It is once again time for the P2 crew to dish out those big awards at the end of an eventful year. As always the team can’t come to any sort of mutual agreement so we just let them pic their favourites to save the arguing. Now for a brand new award from the P2 team, Best Aussie game.
The P2 Awards 2022 - Best Aussie Game
Rob Caporetto - Cult of the Lamb
Maybe it’s just the timing of its release, but Cult of the Lamb well and truly got its hooks into me when it was released back in August.
What truly makes it work well is the way in which it marries up the cult management mechanics with the dungeon exploration. Having to choose between exploring further, or going back to resolve some crisis in your cult really ratchets the tension. Especially as your cult grows bigger, and they start to demand more and more from you.
Something else which earned a lot of brownie points from me is that it doesn’t demand a massive amount of your time. A typical dungeon run is over in under 10 minutes, and so it builds this compulsion to do one more run after you’ve done a bunch of duties.
Roguelites aren’t all that special these days, but when you take the concept and combine it with something as unique as the cult management system, then top it off with a tremendous sense of style in both its visuals and soundtrack…
…you get an absolute Australian gem in Cult of the Lamb.
Matt Hewson - Age of Darkness: Final Stand
This may be cheating a little as it is a game that is still in early access, but I can’t resist giving the nod to Age of Darkness: Final Stand. It is an RTS that goes about things a little differently by simply putting the focus on survival and not a military victory. This simple change means that all the old RTS tips and tricks almost become obsolete and players are forced to readjust their thinking as to how best to make it through the night and avoid being destroyed by swarms of undead goons. It is absolutely addictive and the game is built in such a way that you never feel cheated or beaten unfairly, when you die (and you will) it is always on you and death leads to learning for the next attempt. Even though Age of Darkness is in early access, there is more than enough here to sink your teeth into and the game is already in an incredibly polished state. Don’t pass this one by folks, it is a cracker.
Jess Zammit - Wayward Strand
It was a great year for Australian-made games, but to be fair, many years are. Cult of the Lamb made it big internationally, and a lot of players enjoyed the slower-paced witchy goodness of Wylde Flowers – both of which are excellent games. But for me, the standout of the year was Wayward Strand, which has been on my radar since early stages of development and which I’m super glad to say entirely lived up to my expectations. This gem of a game about a young girl on a medical airship and her experience getting to know the elderly residents on-board is a real testament to what you can achieve when you take consultation and authentic representation seriously. There was something quintessentially Aussie at the heart of Wayward Strand and its tone, and I can’t imagine a game more deserving of this award.
Paul James - Cult of the Lamb
Its long known by now that the Aussie development scene contributes bangers at a ratio that is far greater than anywhere in the world. Australian developers continue to excel beyond what any other region in the world can continue to deliver, especially considering that we don’t have the AAA presence that many of those other big regions do. Our indies continue to knock it out of the park, and this year it was the work of Cult Of The Lamb that delivered the most. I’ve discussed this one already, but Cult Of The Lamb balances each and every one of the game’s key pillars perfectly, while it layers on a wonderful sense of morbid charm, and stunning visuals on top of that. Cult Of The Lamb isn’t just one of the best games of the year, nor is it just the best Aussie games of 2022, but it is one of the best games that this country has ever produced.
Shaun Nicholls - Conan Chop Chop
So I expect almost everyone will be raving about Cult of the Lamb and if I had gotten around to playing it I probably would be as well. However, since it is still in my backlog to get around to at a later date I am going to go with Conan Chop Chop. Taking on a long-existing franchise and breathing new life into it is no mean feat, and rather than try something that has already been done before the team at Mighty Kingdom took a world and built a fun party game. While it did have its flaws, when playing with Paul (Deputy Editor Paul James) it was a lot of fun.
Sarah Ellen - Cult of the Lamb
I am cheekily placing this here even though I would have considered this for best Indie game as well if I could. My review speaks for itself – Cult of the Lamb made me blissfully uncomfortable through its rogue-like town-management cult-progression mechanics. My only sadness is that the PC version is truly the master copy of this game, with the Playstation and Switch ports still on the bug-wagon in terms of late-game lag issues. Massive Monster has been so proactive in patching and working through issues, which is why I am confident it is still a great game for the list.