Steam's "Fest" events are a way to get more eyes on titles in specific genres that might otherwise be overlooked; today, we're going to be looking at the "Endless Replayability Fest" that is currently running, May 13th to the 20th. "Endless Replayability" seems to be code for "roguelike", which is 100% fine with me, but there are games outside that realm that may pique the interest as well. I will be reviewing a combination of commonly-wishlisted games, trending titles, and those that interest me personally. Perhaps some of them will find their way into your Steam library (and mine) in the future!

Remember you have until Monday (the 20th) to play what you can!

These are presented in alphabetical order.


Release Date: May 2nd, 2024
Developed by: Split Second Games
Published by: Yogcast Games

Hexguardian is a tower defense game, whose unique selling point is that you can build out the board with hexagonal tiles, to create terrain for placing towers and push out enemy spawn points. Kind of a tower defense equivalent of the table game Carcassone, if that helps describe it. Last as long as you can on a given map to earn Trophies, which are then spent on the talent tree to unlock more buildings and upgrade them. There are five biomes to mess around in, each with their own unique enemies and tweaks to the gameplay.

And that's...kinda it. You play a level until you lose, get your payout, spend it on upgrades, then go back to playing for as long as you can last the next time. Improving your towers and units will help you survive for longer, thus increasing your rewards to continue the cycle. There's no story to tell, no goal to reach beyond one of your own making. The game is certainly cute, with its Duplo toy-soldier aesthetic, and the gameplay increases in complexity when you consider the ability to create elemental effects and whatnot, but it seems to lack something. It's only $12, so that's good; I just wish there was a greater goal in mind to motivate me to keep playing. The demo locked out the "Roguelike Mode", plus there's a Weekly Challenge you can strive to beat, but again: you just play them endlessly without an end-point on the horizon.

Ultimately, I struggle with "playing for the sake of it" games that lack something concrete to achieve and work toward, so that's on me. And don't say "well there's always Steam Achievements": I mean something more than that. I found the game fun, and that might be all that matters; that said, I probably won't be buying it due to my own personal quirks as a consumer. Give me levels to beat, objectives to reach, or stories to complete, please and thank you.

Never Mourn

Release Date: May 13th, 2024 (Early Access)
Developed by: Primal Seed
Published by: Light Up Games

Never Mourn is a third person action roguelike where you play as Irea, a necromancer woman whose child you seek to resurrect. Granted, basically all of the story information was hidden away in the trailers, because after you load the game up you're not given much to go on before the option to play the tutorial appears. The tribulations of Early Access, I guess.

As you are a necromancer, Never Mourn very heavily leans into the classic "pet management" playstyle: your dual-sided scythe plays twin roles of damage and healing, switching back and forth between hotbars as necessary to clear out threats while reviving fallen enemies as your minions. The action is a lot for my brain to handle, as I normally stay away from this kind of build in my RPGs and the like, but pushing Irea to be a more active participant in the fight was a smart decision. It reminds me, naturally, of the necromancer class in the MMO Guild Wars 2, who could summon monsters but could also be an aggressive damage dealer on their own (or even a tank). I want to play a character, not sit back while the game plays it out for me, and that works out pretty well here. 

As you progress (or rather, fail before moving to try again), you'll level up and gain access to new spells, starting minions, and points for an expansive passive tree. This leads back into the roguelike mechanic, as you fight your way through Irea's "shattered memories" looking for answers. While I could proceed only so far in the demo, I found a build focusing on my slash attacks to be my preference, increasing my attack speed, inflicting bleed, and working my way toward the node that gives you a second dodge. I would target archers or casters to resurrect for their heavy damage, while my scythe could grant me a barrier shield when I swung the weapon. In this way I became the focus of attention, fulfilling the tank role myself. Maybe not the smartest idea when one's death ends the run, and yet it was quite enjoyable.

Never Mourn is a fun game that I could see myself returning to after the Early Access period is over. Hopefully they'll add more to the story, alongside the various other gameplay additions they seek to include. If you like the necromancer playstyle, this is a game you should not overlook! And it's only being made by four(!) people, which is just insane to me.

