The best Steam Next Fest horror demos to scare you ahead of Halloween

Play them...If you dare.

Take a look at October’s major video game releases and you might think that Halloween has decided to take this year off. But fear not (or indeed do), because while the AAA scene has largely left ghastly ghouls behind, the sinister scares are simply lurking in a new location: Steam Next Fest.

The PC platform’s latest dose of demos is packed with horror demos to dive into, giving you a taste of terrors to come. We’ve bravely squealed and squeaked our way through the October Steam Next Fest’s many haunted offerings to bring you the best horror demos to download and scare yourself with this week.

Saturnalia

best october steam next fest horror games saturnalia - a woman with curly hair walks through a narrow alley, lit by a match in her hand. purple fog smothers the path ahead.
 
© Santa Ragione

Saturnalia's striking, pencil-scratch art style is enough of a reason alone to load up its survival horror demo. What you'll stick around for is the unsettlng mystery which plays out amid the maze-like streets of this deeply religious, deeply troubled town. As night decends on the festival, something monstrous escapes on to the streets. You've got just 40 minutes in the demo to uncover as much information as you can with two lead characters. Just make sure you don't draw too much attention from the creature rattling through the dark alleys.

Track down answers in Saturnalia's Steam demo here.

Reveil

Best steam next fest horror demos reveil - a child's bedroom filled with circus memorabilia and items including a clown's head on a chair in the center
 
© Pixelsplit

Piece together more than just puzzles in this space-altering journey through a man’s memories and his relationship with his wife, their daughter, and their work at the circus. The Reveil demo gives us a glimpse of the game’s opening stages, taking us from protagonist Walter Thompson’s home to a circus funfair in which environments and events spiral in unexpected and unsettling ways. There’s a little bit of P.T. to the oppressive atmosphere and sluggish movement as you explore each environment, though with decidedly fewer neck-snapping monsters.

Attempt to reconstruct the Reveil demo’s memories on Steam here.

Echoes of the Living

October steam next fest horror games echoes of the living - viewed from a fixed perspective above, a woman points a gun toward a shambling zombie in an overgrown stone alley. Rain pours from above and another zombie's body can be seen on the floor.
 
© MoonGlint

Do you wake each day into a living nightmare due to a lack of tank controls? Are you eternally longing for fixed perspectives to fill you with fear? Classic Resident Evil fans, this one’s for you. Echoes of the Living is an unashamed homage to Capcom’s classic titles. Red and green herbs? Check. Inventory space management? Naturally. A saving resource to use sparingly in safe rooms? You betcha. 

Check out the demo on Steam for an injection of limited ammo, puzzles, and plenty of zombies.

Pine Harbor

Best steam next fest horror games pine harbor - a dark bunker hallways lit by a flashlight. The player points a gun at a shambling humanoid monster with burst flesh down the hallway
 
© Vision Forge Team

Pine Harbor’s claustrophobic demo tasks you to achieve one thing: escape the murky underground bunker you’re trapped in. Easier said than done when shambling monstrosities stalk the halls, and you have limited supplies with which to deal with them. It’s a simple setup, but the demo’s excellent audio design really amps up the tension as you hear the wet slap of something unseemly stepping through the halls nearby. Piece together what’s gone wrong and find the supplies needed to open the bunker door, if you can survive long enough.

Attempt your escape in the Steam Pine Harbor demo.

Slay the Princess

best october steam next fest horror games slay the princess - a pencil drawn image of a room with a long-dead body chained to a wall. A ghostly princess specter floats above it. The caption says hi to the player, claiming that she has some issues with the way their last meeting went.
 
© Black Tabby Games

You’re heading to a cabin in the woods to save the world. How? By killing the princess locked inside its basement. You’re a hero. Or at least, you think you are. Slay the Princess is a narrated, choice-driven visual novel with distinct shades of The Stanley Parable. You know, if that game ditched the office in favor of a mission to kill an unarmed woman chained to a wall. But you wouldn’t really do it, would you? The acting doesn’t quite measure up to The Stanley Parable’s lofty benchmark, but the demo’s fascinating premise and numerous paths and outcomes make it a fascinatingly novel horror experience. 

Argue with the Princess, the narrator, and even yourself as you weigh the consequences of your actions in the Slay the Princess demo on Steam.

Forgive Me Father 2

best steam next fest demos horror forgive me father 2 - the player points a shotgun towards two enemies in a bloody arena. A blue-lit room and a red-lit room can be seen behind bars in the back left and right of the image
 
© Byte Barrel

If you’re after a bit more action with your horror aesthetics, take a whirl through the punch demo for retro-inspired Lovecraftian shooter Forgive Me Father 2. Blast through enemies 2D comic book enemies, unleash magical powers, hunt down Duke Nukem-style secrets, and make sure to enjoy the satisfying crunch of unloading the shotgun point-blank into a bloated monstrosity.

Test your boomer shooter skills in the Forgive Me Father 2 demo on Steam.

Discovered any other ghoulish gems in Steam Next Fest? Let us know so we can add them to our list!

Associate Editor

Henry Stenhouse serves an eternal punishment as the Associate Editor of AllGamers. He spent his younger life studying the laws of physics, even going so far as to complete a PhD in the subject before video games stole his soul. Confess your love of Super Smash Bros. via email at henry@moonrock.biz, or catch him on Twitter.

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