Steam Next Fest February 2023

Another Steam Next Fest is upon us. I didn’t see another thread made for this season’s yet, so here we are! Have you played any cool demos? I’m seeing a couple of repeats/stuff that I think I’ve played already in this one, but it’s still cool to get a bunch of demos for a lot of games I haven’t heard of at once.

Post what you’ve played here!

I’ll start with

I didn’t get very far, most of the levels I’ve gotten have been pretty cheap (mostly just traps that you can’t see), but I really like this idea of this one and want to play it a little more. I also kinda wish the movement was a little faster, but maybe I just need to play with the FOV (I didn’t check if it had an option for that)


Haven’t delved too much into the Fest yet, but I do want to shout out URBO, which is essentially Threes as a casual city builder, and scratches a similar itch to my beloved Islanders.

Also gave It’s a Wrap! a shot, and while I find something unappealing about the art style (it’s not that its bad, it just feels…bland?), the central idea (a platformer where you use an editing-bay to change the timing of cycle-based obstacles and events) has a lot of potential, and the level design so far is fairly clever. Definitely one to look into if you’re a fan of puzzle platformers.


I’m quite busy this week so this doesn’t hit at the right moment, but I’ll try to check out Radio the Universe tomorrow. Been keeping tabs on that for a while.


I just tried Radio the Universe out tonight. Out of all the games I’ve never heard of before, this has made the strongest impression. It evokes strong Signalis presentation vibes, but in more of Hyper Light Drifter style of combat and exploration. It has some novel mechanics (you only get EXP if you bring the enemy health down to exactly 0), but the attack animations and movement don’t feel precise enough for what they’re asking you to do.

Oh yeah, that was an excellent demo. I’m still really into glitched and/or analogue visual styles and this game looks excellent. Love the pixel backgrounds and sprites, too. Movement and platforming is a bit sluggish but feels in accord with the presentation. Can’t tell if the combat wants to be heavily combo driven (some skills seem to hint at that?) and whether that’ll work out in the full game remains to be seen, but I’m very intrigued by the demo.

I wish I hadn’t missed this for so long, so my recs are probably gonna come too late to be of use to anyone, but hopefully I can point out some more games to pay attention to:

My favourite of the lot. It wears its Persona and VA-11Halla inspirations on its sleeve, but with a reverse tower defense game thrown in. The music is great, the little animations are cute, making coffee seems more fun than VA-11Halla’s bartending, and it’s looking like an early competitor for the best fashion of 2023.

That top XD

A very interesting looking game about a godlike AI tasked with guiding civilisations. Mostly text based with skill checks, a bit like Disco Elysium, but with some light empire management as well. The amount of writing they seem to be aiming for looks like a challenge, but it’s an interesting perspective already.

This one’s a VN-ass VN. There’s a hotel management thing going on there, but it’s super light, you’re here for the VN part here. It’s using Call of Cthulhu completely unexamined as the basis of its world, so you have to deal with concepts like “SAN” being presented as something you should just be familiar with (I’m not curious as to how much penetration CoC has in China), but it’s just so damn cute! They use the creepycute aesthetic really well, with little touches like eyeballs in jars everywhere, or the protagonist’s catself yawning every scene transition.

Does have the feeling that the characters are being hamstrung by how straight the game is though. A balljointed combat maid, a body modding dragon office lady, and a iron-clad plague doctor reaper should not feel this basic!

Honorable Mentions

Cardboard Town - Chill citybuilder, but not sure where the fun is.
Chrystarise - Super cute, and decorating your island is cozy, but a loooot of grinding.
Darkest Dungeon 2 - The mechanical changes look interesting, and the new scenario is cool, but why did they have to move to 3D?
Lakeburg Legacies - Cute townbuilder. Can build an entire town of lesbians, but the rate resources gathered felt a bit unpleasant.
Grim Guardians: Demon Purge - A pretty solid castlevania game, if you’re looking for more of those.
Plan B: Terraform - This is my kind of chill factory game, but the demo ends pretty much immediately, making me concerned how much content they might have planned.
Roots of Yggdrasil - A pretty tight citybuilder with instanced scenarios, which I think might be better than building a single big city. Wish it wasn’t viking themed though.
Townseek - I like games where the point is just to go look at things the devs came up with, so I hope this game does well, but didn’t hook me.
Urbo - This game is a nightmare to me. If you’re just built different, I’m sure you could love it though XD
Wall World - Honestly, quite a good mining game/turret defense game. I could see it getting tiring, like lots of mining games do, but seemed quite good in the demo

Dishonorable Mention

Don’t play Book of Hours. Alexis Kennedy is a predator who hid under a progressive guise for years, then proved his true colours as soon as he was called out. I don’t want this one to slip by because he waited a couple years for people to forget.