Steam Next Fest!
Or how to play thousands of demos in seven days.
It’s Next Fest again folks and I love it!
The most interesting seven days of the month, at least for indie game lovers like me. Hundreds of games to try in just seven days, quite challenging.
As for the past Next Fest, I will try to point out and recommend the games that impressed me the most and that, in my opinion, have the potential to become little gems.
The festival will end on 13 February and I still have many demos to try out, so you will probably receive another issue at the weekend. Let us proceed without further ado to see what I was able to prove that aroused my interest.
We start with Trinity Fusion, a very fast-paced roguelike with a fair amount of different weapons and abilities that you can unlock and find randomly during the game. We have two other protagonists, all with different abilities and play styles.
I don't know how varied the biomes, the setting and the enemies are; more time is needed for such an evaluation. The animation and general flow are excellent and the potential is there. To keep an eye on.
Shadows of Doubt
Then there is this other incredible game that is Shadows of Doubt. I have been following this game for a very long time, specifically since way back in 2018 when I read one of the DevLog articles brought out by its developer Cole Jefferies.
Basically, it is an investigative game with immersive sim-style gameplay. This means that the approach to the investigation on our part can be decided according to how the game responds to our actions, and vice versa, we will have complete freedom in deciding how and when to do the things we want to do.
In my brief test, I had to intrude inside the house of a contact who had been murdered. I did this by turning off the alarms and burglarizing the door, during my rounds looking for clues the police arrived (summoned by the noise I was making) and started knocking on the door. I escaped through the ventilation duct but not knowing the floor plan of the building I ended up inside another flat which unfortunately was occupied at the time, the shouting summoned the police officers who ran to intervene. I re-entered the duct but at that point, they were alerted to my escape plan and waited for me at the exit... the feeling of a living and interactive world that reacts to our every action is very high and makes for great immersiveness. RECOMMENDED.
And now a couple of Metroidvania games:
The Last Case of Benedict Fox
A Metrodivania in Lovecraft sauce this The Last Case of Benedict Fox. Great atmospheres, an excellent storyline and inspired art direction complement a smooth and well-calibrated action with a good balance between action and investigation/adventure. Potentially one of this year's best metroidvanias (after Silksong, of course).
Use your weapons, demon powers, and surroundings in creative combinations to overcome demons, monsters, and cultists - but remember that concentration and a tactical approach are your greatest assets.
Ahhh the power of electromagnetism! Teslagrad 2 is, as you might have guessed, the sequel to the acclaimed 2013 game. The art design has changed a lot compared to the first episode, improved I would say, at least as far as my taste is concerned.
The character and enemy animations are excellently realised and traversing the levels using our electromagnetic abilities is very satisfying. I found the controls not perfectly calibrated and comfortable, at some junctures I had to repeat a jump or some passages several times due to inaccurate hitboxes or commands not detected in real-time.
Apart from this problem, which is easily solved before the game is released, I enjoyed a pleasant experience in almost two hours of testing. Definitely on the wishlist.
I have two other games I tried that I really liked but I would go too long so I will talk about them in the next issue (which will probably come out at the weekend). Now a bit of news.
Something to read or to know…
UK regulators provisionally said that “the acquisiton of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft could reduce competition in console and cloud gaming.”
There will be a Nintendo Direct today with 40 mins of news and games about Switch.
There seems to be a book, or rather two volumes, dedicated to the history of keyboards. It is called Shift Happens.
It seems that it’s not just me that loves Shadows of Doubt.
Wandering Sword is an RPG that you can try during the Steam Next Fest and it seems really good.
If you are a fan of RGP or strategy games, here you can find a nice list of what to expect in 2023.
Last but not least a Twitter thread with some immersive sims games recommendation:
See you next time!