16 nice Steam Subsequent Fest demos to play first this February

Steam Subsequent Fest is again with a veritable truck ton of recent sport demos to pattern, and we have been plunging our keen little mitts into the newest batch of indie delights to unearth some useful suggestions so that you can hit first. Working from now till February thirteenth, there are at all times oodles of demos to attempt in a Subsequent Fest, so generally it is good to have a serving to hand in figuring out what’s value sinking your time into. Under, we have rounded up 16 of our favourites thus far, and we’ll be writing about lots extra demos we have but to attempt over the approaching week.

Like earlier Subsequent Fests, we have solely had entry to a small portion of the full February Subsequent Fest slate forward of time, and what you will see under is a choice of video games that stood out to us essentially the most in that early slice. There are little doubt hundreds extra nice demos to play throughout the following week and a bit that we’ve not lined right here (in addition to some like The Nice Struggle: Western Entrance whose demos we wrote about in additional element final week), so in case you occur throughout one thing neat, remember to shout about it within the feedback. We’ll be taking part in and writing about extra demos throughout the approaching days, so be careful for additional highlights later within the week. For now, although, here is what we predict you need to obtain first on this newest February Subsequent Fest.

Xenonauts 2

An image of soldiers infiltrating an office in Xenonauts 2. There's a big patch of rubble and blood in the centre of the image.

Hayden: Xenonauts 2 is a tough-as-nails break up between base administration and turn-based ways that, like its predecessor, harkens again to the X-COMs of previous. It’s an awesome sport, and one that provides little steering in studying find out how to defend the world from aliens. In actual fact, a lot of my time with the demo was spent getting slaughtered by them.

They could shoot your troops via a slim line of sight that you may by no means have predicted. They could get bought by their very own teammate, who knew they’d miss a shot however determined to go entire hog and commit anyway. My favorite demise thus far is a soldier whose title I didn’t even get an opportunity to study, as a result of they bought shot on spherical one, went berserk, and blew themselves up with a grenade launcher. RIP… that man.

However, even after it threw me out of the frying pan, clobbered me with it, doused me in oil, and chucked me into the hearth of a UFO crash web site, I got here out with a large grin. It’s powerful. Actually powerful. These little troops barely stand an opportunity. However, after months of getting superhero power in Marvel’s Midnight Suns, that’s precisely what I would like.

Obtain the demo on Steam proper right here.

Mr Solar’s Hatbox

Several blob characters have a fight in an underground warehouse in Mr Sun's Hatbox

Katharine: One among this yr’s IGF nominees for Excellence in Design, Mr Solar’s Hatbox is a sport with an exceedingly daft premise – Mr Solar’s hatbox will get stolen by the dastardly Mr Moon – that is executed to absolute perfection. Who’re the opposite blobs with legs in Mr Moon’s make use of? Does not matter. All it’s worthwhile to fear about is bopping them on the noggin, nicking their headwear, and possibly fulton balloon-ing each them and their weapon again to your underground HQ Steel Gear Stable V-style so you possibly can put together in your large, finish of stage hat heist.

This can be a platforming roguelike that feels each tightly managed and splendidly chaotic within the fingers. With solely a set variety of fulton balloons at your disposal, you will be swapping hats and weapons all through your run, chucking soup vats for springy punching gloves and baguettes for bow and arrows. It is solely unpredictable, and I completely like it. What’s extra, every rotund blob dude you recruit has their set of randomized quirks and persona traits you will must take care of too, which incorporates wigging out on the sight of corpses (of which there are lots of in a common run of Mr Solar’s Hatbox), and having a ‘pores and skin situation’ the place medkits really hurts you. Truthfully, I ought to have guessed from the title ‘Bandages’ Alvarez. Not all traits are unhealthy, although. The extra you stage them up, the higher they develop into, with my blob guys rising out of unhealthy habits and into newer, extra helpful ones. Alas, the 20-odd minute demo on this yr’s Subsequent Fest would not depart you numerous room to get to know lots of your spherical lads, however cor, what a fantastic first impression all the identical.

