Tried out some demos for the Steam Festival


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Mar 25, 2020
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Hello everyone! Hope you’re enjoying this steam festival, I really liked the first of these that Steam did, but did not participate when they decided to bloat everything and ensure as few games get any attention as possible, this time however, it looks a lot better organized thanks to the (basic) category options, so I figured i’d give some games a go. These are the games i've tried so far. My main standard for a recommend is; Did I want to keep playing after the demo was done.

1. Tunche
This is a revisit for me, Tunche was a game I felt very conflicted about when I first played it and having returned to it, that hasn’t changed since last year. It’s a retro style beat em up with a gorgeous art style and fantastically fluid animation. The combat itself feels nice, it still reminds me a little of a 2D Dynasty Warriors due to the combos. My only minor gripes in this regard is the button presses for certain combos require precise timing which is kinda annoying, as well as the fact that it could use a few more combos. It is a very promising game, yet, it feels like very little has been done when it comes to the main issue I had with the game;
Even the most basic of enemies are bullet sponges.
I know difficulty in games has become a pretty divisive topic these days (for mostly stupid reasons really) and I get what they’re trying to do, but here’s the thing, I like it when a games difficulty is more skill based and less about endurance against an enemy with stupid amount of health (and you can barely take a few hits), it’s just not fun for me. I hope they change the balance of the game (or give us some difficulty options) because it really is nice to look at, the characters are filled with expression with every single attack, I actually really want this to become a hit because the artwork and designs are just that good in my opinion.
But unless they focus on balance and gameplay, I just don’t think i’ll be returning to it, which would be a pity. So I can’t say I recommend it based on the demo.

2. Foregone
It’s like Dead Cells, if it were a structured metroidvania instead of a roguelike… I LOVE IT!
Forgone is a game where you play as an “Arbiter”, the world has been thoroughly wrecked and you are sent back in time to fix it. The main character is voiced and I liked how she would occasionally share her thoughts on things.
Judging from the visuals alone, it’s very easy to compare to Dead Cells, another 2D sidescrolling metroidvania with a heavy emphasis on finding loot and great combat. I have no doubt this isn’t intentional as Forgone takes a lot of ideas from Deadcells and implements them seamlessly into a game with structure. Which is funny, because I stopped playing Dead Cells after 10 hours for that exact reason, I just started to want a mode where I can have some bloody checkpoints!
Which is not an issue here at all here, I won’t say the combat feels AS GOOD as Dead Cells, as Dead Cells is noticably faster paced in a way you can get away with in Rogue likes, it is however very similar and plays with many of its ideas.
For one, you keep all the weapons and loot you find, so when you return to your hub (which you can do easily whenever you find a checkpoint) you can even sell it.
This game also does what Dead Cells does quite well, which is to encourage you to play around with your equipment. Weapons are rarely obviously better than another, allowing you to mix and match in a way of your liking.
Even better is you get a dedicated ranged weapon, you get to use Bows and Arrows, as well as a variety of guns, heck, you can even get a goddam shotgun! The melee weapons also get pretty ridiculous, with one of my favourites being a pair of nunchucks with guns attached to them.
There’s other mechanics, but I don’t wanna dive too deep into it, the demo is currently available, if you like Metroidvanias with good combat, give it a go!
So yeah, definite recommend from me, I kept wanting to play it and was sad when it stopped :D

3. Hazel Sky
… maybe interesting?
I’m having a hard time coming up with things to say since the Demo is very very short.
The protag is left on an island until he figures out a way to get to a flying city in the sky (if this is anything like Bioshock Infinite, he’s better off on the island). There’s a lot of pages and written backstory littered all over the place and the first puzzle you do is fairly simple, it also does that weird “inspect object with your hand” that’s fairly common in walking simulators and horror games, it's a little weird here since this is a 3rd person game.
The control when climbing and moving about felt off somehow, i’m not sure if it’s just me, but something tells me moments that will require precise platforming might be a tad frustrating. Fulfilling the puzzles also required the use of a weird form of quicktime event, except you’re in no rush and the button prompts isn’t shown, leading you to have to guess which button or joystick movement you need to do, it felt a little weird.
All in all I just don’t have enough info to recommend the game or to tell how the game might end up being, the demo was just a tad too short, I didn’t feel a pressing urge or desire to keep playing but is that fair to a demo so short? I dunno, some of the demos i’ve played i’ve spent less time with and got the main picture, not so much with this one because the game by its very nature appears to be more of a slow burn.

