Every Steam Next Fest I look at the over 1000 games and get incredibly excited and incredibly overwhelmed. One week is not a long enough time to scroll through and find, and then actually play, all the games of interest! Fortunately there’s still time to play demos from or purchase over this Next Fest’s 1300 games, and I picked my five favorite demos from this year for y’all to try too!
In no particular order, these are all (mostly) narrative focused games and are all pretty chill. Though there is a horror leaning one which was new for me!
From Doot, an indie developer, Minami Lane has players building a street to meet specific requirements. It’s a cozy, casual management sim where you can unlock and then customize buildings, manage shops (like ramen, boba, and a bookstore!), and maximize the happiness of your villagers. The demo has two of the streets that will be in the full game which promises about two to four hours of playtime.
Since you can replay each street any times that you want and go about it in different ways, it should make for a really fun experience. I loved the Japanese inspired streets and also loved the hidden object aspect of the game where you try to find an object that’s actually a Tanuki, pet cats before they walk away, and pick up the trash.
Lost and Found Co.
Speaking of hidden objects, hidden object Lost and Found Co. from Thai developer Bit Egg Inc. provides the first two locations of the full game where you will make friends with a cast of wacky characters while you find their missing valuables (or the people themselves). There’s also an evil plot afoot and an epic fight between ancient forces promised?! I was just having fun with the music!
I love hidden object games and was just lamenting to some friends how I was sad that the pandemic had killed so many of the indie devs who made them, so I was super excited to try this game and loved it! I do hope the final version has a hint function or something because there are a lot of items in the locations to find. Fortunately each item or person has a hint to direct the player but even with those sometimes it took me quite some time to find what I was looking for.
Inspired by TTRPGs, Baladins from Seed by Seed is a choose your own adventure game where you can play as a Cook, Luxomancer, Dancer, Pyro, or Bard! The demo starts with a regular ole task that turns into a Dragon who wants to eat you and every time that you fail at the end of the week, Colobra sends you back to the start!
This is a really fun mechanic (and premise) because items sent back with one of the roles only stay with that role, so you have to strategize who you’ll send on each run. I am super curious to see how playing the game as one person would go compared to playing it with others since the game supports up to 4 people. I also love the idea of playing a TTRPG but I don’t wanna deal with stats or math or anything, so I love that the game does it for you and you just gotta decide what actions you’ll take. The art and music is also so delightful and I love the travel map and can’t wait to see how the full game plays.
In a first for me, I ended up gravitating to a clearly horror tinged visual novel where you play as an owl. Daemon Masquerade from Callum Page starts by having you solve some puzzles for a creepy scientist who wants to see how smart you are. Years later, you’re the reclusive Detective Lambda and Daemon of Records Biblios, the seventh and final pair in a contest.
You’ll need to uncover the names and Daemonic powers of the other six pairs, and in only seven days. If you fail, you’re erased from existence. But wait, there’s more, there’s already pairs trying to take one another out. Oh boy. I enjoyed piecing together clues in the demo and think this will be a game that I enjoy but am also stressed throughout because I am a baby who does not enjoy horror, hah.
Of course I couldn’t end this article or my day of playing demos without a visual novel and Glam Pursuit, from LarkyLabs was so much fun and packed with cool interactive pieces. The main character is almost fully customizable with even the ability to change their body size (to some extent) which I loved.
In the game, you create your own up-and-coming actor who has just been told they’ve got a month to move out and find a new place. Oh boy. Unique aspects of Glam Pursuit includes having your main character actually act in different scenes and unlocking facial expressions as the game progresses and an interactive cell phone that actually has more than just a few pre-written texts. It’s also fully voiced and incredibly diverse so I can’t wait to see the final version!
You can check out all these games and so many more until Monday this Steam Next Fest!
Images courtesy of their respective owners
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