Obtain the demo on Steam proper right here.

Shadows Of Doubt

An NPC holds his umbrella in the rain in open world city mystery Shadows Of Doubt.

Ollie: Shadows Of Doubt is a sport you ought to be considering even in case you do not intend to play it. It is a sandbox detective sport the place all the pieces is procedurally generated, from the rain-soaked hyper-industrialised noir metropolis to its a whole lot of inhabitants, and even the crimes and instances themselves. That is proper – not even the crimes are scripted.

I performed an hour or so of an admittedly tough demo and it was overwhelming, continuously aggravating, however truthfully fairly staggering in its ambition. Following a lead, I journeyed to an residence the place I got here throughout a lifeless physique. I skulked round for clues on what occurred, pinning dozens of tidbits of knowledge to my investigation board, and drawing hyperlinks between the pins as I noticed match. Fully underneath my very own steam, I phoned numbers within the deceased’s deal with e-book, scanned fingerprints, and was about to depart to chase my newfound leads once I heard police on the door. With seconds to spare I hid inside a cabinet, and remained there whereas they searched the place, adrenaline pumping, questioning if they might ever depart or in the event that they’d open the cabinet door and I would must by some means battle my means out – if I even might. There’s a lot I nonetheless do not perceive about Shadows Of Doubt, and I am not solely satisfied that I really had enjoyable taking part in it, however it’s fascinating and extremely spectacular, and I felt an immersion whereas taking part in that I have not felt most likely since Cyberpunk 2077.

Obtain the demo on Steam proper right here.

Mr Saitou

A man named Mr Saitou looks at a drawing of llama worms all called Saitou in the game Mr Saitou

Ed: I liked Rakuen, a pixel artwork RPG that blended severe themes with fantasy cuteness, and developer Laura Shigihara’s latest providing is Mr. Saitou, a sport set in the identical universe as Rakuen. Simply going by its brief demo, I am satisfied it will be equally as particular.

You play as Mr. Saitou, a white-collar employee whose life is dictated by a bruising company regime, and whose well being crumbles in a sequence of fast flashbacks. The demo begins with a go to to hospital, as you meet an upbeat child who sketches you, Mr. Saitou, as a fusion of a llama and a worm – a llamaworm! Regardless of Mr. Saitou’s early irritation, it is clearly the beginning of a therapeutic course of. He even cracks a smile. After falling asleep, Mr. Saitou awakes in a fantasy model of his corpo-life as a… llamaworm? Wait, everyone seems to be a llamaworm?! I will not spoil anymore, however it’s genuinely hilarious all through, and a fantastic commentary on the absurdities of enterprise. Straight on the wishlist.

Obtain the demo on Steam proper right here.

Voltaire: The Vegan Vampire

A vampire waters flowers under a sheet in Voltaire: The Vegan Vampire

Alice Bee: I am not large on survival video games like Do not Starve as a result of I’m very unhealthy at them, however darn it if Voltaire: The Vegan Vampire did not spark pleasure in my empty coronary heart. Voltaire himself is a lil vampire who prefers broccoli to scrumptious necks, and is thus solid out to make a life for himself in a close-by graveyard owned by his uncles (who’re two heads on one Frankenstein’s monster physique). By day, you plant Halloween-themed vegetable crops, harvest any which have grown to maturity, and collect water and different sources. By evening, you set traps and fend off the nasty monsters despatched by your dad to destroy your crops and scupper your vegetarianism. There are some intelligent curve balls within the design that drive you to stability your backyard area very rigorously. It is each good and cute.

Obtain the demo on Steam proper right here.

It’s A Wrap!

A man gets electrocuted by a giant shadowy mech in It's A Wrap!