4. TASOMACHI: Behind the Twilight
Prepare for some joyfully Janktastic platforming!
Tasomachi is a 3D platformer and while calling a 3D platformer weird is like calling water wet, this one is weird.
You start off flying an AMAZING hot air balloon, only for it to break, leading you to the games first “dungeon” which is a gauntlet of 5 platforming levels.
Now for a 3D platformer, a really important aspect needs to be; the platforming, obviously, and here it’s a little hard to describe as anything except “jankey”, your momentum has a lot of impact on where you will land, you know what it kinda feels like? (and this will sound odd), but it feels a little like how the Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time’s moon jump cheat feels (shout out to those who remember Action Replay! XD ), you can still change direction mid-air, but not much.
But you know what’s even weirder?... It works! sure I fell a couple times but who cares, recovery is quick and it’s pretty functional. Then again it may have something to do with the fact that I am goddam amazing (*cough* halfway decent at best *cough*) at third person 3D platformers *flexes non-existent muscles*
What was wonderful is after completing the gauntlet, you get to explore and interact with a little island town, filled with classic 3D platforming collectables and little adorable cats wearing clothes that give you quests!

I also completed a quest by accident, I say by accident because currently the game is in Japanese only, but it didn’t really matter.
The demo has a 15 minute time limit, so the faster you are the more you’ll see, give it a look if you like 3D platformers, i’m curious to see where this is going. I sure wanted to play more of it, if only to see more of its strangeness

5. Tower Princess
Feels wacky and light hearted, feels a little cheap too.
In Tower Princess you play as Solaire from Dark Souls… okay, you don’t but shut up, I was roleplaying.
Your task is to navigate a tower filled with miserable traps and defeat bosses with your Princess or Prince escort, for the Demo you’re stuck with the Vampire Prince. The controls feel basic, this game has a “3D platformer” tag in it, which is inaccurate, it may have some 3D platforming in it, but the jump is by no means designed for decent feeling jumping, requiring you to get to the eeeedge of the platform you’re jumping from, otherwise you’ll drop like a brick. It also took me a couple attempts to do a lock on with the targeting function.
For some reason the control layout they showed was incorrect for me, maybe a bug? I dunno.
Now i’ve actually been following this game for a while now, because of this main premise: The Princesses and Prince give you special abilities and change how you’ll interact with the game, for example; the Prince who is a Vampire, can drain blood from your enemy and heal you with it.
It’s a cool concept and I wonder what the other Princesses do… I just wish this didn’t feel so cheap.
Either way, i’m cautiously optimistic with this game, it’s certainly nailed the humour and cartoony look, give the demo a go, it took me about 17 minutes.

6. Shady Night
Like Superhot and Mirrors Edge with swords and barrels
Yiiiikes am I bad at this pretty solid game.
This game combines first person parkour and melee combat into small tight levels you need to beat as stylishly as possible (okay you don’t NEED to, but where’s the fun in that), the controls are very tight but… okay I got a confession to make, I HATE the Keyboard when it comes to controlling games, so when i’m forced to move while combining keys like shift (which requires my pinky), I get confused and in a game where I need split second timing, I fail, that’s not a slight against the game, that’s an issue I have with Keyboard and mouse, people can argue (correctly) that mouse is the best way to aim, but the keyboard sure as heck isn’t the best way to move.
So I rebound the inputs to a Dualshock 4 and used a combo of the Joystick and the Gyro for the mouse.
Then I beat the demo (HA!)
This game feels amazing to play, I was zipping around like a sugar fueled robin hood, you can steal swords, bows, pick up and toss arrows…. Oh and did I mention the kick? The amazing Spartan Might and Magic Messiah kick? Because it’s SO GOOD, kicking enemies into objects is an easy way to cause lots of damage, if not outright killing them. One of my favourite kills to do is to kick a door open so hard that it’s sent flying into an enemy, knocking them off the map, it’s SO satisfying.
YES I recommend this if you like fast frantic action, especially if unlike me, you can handle Keyboard better than I can ;)

7. Balan Wonderland
Not sure if this demo was out before the festival but I tried it during the festival and oh my god I'm in love. I was in a state of pure whimsey and I can’t wait to play the rest of this game.
This game is the cutesiest game i’ve played since a Yoshi or Kirby game, it’s filled with such utter joy and sense of wonderment, I can’t say i’ve felt this way since I was a kid, I was moved emotionally far beyond caring that the jumping doesn’t feel amazing or that the main male character goes “Tofe!” while jumping, I had a nursery of adorable baby bird blobs to take care of and I loved every second of it. Also that soundtrack *chef kiss* fantastic, I love it and can’t wait for the full game to come out.

