Steam Next Fest June 2024

A few short comments about every single game I played from the Steam Next Fest

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Written by Josh Humphriss

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Posted: 16 Jun, 2024

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Modified: 16 Jun, 2024

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Introduction

Here's some quick thoughts about every single game I've played during the steam next fest. Some of them I got bored after about 5 minutes whereas other ones I played until the end of the demo. The playtime is written alongside each game so please bear this in mind when considering my thoughts.

Games will be rated on a 3-point scale: Recommended, Neutral or Not Recommended. Please note that these opinions are formed on a very little amount of gameplay so the actual game could differ significantly from the portion of the demo I played. These are not review scores.

Most games were played on controller, if this was appropriate for the game.

Games are listed in the order I played them, and not in order of review score.

Caravan SandWitch

⏱️46 minutes 🏅 Recommended

This is a really nice chill adventure game with a great art style. Reminded me of Stray and Sable, two games I really enjoyed, so I am really looking forward to the full release of this game.

Mind Over Magnet

⏱️14 minutes 🏅 Recommended

Great puzzle design and very polished. The game is very good at explaining how all the mechanics work in a fun way and leading to interesting puzzles.

Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown

⏱️30 minutes 🏅 Not Recommended

After waiting for all 43 GB to download and making an account, I was finally playing the game. As expected for most racing games, the dialogue was poor and the human models were very unnatural. Lots of other minor issues I won't go into made it just feel like a fairly meh generic racing game. While I appreciated the turn signals, it generally felt like Forza but worse.

Disclaimer: While I enjoyed Forza, I am not generally a fan of racing games.

Hello World

⏱️9 minutes 🏅 Not Recommended

A puzzle platformer but within a computer window. Some interesting concepts but it overall just wasn't that interesting and the puzzle design was a bit frustrating. Despite not finishing the demo, I got to a point where I didn't know what to do next and didn't have the motivation to find out.

Swamp Up

⏱️7 minutes 🏅 Neutral

An infinite runner with fairly nice graphics and doesn't force you down a linear path. However, I found I was bored of the demo very quickly.

Thank Goodness You're Here

⏱️14 minutes 🏅 Recommended

Very strange but also really funny. Creative use of camera angles. Great art style. Nice and British. Demo ended quite abruptly.

Monowave

⏱️56 minutes 🏅 Recommended

A game with incredible art style, cool mechanics and puzzle design. Art style is a little bit like Hue but with fewer/different puzzles and more platforming. Based on using four different emotions to manipulate enemies into doing different things as enemies will behave completely differently depending on what emotion they have.

Thought Experiment Simulator

⏱️14 minutes 🏅 Not Recommended

Going into this, I was expecting a game that would present lots of interesting moral dilemmas but in reality it turned out to be quite uninteresting. It started off with the trolley problem where instead of exploring genuinely interesting moral dilemmas I was asked to choose whether to put pineapple on pizza or not and whether to save aliens or a dinosaur. Then, I played the section on the infinite monkey theorem which involved either pressing a key or just waiting until something happened, which was also very boring. I appreciate this was kinda the point, but it didn't lead to an interesting game. I did not want to play the other three thought experiments that were included in the demo.

Avoid

⏱️12 minutes 🏅 Recommended

A fast paced 3D platformer like Cyber Hook or Beat Saber. Although I kept accidentally pressing slide instead of dash it was a lot of fun, involving lots of changes of gravity. Challenging but fair.

Pinball Spire

⏱️16 minutes 🏅 Not Recommended

Although this has a really nice art style, once the novelty of being a pinball machine wears off you realise that this really is just a pinball machine, and pinball machines just aren't that interesting. Falling down a level was very frustrating and often felt unavoidable due to the inherent randomness of a pinball machine. I enjoyed the first 5 minutes of this game but after that I just found it a bit annoying.

Mini Settlers

⏱️11 minutes 🏅 Neutral

Looked like a nice simple automation game in a great art style, however I didn't find the tutorial very good and I lost interest quickly. Maybe I'd enjoy this more if I gave it more time.

Once Human

⏱️24 minutes 🏅 Neutral

A few bugs such as the privacy policy being stuck onscreen during the intro cutscene, not that it was particularly good once I managed to dismiss it. Made me do a 200 MB download after I've already downloaded the game. Didn't allow starting a name with "sm". However, I liked the portals (when do portals not make things better...), graphics were nice. After killing an enemy with a briefcase I could pick up the briefcase and shoot with it. Although most of my playtime was just in downloads or cutscenes so I haven't really played enough. It looked interesting but I lost motivation to keep playing.

Inevitable Light

⏱️14 minutes 🏅 Not Recommended

While I usually enjoy atmospheric games, this just seemed like a huge desert with nothing to do in it. There were a few structures here and there and some ok survival elements but there just really wasn't that much to do (and if there was I couldn't find it + couldn't be bothered to walk all the way around the whole desert to find out). Overall it was just a lot of walking through a boring desert.

Tavern Talk

⏱️41 minutes 🏅 Recommended

I really enjoyed Coffee Talk so was very happy to find a similar game. This has great art style, decent writing and some fun systems to mix drinks and assemble quests. While it's not for everyone, it's a great cosy game that I'm looking forward to playing the rest of.

The Elder Seed

⏱️16 minutes 🏅 Neutral

A nice little adventure/metroidvania game with a good art style. Very responsive controls which is nice although the jump feels a bit too vertical and doesn't go as horizontal as you'd expect.

Summary

Overall, I really enjoyed the Steam Next Fest. I found almost every game had very strong art style although lots struggled to keep my attention when competing with so many other games. I particularly liked Caravan SandWitch, Mind Over Magnet, Thank Goodness You're Here, Monowave, Avoid and Tavern Talk and would recommend checking them out.

Distribution

Recommended: 6
Neutral: 4
Not Recommended: 5