Get moving – there’s no time to waste! Steam Next Fest is rolling into its final weekend, and there are literally hundreds of demos out there to try. Yeah, it’s a little overwhelming. So for those struggling with where to start, we’ve wafted our way through all that steam to find some tangible treasures for you to try. Here are the best Steam Next Fest demos (that we played, anyway) to try this weekend.
Meet Your Maker
- First-person dungeon raiding
- Base building
- Asymmetrical multiplayer
- Supports co-op
Dead By Daylight developer Behaviour Interactive is back with another asymmetrical multiplayer experience. Meet Your Maker mixes dungeon design with FPS raiding. One half sees you diving into sinister bases in the wasteland, using limited ammunition to gun and grapple your way to steal the genetic material at their core. The other asks you to build you own base for others to raid. You’ll piece it together from blocks, traps and dangerous minions in an effort to kill anyone daring enough to venture inside.
Almost every base you’ll raid in Meet Your Maker was designed by another player, and everyone approaches dungeon design differently. Each death to their traps offers a learning experience; the chance to copy and rework their tricks into your own ingenious deathtraps. The visuals are bland and the tutorial lacking, but there’s a fascinating experience at the heart of Meet Your Maker that’s well worth trying. Best of all, base building and raiding can also be done with up to two friends beside you.
Shadows of Doubt
- First-person detective work
- Immersive sim
- Fully simulated city
- Single player
I am hiding in a kitchen cupboard. The apartment’s owner is stood outside, complaining about an unexpected smell (that’s me). I may have messed up. The events which led to this moment capture of the dizzying immersive sim potential offered by Shadows of Doubt. In this blocky detective sim, you’ll be tasked with solving crimes in a fully simulated dystopian sci-fi city. But mostly, you’ll be getting yourself into sticky situations entirely of your own making.
Every item and person you interact with in Shadows of Doubt can be pinned to your personal Detective Board. Piece together parts and they’ll link with thread, expanding into your own conspiracy theorist web of connections. Where things get tricky is in the practical. Breaking into a suspect’s apartment might mean disabling the cameras, looking around for a hidden key, or even sneaking through the vents. But when the police arrive, you’d better have an escape plan. Into the vents it is. All of which leads us to here, in this poor, unconnected woman’s apartment, hiding in her cupboard. Oh dear.
- Tactical RPG
- Novel combat mechanics
- Made for co-op play
Card-based roguelikes are usually a solo affair, but Inkbound’s runs are made for online co-op. As ink-based creatures, you can delve into dangerous books within a magical library, challenging the beasts within and powering up as you go. From the creators of Monster Train, this dungeon-delving RPG features a unique take on tactical turn-based combat.
You and up to three friends can perform your turns simultaneously, spending your pool of action points to move around circular arenas and unleash abilities on foes. Attacks change the enemy’s focus, forcing you to plan who strikes when and from where if you want to minimize damage to the party. Grab some friends and you’ll easily lose hours between the pages this weekend.
Mika and the Witch’s Mountain
- Third-person, broomstick-based delivery sim
- Family friendly
- Cute, cartoony art style and characters
- Single player
Kiki’s Delivery Service is such a good game concept that it’s astonishing we haven’t seen it done before. The Steam Next Fest demo for Mika and the Witch’s Mountain’s family-friendly adventure is brief and limited, but it’s worth jumping in just to experience the sheer joy of pootling about the town on a broomstick.
As a wannabe witch, you’re saving up money to improve your broomstick and scale a mountain. That means taking up a job at the town’s local delivery service, helping the inhabitants shift packages around the harbor town. Avoid damaging goods or giving them a dip in the sea and you’ll receive a high enough rating to make some money. A word of warning: While Mika and the WItch’s Mountain is playable on mouse and keyboard, the in-game prompts are only available for controllers at the time of writing.
Dark and Darker
- First-person fantasy dungeon delving
- Difficult, punishing combat
- Loot-and-escape structure
- PvPvE multiplayer
The appeal of Escape From Tarkov’s brutally challenging loot-and-escape gameplay has spawned many imitators, but few deviate from the mil-sim shooter formula. Dark and Darker is aiming to be different. Set in hardcore fantasy world, this PvPvE game sees you and your friends dungeon delving as classic fantasy archetypes of warriors, rogues, and wizards.
Both monsters and other players are extremely deadly, with fights usually ending swiftly and painfully. Your aim is to grab what you can and make it to one of the limited escape points. Because if you die in this fortress’ depths, you’ll lose everything in the dark.
Found any other gems in the towering pile of Steam Next Fest demos? We’d love to hear about them!