[News] Steam Next Fest (June 16-22); hordes of new Playable Game Demos

Steam launched its Next Fest games festival today with hordes and hordes of mostly new playable game demos:

Sadly, I see little in the way of new twin-stick/top-down shooters, aside from arguably Death Trash, which is posted more as “action adventure.” A few really neat squad turn-based strategy games.

Here’s some games so far with playable demos that at least interest me:

*Gauntlet fans might want to give Smash Dungeon a whirl. :slight_smile:

OK Southbound Steel has got to be the freshest gameplay concept among the demos I tried:

But I’m stuck on this one particular huge enemy with a huge weapon who’s very much “aggroing” on my Necromancer and I can’t quite figure out how to get my 3 demons to protect me enough :smiley:
Instead of being a Necromancer game where you just summon a few pets that do all your work, you’re actively “spamming” your 3 demons as attack projectiles at times, and then as blockers to protect you at others.

It’s a really innovative gameplay mechanic imho, very fun and fast, great drum-percussion-focused music and incredible animations, but I think tutorial needs better explanation of the blocking mechanic. Some larger enemies REALLY go directly at your Necromancer.

It’s also too difficult to visually pick out your Necromancer on screen at times (a color circle on the ground under him may help), and too hard to see your crosshair/cursor on screen (option for larger/colored cursor might help). I’ve shared feedack at game’s forum but can’t tell if devs monitor them.

My beloved Synthetik got a demo for its sequel (demo released for this Steam festival), but it’s a crude alpha demo, and I feel like it’s missing what makes Synthetik special (esp. cause demo has no weapons or special equipment/attack items to find).

The new look and isometric camera aren’t really going over well with Synthetik fans either… I’m still looking forward to it, but I wish they’d kept this build in closed testing until it was further along. I was hoping the sequel’s character models would get LARGER, but they got … smaller. :frowning:

Space Revenge is one of the few twin-stick shooters with a demo for the festival. It’s OK, but doesn’t knock my socks off. The demo is controller-only (no kb/m support).

I kinda like the solo only Smash Dungeon, but it’s a solo dev project so certainly don’t expect the polish of Arrowhead’s Gauntlet.

It looks a lot like their Gauntlet and has generated rooms. I’ve made some feedback the solo dev is already implementing, and I hope he keeps improving it. :slight_smile:

Each weapon has a special attack, and items provide one shot powers.

Weapons have a real “heft,” and I think the dev’s trying to differentiate the game based on the little extra time it takes you to swing a sword, hammer, etc. I appreciate that, but feel like the game needs a training area where you can practice that and get used to its very different attack-timing. Might not appeal to players who want something more responsive-feeling.

Gear Shifters is a horizontal-scrolling, top-down camera, Spy Hunters type vehicle shooter. Although I found the demo reasonably fun, to me it gets into this rut where you just slow down to the far left of the screen and are always blasting at vehicle backsides. Perhaps it’s different later in the game. Tons of vehicle upgrades and weapons options (although demo is a tiny sampler).

Death Trash is an isometric action-adventure game with something of a top-down shooter aspect to it. I guess I got turned off because the demo has you crawling through boring rooms and eventually requires you (can’t make this up) to vomit on the ground, pick up your vomit and then use it to “lubricate” a machine to open a door. At which Time I wasn’t sure it was my kind of game. :smiley:

PVP games aren’t my thing, but if you wanted a top-down twin stick online PvP game with Only Exosuits, this might suit you :slight_smile: The mech character models are a bit tiny for my tastes.

You can try a playable demo via the game’s entry on the Nextfest page, but the store page itself doens’t have a demo link for some reason.

Not a twin-stick but Southbound Steel was my favorite demo of this Steam festival, and I’d never heard of the game going into it. :smiley: Besides being frantic fun, it has a memorable, drum and percussion music track that sounds like something Hans Zimmer would compose.

Here’s an edited demo run through I put together:

I think I enjoyed Terra Nil the most. It’s just so damn pretty.