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Demo dive! Jump into Steam Next Fest and try out some these neat demos

We wade through the shallows and swim the deep end so you don't have to.

Rotwood
Image credit: Klei Entertainment

Steam Next Fest: February 2024 Edition is a few days in, and once again we’re highlighting a small taste of the thousands of demos you can try out.

Because it can be a bit overwhelming, we’re wading through the pool of demos to bring you a list of cool-looking titles you may want to try out. On it you will find everything from roguelikes to city builders, to RPGs to shoot ‘em ups, so have a look.

Steam Next Fest: February 2024 Edition runs through February 12, and alongside demos, many developers are hosting livestreams to discuss their upcoming releases. There are also chats with the devs that will continue for the duration.

Cover image for YouTube videoHauntii | Gamescom Trailer
Give the demo for Hauntii a try during Steam Next Fest.

This twin-stick, adventure exploration game from Moonloop Games has a lovely aesthetic, what with its hand-crafted art style, use of line art, and two-tone palette. Titled Hauntii, you play as the game’s namesake, a ghost on a quest for answers regarding the mysteries of Eternity and the glowing race of creatures known as Eternians. These mysterious beings guide lost souls to a central tower where they appear to ascend to a higher plane. They look like angels, but no one knows who they are or where they came from. To find the answers, you will use your ghostly powers to possess both inhabitants and the environment to find solutions to puzzle challenges and to devise various approaches to combat scenarios. The game is also coming to PlayStation, Switch, and Xbox.

Cover image for YouTube videoNIMRODS: GunCraft Survivor – Steam Next Fest Trailer
Nimrods: GunCraft Survivor looks pretty cool - give its demo a try.

One of the more popular demos on Steam at the moment is the shoot ‘em up Nimrods: GunCraft Survivor. In it, you are an expendable clone created for one purpose: to test devastating, over-the-top, and absurd weaponry. As a tester for a Gun Manufacturer, this roguelite shooter has you scavenging alien planets to collect wild weapon parts to invent even wilder guns that slay thousands. You may not survive the hordes of aliens you encounter, but your guns will.

Cover image for YouTube videoPotions: A Curious Tale - Release Date Announcement Trailer
Potions: A Curious Tale is a really cute adventure puzzler coming to from indie developer Stumbling Cat.

If you are in the mood to try an adventure puzzler with RPG elements and combat, give the demo for Potions: A Curious Tale a whirl. You play as a young witch named Luna who overcomes obstacles with potions she brews from items gathered from enchanted lands and conquers puzzles while she’s at it. When faced with conflict, sometimes combat isn’t the answer. In these situations, as Luna, use your wits to strategize conflict resolution quickly to sidestep danger and trick, charm, and scare your opponents into dropping valuable resources. You will run into monsters, adventure across seven biomes, and craft over 100 potions with some help along the way from your witchy grandmother and Helios, your cat familiar.

Cover image for YouTube videoRotwood - Steam Next Fest Trailer
Rotwood is the next game from the Don't Starve studio.

Klei Entertainment, the folks who brought you Oxygen Not Included, Shank, Invisible Inc., and the most excellent Don’t Starve, comes the 1-4 player hack-and-slash rogue-like dungeon crawler Rotwood. The game has you exploring and fighting through a maze-like forest full of vicious vegetation with up to three of your friends. You will face ever-increasing challenges and rewards used to craft new weapons and armor or to fortify your safe haven. That is all that’s known about the game at the moment, as more features and details will be revealed in future announcements.

Cover image for YouTube video[Realm of Ink] - Steam Next Fest Demo Trailer
Realm of Ink is one of many games on our radar.

Another game on people’s radar during Next Fest is the ink-style action roguelite Realm of Ink from Leap Studio and Maple Leaf Studio. Playing as a swordswoman named Red, you are pursuing the Fox Demon when quite unexpectedly you find out your life is dictated by the 'destiny' within the world of the book. To unveil the truth of your existence and challenge the constraints of fate, you will need to break free from these constraints. You can choose from three playable characters, there are nine powerful weapons to equip, 20 distinctive Ink Gems, over 120 Artifacts, Ink Pets that can evolve into 15 plus distinct forms, and conquer over 20 creatures with distinctive Chinese characteristics and their own backstories.

