The Steam Game Festival: Autumn Edition 2020 is here! Usually I play many demos, record them for YouTube and make a video of my highlights and top pics. I’m extremely disappointed that – due to technical reasons – I will not be able to do that for this season. So instead, I am going to write about all of the demos that I play here!
I will keep updating is post as I try new demos! Right at the bottom of the post is a playlist of 12 demos that I played during previous festivals, that are available once again this week. Highlights for me that I would highly recommend playing are ‘NUTS’, ‘Superliminal’, ‘Backbone’, and ‘LOVE: A Puzzle Box Filled with Stories’.
Steam Description – Become a landlord and deal with problematic tenants as you build your rental property empire. Decide how to react to annoyed neighbours or police interventions. Will you rent your apartment to a college couple or an older lady with four cats?
Developer – Ancient Forge Studio
Release Date – TBA
My Thoughts – This game was already on my Wishlist but I am not entirely sure how it came to be on my radar. Upon playing the demo I was pleasantly surprised. The best way that I can describe this game is this – It’s kind of like The Sims, but without the life sim part.
To begin with, you start off doing basic renovation tasks for other people. You have to clean a place up, then renovate and redecorate to their specification and within their budget. As you progress, you level up to unlock new redecoration and furniture options, as well as earning money that you can put towards your own projects. Eventually, you will invest enough into your own space that you can rent it out to your first tenants. While the game may seem quite basic at first, it impressed me that there is clearly more depth beyond the demo. Eventually you will earn enough money to buy more buildings, you can rent out house shares, choose your tenants, manage the social side of being a landlord, all while decorating and renovating the spaces how you would like.
This is going to sound strange but bare with me. Did you ever download a mobile game because you just wanted to do some mindless decorating and management, only to find out that it is a game full of in app purchases and you have to wait hours of real time to do anything? The Tenants is exactly the game that I hoped for every time I downloaded one of those games. No add, no waiting around, just the good stuff. It feels like the perfect distraction game while you are half watching tv.
+ Addictive gameplay loop
+ Good sense of progression through unlocking more decorating options
– Some of the samples of walls and flooring looked very different when you actually used them, a testing system would be nice.
Would I play more? Yes
Steam Description – Restore an abandoned bakery and prepare pastries from farm to table! Grow fresh ingredients in the greenhouse, cook pastries & sweets in the kitchen and serve your baked goods to hungry customers in your own shop!
Developer – Éloïse Laroche
Release Date – February 2021
My Thoughts – Lemon Cake is another game that was already in my Wishlist and I’m not sure where the recommendation was from. However, the description sounded right up my alley so I was excited to try it. I have been looking for a Diner Dash type game since before I started covering the Steam Game Festivals.. one of those games where you can get into a strategic flow.
In this game, you are helping a ghost restore their bakery. Every day you earn money, which you can spend on upgrades to make your life easier, and you get more recipes as you go. The demo lasted around a week of game time and I enjoyed my time with it. Beyond the demo there seems to be a lot of upgrades left on the skill tree, as well as the idea that you will be able to customize your own recipe book. I don’t think this game is going to be a game that I would spend huge amounts of time on, but I would for sure be interested in continuing and seeing how getting more upgrades impact the game.
+ A nice example of the Diner Dash formula
+ Lovely art style
+/- I am unsure on the controls. Having to click the recipee with the mouse felt a little jarring sometimes and took me out of my flow.
– The sprint was not very reliable. It would give you a sudden boost in a direction, but I would just prefer a toggle on speed boost. Especailly considering the ground you have to cover between rooms.
Would I play more? Yes, but only with a controller or on switch
Steam Description – Infected by a zombie bite, Anling’s days are numbered. She must now fight to survive, not for herself but her young son, Cody. Ensure Cody’s survival in this zombie infested world by protecting him, searching for safety, and teaching him valuable skills, at any cost.
Developer – Vanimals
Release Date – 2021
My Thoughts – As soon as I read the description of Undying I was very interested. I don’t often play games with zombies but I have never heard of a game that has this take on it. I have always wanted too see it, as a persons story doesn’t necessarily have to be over once they are bitten
I would describe this game as having a vibe similar to This War of Mine, but it is very different stylistically. It is primarily a survival game where you start off in your own home. From there you can venture out onto your street – and beyond – collecting items to aid your survival. Classically, you have to manage your hunger and thirst, but there are also some other cool mechanics. To access certain areas you need certain tools, but the tools and weapons only have limited uses. Most importantly, everything you do, your son Cody gains experience from you. Eventually this adds up to be able to buy abilities, which I guess is the aim of the game, to leave him in a good position by time you are gone.
I lasted for around a week of in game time before we starved to death, and felt like I learned a lot. There are areas to discover, some safer than others, some with more resources, and you can even set up a farm for more reliable food.
