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Steam Next Fest is live again with demos, livestreams and more

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It's that time again! From now until October 7 you get to try out various new demos on Steam, watch developer livestreams and much more.

This is another wonderful chance to test out various games before they see a full release. For the games included in the event, they are supposed to be releasing somewhere between October 7, 2021 and May 1, 2022 so even if you find something you like it might be a while before you get to see the full complete thing.

As for what to check out? There's plenty — obviously. For some of our own quick-picks we can suggest a few that actually have Linux demo builds up:

APICO Crawlyard
Dome Romantik Elteria Adventures
Ex-Zodiac Hex of the Lich
Lumencraft Midnight Protocol
NeJ Onsen Master
Space Betrayers TailQuest Defense
The Garden Path Trinity Archetype

If you find anything especially interesting, do be sure to leave a comment.

See the full event page for more.

You can watch the official livestream below:

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Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
Tags: Demo, Event, Meta, Steam
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17 comments
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Nezchan 1 Oct
Apparently The Garden Path is also going to have a demo out for this, and the dev will be on the official stream on Saturday and again on Tuesday. Louis has always been good to Linux with his games, so it's worth giving some support.
Anza 1 Oct
Thanks again for Liam for digging up few more demos. Some of them are not actually new, so they might be harder to find with the trick I found earlier. Basically just go to https://store.steampowered.com/search/?sort_by=Released_DESC&category1=10&os=linux and check if you find anything interesting in the recently released ones. Browsing the event site works somewhat, but it's easy to miss a few and some of the games don't have Linux build yet, even if they advertise it. What I have seen is that Linux version might actually appear when the game is actually released.

I have tried few of the games already earlier and was able to get already one of the fresh demos working. Just had to disable Steam overlay, otherwise many of the demos crash quite soon after launch.

APICO

This is basically game about beekeeping mixed with something in little bit similar to Stardew Valley or Graveyard keeper. There's crafting and most of the things have simple minigame so you have to work little bit for some things.

You can also crossbreed bees in order to find new species. Too bad I managed to make savegame that crashed the demo so I haven't been able to play it all the way though.

I also had problem launching the game via Steam client. In previous version of the demo launching once via command line made the launching via Steam client work. Latest demo however refuses to launch via either method. Launching via command line just complains that it can't connect to Steam. Might have to debug some more.

Midnight Protocol

This one has been in several festivals already. Basically if you take hacking minigame (I think Deus Ex: Mankind Divided had something that's closely related) and expand it a bit. Worth taking a look.

Nej
Game doesn't explain itself much, but so far figuring things out hasn't been too difficult. Too bad it crashed while I was playing so I haven't seen all it has to offer. Fulfills requirement of being able to pet the dog right there in the demo, so that's something.

Onsen Master
It's basically Overcooked adapted into hot spring setting. Controls take while to figure out and I haven't been able to figure out how to clean up the messes. Mess that some customers make looks bit glitchy, so maybe the game doesn't work perfectly with Mesa/AMD.




It would be interesting to hear if those demos work or do other people also get the same bugs.


Last edited by Anza on 2 October 2021 at 8:01 am UTC
elmapul 2 Oct
HEY! isnt "The Garden Path" an godot game?
and ex-zodiac definitely is

wait, tail quest too! how many godot games do we have on this list?


ok, never mind, i didnt understand what the list was about ...


Last edited by elmapul on 2 October 2021 at 3:44 am UTC
Anza 2 Oct
Few more for today.

Dark Crypt
Mix between puzzle and stealth game where enemies move only when you move. Stealth part is really simplified. There's some annoyances though. Movement is tile based, but controls are bit too sensitive. Puzzles really would like you to move one tile at a time, but controls make you move easily several tiles.

Still tolerable, but I haven't tried it again once I got stuck in puzzle. Maybe the puzzle was trying to teach the level skipping mechanic or I'm just dumb. Latter is quite often true with puzzle games...

TailQuest Defense
Looks great, but might use some polish on the gameplay side. First time around I managed to trigger co-op game, but I was controlling both characters. Would have been bit different game if that mode would be intentional.

There's mechanic where certain towers shoot only enemies with certain colors and little bit weaker towers can shoot all enemies. While enemies come, you can pretty much just collect coins and try to avoid enemies. Building towers during the wave is bit slow as you have to buy seeds first and then try to get to the building site without getting hit by enemies. If that happens you throw your coins away.

