It’s Christmas in February, y’all. I woke up early Monday, scurried to my computer and hastily unwrapped as many Steam Next Fest demos as I could. One of my favorite experiences so far has been Mr. Sun’s Hatbox, but there’s so much more to play. If you’re looking for a few previews to dive into this week, keep an eye out for my round-ups and check out my pre-event list of suggestions.
Is it possible for a game to be super chill and exhilarating? I didn’t think so, but I had no idea what Super Space Club had in store for me. It’s simple to pick up. First, you chose a character (I had the option between a hip-looking lizard and an unidentified armored mammal), ammo type, and ship shape. Then you glide off into a galaxy of velvety colors, silky asteroids, and the most perfect soundtrack to reflect your cool attitude and the polished atmosphere. And it only gets better when enemies begin to swarm.
“I will be alive even beyond death.”
De-Exit’s voxel art might trick you into thinking it’s for a younger audience, but the game has vibes. Unsettling, creepy vibes. It’s not a long demo, but it is a perfect set up for the story and gives me just enough to make me want more. My mysterious undeathly state, a petrifying corruption, and a self-righteous villain leave me with more questions than answers, and I recommend everyone check it out before it’s gone.
Thorald Olavson is on a mission to avenge his father and save the woman he loves when his England-bound ship falls prey to a vicious storm. Luckily, it’s not his time to die and the All-Father sends Thorald back with a little aid. What the god wants is murky, but he promises to revive you in exchange for boosting runes. Now you have to build up a settlement, defeat and loot enemies, and try to find the Jarl that set you down this path.
Unabashedly anime, this 2D action-adventure is glorious to behold. The hand-drawn settings in particular are so irresistible, that I often stop just to examine the scenery. The angelic heroine and quirky sidekick are familiar archetypes, and take the spotlight. The intro is a blur of lore, and some of the platforming challenges require extreme accuracy, but the combat is fun with unlockable abilities and some Soulslike elements.
Shimmering sands, rippling water, and streaming sunlight layer themselves on top of Wandering Sword’s already eye-pleasing pixel aesthetic to serve up a veritable feast for the eyes. The intro feels a little abrupt, like the demo is trying to stuff to much tutorial in too small a casing. But when I had time to roam around a small village, making friends, fishing, and picking up every glowing, collectable plant I could find, I appreciated game so much more.