Steam Next Fest: The Big Recap (29 Games Tested)

During my childhood, PC magazines would come with CDs full of game demos and other shareware contents. Demos became my favorite way to learn about novelties and help me decide if I should purchase the full version. It was a small glimpse into the offer without major compromise. The developers had to make a really compelling argument in the form of a short gameplay experience. That is why, during my reviews, I always suggest you to play the demo if it is available.

Hence, comes Steam Next Fest: multi-day celebration where we can try demos of projects to be released. And we, the Boiling Steam crew, decided to go through plenty of them to get a better understanding of what is coming next. So, down below you will see the game name, if it runs on Linux, and a short few sentence review.

One thing worth mentioning is that the same way that game distribution has changed, so have the demos. Not all of them are there to convince you of the quality of the game, some of them are akin to a technical alpha or a proof of concept from the author. While there is not necessarily a rank from better to worse in this list, I will try to list first games with more polished, that run well on Linux, and offer some interesting gameplay.

Meg’s Monster

steam next fest meg's monster

Link: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1783360/Megs_Monster/

Runs on Linux: ✅ Native, Ebitengine

Nils: I could play this game just to hear the music. Fantastic composition, excellent art and a fun story. I like the combat mechanic where you are a badass almost unbeatable monster, but you need to prevent a child from crying, or it is game over, and the only way to do this is to use your turns to entertain her. (Whishlisted)

Cassette Beasts

Link: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1321440/Cassette_Beasts/

Runs on Linux: ✅ Native, Godot

Nils: Quite unique art style and I like the mechanics, there is a nice soundtrack, but there were some issues with it when characters were talking. You collect monsters into tapes so you and your team can transform in them and gain their powers to use in the map. There is a friendship level that enables fusions during the battle, so your team can merge monsters to become even more powerful.(Whishlisted)

Dredge

Link: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1562430/DREDGE/

Runs on Linux: ✅ Proton

Eki: The game works well even on modest hardware. The game lets you manage a fishing boat. You are trying to make a living by fishing around harbors, and trying to get different species of fish to make money. Money brings you a wealth of boat upgrades so that you can fish more species at greater depths. Until one day, it’s not just fishes that you find in the depths of the sea… it left me with a very good impression. Menus are well designed, the experience is pleasing, now it’s just a matter to see if the game is not just about grind and too repetitive. We will know more in 2023 as the game releases.

From Space

Link: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1502190/From_Space/

Runs on Linux: ✅ Proton

podiki: Some friends and I were looking for co-op demos to try now that we all had Steam Decks (no longer held back by the lone Mac-only user). We played through From Space and quite enjoyed it. It is a top down squad shooter where you fight against an alien infestation. This is not same-screen co-op, meaning you can each go off wherever you want, rather than staying on the same part of the level. There are different character classes with class weapons and a large level with various quests, pickups (health and ammo being important, and new weapons), and lots of colorful, fun-looking, but deadly aliens to shoot. We had fun shooting pistols, a minigun, flamethrower, and using items like shields and grenades. A smooth co-op experience.

Explory Story

Link: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1626280/Explory_Story/

Runs on Linux: ✅ Native

Nils: The puzzles/maps are short stories where you step on words to solve, words have different effects, and you need to figure out which ones will help you progress as you read some entertaining writing. I just wish that the first few stories prepared me better for the boss fight. (Whishlisted)

One Many Nobody

Link: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1967480/One_Many_Nobody/

Runs on Linux: ✅ Native

Nils: Fun platform with cloning mechanic to solve puzzles, some clones behave different from others, like being independent or following your moves. The art is impressive, they did so much with so few pixels. (Whishlisted)


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Interrogation Simulation

Link: https://store.steampowered.com/app/2059480/Interrogation_Simulator/

Runs on Linux: ✅ Native

Nils: It is a puzzle where you talk to suspects to gather more information and evidence, so you can figure out the culprit and maybe get a confession. It is challenging to keep their comfort and respect while making the right choices, so they give you more than what they are willing to.