Realm of Ink

Projected Release Date: Q3 2024
Developed by: Leap Studio
Published by: Leap Studio

Realm of Ink is an isometric action roguelike with a Chinese watercolor aesthetic, where you play as "Red", a swordswoman seeking to unravel the fate that binds her and figure out her place in life. It''s basically a Chinese version of the game Hades. I can't get past it:

  • Same genre, with the same isometric field of view,
  • By default you attack toward your mouse, just like Hades,
  • You collect Ink Gems which enhance your abilities (Boons),
  • You occasionally encounter an area where you can buy upgrades and healing (the boatman Charon),
  • Upon dying, you return to the Inn (the Underworld), upgrade your passive stats (the Night Mirror), and build relationships with the people there (Nectar conversations),
  • Before each run, you can choose one of the various weapons at your disposal (the Infernal Armaments), and start with a random Ink Gem,
  • All while trying to escape your fate and the place you are trapped within (Zagreus' desire to leave the Underworld).

Now, granted, there are some notable differences: you can only hold two Ink Gems at a time, they change what your magic attacks do, and their elemental properties mix together to transform your Ink Pet companion in various ways. Limiting access to the Gems means they can be more effective and "punchy" on an individual level, so you can get a greater feel for their impact on your build. There are also apparently two other characters besides Red to play as (although I did not unlock them), which provide other weapons and movesets besides the three you start with. The Scarlet Sword, Shadow Twin Blades, and the Azure Aura Blade all function well enough, and the characters you can converse with seem likeable (although their voice acting feels somehow). For someone with experience such as myself, it was easy to fall into a familiar groove and enjoy the ride.

All-in-all, Realm of Ink could be a great game in its own right, but it's difficult to shake the idea that I'm just playing Hades with a different coat of paint. Like if a fox demon came to your door wearing a mask of your friend's face. *shudders*

Shadow of the Depth

Release Date: April 22nd, 2024 (Early Access)
Developed by: ChillyRoom
Published by: ChillyRoom

Shadow of the Depth is an action roguelike dungeon-crawler, where you play as one of five characters with their own agenda for delving into the depth(s). With hack & slash gameplay of the usual sword/spell/bow variety, it's the top-down viewpoint and handdrawn visuals that draw you in as being different from others in the genre.

Only two of the five characters are available in the demo - sword & board Arthur, and bow wielding/animal summoning Phyllis. Made it fairly far with Arthur, as he was my preferred choice, and it was fun shield-bashing and sword-slashing my enemies down whilst roaming the dungeon looking for the exit. The controls were tight, and combos could be performed by pausing between follow-up swings, changing how Arthur acted. You can gain equipment whilst inside the depth(s), and those in turn would grant abilities and passives, but you cannot take health or mana flasks with you; made it feel almost like a top-down Dark Souls. Apparently Arthur's armor has pockets for all the gold and gems he carries, but no room for potions.

My favorite part of the whole experience was when walls would drop down as you're navigating, sealing you off inside a small area to fight waves of enemies - that's when the tactics and tense action came to a head, outside of bosses of course. The music would rise higher with the stakes raised, knowing I couldn't retreat even if I wanted to. Being an Early Access game made by only five people, I can only hope more challenges await the unsuspecting adventurers who dare brave the depth(s)! It was a fun time, one I might have to revisit later.

Shogun Showdown

Release Date: June 27th, 2023 (Early Access)
Developed by: Roboatino
Published by: Goblinz Publishing

Shogun Showdown is a 2D turn-based tactical roguelike, where you play as a ninja (or other characters), looking to take down the Shogun. I guess the title gave that away, huh? On each stage, you will queue your abilities and time them with enemy movements to avoid damage and clear out the opposition.

By telling you exactly what will happen on any given turn, it's up to you to play appropriately and outsmart the Shogun's forces. Do I kill the one on the left first, before the one on the right? Do I swap places with the closest enemy, to force the guy behind me to swing into him?  What if I wait a turn to kill this guy, so that I can avoid taking damage from the person *behind* him? Executing each wave correctly makes you feel like a smooth criminal err, a true ninja warrior, and this game is just plain good fun, especially for one still in Early Access.

The game has deckbuilding elements, as you can only bring so many tools/weapons with you at a time, and they can be upgraded as you progress, but I wouldn't let it deter anyone who doesn't care for that side of the genre. The main question is whether or not you like turn-based games, because this is very much that first-and-foremost, despite how quick a turn might actually be. You can fly through a run once you get the hang of things, slowing down only to learn the tactics of a new enemy; of course, it can also come to a sudden stop if you're like me, and need a minute to process all the outcomes your next decision might create!

