Steam Next Fest: February 2024 Edition has kicked off, and for its duration, we're highlighting a small taste of the thousands of demos you can try out.
Because it can be a bit overwhelming, each day, we’ll help you wade through the sea of demos with a list focusing on everything from the cutting-edge to diamonds in the rough. Who knows: you may just find your next obsession, or, demo so many games you’ll need therapy.
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.
If you’re in the mood for some dungeon crawling, check out the demo for Dungeonborne, a first-person PvPvE where you venture solo or join forces with companions to hunt for treasure, battle monsters, and more. You can venture through the corridors of Clouseau Castle solo or take on the multi-floored Sinner's End with up to two allies. You can play as a Fighter, Priest, Rogue, Swordmaster, Pyromancer, Cryomancer, or Death Knight, and a 3v3 Arena is in the works.
If you haven’t tried out Strange Horticulture yet, you’ve done yourself a disservice. The game is a really cool (in our opinion) occult puzzle game where have inherited a plant store in Undermere. This mysterious town, surrounded by hag-infested forests and rugged mountains, houses a colorful cast of citizens who come by your shop. You will need to venture out to the dark woods to find new plants, using your encyclopedia and clues to learn more about the strange plants you come across. By identifying each plant, you will be able to use their effects to influence the story. As the game progresses, you become privy to an occult mystery stretching back hundreds of years, and you can chat with a coven, you can join a cult, and pet your cat. It’s been out for a while, but better late than never to try it out!
Real-time strategy fans should check out Stormgate from Frost Giant Studios. Set in a science fantasy universe, you will command mechs to defend the Earth, or play as the bad guy and invade it as the Infernals. It features an ever-evolving campaign, you can group up for 3P co-op vs. AI, compete in 1v1 or 3v3, or play around in the editor.
Releasing on March 8 is Homeworld 3, and Blackbird Interactive wants you to demo it ahead of time. You can take on challenges solo or with friends, and play around in a three-player co-op mode that fuses Homeworld’s RTS gameplay with roguelike elements. Claim powerful Artifacts that augment your ships with more power, speed, and weapons to rise through the ranks to unlock new fleets and power-ups.
Campfire Studios has released a 40-hour demo for Soulmask, a sandbox survival game where after escaping a deadly sacrificial ritual, you find a mysterious mask that holds knowledge that changes the world you once knew. As the "last one,” you will start with nothing and will need to face the harsh challenges of nature, survive, rally followers, and build your tribe.
If, like us, you are a fan of Survival Expert Les Stroud, and you have a supported VR headset, you should give the demo for Survivorman VR: The Descent a try. A reality-based survival simulator set in the Canadian Arctic, in it, you have barely survived as the sole survivor of a helicopter crash in the freezing mountains. You will need to use your skills, smarts, and creativity to battle the elements and save your own life before you freeze to death or worse. Over six levels, you will confront challenges such as crafting snowshoes, navigating glacial crevasses, building hunting traps, rappelling cliffs, and keeping your fire burning as you follow the river to potential rescue - just watch out for polar bears.
Want to try out a PvP inventory management auto battler? Then check out the Early Access game Backpack Battles. In it, you will buy and craft powerful items and arrange them in your backpack. The smarter you place your items, the stronger you will be against real builds of other players. Items come in different shapes, sizes, prices, and rarities, and you can combine them into stronger equipment. You can brew potions, craft legendary weapons, or hatch a dragon.
Here’s a demo for the first-person driving survival game called Pacific Drive. As you drive through the Pacific Northwest, you’ll face supernatural dangers as you travel through the Olympic Exclusion Zone, and each time to enter, it will shift with unique challenges. You will need to scavenge to survive, craft new equipment, and configure your vehicle however you want.
A demo you should put on your list to play is Lightyear Frontier, a relaxing and colorful open-world farming game set on a planet at the edge of the galaxy. Use your mech to start a home on a distant planet with up to three friends as you create a sustainable exofarm farm, grow alien crops, and explore the wilderness.
Zombie fans might want to check out Dread Dawn, an open-world zombie survival game set in a quarantined city. You play as a student left behind due to missing the evacuation convoy, who together with classmates and other survivors, need to defend the school, survive, and await rescue.
Out in Early Access on March 28 is Godsworn, and you can get a taste of the mythological RTS right now. An epic fantasy retelling of the Northern Crusades, in the game, pagan gods and their tribes clash against crusaders and armies of heaven. You will choose a divine hero, rally worshippers, and mythical creatures, and smite your enemies.
Available during Q1 this year, Gatekeeper is a fast-paced rogue-lite that puts you on a quest to find the stolen Heart of the Universe and shoot your way through the hordes of machine enemies either solo or through co-op with friends. There are several playable characters with unique abilities, plenty of skill combinations, a Totem System, more than 100 collectibles that change the gameplay, and dozens of unique planets, enemies, and bosses.
Synergy is a cool-looking, cell-shaded, city-building game in which humanity must survive in a strange and hostile world. In the game, you will build a city while respecting the ecosystem, and analyze the plants and other natural elements to flesh out your Knowledge Book. This book will come in handy as it’s an essential guide to obtaining resources, ensuring the safety of your citizens, optimizing your city, and promoting survival and prosperity while remaining in harmony with the surrounding natural environment.
Want to restore the equilibrium of magic by saving endangered fantasy creatures? Then you should check out Fantastic Haven. This management sandbox game tasks you with building a shelter to welcome and protect wondrous creatures and explore unique regions, all while rallying neighboring populations to your cause and rehabilitating creatures in their natural environment.
Indecision Labs has a demo available for its upcoming game Knights Within. It’s a 1-3 player blend between a third-person shooter and melee hack and slash with roguelite elements. After creating a custom loadout, you will navigate procedurally generated levels using random power-ups to survive endless waves of enemies.
Our final demo highlight today is Thrive: Heavy Lies the Crown, a complex city builder where the fate of your kingdom relies on your every decision. To create a thriving kingdom, you will assign your subjects tasks, collect resources, build structures, explore the wilds, and secure your kingdom’s reputation through trade or by conquering your foes in RTS combat. As a ruler, you will need to choose the path of Benevolence or Tyranny - both paths have their advantages - and make good decisions, because they will have long-lasting consequences for your reign. You can play around in this medieval land alone or with friends
We’ll be back tomorrow with more highlights from Steam Next Fest.