I'll add to this if I play anymore, did anyone play anything else?
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Mar 25, 2020
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Played a few more yesterday! (really enjoying the selection so far)

8. Lorn’s Lure
First person jumping and climbing
Found another interesting one, the premise is… you’re stuck in a deep DEEP hole and your character has been stuck down there for 100s of years, so for the first time in actual centuries, decides to do something about it.
This is a first person platformer, where the key mechanic is using 2 pickaxes to climb around and jump from pipe to pipe, because that’s what you’ll mainly be doing, jumping on low poly pipes you’ll slide off of most of the time.
The climbing itself is a good mechanic and it feels great to leap and hook onto a wall… unfortunately you don’t use your pickaxes for anything else, many of the platforms in this game are THIN metal pipes and you can’t do stuff like extend your picks to hook onto them and swing or something, aside from the pickaxe mechanic, the climbing in this game isn’t anything like a game like Mirror’s Edge or A Story about my Uncle, it’s basic and much closer in function to Half-life (that game that had terrible platforming), mainly because you cannot see your legs and despite having spent more time on it then any demo, could never get used to my jump and would frequently overshoot. I couldn’t even make it to the end of the demo.
The atmosphere reminded me of another first person platformer; Lemma, eerie and dreamlike, I liked it.
So yeah, not bad, needs a little work,I like the aesthetic, not a fan of the jumping itself, but restarting is so quick and easy it’s not a problem, but aside from the climbing mechanic i’ve played first person platformers that have well surpassed this, I might get it if it’s short though
Also why is the button to use the pickaxes NOT the mouse button though? It’s the E-key, that’s just weird.

9. Alekon
Why has it taken so long for a good Pokemon Snap game to come out!
Seriously, it’s been so long that Nintendo are making a new one, if you think the wait for Half Life 3 is bad then you’ve got no clue what it’s like being a fan of Nintendo’s more obscure franchises!
Anywho, from what little I played before a fatal error crashed the game, it looks to be a very neat take on the Pokemon Snap formula, with a neat twist.
For one, you’re in a weird fantasy world where you take photos of “fictions”, this games version of Pokemon’s, their world is suffering from “dullness” and you need to photograph them in the wild to cure them of it. You go on a brief on rails tour of an island and return to a hub world after coming back, where you are given a score based on your best photo (just like Pokemon Snap), what’s even better though? You can interact with the “Fictions” you photograph in the hub, breaking the ones in the hub free from “dullness”, they all can talk and they’re delightful to interact with.
I could only play 12 minutes, but those 12 minutes sold me the game, can’t wait to give the full game a try and hope they deal with the game crashing bugs, easy recommend from me.

10. Squadron 51
A side scrolling shoot em up with a 50s/60s TV Scifi aesthetic
I’m not very good at shmups, but this one was neat, the aesthetic is a retro scifi look and is entirely in grainy black and white aesthetic, the cutscenes feature real people rocking the look and sound of the area, I am completely on board with this style, it reminded me a little of “Deadly Towers of Monsters” which goes for a similar era and I enjoyed it entirely for that reason.
Would have played more if I was any good at this type of game XD

11. Boomerang X
An arena shooter with an emphasis on verticality, fast movement and the boomerang from Krull.
This game is how I would like to describe as “tight”, your sole weapon is this amazing boomerang with which you can do a number of things, you can thwip it back to you, you can dash to wherever it is in the air, you can spin & charge the throw in your hands and later in the demo you get Bullet time too!
This just felt great and I love the aesthetic too, reminded me a little of Samurai Jack oddly enough.
Because you can essentially leap into the air, the verticality addresses a major issue with many arena shooters like Serious Sam or Painkiller, which is that in those games you mainly walk backwards and shoot, here? Since you have one projectile and lots of maneuverability in the air, you never need to do that, just leap into the sky and slice them from above, it feels really satisfying and the clever enemy design adds so much to it.
100% recommend, this game does more to innovate in it’s genre then Serious Sam 4 does.

12. Steel Assault
A classic arcadey game that combines aspects of Contra and Castlevania of all things!
This game has a lot going for it, from tight responsive Contra like controls to the main character having an awesome whip, the game looks and feels like a merger of the two series as well as a bit of Metal Slug (always a good thing). I’m also really bad at these games, but playing in “normal” mode gives you unlimited continues and generously revives you fairly close to where you died, which I really liked.
You also get this weird zipline, which lets you climb up and down or traverse long distances if the screen has two points for you to use it, it’s neat but the only thing that feels a tad gimmicky. Otherwise you feel like a Belmont who can actually flipping jump (with a double jump no less).
Only thing I can’t approve of is the 4:3 ratio. I know what they’re trying to do, I don’t care, it’s not nostalgic, it’s gimmicky, stop it!
Oh, and the soundtrack is AMAZING!
Give it a go, it’s short and awesome!


