Steam Next Fest October 2023


The Steam Next Fest is now a regular event and the last one occured during October 2023 (October 9 - 16). It’s now happening twice a year and we had a big recap back in February for the previous one.

This time we did not have nearly enough time to cover as many games, but there’s still a few that were worth checking out.

RoboCop: Rogue City

Steam: Steam Store Page

Nils: After the long intro, I played this game trying not to like it, finding minor problems like you are a big android with a huge recoil and hard to aim. But the game kept surprising me positively at each corner.

After a nice shooting sequence gameplay in a tower to rescue hostages to set the tone of the story – and some calibration needed back at the precinct, you are back on the streets to uphold justice: you help people around the map, analyze crime scenes Sherlock style, bring down drug dealers and occasional shoot out. In a RPG style, you gain experience with those actions and expend your points to become a better cop.

Outcome: Wishlisted!

Last Train Home

Steam: Steam Store Page

After the Great War, while trying to return home, your armoured train full of Czechoslovak soldiers got caught in the Russian civil war, now you need to avoid a diplomatic accident, survive Siberia, and keep the morale while trying to come back home.

The game alternates between base train management and real-time tactics, while those mechanics are far from being original, the execution is well done to tell a compelling story, making you care about your soldiers during these trying times.

Outcome: Wishlisted!

Deep Rock Galactic: Survivor

Steam: Steam Store Page

Nils: I am not a big fan of the “Survivor” genre where you get random upgrades while trying to survive a horde of enemies until you die, then after much grind you upgrade some minimal stats for your next run - the most boring mechanics inherited from the roguelike genre. Most of those games just feel like slot machines.

BUT they are doing a good job with Deep Rock, it feels like a top view version of Deep Rock Galactic, you drop on a map and stay there until you complete the mission, there are some extra goals like collecting flowers or mining Mitra, and when you are done you extract, there is no need to stay until you die. There are multiple maps with different hazard levels that you unlock after completing previous maps challenges.

I hope they add those extra “in-map missions” from the original, like protecting a drill, or connecting fuel pipes.

It could have worked as a nice top down version of Deep Rock, if it was not for the lame Survivor mechanics.

Ghostrunner 2

Steam: Steam Store Page

Nils: Beautiful game, made me realize my PC is due to an upgrade with so many stutters. I am annoyed it did not let me map the letter T - useful if you use a different keyboard layout.

Japanese Drift Master

Steam: Steam Store Page

Nils: Fun car drifting game, took me a while to get used to proper car controls, but it felt rewarding when I got the gist. My only complaint is that the gamepad and keyboard not always work or would stop working after an alt+tab.

The Last Faith

Steam: Steam Store Page

Nils: I am always impressed with the effort put into the art of those Castlevania clones, and this one shows. The NPCs are voice acted and even the enemies will taunt you.

But 3 things didn’t click for me. The controller could be snappier, it felt like I was playing with my first monitor after a lifetime of CRT. It gives you a choice of archetypes without any explanation, what does Fate and Instinct mean? - I will probably need to have a wiki by my side when playing this. And lastly, it introduces you to things you cannot use, like a shop when you have no money, and how to parry, and it is a few screens before you meet the first enemy that throws things at you.

Cobalt Core

Steam: Steam Store Page (demo still available)

podiki: A fun strategy deckbuilding game (a bit like Slay the Spire meets FTL) with cute pixel-style graphics, due out in a couple of weeks on November 8th. Fun banter from your crew, easy-to-grasp mechanics with depth starting to show after a few battles, plenty of upgrades, and some inventive elements in the strategy. For instance, your ship has a layout (left-right oriented) that affects where your weapons are that aim in a straight line to the enemy, how much you can move (evade charges) to dodge incoming attacks or line up a shot, and both shield (more temporary) and hull health (more lasting). The demo really grabbed me as I made my way through a run, leaving me wanting more as I saw the strategy and tactics starting to open up. I’m looking forward to trying out the full version!


Steam: Steam Store Page (demo still available)

podiki: Another space strategy deckbuilding FTL/Slay the Spire-like! This one is due for Early Access some time next year, so it is not near a full release yet. Still, the demo had enough to get a taste. Here you play out battles in a grid, so manuevering plays a role too, to avoid attacks, manage multiple enemies, and so on. The aesthetic has a bit of retro 80s-esque computer to it in parts but with more clean style graphics for the actual action. You have to manage energy and heat as you move and shoot weapons, with the usual card rewards, upgrades, removing cards, etc. Promising so far, but bit early and thin to know much. It does come from a studio with Homeworld credentials, so I’ll be keeping an eye on this one in the future. For a direct comparison to Cobalt Core, I found that one more fun and engaging, but it is ready for release so it is not really a fair comparison. I’ll be happy to play both!

That’s it for this time. Consider adding some of them to your wishlist if you are interested!