Steam Next Fest is now underway, and identical to the occasion again in June there are hundreds (that is no exaggeration, hundreds) of free demos for upcoming video games you possibly can obtain and check out proper now.
Most of the Steam Next Fest demos will solely be obtainable from October 1 to October 7, so if you need a free peek at some cool wanting video games, you’ve got solely bought a small window. The week can be gone earlier than you recognize it, so get downloading and play some free stuff.
With so many selections it may be arduous to know the place to start, so we here at PC Gamer performed a bunch of them and listed a dozen or so beneath that we expect actually stand out. Have a glance, and lets us know in case you play something cool this week. We’d be joyful to broaden our checklist with some of your favorites.
The Exo One demo is like nothing like I’ve ever performed earlier than. It’s a sci-fi exploration recreation the place you management a bizarre shape-shifting spacecraft hurtling via varied alien worlds in search of a group of astronauts who’ve despatched out a misery sign. Using the ability of momentum, the spaceship can remodel because it travels throughout planets. It can remodel right into a ball that zips throughout the bottom to select up velocity after which when launched into the air, it may well remodel right into a flat disc to glide. The demo provides us a glance at three unusual worlds, all of them filled with extraordinary encounters, from desolate wastelands full of alien constructions to raging seas with no land in sight. The Exo One demo has been round for some time however nonetheless stays an thrilling sneak peek into each a serene and exhilarating journey.—Rachel
The demo covers solely the primary two days of this shopkeeping puzzle sim, and that isn’t almost lengthy sufficient as a result of it’s extremely, superb. In Strange Horticulture you run a quiet little plant store the place unusual guests will drop by with uncommon requests. Use your ever-growing tome of information to rigorously determine and label crops primarily based on clues, give your prospects what they’re searching for, and discover a map utilizing cryptic hints to find extra uncommon flora. Don’t neglect to pet your black cat, and take a look at to not lose your thoughts otherwise you’ll actually need to piece it again collectively. I’m excited to see extra of this when it launches in 2022.—Chris
Hearthstone takes place in a jolly tavern. Inscryption doesn’t. This card recreation’s backdrop is a darkish cabin, and my opponent a pair of eyes within the shadows. “PLAY THE SQUIRREL CARD,” it says with extra menace than the phrases deserve. The squirrel cannot assault, its solely worth is that it may be sacrificed for some extent of blood. Blood (and later bones) are essential to play higher playing cards, just like the adder. Unlike Hearthstone or Hand of Fate, which it additionally resembles, Inscryption’s theme is frontier America, all canyons and gulches, and my hand is full of wolves and a stoat. The textual content on the stoat card adjustments. “Play along for now,” it says, after which issues get weirder. Inscryption is the work of Daniel Mullins Games, creator of metatextual headfucks Pony Island and The Hex, and it guarantees to do to cosy collectible card video games what Pony Island did to the countless runner—making it so eerie and unsettling it will jangle your nerves and rattle your bones.—Jody
Starship Troopers: Terran Command
A reliable Starship Troopers RTS in 2021? Confounding. Well, I’m not gonna take into consideration the chance of this too arduous—it is simply neat to be enjoying an RTS recreation that offers me early 2000s vibes, in largely good methods. Starship Troopers: Terran Command would not really feel an excessive amount of like my favourite RTS collection, Command & Conquer, since you’re largely commanding troops here moderately than constructing bases. But it is a good match for Starship Troopers, throwing your squads of meatheads up in opposition to piles of alien bugs. There’s a bit extra depth to the fight than I anticipated: I needed to rigorously place my troops for clear strains of hearth, which bought further difficult once I recruited a couple of flamethrower boys who relish being on the entrance strains. Company of Heroes 3 is subsequent yr’s large flashy RTS, but it surely’s good to see some little guys on the market serving to preserve the style alive.—Wes
Motor Town: Behind the Wheel
If you are searching for a deep driving sim that will not soften your GPU like Forza, then climb into Motor Town and buckle up. And do not let the chunky graphics idiot you, it is a fairly deep sim with sensible physics, a day and night time cycle, development, and much of autos to drive and missions to finish. Ferry passengers round in a taxi or bus, haul cargo in a truck or trailer, refuel, exchange elements, or simply decide up hitchhikers in your private car. You can use flip indicators, headlights and highbeams, and honk your horn, and the cops will even chase you in case you’re breaking the principles of the highway. And in contrast to rather a lot of automotive video games, you may get out of your automotive, stroll round, and even sleep in your own home to fast-forward the clock. There’s rather a lot of leisure packed into this demo, and there is a beta you possibly can join too. —Chris
In the spirit of Inside and Limbo, Airhead is a surreal and intriguing platformer puzzler and I’ve little or no concept of what’s going on in it. In a great way! I do know this: I’ve no head, and after operating, leaping, and pushing chunks of stone round an odd cavern for some time, I bought a head when a bizarre machine burst via a wall and squashed a blob with a rock. But my blobby new head must breathe, so I refill it with air utilizing these little tanks scattered round which additionally function save factors. Also, I’ve to carry my new head in my palms, which suggests I typically have to drop it on the bottom to clamber round or push and pull issues. Look, Airhead is bizarre. But it is neat. And regardless of solely simply having bought a brand new blobby removable head I’m very decided to maintain it secure.—Chris