Cover image for YouTube videoOmega Crafter Trailer(Release date announcement trailer)
Omega Crafter looks like a ton of fun.

Itching to play an open-world survival craft game with a programmable sidekick named Grammi? Then give the demo for Omega Crafter a try. Set in an under-development game world being attacked by a mysterious program, you will build a city, and fight enemies with Grammi (and friends), to complete the game’s development in time for its release date. You can program your sidekick to do many things, explore various biomes, fight monsters, gather materials, find hidden secrets, and invite your friends to play online with you in the procedurally generated world.

Cover image for YouTube videoEarl vs. Mutants - Gameplay Trailer
If you're looking for plenty of action, try the demo for Earl vs the Mutants.

Set for an April release, Earl vs the Mutants is a bullet hell survival roguelite set in a post-apocalyptic world swarming with mutants. You, Earl, are the only employee of Edna who owns a pest control business that deals with these mutants. As the winner of 37 consecutive Employee of the Month awards, your job is to create powerful builds by combining vehicle-mounted weapons, attack and support drones, level-up-based upgrades, and temporary powerups with each build attempt different due to an expanding list of in-run upgrades. When ready you venture out into the 3D environment to battle swarms of mutants in runs lasting 10 minutes or less. If survive, you’ll go head-to-head against bosses to earn their vehicles.

Cover image for YouTube videoVoxlands Next Fest Trailer v2
Voxlands has the prettiest voxel-based graphics we've seen yetin a game.

Those who like a blocky look to their games will probably enjoy Voxlands where a spreading “ooze” is transforming the raytraced voxel terrain. Local inhabitants need your assistance, and it’s up to you to find the mystery behind this weird ooze. Throughout the game you will encounter mutated wildlife as you quest, craft, loot, build, destroy, and shoot your way to the top of the food chain alone, or with friends.

Cover image for YouTube videoKingsgrave - Release Date Reveal Trailer
Try Kingsgrave out a couple of months ahead of release.

Releasing on April 17 is the gloomy Metroidvania adventure Kingsgrave. Inspired by classic Zelda games, in it, you play a king awoken from a prolonged slumber to find disease has swept through your kingdom and taken people's lives. Your lands have wilted, many of your subjects have abandoned their houses, and monsters created by fragments of diseased souls have taken their place. While venturing through the interconnected world, you will solve puzzles, uncover hidden paths, and navigate treacherous terrain to collect resources in which to build new villages. In order to bring subjects back to your kingdom and save the ones who stayed, you must slay the plague creatures.

Cover image for YouTube videoMillennia - Steam Next Fest Demo | Live Now!
Millennia is one of the most popular demos on Steam right now.

The Paradox Interactive published Millennia is a historical turn-based 4X game that challenges your strategy skills across 10,000 years of history. Developed by C Prompt Games, you decide the course of human history across ten ages, from the first cities to space travel. If you accomplish certain objectives, you can move time into a Variant Age - an alternate history with new rules, new technologies, and new units. Just beware of Crisis Ages, as following these patches of chaos and disorder may plunge the world into a future filled with war, sickness, or ignorance. Keeping that in mind, it’s possible a crisis can be turned into an opportunity. Choose your path with care because your actions will have a lasting impact on your people and the world.

Cover image for YouTube videoUnderling Uprising v0.8 Demo Update
Seek revenge on your previous captor in the colorful and cartoony Underling Uprising.

This modern beat 'em up from Dummy Dojo with its '90s cartoon vibe has you fighting around the world, much like Russell Crowe. Titled Underling Uprising, the game’s focus is on a group of scientifically enhanced experiments trying to stop their creator, a mad scientist, who is up to no good. There are all sorts of enemies to battle along with mini-bosses, and main bosses. Use your large moveset, the open-ended combo system, and a variety of Mounts and surely you will defeat them. Underling Uprising features seven lengthy stages, multiple difficulties, an Arcade Mode, and four-player local co-op and Versus Modes if you’re feeling lonely.

Come back later for more highlights from Steam Next Fest.

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