Steam Next Fest June 2024

Dunno if I'll try some, but for newer people please post any conclusions in our Demos thread:


Makes it easy for anyone to find a title in the future using the 'Search in this thread' feature.
 
Dunno if I'll try some, but for newer people please post any conclusions in our Demos thread:


Makes it easy for anyone to find a title in the future using the 'Search in this thread' feature.
I'll consider doing this if you'll consider changing the opening lines of the demo thread. As PC Gamer has said recently, we're in a golden age of demos. They are not rare at all :)
 
The First Quarter:
  • Once Upon a Rogue's Tale
    This was decent in its card-battling and the art is fine. But I hate random negative events in these games and it dropped a crippling one on me within the first few turns.
  • X-Angels (NSFW) — wishlisted
    I feel a bit stupid about this because it's a porn game that I mostly downloaded for amusement but it's actually a really good card-battler and the non-porn bits of the plot are fun. If it were merely saucy rather than outright hardcore porn I think it'd be great.
  • Cardian
    Not really ready for prime-time. Some devs add their games to Next Fest to raise awareness, others for pre-beta feedback. I think the former is a better use for Next Fest, but this is the latter.
  • Claymores of the Lost Kingdom
    Good art and good lore but aimless gameplay and the dev is very proud of the fact that the game is almost impossible to win. Life's too short.
  • The Operator wishlisted
    Interesting puzzle game in the Papers Please genre, but modern-day sci-fi instead of Cold War.
  • SCHiM
    Cute little puzzle platformer and the art is beautiful. But it clearly needs a controller and I only use KB+M.
  • LOK Digitalwishlisted
    Clever wordplay puzzle. The full game will probably be too hard for me but I enjoyed it a lot.
  • Teeny Tiny Trains
    Fun grid-based puzzle game. The difficulty started ramping up a wee bit too fast for my poor brain so I gave it a miss but it was good.
 
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I want to try out Tactical Breach Wizards, but I'm not sure when I'll have time for it.
I'd also like to try it, if only because it's the next Tom Francis game and I recall it being developed based off a joke on the C&C podcast.

That said, I feel that way about all the NextFests. I think through all of them, I've tried only one demo ever (Star Trucker), which I did wishlist. But usually, I just don't feel the pull to try anything, especially when I'm already invested in other stuff whenever these things happen. Feel like if I was looking for something to play, I might be more interested in trying a bunch of demos out.
 
I tried Vampire Dynasty (same as Medieval Dynasty but with...), Tiny Glade (cozy, very easy castle builder) and Old School Rally.

As per a bossy mod, I'll put links and thoughts in the demo thread.

Oh all right :D
What a difference over only 2+ years, great to see.

Trying LOK Digital Demo sometime…
It had actually just started back then, but nobody knew about it, which was why I started posting demos. If I have my history correct, it was Playway (the original volume publisher) who started it because of the new Steam algorithms involving wishlists. Give people something free to try and urge them to wishlist you.

Only someone with the volume of Playway could have kickstarted this trend. There had been demos off and on forever, of course, but suddenly there were a bunch of high profile demos, and people could see that it was working.

At least, this is my take on history. I haven't actually talked to anyone involved, and maybe there was something that kickstarted Playway before I started paying attention. I probably wouldn't use this for a Ph.d. thesis without doing more research. Problem is, so many people take their demos down after awhile that it's impossible to really go back and gather statistics unless Valve put out some statistics. But those would probably point to the Next Fest as being the cause, but really it was Playway that was the cause of Next Fest.
 
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As per a bossy mod, I'll put links and thoughts in the demo thread.
I've been cross-posting mine. I don't think there's any harm in having a thread for this event. As you say many demos are taken down so a central demo thread isn't that useful anyway.

Problem is, so many people take their demos down after awhile that it's impossible to really go back and gather statistics unless Valve put out some statistics.
Off-topic a little but did anyone else notice this week that Steam was suddenly showing every demo they'd ever downloaded in their Library list? And now this morning they've disappeared again.
 

A game that somehow managed to replicate Supermarket Simulator in only a few months. It's EXACTLY like it except with clothes instead of food. But, hey, they did a good job of it.

 
I tried the Tactical Breach Wizards demo and it seemed I misunderstood what kind of game it is. From the little I'd seen it looked like a tactics game, but it seems to be a pure puzzle game, without any degree of randomness.

I enjoyed the bit I played, but I think I'm still in the tutorial, which is taking longer than necessary in my opinion. It's one of my main problems with puzzle games, they often take too long to get challenging.

The story and world building is great, though I think they could've done away with letting you choose dialogue options, as it slows the dialogue down without really adding anything.

All in all, it's not a game I'd ever buy, but I'd play it if I got it for free.
 
