Steam Next Fest just concluded yesterday, and there were hundreds of demos available for people to try out. We played some of them, and are here to give you our opinion on 5 of the most promising ones. This list is by no means exhaustive, and there are a plethora of other great games we just didn’t have the time for. The demos for all of these games are still available, so give them a try and wishlist any that you enjoy!
If you want to read more about other Next Fest demos, we have dedicated articles on Cult of the Lamb (whose demo is still out) and Lost in Play. Also, make sure to come back to the site after the 23rd, as we’ll also be covering the Steam Summer Sale.
- First Person Shooter/Kicker
- Clear rooms full of enemies either by kicking them or shooting at them
- Developed by Free Lives and published by Devolver Digital
- Planned for release in 2023
The first game on our list is a fairly weird one. The premise of Anger Foot is that you’re a guy in a rubber mask (is it a mask?) that goes around shooting and killing people. The small glimpse of a story we got with the demo (we made it to level 4 out of 11) is the bad guys blackmailing you by stealing one of your shoes.
The gameplay is fast and frenetic, with you going around and kicking people to death. You can also use guns starting on the second level of the game, but there are bonuses for finishing using only your feet. It gives us strong Hotline Miami vibes, another gem from Devolver Digital. The levels consists of various rooms that you barge into by kicking the door in, which is always extremely satisfying.
We expect speedrunners to have a field day with this one, seeing as the levels are very short, the enemy patterns don’t change, and the fact that it’s all timed and there’s a ‘feet only’ bonus encourages replayability. We look forward to seeing this game at GDQ.
- Top-down 2D Adventure game with a few other genres sprinkled in.
- Gain the trust of a small, old-timey town using your knowledge of medicine and chemistry.
- Developed by MassHive Media and published by PQube
- Planned to release on the 22nd of September 2022
Let’s calm things down a bit with a chill game. Potion Permit is a game where you are a Chemist from the capital. You were sent to the town of Moonberry at the request of Myer, its mayor. His daughter has fallen ill, and you must figure out why. However, Moonberry has a history with chemists, so the townsfolk don’t like you. At all.
The game’s character is fairly customizable, with you being able to change their gender, skin color, hair, and name. Once you’ve made your character, the game begins proper, with you on the train to Moonberry. This is also where you meet your wittle puppy! You can’t customize it, but you can give it a name. You’ll have to pet and feed it, and it’ll follow you around anywhere that’s not an enclosed space.
Two important activities in the demo were potion brewing and diagnosing patients, which come in the form of mini-games. The brewing is done by adding the correct ingredients in a pot, with each ingredient being a specific shape, and you having to fill a special grid. The diagnostic is done via a rhythm game.
Once you get in town, you’re given your own home. You can customize your room a little, but the home is mostly set in stone (well, wood). Once you’ve gotten a good night’s sleep, you must go out into the wild and gather some ingredients. You have 3 tools at your disposal: Sickle for herbs, Axe for trees, and Hammer for rocks. All these tools can also be used in combat against various enemies.
What we’ve seen of the game so far is great, and we cannot wait to spend more time in Moonberry. This one has the potential to be Stardew Valley’s more brew-y, less farm-y cousin.
There is no Light
- Top-down action RPG
- Make your way through a dark and unforgiving world to save your daughter
- Developed by Zelart and published by HypeTrain Digital
- No planned release date
Completely opposite mood to out previous entry, we have a dark action RPG where There is no Light. You wake up in the middle of the night, your little camp under attack. You find your mother, dying from her wounds, and with her last breath she tells you the Solar Corps have taken your wife and child. With only your sword and your will, you embark on a mission to save them… while an unsettling figure aids you from the shadows.
The game takes place mostly underground, with the world’s narrative informing us that the surface is a bad place to be. The atmosphere is dark and sinister, with long stretches where your character is alone, save for the enemies you have to face. The environment in the demo is mostly made up of underground settlements built around metro stations.
The one exception is the Central Station, which has some trees around it. It also has a lot of moving eyes on various structures, reminding us strongly of H. R. Geiger. The first (and likely overarching) boss of the game also leans strongly into the horror aspect, being a collection of hands in a robe.
The RPG aspect comes in the form of various settlements. Here, you can interact with NPCs, mostly listening to their dialogue for worldbuilding. A few of them will give you a Yes or No choice, which will dictate the course of their life (not that you’ll see it) and will affect an alignment meter. There’s a good chance you can ignore all of this if you only care about the action.
The game’s combat consists of 3 main weapons: claws that can do a 3-hit combo, but overheat after you use them; a greatsword that you can throw at your enemies; and your basic sword. The first two weapons have various conditions that put them on cooldown, forcing you to swap on the fly. There’s also special abilities you can use and a skill-tree.
This looks like a promising, if a bit depressing, game that we can’t wait to see fully fleshed out!
