Steam Next Fest is back, giving you a chance to try out various demos of upcoming games. While the previous year’s Steam Next Fest gave us some great titles to sample, Steam Next Fest 2023 also features some equally great games. And just like the tradition, I had to get down to business and try out as many games as possible. After spending a few hours sampling the game demos, we have compiled a list of 12 of the best demos to install during Steam Next Fest 2023 (running from June 19 to June 26). So, if you want to try out some fun new games, read below.
One thing to clear out is that we have numbered this list based on games I have tried. We are not ranking them based on their gameplay, as it is too early to judge any of these games from the demos. However, all the games featured in this list are the ones I enjoyed playing at 5AM after the event went live.
The first demo we tried from Steam Next Fest 2023 is a visual novel where you cook authentic South Indian cuisines. Venba follows the heartfelt story of a woman and her family moving to Canada. Featuring beautiful artwork, simple controls, and a beautiful soundtrack inspired by Tamil music through the ages, this Steam Next Fest demo made for a comfortable experience for a few hours.
Give this game a playthrough and add it to your wishlist. Additionally, I don’t want to spoil the experience in the demo, so go in blind and enjoy some soothing Tamil music while you make that perfect Idli.
Try out Venba
2. Fortune’s Run
If there are two things I love in my video games, it is immersive sim features and impressive combat. Fortune’s Run does both of them, and the Steam Next Fest 2023 demo left a great aftertaste in my mouth. You play as a female alien called Mozah, who gets under the crossfire of federation after a job involved her stealing some plan.
The raw gameplay of Fortune’s Run reminded me of various games. From crouch-jumping added in Half-Life to immersive sim gameplay, where you can kill enemies your way, Fortune’s Run has everything. Furthermore, the game is heavily inspired by retro games, down to the cutscenes. However, do not be fooled by that, as this is a feature-rich experience, and the three hours in the demo deserve a playthrough for sure. Did I tell you how you ricochet lasers and bullets using a Katana?
Try out Fortune’s Run
3. Rise of the Triad: Ludicrous Edition
I never expected two game studios known for popularizing the current retro boom in Indie space to shake hands and remaster one of the classic shooters.
Rise of the Triad: Ludicrous Edition sees the operatives of HUNT returning with glorious modern-day features like full KB/M and controller support, 4K and Ultrawide resolution support, unlimited frame rates, and three different versions of soundtracks. Furthermore, this version of ROTT also features a new episode made by New Blood, Nightdive Interactive, and Apogee Veterans, new HUD and weapons sounds, and restored content.
The Steam Next Fest demo dubbed the “shareware version” features everything the final release will offer. As for playable levels, you can try the first level from each episode in the game. This release deserves its ludicrous title, and if the demo is any indication, the developers put a lot of love into the game.
Try out Rise of the Triad Ludicrous Edition
Ah yes, HyperStrange. A publisher that is near and dear to my heart, thanks to their unique catalog of games. And NecroGolf is yet another one in their already modest catalog of titles. Developed by Sleepwalking Potatoes and published by HyperStrange, the goal of this game is simple – score a hole in a golf match.
However, the developers added a twist to the game and put zombies out to kill you mid-game, which can only die from a headshot using the golf ball. The game allows you to purchase various kinds of balls with status effects, and while the controls can be improved a bit, NecroGolf is fun. Very fun.
Try out NecroGolf
5. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective
The HD Remaster of the cult-classic Nintendo DS title, Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective, puts the players in the shoes of a dead detective as he tries to solve his murder while protecting others. The original game is known for its quirky gameplay and unique puzzle system, and this release plans to bring all that goodness in high-definition.
This Steam Next Fest game demo features the first few hours, giving players a taste of what the final game will house. Furthermore, if you have played the Ace Attorney titles by Capcom, you would love this. This was the pet project of the creator of Ace Attorney, and the game featured some of the prolific staff of Capcom, returning for this release. Seriously, do not sleep on this demo.
Try out Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective
6. Laysara: Summit Kingdom
When I get bored, I spend time downloading a city builder and sinking some time in them. Naturally, Laysara: Summit Kingdom caught my eye, and the Steam Next Fest 2023 demo served a tasteful slice.
While most city builders dominate flat surfaces, Laysara: the Summit Kingdom asks you to build a thriving community around a hill. Inspired by the architectural prowess of regions like Tibet, you create a fully-functioning community.