+ Gorgeous art
+ Atmosphere is perfect
+ A different take on a zombie story
+ Feels difficult, but it’s tempting to play again to have a better run. Nice progression
– If you don’t like hunger and thirst in your games you will not like this game, it runs low pretty quickly
Would I play more? Yes definitely, if I was in the mood for a survival game.
Steam Description – Papetura is an atmospheric point & click adventure game, handcrafted entirely out of paper. Little creatures Pape and Tura will face monsters that will try to burn down their beloved paper world.
Developer – Petums
Release Date – 2020
My Thoughts – The Papetura demo was very short, lasting for around 5 minutes. It contained light puzzles set in a very nicely crafted scene, centered around a little paper character, lights and moths. The closest comparison to another game I can make – although I haven’t played it yet – is Unravel. Having such a sharp image with a unique art style are the reasons I make that comparison, not the gameplay. Ultimately, I’m unsure if the demo made me want to play the rest of the game, just as it was extremely short, but it was a nice little taster.
+ Very good looking game
– Demo just too short to really make an opinion
Would I play more? Probably yes but I’m not hooked.
Steam Description – Stake your claim in this colony building sim and survive a turbulent Medieval age. Construct a multi-story fortress in a land reclaimed by wilderness, defend against raids and keep your villagers happy as their personalities are shaped by the world!
Developer – Foxy Voxel
Release Date – Coming Soon
My Thoughts – Imagine Rimworld, but in a medieval setting, and 3D. That is Going Medieval. While I don’t quite think it is there yet, for reasons I will explain below, it is a great start.
It almost feels unfair to compare it to Rimworld – a game that I have spend my fair share of time playing – because not only was that game in early access for a long time, it has also been out for a while now. But it would be a injustice not to compare it, as they are very similar in the way that they play and it is clearly an inspiration.
I think the key difference between the two currently is that Rimworld, at its core, calls itself a story generator. The small, random events that happen are just as important as the base building, and the characters feel as though they have a personality, as well as the environment as a whole. During my playthrough of this demo, there weren’t a lot of social interactions going on (or I couldn’t find them) and that made me feel just slightly less immersed, and hence less invested. When I first begun the game I felt extremely excited at the prospect of building my camp, and I did enjoy what I played, but there were certain things that I found to be a little finicky. Nothing game breaking, just small things, like I couldn’t figure out how to get a roof over my building, or what exactly classes as safe storage to stop deterioration. I also couldn’t figure out how to move any furniture that I had already placed, which became troublesome. I will say though, this game does have enough of it’s own ideas to also differentiate itself. For example, the idea that ‘research’ is actually a physical item and can get stolen, and being able to construct multistory buildings.
I hope it doesn’t come across that I am being very negative. I only get very critical when I can see that something has a lot of potential and want it to be the best that it can be. This game is ambitious. They have a great base, and if they keep working at it (which they will.. this is just a demo of what they have got so far) then it could turn out to be fantastic. Either way I will be keeping my eye on it for sure!
+ Great potential
+ Great attention to detail
+ I liked the UI, it wasn’t too busy
– Not much social interaction
– Feels slower than Rimworld and not as much depth yet
Would I play more? I want to keep my eye on development. If they work on the things I mention above then I would jump straight in.
Steam Description – As President Rayne, lead Sordland into ruin or repair during your first term in this text-based role-playing game. Navigate a political drama driven by conversations with your cabinet members and other significant figures. Beware or embrace corruption; shirk or uphold ideals. How will you lead?
Developer – Torpor Games
Release Date – TBD
My Thoughts – Suzerain is a text based game about being the President and leading a country. I had intended on playing this one during the last festival but ran out of time. Since then I have also seen it recommended elsewhere, so I had to jump in. When I begun playing I instantly thought this game was not going to be for me. I am not a very political person and a lot of the terms used went over my head. But the further in I got I became completely immersed and I had to know the consequences of the choices I had made.
The demo begins with a long stretch of questions that lead into the story of your characters past, shaping him into who he is now. It skipped between the key moments of his life but was also quite in depth. For a while I thought this was what the whole game was going to be. Then the rest of the game started. It takes place on a map of the fictional country that you are in charge of. All of the different cities and towns have markers, each of which can flag up with reports about their status whenever necessary. The gameplay consists of attending meetings and other functions, making the decisions that you think are best for your country, dealing with emergencies, balancing the opinions of your staff and country, and even spending time with your family. It is not all politics. In my opinion the game was paced very well and the fact that it had a story as it does took me by surprise, as well as how well it all ties together. I went in without a clue what to expect and honestly had a great, great time.
+ The game works brilliantly. If I need information about something, I am not afraid that anything is going to get broken when I pause a conversation to read through my files
+ The attention to detail and sheer amount of information is absolutely brilliant
+ Every decision I made felt extremely important and weighty
+ The story was engaging and even thrilling at times
+/– Gameplay is reading and making choices. This is not a negative and certainly not an issue for me, but it does mean it wont be for everyone
Would I play more? Absolutely. I played for two hours and was sad when it ended.
