Our favorite demos from the Steam Game Festival: Autumn Edition

Gare – Monday, October 12, 2020 6:43 PM
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The weather is getting chilly, the leaves are turning yellow, and the Steam Game Festival is back – and so are countless intriguing demos waiting for you to try them. Here are our personal picks:

CONSCRIPT

Oozing mid-90s energy from its every pore, Conscript feels like a wonderfully realized homage to the original Silent Hill – and to a lesser extent, Resident Evil. The game takes you to World War I, where a lone soldier must wade through the trenches during the Battle of Verdun in an attempt to survive. From the despair-inducingly dark mood of the game to the way it handles resource management and exploration, everything about Conscript screams “this is a love letter to Silent Hill/Resident Evil” and I honestly couldn’t be happier about that. Combat did feel rather clunky, though. Nonetheless, Conscript is certainly a game to keep an eye on for any retro horror enthusiast.



Webbed

Okay, so this is the most adorable thing I’ve played in a long while. Webbed places you in the role of a tiny little spider who shoots lasers from its eyes (don’t ask) and spins its web like a pro. With its feel-good atmosphere and tight, enjoyable swinging controls reminiscent of the Bionic Commando series, it didn’t take long for Webbed to completely win me over.



Nine Witches: Family Disruption

A World War II setting with supernatural elements? Check. Two main characters with entertaining chemistry? Check. Classic adventure game humor? Check. Nine Witches: Family Disruption stars Alexei Krakovitz, a professor capable of communicating with the spirits of the dead, and Akiro Kagasawa, his loyal assistant, as they try to stop the Nazis from unleashing a supernatural disaster upon the world – and while the demo itself felt painfully short, its brief runtime was more than enough to get me completely invested in this delightfully zany adventure.



Lucifer Within Us

Lucifer Within Us is what the Ace Attorney series would be if it focused on a futuristic cyber-exorcist. Employing an interrogation system reminiscent of Capcom’s lawyer-themed adventure games, Lucifer Within Us has you carefully examine testimonies and present evidence in order to unmask contradictions and figure out exactly which demon the suspect is being possessed by. An intriguing concept, to say the least.



Undying

Undying (not to be confused with Clive Barker’s 2001 FPS) offers an interesting twist on the survival horror genre – you play as a mother who gets infected during a zombie apocalypse, and must use what little time she has left to teach her son all he needs to know in order to survive. Carefully making my way through a series of devastated, zombie-infested streets while scavenging for supplies made me feel like I was a character from some of the early episodes of The Walking Dead, so that was quite nice; there’s a somber, almost nerve-wracking feel to the game and I found myself really drawn in by its precarious world. I did find the survival aspects – such as the constant need for food and water, the dozens of different crafting components, and so on – a tad too distracting, but then again, I don’t have much experience with the genre.



FAITH: The Unholy Trinity

  “Oh, so this is what playing a cursed video game must feel like.” That was pretty much the first thing that came to my mind after playing the demo of Faith: The Unholy Trinity, a horror adventure game with an extremely lowkey art style that nonetheless manages to create a genuinely unsettling atmosphere. Despite looking like an old Atari game from the 1980s, Faith proves that you don’t necessarily need next-generation visual effects to make the player’s palms sweat with dread.



Sword of the Necromancer

Simple but fun, Sword of the Necromancer is a dungeon crawler action-RPG whose chief selling point is that you can revive fallen enemies to make them serve you as allies. In combat, you have four slots corresponding to the four face buttons of your controller – these can be filled up either by weapons you find, or the monsters you revive. Slain enemies can be revived quickly and easily, and it’s up to you to try and protect your monsters – allowing them to level up – or send them into the fray of battle as cannon fodder; indeed, I’ve found that summoning two or three minions to distract an enemy, and then striking them in the back while they’re preoccupied with my monsters was a completely viable and effective strategy. Unfortunately, the game’s level design did feel rather lackluster, but I’m hoping this is only due to the fact I was playing a very short demo, and that the full version will have more to offer in terms of complexity and variety.


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