Steam Game Festival Thread

I still have my qualms with the whole idea of the Steam Game Festival (specifically I don’t understand why the demos have to be time-locked), but a whole bunch of new indie game demos is an alright thing in my book, so I thought it would be nice to have a thread where people can post any discoveries they’ve made.

I’m gonna recommend Dorfromantik, which plays something like a hexagonal, single-player Carcassonne. I saw it being compared to ISLANDERS, a title I still have in my regular rotation, and I could definitely see this becoming a go-to podcast game once it actually releases.

Foregone seems potentially cool.

It’s not a metroidvania, at least from the demo. I dunno why people keep tagging linear platformers as metroidvanias. But the combat is pretty fun and it’s got a nice aesthetic.

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This thread is great timing because I just downloaded and started playing a bunch of the demos today.

Black Book has been my favorite so far. It’s a deckbuilder RPG based on Slavic myths where you play as a witch trying to rescue her husband from hell. It’s got incredible style and is the kind of game where I just want to post a dozen screenshots to show it to people because it looks so cool.

Luna’s Fishing Garden was another solid game. Very relaxing and cute fishing/gardening game. The gameplay all seems relatively simple but that’s probably for the best, to maintain the soft vibes. Very cute pixel art for it all. I love the big fox friend and the big seal fisher friend.

Minute of Islands was an interesting one. It’s an adventure game with a bit of platforming in it. The story seems to be that you play as a young girl named Mo who has to maintain various machines. But the machines stop working because the giants seem to be dying(?) so you have to go get everything started back up. It’s got a very strange and kind of gross artstyle but not in a way that I found off-putting.

Beasts of Maravilla Island is a wildlife photography game and has some great vibes. Chill and relaxing and very cute style. The controls are a lil bit janky and I wish the camera had more interesting functions to play with but for what it is, it was fun to play around in.

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I really, really enjoy the festivals because I love trying games out, even if many of them do have time limitations on them. Although this time around I’ve been somewhat busy with other stuff so I haven’t been able to check out as many demos as I’ve wanted but I’ve still played quite a bit! Here’re the highlights from what I’ve played so far:

Roguebook, a deckbuilding, card-battling rogulite set in the Faeria universe. If you’ve played any of these sorts of games before you’ll be able to quickly acclimate yourself to what this game’s doing but a lot of the particulars are actually super neat! You control a party of two characters, each with their own individual deck, playstyles and keywords attached to them, that you play in tandem with each other. So each turn you’ll draw from a combined pool of each hero’s deck into your hand and figure out what to do from there. There’s already lots of fun synergies to be had between the two characters in the demo, swapping them around to get the optimal damage and defense is already extremely fun. I think the enemy and boss encounters are designed in an especially messed up way that forces you how to get the most out of each turn.

I could easily see this game being the next highly talked about deckbuilder once it comes out later this year.

Boomerang X, a first person shooter where your only weapon is a boomerang. You’re relegated into these small-ish arenas where you have to destroy shadowy creatures in waves and the movement and combat is simply immaculate. You can throw your boomerang and recall it or dash to it while it’s in midair. Eventually you get the ability to slow down time when you’re charging your throw and it lets you pull off some incredible moves as you dart towards and away from the various of enemies that chase you down.

It’s so sick! The visual style overall and the atmosphere in the interstitial areas between the combat arenas is awesome too. Plus there appears to be some kind of lore about a race of insect warriors happening in the background, which you learn by conversing with a big friendly centipede-like creature.

Ice Cream Truck, a game where you serve delicious ice cream from an ice cream truck. This game kinda has a lot going on in every aspect of it? Actually making the ice cream is a somewhat involved and highly customizable process with lots of steps and ingredients to keep in mind. There’s a conversation system where you have to positively interact with the people who want ice cream to keep their mood up so they’ll give you more money and a gift at the end of the transaction. And all the characters are talking animals, most of whom are children, that have all sorts of problems that can only be solved by the emotional power of ice cream.