Steam Description – Confront various terrains as a lonely mountaineer and endure the countless dangers of climbing! Many tough decisions await you in a risky environment. Make your way up and down the mountain, overcoming insurmountable heights!
Developer – Byterockers’ Games
Release Date – March 2021
My Thoughts – Insurmountable is described as ‘a strategic adventure game with rogue like elements’ and I couldn’t put it better myself. The aim of the game is to make it to the top of the procedurally generated mountain. Movement is tile and energy based, and there are other stats that you have to manage including sanity and temperature. Certain tiles have different random events that can help or harm you, and it is your job to navigate through them while keeping your climber alive.
I was instantly attracted to this game purely because of my fascination for mountains. I did manage to make it to the top, but only just. The game sort of just throws you in and lets you figure things out for yourself. Although it can be argued that some games benefit from that, I personally prefer a little bit more instruction when I am first starting out. Having said that, I think that I understood a lot of what the game is about by the time I reached the top. I wouldn’t recommend this game to someone who was looking for an action packed, fast paced strategy game. In my opinion, it felt quite slow. Having said that, I almost found it more therapeutic than anything else. It was a game that I enjoyed my time with and I am glad that I played, but I can’t say I am hungry for more. But don’t forget to take into consideration that roguelike games don’t tend to be my type of games.
+ I love the look of this game
+ Almost meditative
+/- Could use more random events, although I did like the ones I got
+/– Slow paced. Could use a fast forward button for climbing sections
– No tutorial
– Camera angle just felt a tiny bit wonky at times
Would I play more? If I heard they had made some changes then I probably would, however I actually feel satisfied with the experience I had.
Craftlands Workshoppe – The Funny Indie Capitalist RPG Trading Adventure Game
Steam Description – From the out-there imagination behind the Shoppe Keep series comes a brand-new fantasy business adventure set in the clouds. Craftlands Workshoppe is hiring! But can you run your store, master three noble crafts and solve the former owner’s mysterious disappearance?
Developer – Arvydas Žemaitis
Release Date – Early Access – 13/10/2020
My Thoughts – In Craftlands Workshoppe you begin the game with a choice. Do you want to go down the Alchemy route, the Cooking route, or the Blacksmithing route? From my understanding you eventually get to try out and master them all, but I personally went for Blacksmithing, as it seemed the most different and I didn’t have to grow my own ingredients.
The gameplay loop of this game is something that I have wanted for such a long time. I have never played Moonlighter, but a section of this game is what I imagine the none combat section of Moonlighter to be. You basically get to do every part of running your own store. In order to smith things into items to sell you need ingredients. In my case, I had to hit stone for ore, chop down trees for wood and buy blueprints from another store. Next, you make the goods. It was a simple clicking game but I really enjoyed it. Then, you get to choose what to advertise, and sell the goods. Now though, the part of this game that I enjoyed the most is that you can plan all of that stuff out yourself. It is up to you how much of which item you want to make to sell. You have limited energy points to use so you have to make choices about whether you want to use them gathering more ingredients or making more stuff. You can figure out what is going to make the most profit margin, then you need spares too because people might ask for them too and even pay more. What I am trying to say is that the management in this game gives you a lot of freedom, and to me it felt very very satisfying.
Beyond the demo it seems you can expand into all of the different crafts, hire workers, and unlock lots more areas on the map. During the demo it was possible to explore a little and some of the other residents had quests. I did some of them and appreciated that they were there, but I never had the feeling that I wanted to go out of my way to help or talk to any of these characters. As much as I loved the game by the end, it didn’t click with me for the first half of the demo. There is something about the style that I cannot put my finger on, as well as some of the points that I will make below. Eventually though, I was addicted and dreading that it was going to end.
Once again, it may seem like I have a lot of negative points, but its only because I love the concept so much. I recognize that a lot of this is subjective and I hope others can see that I actually really liked this game!
+ Very addictive gameplay loop
+ Lots of freedom
+ Good feeling of progression and working towards goals
+/- Movement/Camera movement was very strange. However there were many settings to choose between
+/- I would love this on the Switch
+/– I liked that I could go to sleep just before 6am and still get my energy back. I’m not sure if it was intentional but I enjoyed it
– I think I just don’t quite have the right sense of humour to appreciate the game properly
– I wasn’t keen on the layout of the town in relation to my shop, would have liked a bike or something to be able to move around quicker
– I found the character models very off putting for some reason
Would I play more? 100% Yes.
Sadly that is all of the demos that I got to play this time around. Hopefully by the next Steam Game Festival I should have a PC, and therefore be able to go back to making video content!