I think most obvious solution would be to give the player character ability to shoot enemies. Which will affect the balance, but would give bit more point to have player character in tower defense game.

Lumencraft

This one is tower defense game with destructible environment and mining. There's no predefined places where you can place your structures. It takes a while to learn as it teaches just the bare minimum and you have to figure out rest on your own. There's satisfying gameplay loop in there.

Explore and find resources and come back to the base before next wave and start improving the defenses or build infrastructure. You can also upgrade your drill and weapons, so you need to think about how you spend your resources. Upgrading the drill is quite worth it as it speeds up mining quite a lot.

I didn't finish the demo yet though as I freed up something that looks like lava and it kept expanding and expanding and burned everything it touched.

Still, this one is actually worth trying out.

Quoting: elmapulHEY! isnt "The Garden Path" an godot game?
and ex-zodiac definitely is

wait, tail quest too! how many godot games do we have on this list?

There's much more Godot games, in the list and outside it. Which is great as there's room for open source game engine that has a chance to compete with commercial engines.

Edit: forgot Lumencraft and didn't want to create new post for it


Last edited by Anza on 2 October 2021 at 3:36 pm UTC
Anza 3 Oct
I noticed finally that event page also has platform filter. With the streamlined demo installation, it's faster to click though games and see which ones have Linux demo or not. Should actually complain about those that could have just packaging problems to the developers, with some luck few demos might start working during the event as there's still four days left.

Back to the demos that I tried recently.

Ex-Zodiac
I have never played Star Fox, but it really seems to be influence. Basically low poly 3D shmup. Bit too hard for me, gameplay seems solid enough. Some of the mechanics are not explained, so maybe if I try it again, I might do better,

Green With Energy
Puzzle game about providing energy to houses and factories. Aims bit for realism, so solar panels need batteries and those two and maybe few other things come in different sizes. Building necessary things is one thing, but the end goal is to supply enough to meet the demand.

I tripped on the puzzle part, the first complicated level was too hard for me. Interesting concept though, though not entirely unique as next one has same theme.

Logic Light
This is pure puzzle version of Green With Energy. Puzzles might get bit repetitive, but they get bit more complicated towards end of the demo. Compared to Green With energy, this one takes teaching the player about the mechanics bit more seriously. The harder levels have still so few moving parts that they're possible to finish with some reasoning and moving pieces around.

If you're frustrated with harder puzzle games, give this one a try.

Tokyo Rogue
Endless running platformer. Refreshingly the background music is indie rock, too bad it gets bit repetitive if you're as bad as I am with platformers.

First level is just about jumping, though you have double jump straight from start. Level gets bit more creative towards the end. Next level gives you grappling hook and it was bit too hard for me.

It's retro, but it has copied also some of the good bits from the classics. It causes enough addiction that you might want to actually get good at the game. Because getting good seems to be the only way to progress in the game as there's no checkpoints. You have to be able to finish the level all the way from the beginning to the end.

Crawlyard
This one is autobattler mixed with linear dungeon crawler. Gameplay consists of planning how to approach the dungeon floor by choosing from few cards that give some positive effects and usually also negative effects. Actual dungeon crawling is that puppet (that's what they call the characters in the game, there's bit of background story) fights through all the rooms and you have randomly cards that you can play.

I got bit stuck as at one point I couldn't get back to the dungeon and I couldn't go anywhere else either. I just had to close the game. If I retry it, let's see if it has autosaved. Otherwise I'll have to start all the way from the beginning.

Seems like it could be fun game, I couldn't just grasp few of the mechanics from the short gameplay session. There's some hints that you might be collect something from the dungeon, which would give gameplay bit more meaning between the sessions.

Galactic Chef
This one is clearly not a Overcooked clone. Instead is bit complicated cooking game where you participate in cooking competition. The cooking mechanics are bit complicated as you have to come up with your own recipes.

Flavor profiles change a bit how you prepare things. It's complicated enough that there's simulation mode that tells you about the flavor profile and you can experiment how different things affect the flavor.
I had to restart the tutorial once as it wasn't happy with my cooking. It didn't clearly state that, I just couldn't progress though the part where you're instructed to cut the food into portions.

The thing was though that I failed at the actual cooking show as there's only five minutes to prepare three different meals and I was still figuring things out. I managed to make one judge happy, but the two other judges din't get anything. Thus quite low score.

Can't really say if it's bad game, it's just that learning curve is bit steep.

