From June 16th to the 22nd, over 900 demos of unreleased, in-development titles on Steam became available to download and play. Developers have come from sixty-five different countries and have ranged from new developers to seasoned alike. Sadly, the festival has come to an end (although some demos are still attainable). Here, we present to you what we at Boiling Steam have played during the festival. In case you’re wondering why we didn’t make an announcement in the first place, we were too busy writing other articles. We’d love to hear what you played too and what your thoughts were on it!
Featuring a homemade, proprietary engine developed on Linux that’s had on-and-off work for nearly twenty years now, DRAG is quite possibly one of the most realistic racing titles I’ve ever played. In other words, it’s the most difficult-to-handle. All the demo offered is a brief thirty-second challenge to reach the finish line as quickly as possible, with one vehicle.
Even though that’s it, I spent an hour-and-a-half trying to shave as many milliseconds as I could, retrying the challenge as soon as I hit something or my drag (heh, get it?) wasn’t good enough. By the end of my playthough I barely reached silver ranking. I was ranked in the top 500 out of the some 2,000 participants who were competing for the best time. I’d really like to know the top ten’s techniques. They did, as a matter of fact, receive a free copy of the game for the clear time.
Be very careful about your use of the acceleration, braking, and handbraking. Steer too far left or too far right, your car will easily lose balance and you will lose precious seconds off the clock trying to get back on track. Hold the handbrake too long, the car will spin into a donut. Drive up a small hill too fast, you’ll likely hit the barrier along the out-of-bounds area of the track, forcing you to restart. Crashing into a wall will potentially cause one of the tires to fall off — have fun trying to reach the finish line! Probably the most realistic driving simulator you’ll ever play!
The graphics are pretty good for only two brothers that are working on the game, and the gameplay was buttery smooth at 60 FPS. I found it neat that when the car drives over a puddle, the HUD gets a few drops of water to reflect the driver’s cockpit. I just wonder what the “84” number indicates on the back of the car.
For the brief thirty seconds you’re on this one track in the demo, the track looks a bit forest-y. The main road is a dirt path; everything else covered in grass. Thousands of trees scatter about. A few exotic plants here and there. About ten seconds in, you’ll see a mountain in the background. It doesn’t look bad for a demo.
DRAG is slated for early access release on Steam sometime this summer.
Probably my favorite out of DRAG, this game, and SkateBIRD. Honestly can’t remember how I heard about this game, but the trailer made it look really fun.
It plays similar to Gang Beasts. Play as a cat, dog, duck, dinosaur, shark, or a bunny, then knock your opponents out by beating them to death with your character’s fists, head, or feet. Grab them and drop them out of the arena to eliminate them. Last animal standing wins. Alternatively, play in a gummy bear factory where teams are made and split in two. Grab the gummy bear that’s in the middle of the map, or one of the gum drops, bring it to your base, then open the hatch to score points. The team with the most points at the end of the round wins.
Weapons will occasionally spawn, allowing you to use a nunchuk, tennis racket, magic wand, or a crossbow. These weapons are ridiculously overpowered, easily knocking your opponents out with one swing or one arrow.
While not quite as funny as Gang Beasts, I feel this game is a bit more fleshed out with the design of the levels, the gamemodes, the inclusion of weapons, and additional controls, such as being able to roll while sprinting. And even though the demo was only for Windows, it worked flawlessly on Proton, including gamepad support and online multiplayer.
It’s been a long time since we had a decent Tony Hawk game. SkateBIRD somewhat fills that gap in. As the title of the game might suggest, you’re in control of a bird that skates with a skateboard. The level is someone’s office filled with half-pipes, benches for grinding, and staples.
Controls are a bit different: instead of holding A or Cross to crouch and speed up, the bird moves by holding up on the analog stick. The bird has only one grab trick: poking its beak underneath the skateboard.
It’s been a pretty buggy experience so far. Combos could go on indefinitely: you could keep doing a lip trick by holding Triangle and the bird will never bail. You could also grind, jump, do a flip trick, start grinding again, and the grind balance will reset itself every time. It’s not all bad though. I’ve been craving a skateboarding game for a while, and this might fit the bill.
The Kickstarter mentions Windows, Mac, and Linux support. The demo works across all three platforms as well. The full game is expected to launch sometime next year.
That’s all the games we’ve played. With 900 games, it would be tough to give them all a chance with less than a week to try them.
What did you play? What did you enjoy? I look forward to your comments.