Look, with over 700 demos at this year’s Steam Next Fest, we can’t blame you for feeling a little overwhelmed. There are streams and dev logs that help with the selection process, but there’s just so much information to sort through. This list is all about the games we’ve tried and personally vouch for. We don’t claim that this is the best of the best demos out there, we just know that these are the games that we like. So, here you go, OUR Steam Next Fest 2021 Recommended Games.
And if there’s any game out that isn’t on this list, let us know. We just might update the list throughout the week. We’re sure there are some gems hidden in plain slight somewhere amongst those 700+ games. The digital event going to last until June 22nd, and most of these games won’t take up too much space. So, get in there and explore! (Oh, and do note that after the 22nd, most, if not all these demos will be pulled from Steam. No rush though.)
To the Rescue!
To the Rescue! is a charming dog shelter simulator that managed to pull at my heartstring when I first saw it at the Freedom Games Presentation at E3 2021. I was looking forward to the game already, but when I first saw it’s name appear on the list, I knew what I had to do.
The demo starts off innocently enough. You, the player, are tasked to run a dog shelter. It becomes pretty obvious early on that you, as the character, are definitely doing this from the kindness of your heart. Because, believe it or not, running a dog shelter is very hard work. It’s not enough that you must be able to not only feed and give water to your furry friends, you’ve got to be able to bathe and even train them as well. All in an effort to make them as appealing to potential adopters.
Juggling tasks become a test of which priorities go first. This demo doesn’t pull any punches, let me tell ya. But seeing one of my friends find a forever home at last makes it all the more worth it, in the end.
But wait! There’s more. 20% of the profits from all sale of To the Rescue! will go towards real dog shelters via the PetFinder Foundation. I’ll leave it there.
Release date: Coming Soon
Ever wonder what it’s like to establish a colony on Mars? We’re not going there anytime soon, unless Elon gets impatient. But this is probably the next best thing. Reshaping Mars is a colony simulation game where you have to set the stage for humanity’s arrival on the Red Planet.
The game starts off with asking the player to perform some scans on the surface, and to find locations suitable for habitation. It’s a bit harder to pull off than you might think. Finding the locations of stuff won’t take on, but maintaining operations becomes a tiring task as the colony begins to grow. It’s probably a good idea to start investing in tech early. It’ll save you from a few headaches down the line.
Of course, the rewards is watching the colony grow over time. Like all things, it just takes a little TLC. And probably a few warning labels on the airlocks.
Release Date: July 29th, 2021
Two giant robots duking it out for the amusement of the masses. Sounds familiar, right? No, I’m not talking Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots. I’m talking about Wolfstride.
I’ve go to admit, when I first saw this game, it was the striking artstyle that drew me in. It was like watching something similar to Gurren Lagann. Only if it was black and white, and what’s as over-the-top. (Can’t really say that won’t be as over-the-top. It’s still a demo.)
Gameplay-wise, it handles like any most turn-based RPG’s. Though there is a greater emphasis on positioning and cooldown management. It is also more than just a simple spam fest as knowing when to be in the defensive can literally determine the outcome of the match many, many moves later on.
The demo features a handful of fights, all of them with requiring some semblance of strategy. Winning fights earns your fighter money, and you can use it fix up and upgrade your mech in between fights. It’s not a stretch to say that some fights will last longer than others. Even for a demo, it’s easy to pour a couple of hours here than you initially intended. Give it a go. It’s all sorts of fun.
Release date: Coming Soon.
Here’s one you’ve probably heard of, but you’re to hear more about it, anyways. Sable definitely has a lot going for it – a cell shaded art style and compelling story of wonder and discovery. But that’s not what drew me into this game. Believe it or not, it was the soundtrack that got my attention the most.
The calm and soothing instrumentals worked very well with the desert backdrop. I don’t know, for some strange reason, the more I looked into the vast expanse, the more I wanted to know about this mysterious world. Why is the village surrounded by ruins? What do ancient space ships have to do the people? And what is Gliding that Sable has to go through?
There are no enemies in the game as far as I know. It’s all about exploration and discovery. I mean that literally. The game won’t be setting markers for you to get to. You’re going to have to set your own markers. And find your own way to the mysterious shrines.
Sometimes you don’t need a great Evil to push the narrative forward. Or even enemies to slay every waking moment of the day.
Release date: September 23rd, 2021
B.ARK (Bio-interstaller ARK)
Part Saturday morning cartoon, part shoot ’em up, B.ARK accomplishes what most games in the same vein fail to do – to be actually fun. Each of the 4 members’ pods controls very precisely and responsibly. And though not pressing the Z button constantly did go against many of the thing I knew about shoot ’em ups, I did grow to appreciate the idea.
B’ARK may only have one level in its demo but it’s more than enough to convey everything the player needs to know about the game when it eventually comes out.
For the kind of game that it is, “it had no right to be this cute”. That’s what I said about it when in my preview of B.ARK. And I stand firm with that assessment.