Steam Next Fest: February 2024 - What We Tried


Steam Next fest, February 2024 - the time to try out new games before they come out. We share with you what we thought of the various games we tried, as usual. You can check what we did back for the Steam Next Fest in October 2023, the Steam Next Fest in February 2023, the Steam Next Fest October 2022. But enough about the past, let’s talk about the upcoming titles!


Steam: (Linux Native)

Nils: Fun 2D precision platformer with huge speed run potential.

You control Telmari in her journey to the Demon Tree so you can save your Sunflowers. Your jumps are short, but you can use your plunge arrows to bounce higher and reach distant platforms or avoid enemies and other level hazards.

There is a cat that shows a possible path for you. You do not need to follow, but if you finish the level before the cat, you get a trophy. Later levels feel like a puzzle, and you can still speed run them. I just wish I could disable the death count, a constant remind of how bad I am at the game. I wishlisted it.

News Tower


Nils: Fun newspaper company management. You send reporters to investigate diverse cases, while having back home a supporting team to get the stories down the pages. You also need to keep them healthy and secure because publishing some stories might upset the wrong part of New York.

Even with the tutorial, I was not really sure about some things in the game. But I had fun while playing. I wonder how it would be the progression for the full game, as micromanaging the team might become too repetitive in the long run.



Nils: 4x strategy similar to Civilization but simplified, and not as focused as Gladius. I wish there was more information about things you are doing in the game, as choosing a Civilization seems to only affect your flag or availability order so you do not unlock things you cannot use yet.

Lightyear Frontier


Nils: I enjoyed very few games with farming and craft in the past, but the trailer of this one reminded me of the episode “Suits” from Love, Death + Robots. While not as intense, I am glad I gave it a try. Gorgeous world with much to explore and fauna that reacts to you. The game is more zen, so I could take my time to do things while enjoying my surroundings. I am not wishlisting because there was no co-op in the demo, and depending on how that is implementing could be a major problem for me.

Kamaeru: A Frog Refuge

Steam: (Offers Linux Native but the demo downloaded an .exe)

Nils: It is a chill, cozy Frog Sanctuary management game where you try to restore the biodiversity of the wetlands. The main loop is creating and selling products from the wetlands plants, using that money to improve the wetlands and the frog sanctuary. The design feels like I am putting stickers on a notebook.

While I enjoyed the game, there are still some problems here and there, like the camera pictures not being centred, pictures of some frogs not registering, some menu problems and F12(Steam screenshot) minimizing the game. Like in the weird screenshot above.

Stellar Settlers: Space Base Builder

Steam: (Linux Native)

Nils: Native build would not show me the tutorial images, but it worked just fine. Chill colony sim where you need to escape the planets by generating resources to unlock and construct new buildings. Your settlers come with passive bonuses like expending less material, and they double production where they are assigned to work.

The most interesting part about the game was the puzzle of the constructions. Where every pod you add needs to be connected, so you have to make sure they align properly for any new expansion.

Reus 2


Nils: Similar to the first game, you use 3 giants to create biomes with symbiotic ecosystems, this will help humans to develop. Your action cost eras, and the humans are impatient, attacking your titans if you do not reach their goals in time.

They added new planets and stories. The place to put biotica now is a 2D grid instead of 1D line. It still has some bugs, like menu overlapping, the giants are invisible, or black screens with music playing, forcing you to restart the game.


Steam: (Linux Native)

Nils: I was excited to try this game after reading the description page. You summon guardians by combining day and night stones, and go into the minds of ill villagers to heal them. Sadly, my mouse cursor would disappear during loading the first loading for Native and the game would crash when setting up the team for the first fight with Proton. I always have problems playing Unity game demos.


Steam: (Linux Native)

Nils: You know how your trebuchet never rushes in front of your vanguard, or how it is easy to know which units you have without counting dozens of portraits in Age of Empires 2, released almost 25 years ago. Why people release something worse than that? I like this style of RTS, but the majority of games make me feel like I am declaring my taxes on the last day to delivery it, instead of commanding an army.

When Apex Legends was released, the devs did their best to improve communications and interactivity with their games. So it could unlock new heights of gameplay. Very rarely, I see any sort of innovation on this RTS style when we talk mainstream. Sometimes we have companies like Splash Damage and Respawn Entertainment trying to push a genre forward. Sometimes we have people who are happy with the earlier 90s interfaces with corporate committee designed games.



Nils: Demo did not load with any version of proton I tried. Borked on protondb.

podiki: Yet it loaded for me just fine on the Steam Deck. I used whatever were the default settings, so probably Proton 8. I only played it briefly to see it worked, and the default control scheme was mysterious to me so I was guessing at how to do anything (probably can be set up just fine via Steam, but I didn’t give it a shot).

Supermarket Simulator


Nils: Another asset flip simulator. Same old computer where you buy stuff and do some repetitive tasks while the same 4 or 5 3D model of people come to your store.

The only thing I found funny was this same model coming to my store to by 2 dollars items and pay with 100 bucks. I wish I could deny customers because either those were fake or stolen currency.

HAELE 3D - Hand Poser Lite


Nils: Not sure why this was listed as a simulation game, it should be listed as software or tools. As the name suggests, you manipulate hand poses. You can adjust the hand details, fingers, angle, light, environment and much more.

There are plenty of other softwares around, and with more controlling options. Like ArtPose, DesignDoll, Easy Pose, JustSketchMe. But I have never seem one with hands so realistic that were intended for drawing. Most of the realistic stuff is for 3D modelling or games. There are a bunch of models for free with the Unreal Engine.

You can also take pictures of your or your friends’ hands and draw from there. The company behind it already released a foot poser, but I regret reading the Steam reviews.



podiki: I saw this one come up on YouTube a bunch just before Next Fest and yeah, it is good, really good. Basically a deckbuilder built on top of poker. You try for a highscore by making hands, no other opponents though you need to score enough to progress and face “boss blinds” which have some effect like dealing cards face down or letting you only play one kind of hand. You earn money to then spend on cards and upgrades. I’m not much of a poker player, but building off of the simplicity of the typical poker hands and adding “levels” to hands (so you get more rewards), special jokers which multiply your score, removing or adding cards (including with special bonuses for your chips and so on), letting you create different hands (like a straight that skips), … simply great. I didn’t think it would be my thing but the game design and mechanics hit that perfect spot for deckbuilders from what I could tell in a couple of hours. Definitely one I will play more of.

The demo is still available and the game is due out later this month.



podiki: I only played this briefly but the art style and quality immediately stood out. This looks to be an interesting take on the metroidvania-like game, adding something about collecting parts, food, and planting seeds. It came out a few days ago (so far positive reviews) and the demo is still available.

And that’s it for this time!