congratulations to all finalists for the Pavs 2021!

Here you’ll find the cream of the crop of New Zealand & Australian games for the year – though really, everyone who managed to keep creating in the age of Covid deserves a round of applause! This year we received around 60 submissions from studios and indies across New Zealand and Australia, which our judges and jury whittled down to the below finalists.

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Best Friend Forever

Starcolt

Nominated for: The ‘Slice of Heaven’ Grand Prize, The Decorative Piece: Excellence in Visual Art, The Diverse Delight: Excellence in Representation

Dating Sim game

Best Friend Forever is the world’s first simulation game to combine pet care and dating (just not necessarily at the same time). Train, pat and play with your very own dog to form a bond that will last the ages. With your four-legged companion by your side, meet, woo and cherish the many cuties of Rainbow Bay’s thriving singles scene.

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Denari

Astronaut Diaries

Nominated for: The ‘Slice of Heaven’ Grand Prize, The Poetic Serving: Excellence in Narrative, The Decorative Piece: Excellence in Visual Art, The Diverse Delight: Excellence in Representation

Telekinetic Hack n' Slasher game

The Denari empire invades a peaceful peninsula. They are all but unstoppable until a goddess grants a young warrior the power to fight back. Denari is a telekinetic hack-and-slasher set in a toon-style world.

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Floating Floors

Gumboot Games Limited

Nominated for: The Tactile Taste: Excellence in Physical Games

Tile Placement / Dexterity / Casual / Ninja physical game

Floating Floors is a ninja balancing face-off, where you are both the architect of your own domain, creating a labyrinth of floating floorboards for your rival to cross, and a ninja set out to infiltrate the rival domain in search of their bansenshukai.

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Frame of Mind

Nominated for: The Student’s Slice

Puzzle game

In Frame of Mind, you are placed in a world where logic is escaping you. Each area of the game defies reason, requiring you to think outside the box in order to solve the illogical and escape madness.

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Galilean Moons

Fantasy Workhouse

Nominated for: The Tactile Taste: Excellence in Physical Games, The Decorative Piece: Excellence in Visual Art

Area Control physical game

Set in an alternate history of 1895, you must voyage to the four largest moons of Jupiter in order to mine powerful crystals left behind from a mysterious meteor shower.

As you discover the power of each crystal you will be able to research new ways to fend off rival nations who are after the same thing you are.

You must build your forces to control the sectors of each moon and mine the most crystals before it's time for your journey home.

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Keep Driving

Connor, Jesse, Jordon & Sam (Yoobee Colleges)

Nominated for: The Student’s Slice

Endless Runner game

Keep Driving is set in a futuristic 80's world where you play as Dave driving his AI DeLorean (HU3) down the highway until it starts going on the fritz and glitching out. HU3 can’t stop so it’s up to Dave to keep driving.

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Last Message

JamesGames

Nominated for: The Composed Segment: Excellence in Audio, The Poetic Serving: Excellence in Narrative

Horror / Story-driven game

Last Message is a short atmospheric thriller / narrative / adventure game that brings you into a world overrun by infected.

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Longhaus

Gendly Games

Nominated for: The Student’s Slice, The Perfect Recipe: Excellence in Design

Strategy, Tower Defence game

You're chief of a settlement on a floating island in a vast sea of clouds. Gather resources and expand your island town.

Use six unique towers to defend your Longhaus from barbaric invaders. Face enemies of all types from small foot troops to giants, battering rams and even those from the skies above. Will you reign victorious, or will you crumble?

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Māoringo

Trent Archer

Nominated for: The Diverse Delight: Excellence in Representation

Educational / Dungeon Crawler game

Māoringo is a pixellated dungeon crawler that teaches you te reo Māori!

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Neocense

Tired Tortoise Tribe

Nominated for: The Diverse Delight: Excellence in Representation, The Accessible Ambrosia: Excellence in Accessibility

Puzzle Adventure game

Neocense is a 2D isometric puzzle adventure game. Explore the world of Cha as Amori, who has just discovered she has a rare gift called the Cense; she can connect with spirits and enter the realm of passing. Amori delves deeper into Cha’s past, The Hunters Army, and the history they've tried to bury.

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Pico Tanks

Panda Arcade

Nominated for: The Guest Plate

Multiplayer Action game

Pico Tanks is a fast-paced, energetic 3v3 tank brawler with a strong focus on team strategy.

Design your own unique tank with thousands of possible gameplay-changing combinations. Group up with your friends and compete in spectacular 3v3 battles across multiple maps and game modes! Communicate with your team and overcome your enemies to claim victory in this team-focused real-time PvP battle arena.

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Radical Relocation

Winglett Entertainment

Nominated for: The Student’s Slice

Casual, Puzzle, Strategy, Physics, Indie game

In a world mildly inconvenienced by a lack of moving companies, you have to move house...

Radical Relocation is an absurd physics-based puzzle game that turns a sleepy neighbourhood into an insane obstacle course! You’ll need to get your belongings from A to B – while they’re stacked and balanced on the roof of your moving vehicle!

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Road To Nowhere

15 Bit Games

Nominated for: The Guest Plate

Point-and-Click Adventure game

Road To Nowhere tells the story of Cohle Bishop – a renowned introvert, and successful software developer – whose life is torn apart by scandal.