The Second Quarter:
  • Metal Slug Tactics
    This has a nice look but there's a graphical bug that makes the screen wobble any time you move the camera, and it gave me a headache and made me nauseous so I had to put it down before actually playing any of it.
  • Zephon
    This turns out to be just a generic reskin of Warhammer 40K: Gladius - Relics of War, which I didn't like.
  • Pro Philosopher 2
    As a philosophy grad, this was offensively bad. You are compelled to make banal arguments that the author clearly thought were brilliant against strawman versions of great philosophers. If you think you can refute Machiavelli in ten minutes with a few sophomoric quips, you haven't understood Machiavelli. Appalling.
  • Story of the Lost Dot
    This is weird, some kind of platformer around the text of Alice in Wonderland. If you like platformers it's probably very interesting.
  • Simple Trainswishlisted
    This turns out to be just a rip-off of Mini Metro, but Mini Metro is one of the greatest puzzle games ever made so this is still good.
  • Tactical Breach Wizardswishlisted
    This is by so far the best game I've demoed so far this Next Fest that it makes me embarrassed for the other games. It's XCOM: Chimera Squad with worse graphics but better mechanics and plot and dialogue. Absolutely god-tier stuff, if you like XCOM at all then get this demo then wishlist it immediately.
  • The Alters
    I hadn't realised this was going to be a survival action game. It's very beautiful and if you like that genre you'll probably enjoy it.
  • Demonschool
    This goth turn-based tactics game made the common demo mistake of starting partway through the game rather than at the beginning. They think they're cutting to the exciting action, but actually it just misses out all the explanation of how to actually play it! Some people are saying it's basically Persona, so if you've played that maybe you'll be fine without the rules explanation.
 
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It's a tactics game in the vein of XCOM Chimera Squad or Into The Breach.

I disagree. Except for the type of incoming reinforcements after the next one, there is no hidden information and there are no random chances. Each level is therefore almost entirely deterministic from the start. You're not taking risks, you just need to find a solution to the given puzzle.

Calling it a tactics game is like calling Sudoku or FreeCell a tactics game.
 
I have not, but I've seen it called a puzzle strategy game. The main difference seems to be that consequences carry over between missions, whereas in Tactical Breach Wizards nothing is carried over in between missions. The only choice with lasting consequences happens at level up.
Interesting. Having played XCOM Chimera Squad and Into The Breach nothing about this struck me as unusual, but I see what you're getting at. I like puzzle games so perhaps that's why it doesn't bother me.
 
I noticed one of my wishlisted games, Fata Deum, has a demo available, so I downloaded it and played it for a bit.

In short: I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing. This game claims to be the return of god-games and my objective was to get more followers. I got two powers that allowed me to convert a person to my belief, but both of them had a cool down period.

I tried converting an outpost belonging to a rival god, but they just converted my believers back and I didn't see how I could prevent this from happening.

Every other power and option you get seem to only be related to managing your villages and don't feel godlike at all. I think you could easily reflavour the game to use gold instead of mana without changing any of the game mechanics and it would make almost as much sense. Except maybe the power where you can hit people with a giant fist.

It also didn't help that my PC was slightly struggling to run the game, so every time I moved the camera the FPS would drop a bit.

I've removed the game from my wishlist, there's plenty of other games on my backlog.
 
Interesting. Having played XCOM Chimera Squad and Into The Breach nothing about this struck me as unusual, but I see what you're getting at. I like puzzle games so perhaps that's why it doesn't bother me.

I didn't like how much XCOM: Chimera Squad felt like a puzzle either. I got really tired of playing the same mission multiple times because I didn't find the right "solution". At least Tactical Breach Wizards lets you rewind during your turn.
 
The Third Quarter:
  • Warlords of the Deck
    This wasn't what I expected, actually some kind of PvP CCG or something—not my thing.
  • Songs of Steel: Hispaniawishlisted
    This was really good, the battles are very like the excellent Commands & Colors: Ancients boardgame. It still needs some tidying up but the fundamentals are sound.
  • Silence of the Sirenwishlisted
    This is just a faithful remake of Heroes of Might & Magic 3 but sci-fi. But that's a good thing! HoMM3 was great and this is good too.
  • Keylocker
    Very odd mixture of turn-based tactics (hooray!) and rhythms (oh no…).
  • Handmancers
    Literally Rock-Paper-Scissors: The Card Game. I'm not even exaggerating, you have three types of cards: Stone, Blades, Parchment.
  • Lost In The Open
    Really interesting narrative game with turn-based tactics battles. There's something there I think but it's not yet clear if the devs will find it.
  • Dungeons & Degenerate Gamblers
    This is just Balatro but for blackjack. It adds a cute narrative frame and events, but the main problem is that blackjack is much less interesting than poker.
  • Unread Messages
    Funky grid puzzle game in which they made the baffling decision to show you the grid at a really low angle rather than basically top-down.
Only eight games (plus Adventure Forge) to go! It's only 11am now so I will hopefully be done by end of day.
 

Not really in the mood for demos, which is odd for me, but I've been looking forward to this game for awhile, so I gave it a try.
 
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So i decided to faff about about Tiny Glade just to get a gist of the tools and i'm suitably impressed. Admittedly, the demo was a bit limited but whats there is pretty good and full of potential. The camera settings are especially nice, i could have a birds eye view or as if i was walking around the strucrture in 1st person mode. hell, you could take a photo of it so that it looked some kind of toy model or something.

here is the fruits of my labour with random 20 minutes and restrictions.

JAeu4FOh.jpg
 

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