Steam Mystery Fest 2023

Right after Steam Next Fest, before I could put down my gamepad, Valve presents us Steam Mystery Fest. It focuses on games where you investigate and solve mysteries, detective games of all kinds already released or upcoming. And, again, they offered some demos that I tried before making a purchase.

Different from Next Fest, I was a bit selective with the games this time. First, the connection
with mystery was loose. Some games were just visual novels with a detective theme, no investigation or solving was necessary, and I was really craving to doing the detective work. Second, most games were already released, so I could filter up by reading negative reviews, I do not believe the average or the first page, as Steam allows the devs to hide negative reviews. So, I sort by most helpful and check if I am OK with the negative points.

The Case of the Golden Idol | Tested with Proton

Link: Steam Link

One of the most fulfilling investigative games I played recently.

The game is focused on gameplay, there are no time wasters: you are presented with a scene of someone’s demise, and you need to investigate what happened and make sense of the situation, thus unveiling the story and unlocking the next scene. You make sense of the situation by going to the “thinking mode” where you fill the blanks with the names of the characters, what they did, where they were, what you need to fill will depend on the scene. You get the information by clicking on things on the scene, you can click on people to check the items they have with them. Or just by observing the details on the art.

The only thing I think could be done better was a way to organize and catalogue the information we find. I ended up getting the good ol’ notebook to take notes.

I bought the game!

Nancy Drew: Legend of the Crystal Skull | Tested with Proton

Link: Steam Link

The controls are dated and take a while to get used to. Also, there are long, unskippable animations when you interact with things or talk to people. However, it is still a good point & click detective game. Good balance of enjoyable story and challenging puzzles.

Gamedec | Tested with Proton.


When I first watched the intro, I thought you would be some sort of MMO Game Master punishing cheaters. But you are more like a private detective who goes into the virtual world to help your clients. But there is no difference between the real futuristic world gameplay and the game worlds you visit. You go around talking to people and interacting with objects. Well, they added a HUD for the game world.

The character creation and professions do not to impact much in the game, and the way it is played, there is no reason to play again with different stats. Also, there was an option to login into Twitch, but it was not clear for what reason you would do that.

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Syberia – The World Before | Tested with Proton

Link: Steam Link

This game plays as a movie, alternating between two characters with connected stories, one in a long-lost past, and another in the present of Kate Walker finding herself in a salt mine prison. It is nice that the game has a video recap of the series because it is going around for 20 years.

The controls take a while to get used to and the camera angles could be better. You might make you miss a few things in the beginning. The story is beautiful and made me want to play more, and the soundtrack was the star of the show. It could have had more puzzles and interactions, but as I said, the game plays like a movie.

Pixel Noir | I could not make it work Native or with Proton

Link: Steam Link

The first loading would take forever, and the game would crash when I started a new game.

About those Fests

I always loved the chance to discover and try new games, also buy them for cheaper. But the timing and advertisement for this Fest was less than ideal for me. The first time I saw the promotional banner was on a game page, it was not until late that it appeared on the store landing page. There was also an indie games festival and publisher sales going on at the same time.

I am starting to feel that the Fest is a loose term for a week with cheaper prices, than celebrating specific arts and crafts. Don’t get me wrong, I am still happy that I got to learn about the Nancy Drew and Syberia series. Or maybe I am just sensitive about the Mystery Fest, a genre I quite enjoy, being quite hidden from me. I wonder what is the perspective of the developers.

Steam Spring sale is right around the corner, March 16, and right after you will have the Puzzle Fest in April 24. Both with a bit more space between them. You can check the next events if you have a steam partner account, or on their steamworks documentation page, or with SteamDB.

How about you, dear reader? What are your thoughts? Did you have enough time to enjoy the Fest? Looking forward to any theme? Or are you exhausted of going from fest after fest like some workaholic in midlife crisis fantasizing about what an idealized youth should have been?

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I usually avoid Steam sales or fest because one ends up buying a lot of games only because they’re cheap and won’t ever play most of them.

But this fest is an exception because point and click/adventure/mystery is by far my favorite type.

I’m eager to play Syberia The World Before. The original Syberia was my very first game, many years ago.