Rachel: I first noticed It’s A Wrap! at PAX West final yr and was instantly intrigued with its gimmick. It’s a platformer the place you utilize the completely different tracks of an modifying suite to have an effect on the scene above, then once you press pay you must information your character via the peerlessly timed chaos you’ve simply coordinated. It’s such a sensible thought for a platformer, and one which additionally works extremely effectively in apply.

Every stage performs out like a Hollywood movie set: you’re given a script to comply with after which must synchronise the set and the actor so the motion scene will play out completely. One stage had me figuring out the timings of some falling rocks in an Indiana Jones-style movie, the place I needed to get the order and the timings of every one right in order that when the motion section kicked in, my little dude might soar out of the way in which of every one simply in time with out getting splatted. In one other stage, I needed to get the timings of set items accurately in order that the primary character might sneak previous a large robotic on the set on a sci-fi movie. It is such a enjoyable and smarty thought! I liked this demo and am undoubtedly conserving my eyes on the Steam web page for a launch date.

Obtain the demo on Steam proper right here.

Shady Knight

Armoured enemies leap toward the player in the abstract hellscape of Shady Knight

Liam: Oh, I do love a sport that allows you to do a giant kick. Shady Knight encompasses a pretty lengthy leg whack that makes your shadowy adversaries ragdoll into the grime, alongside a grappling hook that achieves largely the identical outcome. Your purpose right here is to achieve the highest of small, remoted fortresses with out getting stabbed by baddies or bitten to demise by huge spiders in your means up. You’re bodily highly effective, however that doesn’t cease all the pieces feeling very scrappy. There’s numerous scrambling up partitions, right here. Grappling to exhausting to achieve ledges. Kicking a person repeatedly towards a picket crate till he drops his sword. You may decide up weapons by dashing into them, however enemies can knock them out your fingers simply as simply. Fights are tense and difficult, demise is frequent and success should be earned. Shady Knight guidelines.

Obtain the demo on Steam proper right here.

Metropolis Of Beats

A red robed player character fires bullets at crates atop four skyscrapers in City Of Beats

James: I’ve been having fun with the current surge of rhythm-violence video games as a lot as the following newbie bassist, although I very a lot respect how twin stick shooter Metropolis of Beats builds that zen, in-the-zone feeling with out demanding good adherence to a metronome. You’ll nonetheless get additional via its roguelite rooftop runs when you study to time cost assaults and dodges to the beat, however for many of your harm output, there’s nothing mistaken with merely holding the set off down.

If something, it’s inspired, as Metropolis of Beats’ laser weaponry is itself a part of the soundtrack. The extra firepower on-screen, the extra beeping synths are layered on prime of each other, and every run culminates in a bullet hell boss battle that captivates eyes and ears concurrently. A becoming and fairly literal crescendo to twenty minutes of tuneful, properly atmospheric blasting.

Obtain the demo on Steam proper right here.

Wandering Sword

Four martial artists fight evil hogs in a forest in Wandering Sword

Katharine: When Wandering Sword was first introduced final yr, this wuxia tackle Sq. Enix’s HD-2D-style of RPGs immediately caught my consideration. On this substantial Subsequent Fest demo, Wandering Sword sees you are taking up the mantle of Yuwen Yi, a warrior who suffers a near-fatal accident after a brush with some frosty frog poison. As you recuperate in a picturesque mountain village, you familiarize yourself with its turn-based grid battles, levelling up your Qi and Meridian paths to spice up your stats and, after all, studying key martial arts strikes primarily based round swordplay, sabers, fists, polearms and hidden weapons.

The UI nonetheless wants some work – in battles, it throws a heck of numerous textual content at you directly and discerning what your assaults really do and what vary they’ve may be tough via all of the completely different colored fonts, description and huge textual content containers that obscure the motion. However there is no denying there’s numerous potential in its massive, grid-based area battles – suppose The Banner Saga meets Octopath Traveler – and I am intrigued to see the way it develops the way it heads towards launch. In case you’re in want of a fairly pixel artwork RPG to tide you over till Octopath Traveler II arrives, that is effectively value a shot.

