My 10 favorite games from Steam Next Fest 02.2024
A little bit of the future to get excited for!
I never really was a person of downloading demonstration versions of games to be sincere. My backlog is always getting bigger, and playing an incomplete piece of a title wasn't my favorite choice. But, in those past years, because of my gaming review renaissance, I started following devs from all over the world showing their ideas and prototypes, and I finally understood the appeal of demo versions nowadays.
They don't only serve for checking if your PC has the minimum requirements to run the game, but to get excited for a new title and learn way more about it than GIFs or videos. So, with a new Steam Next Fest coming this February — a celebration of upcoming games and exclusive demos made by Valve in their store —, I not only played a LOT of demos, but wrote about my favorites so you can also wishlist them.
Of course, the event's full list has way more games, but those probably also reflect my personal taste in games, a thing that you probably are already used to when reading my blog anyway.
Hyper Luminal Games/Little Nook, releasing in Q1 2024
I actually got access to Pine Hearts' demo some days before the Next Fest started and really enjoyed this little cozy adventure. The gameplay is mostly focused on puzzles and fetch quests to keep unlocking new tools and abilities: it's Zelda overworld exploration without combat. The start of the game (and what's available on the demo) was too linear and I would loved to have more freedom on what items to collect and what puzzles to solve, but I'm looking forward to more of this world. The game also looks so cute with those cylindrical little people, I want a plushie of them.
Balloon Studios/Whitethorn Games, releasing in Q2 2024
There are some games that I start playing the demo and learn immediately how much I'll like it when it comes out. Escape rooms are my jam, and there are even more to explore in this concept when you are not literally escaping from a room. In Botany Manor, your job is to make some special plants grow (and learning how they grow, using cryptic clues and strange contraptions). A cozy and beautiful atmosphere for interesting escape room puzzles to shine in different ways. You can bet I'll review this one when it comes out this year.
The Posthumous Investigation
Mother Gaia Studio, releasing soon
Machado de Assis is one of the most important writers in Brazil's literature and Mother Gaia just decided to adapt all of his work in... a visual novel game!? Playing the demo for The Posthumous Investigation was a delight: it's so good to see so many characters that I studied in school together, in a time loop detective story that I could interact and solve... It's so fun. If you never read The Posthumous Memoirs of Brás Cubas, maybe this can be your starting point in Brazilian classic literature. I don't even finished the demo so I could get less spoilers, I really want this game!
Mika and The Witch's Mountain
Chibig/Nukefist, releasing in 2024
After Koa and the Five Pirates of Mara, Chibig probably have another really interesting game coming this year. The demo for Mika and The Witch's Mountain is really small, but shows what to expect from the title: a delivery-focused 3D platformer with a witch learning how to fly and do magic. Flying with the broom is already so good, and the characters have a lot of charm. I'm still on the dark about the delivery challenges themselves, but this has a lot of potential. Who not want to be a witch, right?
Duck Detective: The Secret Salami
Happy Broccoli Games, releasing in 2024
You make a silly detective game with a deep-voiced noir duck and didn't expected me to love it? I remember seeing a trailer for Duck Detective: The Secret Salami and finding it cute, but this Next Fest demo also showed me the great humor that is present in the story. It has some simple deduction and investigation mechanics, but the dialogues, characters and voices were what grabbed me. The demo is really short, but I want to play the full game when it releases.
DU&I, releasing in 2024
I didn't knew about this game until I looked through the Next Fest list, but I'm already in love with it. Mizi NO! has such a simple premise that is hard to not like it: Mizi, the cat, is pushing all the things to the floor and you have to fix them as jigsaw puzzles. The interface is great, simple and easy to use: way better than other games in the genre available now. Cats, puzzles, good UI and handpainted visuals: I'm looking forward to this one.
Lente, releasing soon, now on Kickstarter
I've been following Spilled! development for some time now because, since PowerWash Simulator, I've been really looking for more cozy and relaxing cleaning games. This seems to be a tiny, but well-made idea in the genre: using your boat to clean up ocean waste. I love those feedback loops of getting resources and immediately upgrade, so, yeah, one more game that I didn't finish the demo to enjoy more in the full game. If you want to help the development of the project, you can go to its Kickstarter and help fund the game!
Mister Morris Games, releasing in Q1 2024
Idle games are kinda of my guilty pleasure, specially without microtransactions and dark design patterns. Rusty's Retirement seems to be a really cool one in those lines, with always-living robots working in a cute pixel art farm. The whole idea is that you can keep it open in your computer when working or doing other tasks, but my attention span would love to have it as an app on my phone instead. The amount of content in the demo is really big, although, so if it's your thing, you are (organically) well served here.
Brain Seal Ltd, releasing on February 21th 2024
Another surprise from the Next Fest list, Geometry Survivor caught my attention with the concept of a bullet heaven inspired by old vector arcade games, like Asteroids or Tempest. It controls amazingly well, with a fast and agile ship since the first minute. The visuals also helps the enemies stand out from the background, a thing that a lot of others in the genre fails to do. The progression system seems to be too basic (with mostly upgrades to finish the same 20-minute level), but for a small price, I think it can be a great time killer. Looking forward to it.
Cold Lahmen, releasing soon
I'm not impartial when talking about Dad's Coming (because the devs are friends from college), but I liked what I played in the demo! Following the steps of Overcooked and similar games, here you and a friend are siblings trying to tidy up the house before your dad comes home. And, of course, you do this launching objects from one room to another and removing the cat from the table. Playing it alone was really hard, but I can see its potential to a multiplayer game with a lot of chaos and laughs.
That's it! There's a LOT of other demos to check in the Steam Next Fest page and, if you like to play in your PC, you can also subscribe to my Steam curator page and receive my next recommendations through there.