I mean that last part literally because you can serve them two scoops of banana ice cream to make a joyous cone to cheer them up and stuff like that.

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(At least a few of these games have non-time limited demos on itchio, if anyone misses the Festival or doesn’t make time for a few of them: check to see if they have pages there!)

Dorfromantik and Luna’s Fishing Garden are two I’m definitely adding to my wishlist.

Floppy Knights seems like a decent deckbuilder, it’s a little more open than most of them. Sort of reminds me of a tRPG, but with cards. Also, it’s very cute.

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Loop Hero completely enraptured me for maybe 10 hours before I managad to clear the demo.

Steel Assault is an classic retro romp that was really tough on arcade mode

Dap seems weird and strange but very interesting and unique.

CW Alcohol

So I haven’t played many demos as most of my time was spent this weekend with Magic, but I’ve had Hundred Days on my wishlist for a long time. It’s a wine making game, and it’s so much more board gamey than I was expecting and I really love that! One thing that’s a bit weird though is that there might be a story? There was a longer intro at the beginning than I expected and it kinda threw me. Nonetheless, it’s purdy and I’m real excited for the full release.

Hundred Days - Winemaking Simulator on Steam

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I carved out some free time before the festival ended so I spent some time digging into more demos! Here’re the standouts I tried:

Princess Farmer, an arcade puzzle game starring a cast of anthro bunny girls. The extremely adorable pixel art lead me to believe this would be an extremely chill match 3 game but it’s actually kind of intense and has some cool ideas! Each stage has you match 3 vegetables of the same type on the board by pulling them out of the ground and replanting them in the ground. It took me a bit to realize but most of the matching you’ll want to do isn’t by replanting but by pulling up veggies to make matches underground! Some of the stages are set up specifically so you have to learn how to do that, which is neat!

Also, this game appears to have some sort of dating elements in it because you can talk to various characters between all the puzzling and at the end of the stage you can view where their relationship status with you is. Pretty sure every character in this game is gay too!

Godstrike, a twin-stick bullet hell boss rush shooter where your time is both your life and a currency. Instead of a health bar or lives, you start the boss in the demo with an allotment of time (around 5 minutes) which you can trade for offensive abilities you’ll be able to use during the fight. Getting hit subtracts time (about 15 seconds) and once you run out of time the next hit you sustain will kill you. Very interesting idea but I dunno if I was totally sold on this game. The perspective makes dodging certain projectiles difficult and the lack of a quick restart makes retrying more annoying then it needs to be.

I did like playing it… after I switched to the mouse as I wasn’t a fan of the controller layout. Will definitely keep an eye on this to see what state it’s in when it comes out.

Sumire, an adventure game about a girl who awakens a flower spirit capable of granting her wishes. This demo just start with no setup but as far as I can surmise the premise is that after the death of her grandmother a young girl named Sumire accidentally brings to life a flower spirit who can commune with her grandomther’s spirit. To do so, she has to spend the day with her new friend travelling to places where her memories of her grandmother resonate the strongest… or something along those lines. Along the way, you can converse and make choices with the various talking animals and inanimate human-shaped objects (statues, scarecrows, etc.) that are around and help them with their troubles or be a total jerk to them if you so choose.

I found the demo to be extremely endearing on all fronts! I really like the writing, which is often very amusing but will very frankly approach heavy topics like grief with some amount of tact. I also like that Sumire’ll write and draw in her journal as you take on tasks or move to new places. Looks really gorgeous too!

Lorn’s Lure, a first person climbing game about an android that’s spent centuries trapped inside a decrepit tower. The atmosphere in this game is incredibly unnerving and frightening and rightfully so because you’ll be doing a lot of precarious jumps and falls between platforms. These are made especially scary because if you land on inclines you’ll slip and fall to your death. You can, occasionally, save yourself from plummeting with the pair of climbing picks you get later on but you can’t climb everything and you’ve got to deal with a stamina meter too. The climbing does seem pretty freeform and the world is extremely open. Very excited to see what this looks like when it comes out!

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