|OT| Steam Next Fest - February 2024 edition soon

Panda Pedinte

Best Sig Maker on the board!
Sep 20, 2018
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My main issues were related to the way the character controls, while playing with a Xbox controller I wasn't able to activate the super jump after getting the upgrade, once I switched to keyboard and mouse the indicator to press the '1' appeared on screen. Still about the super jump, it felt a bit inconsistent, some times I could jump high and other the jump height was the same as if I didn't had it activate.

In the boss battle it seemed like if you took too much time to move out of the way of their attacks you are going to get hit, maybe making the character slightly faster can help.

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It's more Toree! The demo is only one level but you can get an overall idea of how the game will be.
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A Hollow Knight clone, in a wolrd where Silksong will release only after the heat death of the universe it can scratch that itch. I reached what seemed to be a boss but dropped the demo there as I was getting annoyed by the parry mechanics.
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I really wanted to like because of how absurd it is but the game did nothing for me. The level I played was kind of bland and the wall jump when you're in cat form was hit and miss. The anime opening was cool though.
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a 3D platformer inspired by early 2000 titles, once I got used to the moves I had some good fun!
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gabbo

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Dec 22, 2018
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Was able to get in some demo time.

Children of the Sun

A shooter in the truest sense - don't want to spoil anything, but it's fantastic, if maybe a little (for a demo) mechanically shallow. Still, it executes on that mechanic incredibly well and it's going on the 'ol wishlist for sure.


Paws for Adventure

I usually dislike the art style this goes for (retro, pixelation), but having just lost a cat recently, this is kind of frustratingly cathartic. Frustrating, in that the demo is basically the tutorial, but things are so spread out you're spending a lot of time just wandering around looking for quest items with little idea of why something is or isn't around. For action-adventure or cat fans.

Seren Nova

Come for the top down shooting, stay for or run away screaming at, the intentionally awful FMV cutscenes. Goofy, but could use some work. Controls aren't very tight, and aiming is harder than it should be, also it crashed on me before I could finish the mission. Could take or leave a fully realized version
 

Aaron D.

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Jul 10, 2019
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Chances are if you know about Pacific Drive, you're already planning to buy it in a couple weeks. Demo only cements that decision.

Some are saying they're getting performance issues, but I haven't had any personally.

Good chance this will be appearing on End of Year lists.



Space Trucker looks absolutely gorgeous & runs great. Vehicle has lots of intractability, as though thought was put into onboard systems, maintenance & upgrades.

It's got that space-trucker vibe on lockdown. Kinda like the Rebel Galaxy games.

This genre can be so hit & miss, with high highs and low lows.

On first blush, Star Trucker is looking like the real deal.



Abiotic Factor sports an infectious combo of creativity & verve.

Reserved humor in a Black Mesa setting with a novel mix of survival/crafting im-sim problem solving.

This is the kind of genre-hybrid mix that continues to keep the medium vital & fresh.
 

manchego obfuscator

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Jan 23, 2020
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Steam Next Fest Demos I've played thus far:


extremely stylish Superhot-esque sniper gameplay; feels very polished, though I'm not entirely clear yet that there's enough variety for an entire campaign


Didn't play this one for very long, but the drill "swimming" mechanic and using it to gain additional height feels great


A lot of work clearly went into the Cartoon Network-esque animation, but it's a bit too exaggerated for my taste, and seems like there's a little too much focus on writing and art direction over getting you into the gameplay. Might work better as a Zelda-like in the full game, though


Top-down Metroidvania (I normally think of that as oxymoronic but it's not clear that this has puzzle dungeons or other key Zelda tropes, so we'll go with that for now) with a cute cat-in-the-afterlife conceit, great art direction, and solid level design and controls.


Very pretty 2.5D African-inspired Metroidvania, though it doesn't feel quite as polished as the demo of the somewhat similar-looking PoP: The Lost Crown did, with significant (shader compilation?) stutter on my PC. Still very much looking forward to the full game, though.


Only played this one for a few minutes, but seems like it's trying to be a more accessible sci-fi Hollow Knight where you can shapeshift into enemies, hence the title. seems promising


Probably my favorite of the Metroidvania demos I've played thus far, along with Crypt Custodian. Psychedelic art direction that really doesn't look like any other game in the genre I've ever played, with movement and combat that are simple thus far but feel great.


still need to finish this one - linear third-person narrative game where you play as a Russian nun, dealing with mental illness (or possibly demonic possession) in a very Hellblade-esque manner. Great production values and visuals, intriguing story, solid pacing thus far


Barely had time to play this but the shadow traversal mechanic seems cool and opens up a lot of possibilities for puzzles, stealth, and platforming
 

Virtual Ruminant

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May 21, 2020
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The trailer pretty much tells you outright that this isn't a game, more like a level-editor that lets you build a scene from prefab blocks and then look at what you made. For something that's supposed to release in less than a month, it has a surprising number of issues and bugs, too. The artwork is nice, but I have no idea who this is supposed to be for.