Trinity Fusion

Release Date: December 15th, 2023
Developed by: Angry Mob Games
Published by: Angry Mob Games

Trinity Fusion is a 2D platforming roguelike where you play as Maya...only, she's busy taking on the role of her alternate selves from three major universes: the Underworld, Overworld, and Hyperworld. They must work together to fuse the multiverse back into a single timeline, lest it all come crashing down and destroy everyone. (Though if there are only three universes, and Maya doesn't live in one of them...where does she come from? Did I miss something, or is that a plot hole? I report, you decide!)

Anyway, each of Maya's selves has a particular playstyle:

  1. Kera, a melee striker with a metal arm that contains a grappling hook, from the machinery Overworld.
  2. Naira, who presumably uses an arsenal of ranged weaponry to battle advanced lifeforms in the scientific Hyperworld.
  3. Altara, who supposedly relies on magic-like gadgets and uses a teleport drone, to outsmart monsters in the Underworld.

While I would love to share the details as-to how they play and feel compared to each other, only Kera was fully available in the demo. As such, it was difficult to truly gauge the game's unique selling point. Any resources you can collect in one universe helps you in the others as you progress with upgrades, and that's good I guess. But crippling the adventure to 1/3 the content (at best, 'cause I imagine there are other stopping points) was a major letdown.

At any rate, Kera feels fine, smacking enemies with ice katanas, an axe, fire swords and whatever else you stumble across, and who doesn't love a grappling hook? There are several different flavors of passives you can acquire during a run, and combining them in certain ways can unlock new, higher-tier effects. The multiverse storyline provides an opportunity to explore different gameplay styles, which is really cool. All of this has the making of a fun just have to look through the window and glimpse what could be.

Other Games I Recommend

These are games which I already own and thus have no need to try them. They may not have a demo, or might still be full price, but that's what the Wishlist function is for! Regardless, I can definitely recommend you give them a shot!

Hades (& Hades II) - There's a reason I placed Hades on my list of Five Must-Play Games: the isometric action roguelike is gorgeous, brilliantly executed, and of course very fun to play. It directly marries the roguelike "die learn repeat win" playstyle with its storyline, as the main character Zagreus is a demigod from the Greek underworld and thus cannot truly be killed. In between runs you'll talk to a veritable pantheon of charismatic characters, and buy upgrades to prepare yourself for another go. Hades II is currently in Early Access, but as I acknowledged in my review, it appears to take what worked and improve upon it many times over. If you were considering buying anything in this article, buy Hades.

Enter the Gungeon - A title from 2016, and thus on sale for less than $5, Enter the Gungeon is a top-down roguelike where the enemies are not afraid to shoot back. Arm yourself with an array of amusing weaponry, and delve into the Gungeon to rewrite past mistakes and change your timeline. Everything is delightfully over the top and even on the silly side with this bullet-hell shooter, but it's all in the name of a good time. With an insane amount of secrets to unlock, this game could last you a long while. Five dollars, for 100+ hours of gameplay? Where do I sign? Oh wait, I already did!

Rogue Legacy 2 - Rogue Legacy was a champion of the roguelike genre for a time. Well, now there's a sequel, which is bigger and better than its predecessor! After each death, one's child continues the quest - whatever gold you acquire in the dungeon is sent back to your family, so-as-to prepare them for their own inevitable demise. There are a variety of directions your character can go, with quirks such as near-sightedness or a phobia they might have adding to the challenge (and reward). The classes have been made even more distinct in this version, plus the addition of metroidvania elements and a more involved story.

Wildermyth - For something that isn't necessarily a roguelike, look no further. More of a procedural story-telling game, this RPG has you play out your characters' lives from beginning to end, engaging in battles and roleplaying decisions that are very Dungeons & Dragons-esque. You can end up changing one's outcome in a wide variety of permanent ways, making each playthrough fully distinct and worth diving into. Eventually all stories have an end...but that could very well lead into a brand new tale, with ones successors taking up the sword in your name.

And there you have it! Don't forget you have until next Monday (the 20th) to play whatever demos tickle your fancy, at least until the next Fest event.

What do you think of these games? Discover any good gems in this month's Endless Replayability Fest? Find anything worth buying? Let us know in the comments below!