Keep your head down – there’s another volley of demos inbound! Steam Next Fest has unleashed a full assault of pre-release titles upon us once again. Hundred of demos are available to try this week – far too many for any one gamer to tackle. So where should you begin?
Steam Next Fest demos to try well before you buy
Allow us to be your vanguard. We’ve already jumped into the fracas of free trials to pick out nine Steam Next Fest demos you should try before the show ends on June 26. We haven’t had time to try everything, but these games are well worth giving a stint on your screen.
Little Kitty, Big City
As Stray showed us last year, being a cat is great. That’s especially true when you get to trip up unsuspecting humans just trying to go about their day. Little Kitty, Big City follows a suitable mischievous indoor cat who accidentally falls from their window perch and gets lost in the city streets below.
Unlike Stray, however, there aren’t any robots to run into in this colorful world. Instead, you’ll be batting plant pots off walls, collecting shinies for a crafty crow, and even befriending a fourth-wall-breaking tanuki. We encountered a fair few bugs in our demo time, but there’s such charm in the core systems and writing that we’d definitely recommend pawsing to give this one a play.
Lies of P
We’ve never a played a game which wants to be Bloodborne more than Lies of P. This debut soulslike certainly doesn’t reach the heights of FromSoftware’s masterpiece, but the generous demo makes for a promising showing nonetheless.
If you can look past the bizarre Pinocchio inspiration and comedic terms like P-Organs (admit it, you sniggered) there’s an intriguing world to take on here. Juddering murder-puppets make for unsettling enemies, littering the rain-slick streets on which you’ll practice parry and dodge timings. The demo includes three boss fights, though sadly they’re the weakest aspect on display.
Get the demo here or on Xbox Series X/S and PS5.
Looking for something you can try in under 5 minutes? Venba’s demo offers only the slimmest taste of this narrative cooking game. But just a few minutes spent whipping up sumptuous-looking idlis is enough to appreciate the beautiful visuals on offer and get an idea of whether you’d like to try a second course in the full release.
The story revolves around an Indian mom who, after emigrating to Canada with her husband, discovers that she’s pregnant. In cooking for her family over the coming years, she rediscovers lost recipes handed down through generations.
Flamboyant footwork and foil skills are both on display in this campy swashbuckling adventure. The dashing hero Adalia de Volador will need to outmaneuver guards and arrogant nobleman to prove herself the hero of the people.
En Garde!’s cinematic swordfights encourage far more than just sticking your opponents with the point end. Leap dramatically across tables, knock guards into scenery, or deliver a bucket to the head as you embarrass your enemies in each duel.
Based on the novel of the same name by Polish author Stanisław Lem, The Invincible’s sci-fi tale follows scientist Yasna as she attempts to locate her missing crew on the planet of Regis III. The demo offers a brief but tantalizing look at the red planet, its unconventional life, and the retro-futuristic technology which rival factions have utilized to co-opt the planet’s resources for their own ends.
In the demo, Yasna must locate a ruined convoy and attempt to piece together what happened there, utilizing “atompunk” technologies as she interacts with a commander up in the planet’s orbit. We encountered a few control bugs, but the demo still made for a captivating and haunting experience in equal measure, teasing a far greater mystery to uncover.
Station to Station
After sampling several thills, you might be looking to kick back for a bit. If that’s the case, load up the Station to Station demo and let it soothe you with steam engines. In this simple puzzler, your aim is to link together minute railway networks, connecting needs with demands. Doing so will make money and enrich a polygonal land brought to life in a gorgeous tilt shift effect.
As you successfully connect buildings to your network, the surrounding environment flourishes with color and extra layers enrich the calming soundtrack. You will need to engage in some planning, though! Each level has special goals to aim for, and if you forge several links at a time, you’ll multiple your rewards significantly.
The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood
Tarot fans will find plenty to love in this divination-driven visual novel. An exiled witch makes a costly pact with a timeless being in order to escape her solitude. With his aid, she crafts her own cards with which to read the fates of those around her. The sizable demo offers several opportunities to design your own cards, piecing together backgrounds, arcanes, and icons that'll uncover insight. While teasing out details of the universe and our protagonist's past, you'll also get to engage in several divinations, impacting and influencing those you interact with.
Nour: Play With Your Food
Want to try something truly out there? Nour: Play With Your Food is an “experimental” food game in which the musical and culinary arts mix. Spawn food to the beat, then shake things up with enchanted effects. The soundtrack reacts to every action you make, whether that’s dropping noodles into ramen or grinding a donut through a sausage maker. One for the playfully weird.
Sea of Stars
From the team behind 2018's metroidvania throwback hit The Messenger comes yet another classically-styled adventure that's shaping up to be another pixel-perfect love letter. After mastering the retro platformer, Sabotage has moved onto turn-based RPGs with sumptuous art combined with some modern lighting and animation techniques and some combo and timing-based upgrades to the usual combat flow. The Sea of Stars demo drops you somewhere in the game's first act, lets you explore a hub town and complete an early dungeon with your three main party characters. There's also a tiny snippet of Chrono series composer Mitsuda Yasunori's first guest track, to be used in an area you sadly don't get to explore in the demo. There are some clever time-skipping cuts and spoiler redacting which keeps it a streamlined experience but still offers you a good taste of some very Golden Sun-esque SNES-style RPG memories rendered in much crisper detail than your brain has stored them.
Looking for more from Steam Next Fest? Head to the full list of included games here.