Interesting take on classic top-down arcade action, but ruined IMHO by too much rogue-lite design - no powerups and instead having to die over and over to slowly save up on loot to buy health upgrades is not my idea of fun.



Sounds good on paper ("Katamari, but also a golf game"), but the golf game is barely there - the tee-off is barebones, there's no putting, there's no different clubs, it might as well be pinball. Almost feels like the golf bit was an afterthought. Navigating the boost-pads needs quicker reactions than you can reasonably have with a controller, so mouse-keyboard centric, too. Needs work, but releases in two weeks, so - pass.



Good looking metroidvania, plays well, too, but the difficulty is for pros who have been mainlining metroidvanias for years, so not for a scrub like me.



Will anybody anywhere ever make a Backrooms-themed game on Steam that is not garbage (or even simply not get abandoned before release)? This one's probably not gonna be the one either.



This is the 50GB download demo. Apparently the game has been in production in some way or another for 12 years now and had a failed Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign at some point, but will actually get released after all this year. The game's assets have all been created and built as physical miniatures first and then 3D-scanned into the game engine (which explains a lot of the long production time). Somewhat unfortunately the game itself seems to be just yet another German point and click though, with slow, plodding storytelling and writing that wants to be funny but gets stuck halfway between the level of dad jokes and sketch comedy from 50 years ago. 50 gigs of fun this demo is not. The claymation look is this game's strongest selling point and I'm not sure it's enough to sell me on it. At least the emphasis seems to be on storytelling rather than puzzling, there seems to be no object inventory.



Superb looking and rock-solid playing metroidvania with art direction from Niklas 'El Huervo' Åkerblad of Hotline Miami fame. Easy wishlist and recommendation for everyone who enjoys C O L O R S and metroidvanias.



A modern remake of the 16/32-bit home-computer and Gameboy classic Bubble Ghost. Production quality is flawless, the looks are very nicely done and cute (the original games from the 1990s were not exactly good-looking, so this isn't just a weird attempt at nostalgia cash-grabbing, this really looks like a labor of love) and most importantly, the game still will make anybody rage HARD a couple of levels in. Wishlisted and recommended for anybody, not just people who remember the original.



This one really surprised me - I had never heard of this game before and it wasn't part of any promotions or trailer shows, I just found it while clicking through the Next Fest page. The intro and the small tutorial area right at the start do not look like much at all (in fact, they look startingly like a 7th generation console game), but then the game opens up and the reason why the asset and texture detail is sometimes a bit on the low side becomes clear - the maps are huge! Gameplay is stealth-centric, but lets the player choose whether to be a silent assassin or a shadow that just slips by enemies without even harming them. The gameplay had me hooked pretty quickly. Wishlisted and really looking forward to the finished product.




Dang, and I still have 10 more demos downloaded ...
 

Panda Pedinte

Best Sig Maker on the board!
Sep 20, 2018
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A Vampire Survivor clone taking the visual inspiration from Geometry Wars. Not sure how it will be in the full release, but the rounds are short, being only 5 minutes and I imo it's a plus for when you want just some quick fun.
 

Panda Pedinte

Best Sig Maker on the board!
Sep 20, 2018
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One of the worries I had when the trailer debuted was about the background visuals clashing and making it hard to understand where the enemies are, but I didn't have any difficult in distinguishing between the backgrounds and the enemies.

The game has some interesting ideas, like killing the enemies to get their parts that can be used to heal and upgrade status that unlock new abilities. So far it's very promising.
 

Virtual Ruminant

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May 21, 2020
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Basically Death's Door with a cat instead of a bird. And just as good. Wishlisted.



A hard-boiled ducktective investigates crimes L.A. Noire style (complete with clue notebook and everything) in picture-book-and-stickers artstyle. Looks like a kids game, definitely isn't though. Wishlisted.



Super strange game about a Russian nun with a demonic possession problem that leads her on all sorts of adventures. Gameplay is part action-adventure, part exploration & puzzling. Some interesting stylistic choices, such as giving all the gamey elements of the game a very distinctive 8-bit look and sound-design - kind of Kojima-style, but a thousand times more on the nose. Wishlisted.



