At this year’s Steam Next Fest, there was once again a huge amount of demos for everyone to try out. While it might have been a difficult task trying each and every one of them – especially since some were only available during the event – I managed it well. It was hard to narrow the list down to just five, and I’m sure I missed your favorite game (let me know in the comments!), but this is just a small selection, straight to my Steam wish list has arrived .
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While a colony management simulator might not sound like the most original title, Jumplight Odyssey will certainly draw a few looks for its aesthetics alone. Inspired by classic 1970s star anime series, this really feels like an interactive Saturday morning cartoon mixed with the storyline of Battlestar Galactica.
In the role of the ship’s captain, you are responsible for tending to the needs of each crew member, overseeing repairs and upgrades, and planning courses to various star systems in hopes of escaping the clutches of the Zutopan. There’s also an element of roguelike gameplay, meaning death is just another lesson in your quest for survival.
Admittedly, I probably would have skipped this game if it weren’t for the incredibly flashy graphics, but the gameplay itself hooked me long after the “wow factor” of childhood nostalgia had worn off. This is a game that should jump light Now on your wish list!
Little cat, big city
If the Little Cat Lost in Big City premise isn’t enough to keep you hooked until the adorable feline is safely tucked back into her bed, then maybe skip to the next entry, you soulless monster. Little cat, big city puts you in the shoes (paws?) of a curious cat who’s had a somewhat bad start to the day. Now lost in the city, it’s up to you to help the friendly cat return home. Or not, because this cat can wreak havoc from which the goose would come Untitled goose game proud!
You’ll explore an open world full of mysteries and surprises, complete quests along the way, and befriend other animals. It’s a perfectly healthy title that’s as cute as it is hilarious and definitely something for animal lovers to try.
While I could rave about this game for an entire article, our writer Alana has already shared her experience in this preview coverage. It clearly made a good impression, as she’s also written a follow-up article explaining why she’s so excited for the full release! Definitely worth reading for a closer look at this hilarious feline fun!
Sea of stars
Although Sea of stars I can’t claim to be the most original title on this list, but it certainly caught my attention because it looks like the classic RPGs of my childhood. This is perhaps the only game on this list that I knew I wanted to buy just from the screenshots alone.
While it reminded me of some of the great RPGs of the past, this turn-based title has a decidedly modern feel. With mechanics like no random encounters or combat transitions, timing your hits to increase damage, and a seamless traversal system, developers Sabotage Studio are on the right track in fusing the new and the old to create an unforgettable RPG.
The pixel art is absolutely stunning as one look at the game shows. But it’s much more than just a nice-to-watch title, as Sea of Stars will feel familiar to genre veterans without making them feel like they’re treading new ground or experiencing the same story told 1,000 times before.
Olliefrog Toad Skater
So here I am, doing all I can, holding on to who I am and pretending I’m a super-oh wait, fake game! Yes, Olliefrog Toad Skater totally reminiscent of the classic Tony Hawk’s professional skater franchise, but by swapping out the likes of Bob Burnquist and Rodney Mullen for soft little cartoon frogs, it quickly sinks into your heart.
Anyone familiar with the Birdman’s entry into video games will feel right at home olliefrog; The controls are very similar, featuring the classic arcade style of timed two-minute runs that previous titles in the Skateboard Pioneers franchise were known for.
We even have a preview on the site – actually written by you – for a deeper dive into what’s on offer in the demo. But honestly, you have to try it if you have even the faintest memory of blasting guerrilla radio while collecting clandestine cassettes in the ’90s.
Escape from Lavender Island
So how should I explain? Escape from Lavender Island without comparing it to an LSD trip? Even though it may not be possible, I will try my best!
You play as Zede (a man/a being/a transformer/I don’t know) who wakes up from a dream about a strange city, only to realize that it is actually reality. Not only that, but a reality he cannot escape! There is the semblance of a plot here, but I was more intrigued by the abstract world to explore, full of quirky characters and unusual environments. The demo lets you roam freely in a relatively small area, but there was more than enough bizarre humor and absurdity to keep you entertained for quite a while. Either that or totally freaked out!
While it may seem a little too “out there” (an “alien with two butts and two mouths” is touted as one of the game’s features on the Steam store page), it’s definitely worth checking out before you buy one judgment falls. But if it’s anything like developer Jeremy Couillard’s other titles, then we’re in for a great – albeit surreal – time ahead.
Those were just five of the dozens of demos I’ve played through Steam Next Fest. Is there a game you’ve played that you think should have been included here? Maybe you’ve tried one of the games above and thought it was complete nonsense? Let me know in the comments so I can secretly judge your taste in video games and add your recommendations to my already crowded wishlist!