Though innocent, he is haunted by personal demons, abandoning his “perfectly adequate” life in hope of finding himself on the open road.

Can you help him find his way?

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Soaring Lions

Imaginary Empire Games

Nominated for: The Tactile Taste: Excellence in Physical Games

Professional Wrestling (Tabletop Roleplaying) physical game

Soaring Lions brings the drama, theatre and pageantry of professional wrestling to tabletop roleplaying. Players take the role of amazing heroes and despicable villains in a fast-paced, winner-takes-all, competition.

This game is about getting to the action quickly and building your wrestler’s story through a mix of matches and backstage drama. Character creation is simple; wrestlers are built from basic elements which you can create yourself, or roll randomly using the Legend Machine.

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Squiggle Drop

Aaron Neugebauer

Nominated for: The Perfect Recipe: Excellence in Design

Puzzle game

Draw shapes to solve physics puzzles. Featuring 50 levels, each with a unique objective and requiring different types of problem solving skills.

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Starport Delta

Cloudfire Studios

Nominated for: The Composed Segment: Excellence in Audio

Strategy, Simulation, City-building game

Build amongst the stars in Starport Delta, a light sci-fi strategy game that focuses on survival. Station Commanders across the universe will turn to you for guidance to expand, defend, and survive. Help them build a thriving station, but watch out, there are many dangers hiding in space...

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Sue's Story

Incendio Software (solo dev)

Nominated for: The ‘Slice of Heaven’ Grand Prize, The Composed Segment: Excellence in Audio

First Person Sci Fi Adventure game

Sue's Story is a classic sci-fi adventure game in the spirit and tradition of Aliens. Awakening on a cryo-transport ship hurtling towards a main sequence star, Proximus Centaurus, Sue is thrust into a terrifying game of hide and seek and a race against time to fix the ship, and dock successfully at the orbital platform.

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Trigger Witch

Rainbite

Nominated for: The ‘Slice of Heaven’ Grand Prize, The Perfect Recipe: Excellence in Design, The Poetic Serving: Excellence in Narrative, The Accessible Ambrosia: Excellence in Accessibility

Twin-stick Shooter, Action/Adventure game

Trigger Witch is a 2D, twin-stick, action/adventure game set in an odd open world where magic is mundane, but firearms are the new unknown! You are Colette, and as you graduate from the Stock, a curious man invades your world...

Welcome to the world of Witchcraft and Triggery!

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Umurangi Generation

ORIGAME DIGITAL

Nominated for: The ‘Slice of Heaven’ Grand Prize, The Composed Segment: Excellence in Audio, The Decorative Piece: Excellence in Visual Art, The Diverse Delight: Excellence in Representation, The Accessible Ambrosia: Excellence in Accessibility

Photography game

Umurangi Generation is a first person photography game set in Tauranga during the shitty future.

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UNDER A STAR CALLED SUN

Cecile Richard

Nominated for: The Guest Plate

Elegy game

UNDER A STAR CALLED SUN is a sci-fi Bitsy game about grieving, holding on to fading memories, and carrying the world on your shoulders.

It was made for LIMINAL magazine's GLITCH series, released in June 2020 as part of the Emerging Writers' Festival. It won the 2020 AGDA for Best Narrative.

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Upkeep

Gametime Again

Nominated for: The Tactile Taste: Excellence in Physical Games

Engine Building/Puzzle physical game

Wild autumn weather is creating havoc and leaving the neighborhood in a mess, but Mother Nature has nothing on you. Join with friends or go it alone to reclaim your yard from the chaos.

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Video World

Things For Humans

Nominated for: The Guest Plate

Music / Rhythm, Narrative game

Video World is a synth-pop halloween musical about working at a video store. Sing and complete rhythmic challenges while you decorate a video store with the help of a punny pumpkin.

Video World is a companion video game to the EP of the same name by synth-pop artist Monster Mansion.

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Watch This Space

It's Anecdotal

Nominated for: The Composed Segment: Excellence in Audio, The Perfect Recipe: Excellence in Design

Arcade game

A multiplayer game about shooting asteroids
about racing asteroids
about eating asteroids
about being the asteroid
and about rules that change

Watch This Space is a party game about shooting rocks, and about a series of unexpected and delightfully surprising minigames that aim to change your view of an arcade classic.

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Wonderland Nights: White Rabbit's Diary

Sky Bear Games

Nominated for: The Poetic Serving: Excellence in Narrative, The Decorative Piece: Excellence in Visual Art

Visual Novel/Life Simulation game

The four nations of Wonderland meet every year to agree on shared policies and enact their various schemes against each other. There are personal vendettas to resolve and enchantments hidden everywhere, and did someone mention the dreaded Alice? You play as the White Rabbit, and every decision you make affects the destiny of Wonderland!

want to know who'll win?

Tickets for The Pavs: NZ Game Awards night are on sale now.

A massive thank you to NZGDA, Ninja Kiwi, Studio Mayday, Dinosaur Polo Club and PikPok for sponsoring the awards night.

want to play these games?

Pavs finalist games will be exhibited and playable at the week-long Level Up exhibition. Entry to the exhibition is free, and all ages are welcome!