Huge disappointment. The trailers look amazing, but the gameplay feels like a bad imitation of Grow Up / Grow Home with the gliding and climbing from Zelda - Breath of the Wild thrown in, the controls are awkward, the character animation is terrible and the game in general feels more like a prototype rather than something that's supposed to release in less than a month from now. Pass.
 

gabbo

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Dec 22, 2018
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Under the Snow

Very short, very intriguing, with decent voice acting and really good performance. Added it to my wishlist in hopes it does comes out one day (solo dev it seems). Polar post-apocalyptic adventure.


Pacific Drive

What if Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach was played out from inside a station wagon? That's what this seems to be, and I'm waiting for it very patiently. You should too. Runs well, looks and sounds great.


Illegal Excavation

What could be an interesting Uncharted-like runs like such garbage I had to turn it off after like 5 minutes. I think every computer fan within a 5km radius ramped up to 100% and stayed there until I did. Would say avoid for now until it gets a serious tune up under the hood.


Do Not Press the Button (To Delete the Multiverse)

Taking clear inspiration from Stanley Parable comes DNPtB(TDtM) in which you are forced... either going to be an asshole like me and play it wrong (Yes, I can wait four hours in a hallway Mr Narrator, and I will) or an asshole like the devs want and break the rules of the narrators walking sim social experiment. Either way, there aren't enough of these games that successfully play with how narrative structure and gameplay mechanics interact like this, all with a sense of humour that hits just so.
 

Virtual Ruminant

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May 21, 2020
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A roguelite side-scrolling hack&slash where you play as a cyborg-sheep taking it to Dr. Wolf and his evil army of wolf-minions ... pretty promising, although like most with most rogue-lites, I did not enjoy the initial phase of slowly building up your arsenal of special abilities and buffs from nothing. Wishlisted to keep an eye on.



I learned about this game years ago when it was briefly mentioned in a Videogamedunkey video that I cannot even find anymore - I think it was some PAX showcase roundup? Anyway ... it's coming out this year and it's pretty good - but, although the game may have actually started development earlier, it now feels quite similar to Celeste - and although you cannot really tell from the demo, I suspect that it probably will go in the same end-game direction as Celeste, i.e. eventually get insanely difficult. Which is good news for hardcore Celeste-fans, of which there are quite a few, but not so much for me. Still keeping it on the Wishlist.



The latest game by Richard Hogg, known for for quirky colorful classics such as Hohokum and Wilmot's Warehouse as well as strange & sweet hidden object adventure I Am Dead. Once again the focus is on exploration, discovery and generally low stakes, laid back gameplay, all while looking very lush and with a distinctive style and art direction that closely resembles that of I Am Dead. Wishlisted.



This game reminded me very much of Osmos, but unlike Osmos, this game actually takes place in space. It's all about figuring out orbits (in a 2D perspective, it's not Kerbal Space Program). However ... it lacks a fast-forward feature, and honestly, who has that kind of time? I wish I had, but I don't. Wishlisted to see if it will get a fast-forward feature eventually ...



Had this on my wishlist since the first trailer, but now that I've played the demo, I must report with a heavy heart that at its core, this is a survival sim - with a cool scenario, good story, good production and a whole lot of love poured into it (and not exactly open world either), but for me it's too much collecting, crafting and repairing. I could manage if the maintenance were just restricted to your car, but pretty much every item and tool you craft or find has a healthbar, too ... not for me. Unwishlisted.
 
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Li Kao

It’s a strange world. Let’s keep it that way.
Jan 28, 2019
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Mmh, Pacific Drive is boring, the UI is dubious and subs on top is all kind of stupid.
But by the end of the demo I must say I am ready to play more of it.

Cool unique game.
 

Panda Pedinte

Best Sig Maker on the board!
Sep 20, 2018
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The controls are janky, the music wasn't what I expected, there are UI elements using a pixel like font (you can change that), and all that makes the game more interesting for me. I have no idea to where the plot goes, but I'm interested.

Loved that FPS! It's fun, there are a lot of weapons, the visuals are nice and it plays well.
 
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Li Kao

It’s a strange world. Let’s keep it that way.
Jan 28, 2019
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I tried Space Trucker for a few hours and I think I hate that shit. Nothing works for me.
Travels are boring as sin, you truck is slow and you can’t admire the changing landscape like in EuroTruck, you are in space.
The game has a real problem communicating anything useful to the player. There are space roads, but they are not obvious. Icons are everywhere and yet it’s a pita to know where to go. Tutorial is clearly not up to par, barely explaining anything. And this fucking Truck ! It’s incredible how dumb the mechanics can be and yet they are absolutely arcane, never explained well. I was never fully in command.
I mean, most on board systems seems to revolve around putting cells in drawers, it’s basic as fuck. But yet nothing seems to go right. But it was never explained to begin with.