Obtain the demo on Steam proper right here.

Tremendous Auto Battlemon

Monsters line up to do battle in a mountainous landscape in Super Auto Battlemon

Ed: Taking cues from Tremendous Auto Pets, Tremendous Auto Battlemon (SAB) sees you command a queue of monsters that seem like cardboard cutouts. And as SAB is an auto-battler, “command”, is a free phrases for urgent play and watching them duke it out towards a rival line of monsters. What’s neat is the sport’s roguelike parts, which see you deciding on a path on a map in the same option to, say, Slay The Spire, with the last word goal of reaching the massive boss on the finish. As you defeat monsters, you will get to choose sure ‘mon so as to add to your assortment, or improve them with EXP, or grant them sure affinities. It might work on speaking its results and passives and the like a bit higher, however hey, I nonetheless had numerous enjoyable optimising my good queue of cutesy critters.

Obtain the demo on Steam proper right here.

Amanda The Adventurer

A CG girl and sheep look at the player through a television screen in Amanda The Adventurer

Rebecca: This time final yr I wrote about how the >Steam Subsequent Fest demo for My Pleasant Neighborhood had me feeling excited for indie horror once more. I am happy to say that the publishers at DreadXP have repeated the trick with Amanda The Adventurer, one other completely cursed sport primarily based on a fictional(ish, it isn’t exhausting to see the place the inspiration comes from) kids’s TV present.

To be clear, I am not accusing DreadXP of pigeonholing themselves or the builders underneath their banner. Outdoors of sharing a broad premise, Amanda The Adventurer performs out very in another way to My Pleasant Neighborhood. Whereas in MFN you have been preventing again with an arsenal of vibrant weapons, Amanda The Adventurer simply desires you to seek out and watch a couple of movies, reply some fundamental vocabulary questions, possibly full some easy typing coaching. All actions applicable to pre-school edutainment programming. Don’t fret about these messages scrawled in blood all around the partitions (though, in case you do select to review them, you may spot a launch date tease being revealed among the many gore the extra you play).

Obtain the demo on Steam proper right here.

Prepare dinner Serve Ceaselessly

Preparing a fruity donut dish in a Cook Serve Forever screenshot.

Liam: The act of taking part in Prepare dinner, Serve, Scrumptious! 3?! was an expertise not solely dissimilar to being attacked by a wolf whereas attempting to reward wrap it on the similar time. I liked the thought of making scrumptious meals inside a strict time restrict, however the sport appeared decided to provide me a full blow panic assault 4 minutes into each play session. By comparability, the demo for Prepare dinner Serve Ceaselessly feels borderline stress-free. The sport’s refreshed cooking mechanics definitely make a distinction. Dishes are actually ready by urgent a sequence of buttons for every step of a recipe. Mash A 4 occasions. Maintain down B. Press any button. Fortunately issues aren’t too simple. CSF makes an attempt to journey you by asking you to do issues like press any button aside from A, with errors stopping you from progressing additional for a couple of seconds. This sharp discount in stress could depart current followers wanting extra, however Prepare dinner Serve Ceaselessly feels prefer it’s catering to my particular tastes.

Obtain the demo on Steam proper right here.

Tape To Tape

An ice hockey goalie ties themselves to the goal in Tape To Tape

Ollie: Am I actually so easy? Can a sport developer actually simply slam collectively two such disparate concepts – hockey and roguelites – and I’m fated to take pleasure in it immensely regardless of the apparent ridiculousness of such an abomination?

Tape To Tape is a cartoon-y retro-style hockey sport – and a surprisingly strong one at that – wrapped up within the bones of a roguelite. In your efforts to propel your burgeoning crew of wild-eyed puck-smashers to greatness, it’s essential to information them alongside a Slay The Spire-esque map of selections. Some are matches with opposing groups, whereas others provides you with an opportunity to earn new skills or improve the attributes of your crew members. It really works effectively as a result of they actually lean into the silliness of the skills your crew can make use of. One among my skaters’ particular powers was to ship their stick hurtling within the route I select, typically pulling down my very own gamers as typically because the opponents. At one juncture I even bribed the referee in order that they might often physique examine my opponents. It was great, and by far essentially the most enjoyable I’ve had with a demo thus far this Steam Subsequent Fest.