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Mar 25, 2020
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One more (probably final) batch!

13. Graven
By far the longest time i’ve spent in a demo so far.
Another game by 3D realms that goes for a classic aesthetic, in this case more of a Quake look, I think this game looks gorgeous, i’m a big fan of quality low poly art with pixelated textures and this game REALLY delivers on that front.
At first I couldn’t play the Demo, with it crashing whenever i’d enjoy myself and smash a bunch of boxes (which I spent minutes of my time doing because it’s just SO satisfying). But 3rd time was the charm and I didn’t smash (many) boxes.
Right of the bat you a stick for melee and a book of fire magic, which is oddly enough VERY ineffective against enemies.
Now i’m not very familiar with games of the era that this is inspired by, what I do remember is 90s shooters like Turok where all I could ever do was go “Where the hell am I and where do I go?” You don’t get any flashing beacons leading you to your location, you’re gonna have to follow directions and read CAREFULLY.
But if you’re me, you won’t be careful and walk into a bossfight with nothing but a stick… he didn’t stand a chance XD
The world is strange and eerie, the combat DOES get much better (you get a crossbow that is a cross between a shotgun and the secondary fire of the stake weapon from painkiller), you also can get a mace and electric magic, which stuns enemies, as well as a wrist strapped mini-crossbow, which I found way too late haha!
I really liked the emphasis on exploration in this and am very much looking forward to experiencing the final game, especially since the trailer shows a number of unique looking worlds.

14. Humanless
A side scrolling pixelated platformer shooter
This didn’t leave a very memorable impression, the game is alright, controls well, shooting feels nice, but it’s pretty generic, what it does is stuff many other platformer shooters have done far far better, I really don’t like sounding negative over what is clearly hard work by a smaller dev team (or possibly one) so maybe give it a try, I like the art and the OOMF of the weapons so maybe it goes interesting places. But when I got stuck I just couldn’t bring myself to continue, sorry devs!

15. The Star Legation
Like a Star Trek visual novel… kind of.
I was actually really looking forward to this one, a choose your own adventure story where you set out to create an intergalactic alliance, using diplomacy and quick with to ensure peace…. But because the demo is of the first 35 minutes, you get a tonne of exposition dumps and conversations that take up a lot of space (Space! ha! Get it?) before allowing you to make decisions, yeah I suppose it’s weird complaining about using too many words in what is essentially an interactive book, but as a demo it doesn’t show its strengths well or really hook me into the world, I did like a few of the jokes and interactions (I love the Megatherium riding plant Aliens!), I just wish the pacing was a little better. I did like that it resembled a flash game of all things.
If you go in knowing there’s a lot of doing nothing but reading involved, you might enjoy your time better than I did.

16. Alisa
Resident Evil, but with Alice in Wonderland and angry dolls.
This one was weird, it goes for a 4:3 (what did I say about this before!) pixelated PS1 look with warping and pre-rendered backgrounds, even using a similar control scheme to original Resident Evil (which I did not like here, felt more… off) and I REALLY appreciate being able to rebind the buttons anytime for the gamepad. Honestly I did totally feel I was playing a PS1 game on an emulator (though I would never play a game 4:3 on purpouse and I would make sure the models weren't low rez), the awful voice acting really added to the charm too.
Buuuuuuuut, i’m just not ANY good at these type of games, the controls always feel like they’re fighting me and they don’t hold back the monsters in this game especially since you quickly encounter stupidly fast and aggressive enemies.
I am not experienced in this genre of games, so I can’t really recommend it or not, if you like this genre let me know, i’d like to hear your thoughts.

17. Exo One Prologue
Wow…. this one was kind of amazing.
I didn’t find this through the festival, but i’m counting it because it’s a demo I found DURING the festival of the a game; Exo One.
In this game you play as a weird shapeshifting ball where the goal is…. I dunno, go toward the lights I guess (I may have accidentally skipped the first cutscene), but all you really need to know is how to move, you can roll as a ball and flatten yourself to fly like a crazy frisbee… and that’s pretty much it… BUT IT FEELS SO GOOD!
This is a game that reminds me of that fantastic (and cheap) game “Superflight”, there isn’t a real goal, the fun is in moving around and moving fast.
Unlike superhot which goes for a more blocky aesthetic, Exo One looks INCREDIBLE, the Clouds which you can fly through are the most realistic clouds i’d ever seen, since you’re on a alien planet you get to see awesome terrains and crazy weather effects like oncoming rain and sand storms.
This for some reason really resonated with me, the combination of the relaxing music, environment and rolling/gliding around felt really relaxing and even emotive at times, I cannot wait to try the full game when I need to feel at peace.

What a festival!


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