- Roguelike deckbuilder with movement on a grid
- Fight your way up INIFINITY tower and save the titular Nitro Kids in a neon 80s’ setting
- Developed by Wildboy Studios and published by tinyBuild
- No planned release date
Roguelike Deckbuilders are everywhere these days, but a lot of them have something that sets them apart. For Nitro Kid, it’s the combination of martial arts, 80s neon, a synthwave soundtrack, and a grid for your character to move on. The demo doesn’t give away much in terms of story, all we know is that you’re climbing the tower of the INFINITY corporation to save the titular Nitro Kids.
If you’ve ever played a Roguelike Deckbuilder, you know what to expect. You start off with a deck of cards with various abilities that gets reshuffled every time you run out of cards. Then you make your way through a level, fighting your way until the end, and improving your deck along the way. Rinse and repeat until you finish the run, at which point you try another character.
There’s a few things Nitro Kid does to set itself apart. One of them are various passive and active abilities you can collect along the journey. The demo starts you up at what would be the second level of a run, and you can choose one of 3 pre-defined decks. Those decks already have a number of passives attached to them, and you gain new ones during a run.
There are also active abilities that you can trigger during your turn. Those have limited charges that you refill at certain points, and you can only have 2 at a time. You can do without them, though, as we forgot they were a thing until late in a run.
Another unique aspect of Nitro Kid is the grid system, allowing both you and your enemies to move on it. Unfortunately, we feel that the game makes a few design choices that go against that system. For one, the grid is very small, so there’s not many places you can go. You also usually only get one move per turn, in the form of a card you’re guaranteed to draw, which increases its cost when you play another card.
We’ve found that moving doesn’t do much anyway. The enemy rotates in your direction, so it still hits you. You want to be adjacent to hit them anyway, so going on the diagonal isn’t helpful. And every move we’d make would usually still result in getting hit by the same number of enemies.
As for how to improve it, removing the cost increase and giving the players two movement cards would help a lot, but the fundamental issues would still be there. We wonder if a hex grid would be better than a square one, but that would likely require huge amounts of rework.
All that said, the core of the game is still fun to play. The turns are quick, even if the battles themselves take some time, and you get breathing room (literally) between every fight in the form of shops or quick encounters that allow you to upgrade your deck. We’re looking forward to see what the cards hold for this one!
- Diablo in a modern setting
- Fight monsters from Southeast-Asian folklore to ensure they don’t overtake the human realm
- Developed by Andrew and Adam Teo, published by AT-AT Games
- Available in Early Access for 19.99 USD or your regional equivalent
If you’re looking for the classic Diablo II experience and Immortal doesn’t do it, we might have the thing for you. Ghostlore starts with you needing so save your Master from the forces of evil, while your village is burning to the ground. After beating the boss of the first area, the Master gives you his Homing Compass, which allows you to return to your home city of Seaport.
The game currently has 6 classes you can choose from:
- Adept – Has psychic powers like telekinesis, teleportation, and psychic weapons.
- Exorcist – Place glyphs and symbols on the ground to trap enemies, and use spirits and talismans in combat (oddly enough, feels like an engineer class in other games)
- Geomancer – Controls the forces of nature in battle.
- Hashashin – Hides in the shadows and uses quick attacks to defeat their enemies (basically a ninja).
- Feral – Use blood magic to attack your enemies at the cost of your HP, or turn into a weretiger to maul them.
- Sentinel – Conjure light to attack your foes, or call upon animal companion to do it for you
Each class has 4 active and 4 passive abilities you can unlock. Some active abilities have counters, so you can use them multiple times before they recharge. We played around with each class, and they all feel very different. Interestingly enough, you can unlock another class to play at level 15, and a third at level 30. This means there’s theoretically 120 combinations for you to try out.
Another interesting aspect of the game is the Glyph system. Throughout the game, you’ll find various Composite Glyphs that you place on a special grid, then you add Simple Glyphs in its area of influence to gain various passive boons (see the screenshot below for an example). This adds another layer of customizability to the game, letting players mess around with different combinations.
There’s a few problems, though. Currently, just clicking on a spot on the screen does nothing, when you’d expect the character to move to that position. The color schemes of the game also sometimes make it very hard to see what’s happening.
And while the aforementioned Glyph system is interesting, the grid where you place them starts locked out. While you do get to unlock it, you don’t have any control over it, so you might end up with a shape that you can’t use. We’d like to see the player have control over how the Glyph grid gets unlocked.
Even with these issues, the game shows a lot of promise. Ghostlore is currently in Early Access, so we hope the devs will listen to their players’ feedback, and we look forward to the full release of the game.
What do you think of out selection of games? Anything fun you tried during Next Fest? Let us know in the comments below!
It’s a busy time of the year for gaming! The GOG Summer Sale is taking place at the same time as the nearly-finished Steam Next Fest and will be coinciding with the Steam Summer Sale. Stay informed by reading our other articles for good game deals, upcoming releases and demo reviews: