Nuns, demons, roguelikes – Our favorite indie demos from February 2024’s Steam Next Fest

Gare – Friday, February 16, 2024 5:44 PM
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Steam Next Fest, a week-long celebration of upcoming titles with tons of demos available to try, has concluded, and as usual, we did what we always do around here – we went scuba diving in the sea of games to see which demos would tickle our collective fancy the most. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy a brief recounting of what we experienced during Steam’s festival of endless demos. Let’s get started!

People say it’s worth leaving best for last, but this time, I’d like to start with the demo I found to be one of the most memorable – INDIKA, from developer Odd Meter, may seem like your average historical adventure game at a glance, but then you actually start playing it, and boy does it catch you by surprise. The pixel art aesthetics, the surreal music, the supernatural elements with the devil himself talking to you, the bizarre dialogues – I could go on. INDIKA is a demo I won’t soon forget, and it’s hard not to be fascinated by it. Speaking of bizarre, fascinating and memorable, Death of the Reprobate was another demo that caught me off guard in a pleasantly surprising way. Brought to life with an art style that will no doubt remind some people of classic Monty Python sketches, the game wastes no time in introducing players to its absurd comedy and outrageously entertaining lines that feel almost like an homage to Monkey Island. If the first five minutes don’t immediately convince you that this is a game you need to play, then nothing will.

Death of the Reprobate
Never Grave: The Witch and The Curse
Moving on! Never Grave: The Witch and The Curse combines a cute, Hollow Knight-esque art style with snappy controls, roguelike elements, and... a building mechanic? It’s not what I expected, but was pleasantly surprised, and the fact that the game also supports 4-player multiplayer is just the cherry on top. And the main character is just adorable, which is always a plus.

Now, as an oldschool fan of both the Resident Evil and Silent Hill franchises, two games in particular stood out to me in this Next Fest lineup. The first one was Hollowbody from developer Headware Games. Set in a dreary tech-noir world, the game seems very clearly inspired by some of the earlier Silent Hill installments – the dilapidated apartment complex that you explore in the demo, with its haunting atmosphere and otherworldly creatures, gave me very pleasant flashbacks to Silent Hill 2, and when a game does that, it’s generally a good sign.

The demo ends fairly quickly, but I liked what I’ve seen and remain optimistic about the project. Crow Country feels similarly inspired by 90s/early 00s survival horror games, although it takes a more cutesy approach with its art style – but that doesn’t mean it didn’t immediately draw me in. Imagine if the visual style of the original Final Fantasy VII was mixed with a moody survival horror game – that’s Crow Country in a nutshell.

I must also draw attention to An English Haunting, a promising point & click adventure game. Honestly, these types of games are like comfort food to me: I love retro-style pixel art that reminds me of genre classics from the 90s, and the project’s premise – taking players to early 20th century England to prove the existence of the paranormal – is also very much up my alley. The only downside, as usual, is how short the demo was.

Last but not least, there’s also Godsworn, and we’re taking quite a 180 in terms of genres – after a point & click adventure game, we now have a full-fledged RTS. And not just any RTS, either: it’s one that seems to draw heavy inspirations from the legendary Warcraft 3. Godsworn provides a nostalgic mixture of resource gathering, hero management and real-time strategy – and although my attempts to play in PvP ended in defeat (I never said I was a good RTS player), I ended up having quite a bit of fun in the game’s PvE co-op mode, where me and another player faced off against progressively larger waves of enemies. Either way, if you miss classic RTS games, you’ll want to give this one a look.

So that’s more or less our list – we hope you enjoyed it and managed find some new games look forward to! As always, we’ll see you next time!

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