof also have a couple of games in the pipeline that we’d love to see released this year. Both Acid Knife and The Drifter were standouts when we got to experience them at PAX 2019. Chorus: An Adventure Musical probably isn’t releasing this year, although with such a unique premise and such expertise working on the game behind the scenes, we certainly wouldn’t be disappointed if it did release this year.

Like a work of painterly art come to life, Surf Club is another game on our radar that doesn’t yet have a firm release date. That gorgeous colour scheme is enough to sell us on it 10 times over. One of the most unique turn-based RPGs that I’ve ever seen is a game called Knuckle Sandwich. Once again we don’t know if this game is planning to release this year but any game that gives me Undertale vibes is worth holding out for. Way to the Woods is also another unbelievably beautiful game. Solo developer Anthony Tan has some serious talent but we unfortunately haven’t got an update on this game for a while. Will it release this year? I hope so.

Advertised as “Coming Soon” is Melbourne made Wood & Weather by the incredibly talented team behind Paperbark. This one slips into our Honourable Mentions not because it’s unlikely to release this year, but simply because there isn’t a publically available trailer or store page for us to link you to for more information. It’s a similar story for Eastern Market Murder which we’re told should be releasing this May! Being developed from the team who previously released Misadventure in Little Lon, you can expect another Augmented Reality mobile game showcasing true crime in Melbourne’s history.

Ozymandias is another release we’re keen to keep an eye on, although there isn’t too much info out there just at the moment. Regardless, the game looks super cosy and we’re told it’ll be releasing this year! Isolationist Nightclub Simulator is set to release this year with an official announcement coming soon. Again we don’t know much about this one yet, but judging on the developer’s past work we can expect a creative endeavour mixing music soundscapes with the video game medium.

So there you have it, an incredible and long list of Aussie games expected to release in 2021. I don’t know about you, but I’m unbelievably excited to see what this country can do in the gaming space this year and beyond, and to continue to watch the Australian gaming industry grow and create tremendous things.