Obtain the demo on Steam proper right here.

Tremendous Journey Hand

A disembodied hand scuttles over office chairs in Super Adventure Hand

Rachel: Okay, so this one is somewhat bizarre, however hear me out. You play as a disembodied hand on an journey to… effectively, I’m not precisely certain what the fingers desires, however Tremendous Journey Hand is a superb demo regardless. Enjoying as a disembodied human hand, it’s worthwhile to make it from the start of every stage to the tip, scuttling on the ideas of your fingertips, grabbing at nooks within the partitions to climb, and utilizing your nimble fingers to leap from platform to platform.

The platforming is okay, nothing particular truthfully, however what you’re actually right here for is the hand itself, which feels unusually satisfying to manage. You don’t have to carry the triggers for every particular person finger or something, simply holding the joystick to maneuver is all that’s wanted, however there is a rubbery-ness to its actions that simply provides to the general really feel of scuttling alongside every stage. Simply boot it up for the hand-feely-ness alone, and in case you’re into it, undoubtedly stick round lengthy sufficient to see the creepy ft with googly-eyes, too.

Obtain the demo on Steam proper right here.


An isometric top down view of a cell-shaded coastal village in Outlanders

Liam: I performed a good previous chunk of The Settlers: New Allies final week, and though I very a lot loved my time with it, a couple of of us within the feedback mourned the times when video games within the sequence have been much less about thwomping armies and extra about chopping down bushes and baking bread. If that was you, could I counsel giving the demo for Outlanders a go? Initially an Apple Arcade unique, this pleasant little city-builder feels proper at house on PC. Its marketing campaign is break up into miniature situations that problem you to finish sure duties similar to producing a set variety of planks with the intention to restore a ship, or cultivating an enormous crop of tomatoes for a village-wide feast. Every stage takes round 40 minutes, simply sufficient time to check your means to handle provide chains effectively or to make use of an island’s restricted area successfully. All of it appears pretty, too, using block pastel colors to nice impact. I believe Outlanders will devour my free time utterly when it launches within the (hopefully) close to future.

Obtain the demo on Steam proper right here.

Mail Time

A bird compliments a wood sprite in Mail Time

Alice Bee: I do not know what it’s, however issues the place you’re a Borrower-sized individual working round are fucking effectively good. They mild up so many elements of my mind, and make me kick my legs like a contented toddler grabbing a cat’s face. Mail Time is one in every of these, a sort-of-collectathon the place you are a newly skilled tiny woodland mail provider with a mushroom for a hat and an acorn for a backpack. The demo is the primary stage and it is essentially the most totally charming factor I’ve seen this yr. You run via a forest of nodding flowers, and bounce on mushrooms to achieve a hedgehog who lives in a tree. Beatrix Potter eat your bloody coronary heart out.

Obtain the demo on Steam proper right here.


Heads and other body limbs lie on a blood-splattered floor in a dark village in Coven

Ed: Coven is a retro-styled FPS the place you play as a younger woman who’s been wrongly accused of witchcraft within the 1600s. The demo begins with you actually burning on the stake. It is a horrible, gross factor. However a grisly a part of me relishes the sport’s fast-paced motion and explosions of gore. There’s one thing a bit Soldier Of Fortune about all of it.

Greater than the gore – and actually with the ability to cannibalise corpses to regain well being – it is the sport’s haunted woods and its consideration to element that shock. You are capable of shoot flung axes in mid-air, inflicting them to plop to the ground. Containers may be lifted to create makeshift platforms. Wheels of cheese may be consumed. I will be following this sport with a morbid curiosity.

Obtain the demo on Steam proper right here.