Steam Next Fest, October 2021 – Demo Showcase #2

The Steam Next Fest, a celebration of upcoming games, is here and hence, I wanna feature more games today. I spent way too much time on APICO since I wrote my post yesterday, so I’m incredibly excited about that title… but there are also other gems out there, so buckle up for a bunch more demos today! For a list of all the related posts, check out the hub post over here where I’ll link to the other posts at the bottom of the page… or simply search for the “Steam Next Fest” on my blog!

Hirilun

Hirilun doesn’t invent the “time-trial based platforming” wheel anew but it does create a challenging yet satisfying experience where you crouch, run, sprint, jump, dash, and glide your way through a lot of different levels and areas in a rather stunning manner. The music is lovely, the art style is interesting, and the idea with the leaderboard is fun. On top of alternate paths, the game also presents you with the choice of whether or not you want to collect pickups that pause the timer for a second, giving you a potentially better time. Do you pick them up in order to gain an advantage over your friends… or do you just run through in case you fail? The choice is yours. Hirilun is fun and while the demo only features the tutorial and the first level, I enjoyed myself quite a bit here!

Negative Nancy

This game’s a narrative experience that lets you step into the role of Nancy, a retail clerk at Megamart. And well, you hate your job (it’s retail after all) as you have to deal with working an underpaid job and still doing overtime while also having to serve annoying Karens and frustrating customers and… sometimes you have to say no! In Negative Nancy, you have two choices: Say “NO!” or stay quiet. Most of the time, saying No leads to some interesting situations… but maybe “No” isn’t always the right answer… But no answer is also an answer and maybe you’re the quiet type? With multiple endings, an interesting premise and a lot of humour (at times even relatively dark), you’re in for a trip with this game!

Exhausted Man

Exhausted Man is a slow-paced life sim with a lot of comedic elements to it. Not only is the name and main character relatable… it’s also kinda silly and humourous to see the protagonist slither through the hallway, apartment, and other locations. On top of slithering through areas and grabbing/dropping stuff, you also get to place down objects to decorate your room and to progress the story, which is quite fun. Exhausted Man is not only unusual in its premise but also in its humour. I saved something from the devil’s hand at some point and uh… it’s just weird but I love it. Very fascinating little game so far. Looking forward to the full release!

SpiderHeck

SpiderHeck is weird. I mean, I hate spiders but the spiders here look cute and fancy. You swing through the air, shoot webs onto surfaces, outmanoeuvre your opponents, blast through them with swords and guns and other weapons and all of that in a wonderfully satisfying neon art style… and the best part about it is that you can do it all with style with slow-mo and all of that. The only issue is that the demo itself doesn’t have a PvP mode. Unless you have friends nearby or unless you use Steam Remote Play, you can’t actually fight against each other… but everyone has access to the demo right now and there is a discord available where you can find worthy opponents as well as new friends, so what are you waiting for?

Fallen Aces

Fallen Aces is a 90s style FPS in a crime noir setting where you and your two fists have to take down the baddies in Switchblade City. The A.C.E.S. are being taken down one by one, so it’s up to you now to save them and uncover the truth behind it all. The game lets you punch, kick and chop your enemies, giving you the tools to just rush through levels, taking on all enemies at once… or you sneak around, distract enemies and find another way in to handle things discreetly. While Stealth is an option, I found the Rambo-like playstyle a lot more satisfying, especially due to the finishers from hard uppercuts to stylish roundhouse kicks… and it’s just brutal and amazing to see the enemies get clobbered by you, yourself and uh… your fists. Quite a lot of fun! To top it all off, the cell-shaded art style is just incredibly fitting for the setting!

Forgive Me Father

This one’s another retro-FPS game but it’s set in a rather modern yet Lovecraftian setting with Eldritch Zombies swarming you and you having to knife or shoot yourself through it all. It’s fun albeit really challenging, especially on the harder difficulties, and the “madness” mechanic that makes you stronger and provides you different perks is quite interesting… While it is a lot of fun, I don’t think that this is all that Lovecraftian though. Sure, it plays around something called “madness”… But it’s really just a kill-count of sorts that increases as you murder zombies and then it decreases over time. Keep it up to use perks or don’t. Idk. Similarly, it feels a bit janky at times in terms of your own hitbox and while you move relatively quickly, so do the enemies, adding to the difficulty, which can feel quite frustrating at times. Still, it’s a fun little demo and if you enjoy a challenging experience with a slight Horror twist to it, you may wanna check this one out!

Strange Horticulture

This game’s right up my alley. In Strange Horticulture, you play as the proprietor of a local plant store. Find and identify new plants, pet your cat, help out customers, speak to a coven, investigate letters, join a cult, or solve puzzles. There’s a lot to potentially do here and the occult mystery meets exploration formula really works in my opinion here. There are times where a few of the clues can be a bit too cryptic but once you played the game for a while, you’ll understand how the game actually thinks and what it wants you to do in specific scenarios. It’s a very interesting game and I really enjoyed myself with it but just when it’s getting really good… it ends. The demo only allows you to play the first two days in the shop, which is a bummer, as I’m craving more and I don’t want to wait until early 2022 for it… but I guess I’ll have to. Definitely recommending it though!

Exhausted Man was hilarious, Negative Nancy was a trip and a half and Hirilun was interesting but for my second post here, I’ll have to say that Strange Horticulture is definitely my favourite among today’s batch of demos. Definitely check out the gems in yesterday’s post as well while you’re at it! Tomorrow, I’ll cover even more demos as there are still plenty out there that I haven’t played yet that do look interesting. What are your thoughts on these?

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken. If you like what you see here and want to see more, you can check me out on Twitch and YouTube as well.

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