Skip to main content

Our 9 favourite demos from the summer Steam Next Fest

Try them

Nor points a pistol at an otherworldly sphinx-like god in Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn.
Image credit: Akupara Games

Excuse me, sorry, pardon me, can I just, thank you, ah, sorry, thanks... Phew, made it. Steam Next Fest is pretty crowded, eh? As if the unholy swarm of trailers and game announcements from Summer Game Fest was not enough, this week the fearful megalords at Valve decided to drop their regular cavalcade of coming-soons onto their megastore. The beautiful (and terrifying) thing about Next Fest, of course, is the overwhelming number of demos that come out during the event. A small herd of video games are standing on my toes as we speak. But that's okay, we are expert curators. Here's a handy list of our nine favourite demos of the lot.

Tactical Breach Wizards

Watch on YouTube

A magical SWAT team bust down doors and blast bad folk in this confined tactics game from Suspicious Developments. At the end of a fight in this funny tacticianesque turn-taker, you are awarded with a score for speed, efficiency, and number of "defenestrations", which should tell you everything you need to know. The healer on your team is a necromancer, so to heal her squad mates properly, she may first have to kill them. "It’d take a serious hex to stop me diving into the full game when it releases," said Nic when he tried the demo for the window-breaking Into The Breach-like. He won't have to wait too long - it's out August 22nd.

Download the defenestrating demo on Steam.

Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn

Watch on YouTube

A soulslike that challenges all the other soulslikes to pistols at dawn (I stole this joke from one of our commenters, who may demand satisfaction). Flintlock sees you explore a world where twisted gods have been unleashed and must be taken down. You can triple-jump from the opening chapters and curse lads with a magical fennec fox sidekick. The demo is quite buggy (not reassuring for a game due out next month) but when it works it is stylish, curious, bright, and inventive. The creature design is a particular treat.

Powder your musket via the Steam page.

Disco Samurai

Watch on YouTube

A rhythm-action Sekiro where you stab your way through neon-lit dioramas by tapping in time to the techno beat. It's hard stuff, says Nic. But it also doesn't outright punish you for missing a beat, in the way something like Thumper might. Here, you simply won't attack. It gets more complicated as you 4/4 your way to bloody victory with parries, dodges, stuns, and guns. You can also kick vases around for extra damage, smashing the priceless heirlooms into goon faces. To paraphrase the seminal work of 1990s Italian eurodance group Corona: This is the rhythm of the fight, the fight, oh yeah.

Dance and dice in the demo on Steam.


Watch on YouTube

Well, oil be damned. Spilled (I'm not writing that exclam, it's quiet time) is one of them there cosy games about relaxing and having a satisfying clean-up. You drift around in a pleasant boat filtering black puddles of gunk out of the water. You'll also be herding plastic flotsam back to your recycling HQ and rinsing harmful goo off the rocks above the waterline with a big splooshy hose. Yes, you can upgrade your boat to make the job easier but "the pleasure is very much found in the cleaning itself, rather than the rewards," says James, who enjoyed his boaty break at sea.

De-gunk the demo on Steam.

Sorry We're Closed

Watch on YouTube

Heard you like Silent Hill games. Heard you like Paradise Killer. Heard you like the hottest pinks on the face of the earth. Heard you like changing to a first-person perspective to shoot. Heard you like Persona games. Heard you like not having enough bullets. Heard you like the London tube, but fucked-up. Heard you like running from room to room while being pursued by a mutilated being of unknown origin which let's face it is probably a psychological manifestation of your grief or guilt or shame or repressed sexual desires and is also groaning and swinging around a piece of sharp rusty metal to kill you perhaps metaphorically but also quite literally. Heard you like all that.

Scream through the dream on Steam.

Tiny Glade

Watch on YouTube

In Tiny Glade you start with a grassy patch of countryside and end with a cosy castle. Its simple diorama-building lies somewhere between the zen-like rearranging of Quiet As A Stone and the pleasant seaside brickery of Townscaper. A lot of the toughest decisions are made for you as you drag stonework walls and wooden fences around with sigh-inducing ease, the game inserting piles of wood, pitchforks, and even bird's nests into the nooks and crannies of your bucolic fortress. "Managed to quieten my brain for a few precious hours," said Kiera when she made the witch's cottage of her dreams.

Bewitch yourself in the demo on Steam.

Enotria: The Last Song

Watch on YouTube

Two soulslikes on the list? Don't be absurd. We don't need TWO soulslikes. Oh, this one's Italian? And everyone wears a creepy mask that determines their purpose for their entire life? Well, I suppose, why not. Si, per favore. The combat does look beefy, with lots of slow, charged attacks I bet will have to be extremely well-timed. And there's no block button, I'm told. That alone will get the souls sickos lining up to salivate through the window. I'll let Edwin take you through the finer details. He's part Italian, I think. Always talking about Rococo this and Baroque that. Can't get the guy to stop.

La demo è su Steam.


Watch on YouTube

What is the price of a face? $43. That's our Ed's estimate based on the time he spent playing Faceminer, the dystopian idle game about ravenously hoarding human portraits. You sit on an old PC with the grey interface of yesteryear and click on as many faces as you can by rummaging through datasets and directories. You get emails about it. Management requires more faces, it seems. Install more RAM and auto-clicking software to increase your facerate. Buy some solar panels to ease your hunger for the visage of every human ever photographed. Where does it end? When will you be satisfied? I don't know. This is just a demo. These are all just demos, dude.

This one, too, is on Steam.

Lost and Found Co

Watch on YouTube

You are a duck. Excuse me, you were a duck. Until some dressy goddess turned you into a human because she needs an intern for her "magical startup dedicated to finding lost items". Let the hidden object hunt commence, as you click and maybe cluck your way through stages of packed teahouses, crowded cabaret clubs, and floral countryside scenes. Graham is the resident Hidden Objectifier at RPS. "I appreciate that there's a story to pull you through each scene too," he said when he first spotted it at the Wholesome Direct, his eyes full of a fierce and slightly concerning focus. He must be looking for a lost cat.

Find the demo hiding on Steam.

Disclosure: Suspicious Developments, the makers of Tactical Breach Wizards, is headed by Tom Francis, who has written for RPS in the past and knows all our darkest desires.

Read this next