You start by building houses for several different clans and progress to making trade routes for items and protection from the occasional avalanches. Everything is done around the hills. While the demo only features one hill map, the final early-access launch will have a few more of them. And I cannot wait to get my hands on the full game when it launches.
Try out Laysara: Summit Kingdom
I am thankful for games like BPM: Bullets Per Minutes and Metal Hellsinger. They made rhythm shooters a reality, bringing in some memorable gameplay experiences. Robobeat takes the perfected aspects of both these games and creates a fast, fluid experience that left me replaying it numerous times.
The demo features a few levels the final game will contain, the rogue-lite gameplay, some sick electro-music, and the fast gameplay. One thing I love about Robobeat is that the game doesn’t penalize you for missing beats. Of course, while all the shots are always on the music beat, you can end a room by following the rhythm or just being an FPS god.
The demo certainly left me wanting more. And if the developer can pull off the custom soundtrack feature, this could become one of my favorite rhythm shooters. Give the demo a try.
Try out Robobeat
8. Little Kitty, Big City
Kitty cats. The sweetest, yet the menace of an animal living around you. And while Stray gave us a pleasant storyline where we played as a cat, we were confined to an otherwise linear experience. Little Kitty, Big City aims to fix that.
In the game, you will once again become a cat to reach home. However, you can do cat things around the open world as much as you want. For the people who prefer stories and missions, the game will have them. But at the end of the day, the game wants you to do cat things at your pace. The Steam Next Fest 2023 demo features the beginning hours of the title, providing us with some much-needed kitty goodness.
Try out Little Kitty, Big City
A survival game where you regreen a desert world, Wildmender brings fun gameplay along with a cutesy art style. While survival is the first and foremost gameplay plan here, the other thing Wildmender does is add a gardening feature to the game. Which, by the way, you can do with your friends in co-op.
When not surviving and farming, you can explore the desert to find mysteries, unlock powerful tools, and learn the world’s lore. The demo has sufficient content to understand how the final game will be and a title worth spending some hours in.
Try out Wildmender
10. Sniper Killer
Torture Star Video embraces their grindhouse inspirations to the heart. And Sniper Killer is no different. While their previously published titles included serial killers, Sniper Killer puts you in the shoes of a serial killer.
As the name suggests, you are armed with a sniper and instructed by Pentagon to take out targets. On the other hand, you also play as a detective trying to decipher these murders. The game is presented in a low-poly PS1 aesthetics, embracing the feels of a low-budget slasher movie. This Steam Next Fest 2023 demo features the beginning few hours of the game, letting us take our sniper out on a spin.
Try out Sniper Killer
11. To The Grave
Oriental horror is another of my favorite elements in video games. Without a doubt, Fireworks, Detention, and even Devotion have always been some of my comfort games, and while Sanfu is releasing next month without an English translation, To The Grave comes around in the meanwhile.
The demo features a tense atmosphere, embracing the East Asian legends, a slice of the final game, and beautiful 2D art and gameplay. Furthermore, the game plans to tell a story that involves the past and the present, allowing us to explore both. A must-try if you are looking for a horror game.
Try out To The Grave
12. Power Drill Massacre
Puppet Combo released a slasher horror title called Power Drill Massacre years back. While Murderhouse and Stay Out of The House got cult status among horror game fans, Power Drill Massacre never saw a release on Steam and was stuck on Patreon. However, it seems that we might be getting a look at it soon.
The Steam release of Power Drill Massacre brings added content to the original game, such as new areas, new endings, better controls, and more. Furthermore, Puppet Combo is also revamping the gameplay to add puzzles and an inventory system. Puppet Combo also released a demo for Steam Next Fest, showcasing some of these changes.
Yet another game that is worth your time if you are looking for a horror game. And while you are at it, try other titles by Puppet Combo.
Try out Power Drill Massacre
Bonus Game: Lies of P
The reason why we haven’t added Lies of P to the main list is that the demo has been out on Steam for a couple of weeks. However, since the game is officially part of Steam Next Fest, we are adding this as a bonus title.
Lies of P is a Souls-like Action RPG that reimagines the story of Pinnochio in a more realistic, darker setting. The game forces you to venture into the city of Krat, overrun by the puppets the place was known for. The game takes heavy inspiration from steampunk aesthetics, incorporating it in every crevice of the game’s design. Furthermore, Lies of P features fast-paced combat that is nail-biting and intense and a unique weapon crafting system.
The demo features the first section of Krat and a boss fight for you to conquer. Download the demo if you want to enjoy the experience and prepare yourself before the September launch.
Try out Lies of P