Remember the Steam Next Fest that took place one month ago that I said I would make some content for? It’s here! I played so many great demos and I am very excited to finally share them.
One night I had an idea – which then became a personal goal – to create a magazine. It seemed like a fun challenge to get to practice writing, graphic design and art all at once, and that turned out to be true.
Although the festival has been and gone, the games last forever. Some still have demos going and some have even released, so it is always worth taking a look.
You can view on desktop directly or download a PDF below to view at your own leisure. This is something that is a little different for me so if you have enjoyed, please don’t hesitate to let me know!
It is slightly late but upon looking back over my Indie Showcase so far, I thought it would be fun to pick out some favourites. I originally planned to do this when I reach 100 videos, but picking out the 10 best is already proving to be difficult so I am going to go ahead and do it now!
For those who don’t know, during my weekly Indie Showcase series I try out an indie game for give or take an hour. It started as short, free to play games but evolved into demos, bundle games and games that I received a code for. I wasn’t sure how long it would last but as it turns out, I already have over 50 more games lined up! So, here are my top 10 highlights from my first 50 weeks, in alphabetical order so that I don’t actually have to rank them.
The Cast of the Golden Idol [Demo]– Color Gray Games
I love being a detective. I love murder mysteries, figuring out the order of events, solving deaths, and this game is chock full of that. Recommended by Lucas Pope (Papers, Please and Return of the Obra Dinn developer) for people who enjoyed Obra Dinn, I agree that this is very worth playing. Each case had references and call backs to the other cases I worked, leading to a feeling that the full game is going to have a larger overarching story. Based on the demo this is going to be a fun game for logic puzzle enthusiasts and budding detectives alike.
This one is a short, simple walking sim set at the end of an apocalyptic world. The atmosphere, setting and story were all enjoyable to me from the start and I would love to see more of this world. The unique art style only added to the experience, making me explore every nook and cranny of this small world. A solemn experience that I think is worth having.
Dagon: by H.P. Lovecraft [Free to play] – Bit Golem
I played other games that I enjoyed that were more involved than this one, but I just couldn’t bump it from the top 10. While the reasons are really subjective, I may not be the only one to have this experience and I would love to encourage others too. I am not familiar with Lovecraft’s works. I know of Cthulhu. I know that it is supposed to be mind-bending horrors. But the only experience I have had with any of his work is through games that have shared themes. This game is a short, point and click version of one of his stories, Dagon. In this visual novel, the story is told through a stunning set of scenes where the player can look around and click on interactable objects. Not only is the story presented to you, but there are collectibles that give you some insight into the history of Lovecraft himself. I had a great time getting to know some background about the guy who inspired so many works for so many years beyond him. It’s not the most interactive game or the longest, but what it does, it does really well and I encourage anyone who doesn’t know where to start with Lovecraft to give it a try.
Firework is a Chinese horror puzzle game. Wait.. Horror you say? And Noob played it? This game had the perfect amount of horror for me. It was spooky, I was filled with dread about what might happen next, but none of it was too much. I managed to not only complete the demo, but wish to finish the rest of the game too. Playing games with a different culture to your own will always introduce a new flavour and it left me wanting more.
The full game is available on Steam now for £7.19.
Inscryption [Demo] – Daniel Mullins Games
I can’t believe I still haven’t played the full game. Not only is this a mash-up of a spooky escape room amongst other things, the card game presented in this demo was so much fun. Everyone that I know that has played the full game has recommended it. The only thing I am aware of is that there might be some surprises. But what they are.. I have absolutely no idea. Though, the demo hooked me well enough that I would like to find out.
Inscryption is available for £16.79 on Steam here.
Larry The Unlucky [Free to play] – Strongshell Software
I am so glad that I stumbled upon this game. Heavily inspired by the Rusty Lake series, the first two games in this series are free and they both contain three chapters each. I enjoyed them so much that I will definitely be buying the third. In case you don’t know Rusty Lake, think – weird and morbid but humorous point and click puzzles, comparable to escape rooms. I don’t have a lot else to add except if that sounds appealing to you then they are definitely worth a playthrough.
You can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here on Steam, completely free!
Storyteller [Demo] – Daniel Benmergui
This charming puzzle game was really fun to play. It is a game where the wrong answers can be even better than the right ones. The game tells a selection of short stories through storyboards. Your job as the player is to fill these storyboards with the correct characters and scenarios in order to complete the story. It is simple but deep, as placing the wrong person can change the entire course of the story. This was a very fine demo and I would love to play more. The release date is TBD and there has been no news for a long time, but it is being published by Annapurna Interactive so we can trust that it will be release when it is ready.
In the Strange Horticulture demo, I really enjoyed having an adventure and a business from the comfort of my own workspace. You can organise it how you see fit and have different panels for you desk and your shelves that you can see at nearly all times, as well as drawers to hide things in. It is a fantasy botany identification simulator with an overarching story. I enjoyed the balance of ‘exploration’ and figuring out which plant was which, hoping you got it correct so you don’t poison your loyal customer.
The full game released in January and is £12.99 on Steam here.
SuchArt: Creative Space [Free stand-alone demo] – Goose Minded
Considering this is basically a demo, it contains so much content. Use the paint physics and tools to fulfil commissions and decorate your studio in literally any way you see fit. I had a great time playing around with paint, seeing what all the different tools do, and completing my masterpiece with absolutely no disasters at all. Just take a look at the steam page to see the type of art people have made. It really is a sandbox for the imagination. This demo is so packed full of stuff that it makes the prospect of the full game very exciting.
They managed to turn the classic snake (I am just realising that we are past the generation that grew up with snake being their first portable game) into a puzzle game with moving parts. Not only that, but they have done it with style. Part rhythm puzzle game, part dungeon escape game, you can gladly bob your head as your Snek swallows her foes whole, growing into the goodest, long, fiercest mama. Since I played they have added decorating your Snek too – ‘Mek-a-Snek’ – you can’t go wrong with some wonderfully customisable Snek fashion. I would love for more people to see this game becasue it really is a cool one. Just be careful not to touch your Snek with your Snek. Snek only knows what the consequences would be. Snek is such a great word. Snek.
Currently in Early Access, it is £9.99 on Steam here.
It was so difficult to narrow this down. There were games that I really liked that just didn’t make it onto the list. There is so much fantastic Indie content out there and it is all thanks to creative developers that take that step to turn their visions into reality. I thank them so much, and ask them to keep up the excellent work (but only at a healthy pace of course). All being well I will be back in another year to evaluate the next 50 and showcase some more highlights!