Positioned right at the front corner of the indie games area of PAX Australia 2016, Skedaddle was always bound to draw a crowd. And that’s not even considering how cool it looks. Or now nice the people exhibiting were–I left my little notebook by the computer there as I was demoing and, three hours later, retraced my steps and the Early Worm crew said that they’d been expecting me back.

Skedaddle is an independent multi-character puzzle-platformer made by Early Worm, a team of 7 graduates from the Academy of Interactive Entertainment in Melbourne. When brainstorming an idea for their first game, the artists wanted to model animals and the team wanted to make a horror game, so they went with Skedaddle–a game about five animals and their quest to escape the downtrodden and cruel Circus Skedaddle.

The five different animals, including Priscilla the Poodle and Laurie the Loris, must work together to escape the horrors of the circus. Each animal has different skillsets that are utilised together to solve puzzles, and they’re controlled independently by swapping between them, similar to the LEGO games.

The most initially striking thing about Skedaddle is the beautiful art style. Circus Skedaddle never feels like a happy place, not for a second. All I wanted to do was try to help the animals escape what seemed like a torturous environment. Everything feels a little off and uncomfortable. The musical score is also very well designed and fits perfectly into the evil circus aesthetic of the game, ensuring that I felt uncomfortable (in a good way) throughout the entire demo.

The puzzles themselves seemed a little bit easy once you knew the animals’ abilities, but didn’t really explain exactly what each animal offered very well. I assume that this is just growing pains with the demo, however, and I’m sure on release the full game will offer well designed puzzles and an appropriate learning curve for each of the animals.

It’s not the most unique or challenging game I’ve seen at PAX so far, but Skedaddle was a blast to try out on the day and shows a lot of promise–I’m looking forward to seeing how it progresses.

About The Author

Matt has been playing video games and listening to music for too long. He accidentally started a website and now has to pretend that he’s got an idea as to what he’s doing. He neglects the games he’s meant to be reviewing and instead plays Dota 2 and Football Manager. Shameless Nintendo fanboy. Direct your complaints to @mattmcleod27.