An isometric exploration recreation reminiscent of Hob, Tunic follows the adventures of a small fox in an enormous world full of hazard, secrets and techniques, and treasure. It’s undeniably cute, however do not count on to be making rather a lot of pals: Every one of the bouncy, largely blob-like creatures I encountered on the earth have been decided to kick my ass (and some succeeded). That’s at least partly on account of the truth that I used to be defending myself with a stick, though the state of affairs improved significantly when I discovered a sword, which additionally enabled me to hack new paths via the foliage, opening the door to all kinds of new areas and treasures. I solely bought a small glimpse of the sport world, however I very a lot dig it. One observe, and I say this as somebody who loathes controllers: Play with a controller. Keyboard controls are supported (no mouse), however the motion and fight are clearly designed for thumbs and buttons.—Andy
Imagine Condemned: Criminal Origins, minus the horror and set in a cartoon gangster world full of damsels in misery, grizzled powerful guys, and old-time superheroes. That’s Fallen Aces, a two-fisted first-person Raymond Chandler comedian e book, minus the racism however overflowing with splendidly stereotypical dialog and ridiculous violence full with Mortal Kombat-esque punch-outs. It’s not an all-out brawl—there’s some gentle stealth that permits a quieter strategy to problem-solving, if that is your factor—however I used to be having an excessive amount of enjoyable kicking ass (and, ultimately, getting my ass kicked) to spend a lot time determining the subtleties. I smashed a person within the balls with a bottle after which roundhouse-kicked him right into a brick wall—who needs to sneak round when you are able to do that? I’ve been wanting ahead to Fallen Aces ever because it was introduced, and after enjoying the demo my expectations are even greater.—Andy
The demo for Exhausted Man made me snicker for actual a pair instances. It’s not as enjoyable as Stilt Fella, one other QWOP-inspired recreation about coordinating unruly limbs, but it surely will get extra comedy out of its premise and animation rigging—the best way its very sleepy protagonist strikes like an inchworm up partitions and twists up like a towel when he tries to show over. It’s additionally deeply bizarre, like in a genuinely unsettling method: Act 1 known as “‘It’ is coming,” there is a crimson poster that simply says “DIE” on it, and after finishing a job known as “Meditation,” the digital camera zoomed in on the protagonist’s hand on prime of the poster and he thought, “The DIE by my hand arouses my thoughts of her.” Later, I rescued a tissue field “from the devil’s hand,” and famous that, after talking at size to a lamp, “it only replied ‘Impossible.'” It’s like studying Zen kōan from the yr 2666. I have not completed the demo but… I ponder what family object the satan tempts subsequent?—Tyler
Kaiju Wars is a turn-based technique recreation with big monsters who stomp on buildings and has the aesthetics of an old-school manga. That just about already bought me on the sport. The demo has you play via a handful of phases because the Mayor of Floatio City, a spot with the unlucky luck of being a gathering place for all kinds of menacing Kaiju. As Mayor it’s essential safe up defenses by deploying tanks and bombers in an effort to scare off the Kaiju. Each flip you are rewarded with cash for each constructing that is nonetheless standing, used to construct extra bases and purchase extra troops. You understand the trick to the sport is luring the monsters away from civilian buildings by sacrificing your troops and doing sufficient harm to kill the rattling factor or hoping it will get bored and runs away. Like Into The Breach, you recognize precisely the place the monster goes and are pressured to plan accordingly. It additionally simply seems to be neat, and in later ranges you struggle with big mecha and lasers which is icing on the cake. An enormous monster cake.
Forgive Me Father
There is not any scarcity of retro revival FPSes hitting Steam these days, and to this point, Forgive Me Father is one of the higher ones. It’s bought keys that open doorways, zombies that explode into buckets of blood at the roar of your double-barreled shotgun, and secret paths that result in bonuses. The crisp artwork and thick black outlines round every little thing jogged my memory rather a lot of Fallen Aces (there’s even an easter egg for that recreation within the first room of the demo), however Forgive Me Father is much less Thief and extra basic Wolfenstein, perhaps to a fault. The weapons really feel fairly good, however I used to be a bit delay by the countless slender hallways at the beginning of the demo. Even although I wasn’t lacking any photographs, it was surprisingly straightforward to get cornered by a horde and die.—Morgan
“You think you’re God because you went shopping?” Part of the explanation Ikea man (comic Scott Seiss) went viral along with his clips of him angrily talking back to annoying customers is that so many of us have been there. Retail. It’s a nightmare. Negative Nancy can really feel fairly cathartic consequently. Working the counter at the hellish Megamart, all you possibly can say as Nancy is not any. To impolite and cussed prospects, to your team-building boss, to your frazzled coworkers. Granted, no is not at all times one of the best factor to say (you can too say nothing) and it will not at all times get you what you need. But it nonetheless feels good. No, you possibly can’t return that present card that expired seven years in the past. No, you possibly can’t get a refund and not using a receipt. No, you possibly can’t converse to the supervisor. No, no, no. No.—Chris