Following Ruby’s lead, I also step in to talk a bit about some of my favorite Steam Next Fest demos.
Steam Next Fest, of course, is a week-long celebration of games big and small currently in development. Demos and short vertical slices are at the heart of Steam Next Fest, allowing players to hang out with an upcoming crop of indie darlings. We’ve really come full circle and re-emerged in a new era of game demos. We just like to see it.
To help you cut through the noise, we’ve decided to create a pair of lists full of games we really like. You can check Ruby’s list right here. There are games in this list that bend the genre in ways that tickle me. Some play with ideas that I have never seen before. And there are still others that revive genres that I thought were long dead. I’ll keep my descriptions short and sweet so as not to spoil anything, and include trailers where I can.
By the time you read this, you’ve only got one weekend left to check out any of these Steam Next Fest demos, so let’s get to it.
David’s Steam Next Fest Demo Picks
This is a build your own haunted house simulator mixed with the design fundamentals of a tower defense game. Your objective is to build a maze that will scare your bettors as much as possible before they run through the haunted house and exit through the gift shop. Genius. A simple twist on a very familiar genre. I’m going to waste hours on this.
nil earth is described as an inverted city builder about rebuilding the ecosystem. You start with a barren planet and use your magnificent technology to transform it into a lush, verdant paradise. Once the planet’s ecology grows on its own, your challenge is to pack your base in a way that doesn’t harm the new environment. Leave no trace, as they say.
Agent 64: Spies Never Die
We have officially entered the era of the renaissance of the rare N64-like shooter, and I, for one, couldn’t be happier. Agent 64: Spies Never Die is a serious attempt to recreate the look, feel, sound and gameplay of Rare’s accidental masterpiece GoldenEye 007. I’m not sure exactly what’s going on in this demo plot-wise, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that I understand, instinctively, how to play this game. Plug in a controller for the full effect. To like. I can’t wait any longer.
I love escape rooms, so anything that recreates the experience digitally is an instant wishlist for me. escape academy is exactly that: a digital escape room simulator that you can play solo or with a friend. You are an Escape Academy student, training to become the ultimate Escapist. Each room presents a different type of challenge, and each faculty member can provide you with new tricks and tools to solve puzzles. I love this stuff. More please.
Melatonin is a rhythm game about dreams. Its hand-drawn art and relaxing soundtrack combine to create something incredibly relaxing and very easy going downhill. Unlike other rhythm games that prefer an on-screen metronome to keep you on the beat, Melatonin uses other visual and auditory cues to keep you on the two and four. Clever design and unique approach to the genre.
Brewmaster: Beer Brewing Simulator
An extremely dadcore pitch that makes me smile and nod like this gif from Robert Reford. It’s literally a brewery simulator. I can hang out in the garage, blast boomer tunes, and whip up a crate of crispy boys. Extremely dad hours on this one, I love those vibes.
If you’ve read the site this week, you’ll already know how in love you are with the Metal: Hellsinger demo i am. It’s a rhythm shooter that plays like a love letter to Bethesda Loss and adds a little extra flavor of its own. Highly recommended for metal fans and rhythm game lovers.
Fashion Police Squad
Fashion Police Squad it’s like a hyper-aggressive version of Tan from weird eye got his hands on a weapon that can dress people up in an instant. The city is besieged by people in boring suits and guys wearing socks and sandals. This cannot be allowed to stand. Take matters into your own hands and keep your city in style.
I feel like the developers of Movie theater and I are kindred spirits because we were apparently the only people playing and enjoying Lionhead’s Movies. Movie theater is a bit friendlier than Lionhead’s famously difficult studio sim and keeps things relatively simple. The goal is to read your critics’ and fans’ desires and try to make a movie that both of them will enjoy. Achieving this goal leads to a significant monetary gain, which can be reinvested in future films.
The Mystery Cleaner
The Mystery Cleaner looks like a mix of something like Viscera cleaning Detail with an immersive simulation where, beyond simple cleaning, you must use the detritus you find to solve a larger mystery. I love the fusion of genres at play here. It’s as if someone wrote an extremely dark text house pinball fanfic, and I’m excited to see how far the developers can take the concept. I couldn’t find a trailer for this on YouTube, but there is one on the Steam page linked above that you can check out.
VergeWorld is portrayed as a futuristic combat runner. I would describe it as Lylat Wars/Star Fox 64 with PSOne-era graphics. You’ve got a gunship, you’re on rails, there’s all kinds of crazy bullshit falling on you and you have to shoot it down or avoid it as best you can. It’s fast, it’s fun, and it’s full of process-generating levels, so no race is ever quite the same. Extremely here for a flying rail shooter revival.
Out of service mode
Out of service mode is a synthwave racing game full of neon visuals and hard-hitting 80s-inspired electronic music. It’s pure, pristine vibe and that’s the end of my pitch.