Camera is a pain, you basically never see anything but your truck. And camera movements, well maybe it’s me, I’m really suspicious of my brain on that one. Reverted camera in space, ok. But maneuvering your truck in reverse breaks me.

I mean, it could be boring but cool. With a tutorial. And a game starting with a working truck. Yeah, and useful icons.
 
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spindoctor

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Jun 9, 2019
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I tried this out based on your recommendation but I realized it's not for me. I'm the kind of person who uses auto parking in ETS2 so having to do that manually in this game in 3D space with 6DOF movement is a bridge too far. Aside from that I felt that the truck movement had too much inertia for my taste. Obviously they're trying to simulate the actual motion of a truck but hey devs, you know there's no gravity in space right? :p It's a well made game what they're going for though. The EVA idea is a cool touch too.

I mean, most on board systems seems to revolve around putting cells in drawers, it’s basic as fuck. But yet nothing seems to go right. But it was never explained to begin with.
I agree with this too. The intro/tutorial needs work. I got stuck on virtually everything the game asks you to do. It's all easy once you figure it out but if you're having to figure it out then the tutorial isn't doing it's job.
 

gabbo

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Dec 22, 2018
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Chasing the Unseen

Virtual Ruminant is completely right. CtU has a sense of scale and wonder to it, and the music definitely fits being ethereal and moving, but this wants to be a Game™ - really sophisticated and full of meaning and symbolism, and hey maybe it will eventually. For now, it completely forgets to be fun or engaging, with an emersion breaking jump/fall animation and not much to do but climb. Catching and climbing the squid from banner? Meaningless. Praey for the Gods, which has similar mechanics remembers to be fun AND have a sense of scale and wonder. Go play that instead. Seriously, it's only $38, go now, thank me later.

Abiotic Factor

Half-Life - In Australia, with a more darkly silly humor. And crafting, lots of crafting. Craft-Life.
Yeah, I'll be getting this and playing some co-op with friends for sure..

Copycat

Something like Catlateral Damage and Stray but with a more grounded approach. Having just lost a beloved cat to illness less than a month ago, I couldn't play long without having stop. Just too many feelings going on, and this sense of foreboding that permeates. That said, it controls well, looks good (though the human is a little... off-putting), has some nice cat humour, and seems to have a bit of depth to it. The player isn't anything like our cats, except the toilet paper bit, and I hope there's a little more freedom to sort of 'make the cat your own'. Right now though, I just can't. Wishlisted for a later time.
 
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spindoctor

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Jun 9, 2019
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I had this on my wishlist because of an amusing trailer they put out a long time ago. It's a medieval, comedy ARPG with some GTA references. Calling it an ARPG is a stretch because there aren't hordes of enemies to fight and the combat systems aren't at all deep. The GTA references are like when you're being chased on horseback by 'the police', you can go to a stable and change your clothes and saddle and then the police will stop chasing you. The game is basically a set of straightforward quests that happen on a large map you go back and forth in. It's mildly amusing at times... for example, you are not The Chosen One but you do actually meet The Chosen One early on in the game and just sort of kill them off. It's a very average game but it is completely ruined by the godawful controls. It's crazy how bad they are. Isometric movement has been a solved problem in gaming for nearly 30 years since Diablo came out and these developers have managed to mess it up. What's even more impressive is that they offer multiple control schemes (movement relative to camera, to character or relative to mouse pointer) and each one of them is bad. It's the number one complaint in the steam discussion forum and it's a dealbreaker as far as I'm concerned.


This game made in the Phillipines looks like a pixel art point and click adventure game but it's more of a visual novel really. It's entirely linear and follows the life of a high school student. The story is basically the life of a teenager, dealing with friends and love, struggling to keep up with schoolwork, spending inordinate amounts of time on social media and so on. You move from point to point and interact with objects or people. There is some level of reactivity where you can make choices that are referenced later. The art is nice and the store page promises some sort of mystery story in the full game but I found my interest waning before I had even finished the demo. It's lacking in polish though and feels like a bit of an amateur effort. It feels bad to say that for what is probably their first game but there are things where I felt like they could have made different choices. A small example is how there's a long text intro when you start the game and the sentences have no capitalization. And you can say well, maybe that was a stylistic choice and that's fine, but text communication looks better with proper grammar. people will still understand what you mean without proper grammar but it feels a little awkward right