The Garden Path

Link: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1638500/The_Garden_Path/

Runs on Linux: ✅ Native, Godot

Nils: Cozy life sim with a unique art style and didn’t feel grindy. It crashed on me a few times.

Deadeye Deepfake Simulacrum

Link: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1545990/Deadeye_Deepfake_Simulacrum/

Runs on Linux: ✅ Native

Nils: If you like using terminal on your computer, you will enjoy this game. It is a top-down shooter where you hack your way through the missions.

Quadrata

Link: https://store.steampowered.com/app/2066950/Quadrata/

Runs on Linux: ✅ Native

Nils: Fun mirror puzzles.

The Knight Witch

Link: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1872680/The_Knight_Witch/

Runs on Linux: ✅ Proton

podiki: A side-scrolling metroidvania action game with some bullet hell elements…did I miss some keywords? There’s spells (cards of some sort?), a perhaps intriguing storyline about saving the world as the last and only great warrior team, colorful and beautiful art style, and good fast-paced action. It certainly checks a lot of boxes and I was pulled in by the fun action but did hit up against the boss and always just barely being beaten. I may not be much for bullet hells though, which this mostly isn’t, but got that from the included boss in the demo. Still, one I would check out if the style and genre elments appeal to you.

Wildfrost

Link: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1811990/Wildfrost/

Runs on Linux: ✅ Proton

podiki: What’s that, podiki playing another card game? Yup! A fun art style on this one, reminds me of Grindstone (not a card game, but fun as well). There’s some wrinkles here with having to position your characters that are played with cards, cards being damage and other effects, or playing with the timing (each character on the board has a countdown for when they will attack), and different upgrades to play around with. I sunk a little time into this pretty quickly as I progressed on the map to different battles or rewards, could see this being another good addition to the genre.

A Castle Full of Cats

Link: https://store.steampowered.com/app/2070550/A_Castle_Full_of_Cats/

Runs on Linux: ✅ Proton

Nils: Like those newspaper games where you find hidden objects on a more elaborated drawing, but only cats, lots of them. It is fun and zen, but just like having cats, it starts cute with one or two, but then you go crazy pretty fast. Toxoplasmosis free.

Roller Drama

Link: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1293420/Roller_Drama/

Runs on Linux: ✅ Native

Nils: It alternates between visual novel and roller derby game. During the visual novel part you deal with the daily lives of the athletes you manage to keep them ready for the game, during the game… well, I understood the rules of roller derby, I just have no idea what I was doing to score. It crashed a few times but it was fun.

Chickenoid Super Party

Link: https://store.steampowered.com/app/2068200/Chickenoidz_Super_PreParty/

Runs on Linux: ✅ Proton

Nils: Cock-fight party game. It was ok. Performance starts fine, but stuttering increases as you play.

WooLoop

Link: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1878910/WooLoop/

Runs on Linux: ✅ Native

Nils: I was expecting a cozy zen game, but the forced zoom distance made it a nightmare to work on bigger arts with pins far away, like the boat.


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Right and Down

Link: https://store.steampowered.com/app/2008050/Right_and_Down/

Runs on Linux: ✅ Proton

podiki: A simple looking puzzle sort of game where you can move, you guessed it, either right or down. You can’t backtrack but just have to keep plowing through. Each square on the randomly generated grid has an enemy that can damage you, an effect (like swappng the move directions), or something positive like a pickup. I like the idea, though in my quick try I don’t think I quite got the game mechanics of what was happening in each square (armor, damage, etc.). You can build up some combos by moving in a certain pattern and there are different characters with different weapons and abilities to use. I wish I had a chance to try it a bit longer or had some more info on the different pieces, because it could definitely be one of those puzzle-type strategy indie hits. It just came out and is on sale, too, part of the Dreamhack Beyond Indie Showcase

Pitstop in Purgatory

Link: https://store.steampowered.com/app/2077080/Pitstop_in_Purgatory/

Runs on Linux: ✅ Native

Nils: It is ok if you like visual story, I prefer a better ratio between puzzles and reading, on the plus side, the puzzles fits well the storytelling.

Spectator

Link: https://store.steampowered.com/app/2132450/Spectator/

Runs on Linux: ✅ Native

Nils: You look into the camera feed and click a button if you witness something related to the buttons you have available. I got bored.

Slay the Princess

Link: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1989270/Slay_the_Princess/

Runs on Linux: ✅ Native

Nils: The choices to interact with the narrator weirded me out in a bad way. The Narrator is a bit cringy. But it seems that you can finish it without paying attention to the story and being true to the title.

DUBIUM

Link: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1234040/DUBIUM/

Runs on Linux: ✅ Proton

Nils: It feels like it drew inspiration from among us, but throws away everything that makes among us interesting. Social interactions are minimal on that big map and lengthy tasks that do not overlap. You can go entire games without seeing another soul, and the games are long and exhaustive. Because of the self-imposed limit of player and fixed rules, I don’t think it will work well as party games. It still needs some polishing, I experienced a lot of stuttering and witnessed another player silent kill someone who was shooting at them. On the positive side, the uniqueness of characters adds another layer to the challenge, I hope it finds its niche once it is released.

Path of Kami

I got stuck in this part and could not move.

Link: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1558840/Path_of_Kami_Journey_Begins/

Runs on Linux: ✅ Native

Nils: It might be an alpha version, needs some work. Quite hard to control on gamepad and I got stuck into things, like in this pond you need to find.

Soulstone Survivor

Link: https://store.steampowered.com/app/2066020/Soulstone_Survivors/

Runs on Linux: ✅ Proton

Nils: You try not to be overwhelmed by monsters mobbing you, while picking random skills. There were plenty of game demos like this, I probably should group them together.

MIGHT’N MOW’EM

Link: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1969100/MIGHTN_MOWEM/

Runs on Linux: ✅ Native

Nils: You try not to be overwhelmed by monsters mobbing you, while picking random skills. There were plenty of game demos like this, I probably should group them together.

Zoria: Age of Shattering

Link: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1159090/Zoria_Age_of_Shattering/

Runs on Linux: 🟧 Native* 🟧 Proton*

Nils: Game stuttered a lot. Every time I talk to someone, open a crate or sometimes just moving around the map. The quantity of information during the beginning is quite overwhelming, I could not understand it further because my game would crash every time I would get in combat.

*note: Those problems might be only on my computer, as we had reports that it runs well on Steam Deck Natively.

Extinction Eclipse

Link: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1961250/Extinction_Eclipse/

Runs on Linux: 🟧 Native

Nils: Controllers were not responding well. HUD Chaotic.

MiLE HiGH TAXi

Link: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1366560/MiLE_HiGH_TAXi/

Runs on Linux: ✅ Proton

Nils: For a demo, it took a while to start driving in the game. The gamepad controls are horrible, but at least it didn’t have that problem from Crazy Taxi where you go too fast and the map doesn’t load, maybe I was not fast enough hitting all the walls.

Eki: the controls are horrible, even on a gamepad. You just keep hitting walls in all directions, it’s way too sensitive to be enjoyable. And design-wise, the whole thing is probably too narrow. Also the physics are not very convincing, would like to see a bit more inertia for example. As of now this game is far from being ready for prime-time.

Diluvian Winds

Link: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1843430/Diluvian_Winds_Prologue/

Runs on Linux: 🟧 Proton

Nils: The game starts, I could go as far as to issue my second order, to send someone to take care of the greenhouse, at this point everything doubles horizontally, and I cannot click on the button.

Undecember

Link: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1549250/UNDECEMBER/

Runs on Linux: ✅ Proton

Nils: Slot-machine mechanics, daily tasks, login timed rewards. Your average ~Casino~ Diablo clone. It seems that on release it is bundled with the suspicious nProtect GameGuard.

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Montmorency

Thanks.
Dredge caught my eye.

Van

Right & Down sounds like a game for me 😛

Decked Vii

Why you run Zoria: Age of Shattering using Proton?It have native version that work fine for me (Steam Deck low graphic setting)

Decked Vii

Sure

PS: after reading more articles I mostly like style in which they are written so I decided to Register an account just to sometimes write that i like what and how article are written