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House Flipper 2 and Lies of P top list of this year's most popular Steam Next Fest demos

It was the preview event’s biggest-ever turnout, Valve says.

Smashing through a wall in a House Flipper 2 screenshot.
Image credit: Frozen District/Empyrean

These days, weeks often feel like years, so if you told me Steam Next Fest happened back at the start of the year, I’d believe you. And yet, it was little under a month ago that Valve kicked off its annual demo-filled celebration of upcoming PC games. Now, it’s checking back in with a ranking of the most popular demos that people played - and it’s a doozy of a list.

Coming in at number one was a perhaps surprising winner: renovation-and-chill sequel House Flipper 2. Maybe it’s not that surprising when you consider that the original House Flipper is still one of the best PC games that don’t involve turning your fellow humans into squelchy gibs, and we’ve been looking forward to its even prettier, even flippier follow-up for a while now.

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Hot on its tail was maybe the game that many would’ve suspected to place top, given the internet buzz around its Soulsborne take on Pinocchio. (Which I’m now dubbing “Pinocch-emo”.) Yes, Lies Of P was the second-most popular Next Fest demo, winning plenty of folks over - us included - with its very Bloodborney spin on the puppet that wants to be a real boy (and will murder a load of mechanical monsters to get there, apparently). A cynic might put at least some of that popularity down to the fact (crime?) that Bloodborne still isn’t on PC, but Lies of P still seems very promising in its own right.

Filling out the five most popular Next Fest demons were the incredibly impressive photograph-manipulating puzzle game Viewfinder - in which carefully placing polaroids can create whole new bits of level as you walk into the photos - free-to-play multiplayer medieval slugfest Warhaven and Wizard With a Gun, the Devolver-published Don’t Starve-a-like-but-with-guns co-op survival sandbox that was first announced so long ago I’d honestly forgotten it existed. It still looks fantastic, though.

Pinocchio turns towards violence in a Lies of P screenshot.
Image credit: Neowiz

Other highlights in the full list of the 50 most popular Steam Next Fest demos include platforming cat sim Little Kitty, Big City, the PC debut of the gorgeous throwback RPG Sea of Stars and Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew, the pirate stealth strategy game from Shadow Tactics devs Mimimi that Katharine found to be a joy after spending some extended time with its pre-release build.

Valve also took the opportunity to boast about Next Fest’s record-breaking turnout, with 11.4 million people giving the demos a go last month - the most the event has seen to date.

While a bunch of demos available during Next Fest have been taken down after the event - including House Flipper 2 - plenty more are still there to be tried, including Lies of P, Little Kitty, Big City and Sea of Stars. If you couldn’t quite decide which demos to download at the time, maybe this’ll be a good way to catch up on the highlights.

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