Trinity Archetype
This one is basically party based Slay The Spire without cards. Cards have been replaced with skills, so there's even less randomness. There's so many similar mechanics that relation is very obvious.

For somebody who hasn't played Slay the Spire, Trinity Archetype might feel fresh enough though.

Gameplay is mostly solid, though I had few occasions where I couldn't really understand how the enemy made so much damage. Still fun game though, though I can see that it could be infuriating if your good run ends without you having no idea why.


I still have quite many demos to play, there most likely are few more demos that I haven't found and I have quite many that I have installed that I haven't played yet. 16 to be more exact and maybe few more if some demos get an update and start working. So hopefully people won't get bored about my ramblings.


Last edited by Anza on 3 October 2021 at 9:04 pm UTC
Rejke 4 Oct
@Anza many thanks for playing our demo! :)
Sorry for the trouble - most of it is my fault.... :(
And ... yes, the hero can shoot enemies, but only in later levels :)
CatKiller 4 Oct
Quoting: AnzaShould actually complain about those that could have just packaging problems to the developers
Meh. If they don't have a working Linux demo then they're clearly not testing Linux. I just move on to the next thing, and they've squandered a chance at a wishlist. Maybe they'll manage a second bite of the cherry if they get their act together by launch, but maybe not. Plenty of other games.
Rejke 4 Oct
Quoting: CatKiller
Quoting: AnzaShould actually complain about those that could have just packaging problems to the developers
Meh. If they don't have a working Linux demo then they're clearly not testing Linux.

this is not always true... For example, my husband and I have been using ubuntu 95% of the time since 2007 (sometimes we have to use a different system, but only for a while).
We create linux games using linux. But despite this, one of our friends couldn't get our game running on linux!
He uses a different linux distribution ... anyway - proton helped even this time :)
Anza 4 Oct
Quoting: Rejke@Anza many thanks for playing our demo! :)
Sorry for the trouble - most of it is my fault.... :(
And ... yes, the hero can shoot enemies, but only in later levels :)

Sounds bit like TailQuest Defense. I watched recording of the gameplay stream and even in the demo there are things to do during the wave. I almost found the cannon. I guess I was bit too busy planning for the next wave and forgot about it. Hopefully I have time to take a second look at the demo.

Quoting: CatKillerMeh. If they don't have a working Linux demo then they're clearly not testing Linux. I just move on to the next thing, and they've squandered a chance at a wishlist. Maybe they'll manage a second bite of the cherry if they get their act together by launch, but maybe not. Plenty of other games.

Sure, there could be developers who are not testing on Linux. I find more productive to assume the best of people instead of assuming the worst. Developers most likely are just very busy as event has strict deadline.

Yes, reporting issues takes a moment, but they won't be fixing Linux related bugs they don't know about, that's for sure. As bonus they will know that there's at least one Linux user interested in their game.

Also if enough of us actively report issues, we could test every game during first day of the event. There's at the moment hundred games included in the event that will potentially support Linux at some point (why else they would advertise Linux support). Of those, handful actually have a Linux demo (one can hope that Valve includes demo availability for the platform filter). I have bit problem that if the game works, I will play it, so I'm not effective at finding all those issues of missing executables and alike.

If error message states invalid platform, then the demo doesn't exist in the first place. With those it's bit too likely it's intentional.
Anza 4 Oct
Clunky Hero

It's metroidvania alright. There's some attempt at humor and it almost lands. Graphics are good and high resolution, just missing little bit of artistic style that would make them actually beautiful. I managed to finish one side quest, but then I got stuck. Seems bit average, I have seen worse.

Gedel Escape

This one is supposed to be some kind of hidden object game, though it's in 3D. I got quite confused how I was supposed to get the needed materials in order to progress, so I gave up. Seems to be Russian game and some bits are not translated, which doesn't make things easier.

The Garden Path

Quite relaxing game about exploration and maybe little bit about gardening. User interface could use some streamlining, at least keyboard players could have shortcuts for the tools for example. Also cutting plants works bit weirdly, I end up just mashing buttons in order to get cutting to start.

Also NPC:s were walking quite often against a tree or some other obstacle. Good thing about that is that they stay mostly in same place. When they do move, map helps.

Still game clearly has certain charm, only real problem is that I ran out of things to do in the demo. Hopefully full game doesn't have that problem. I liked finding new NPC:s as discussions were usually interesting.

Even if it has some faults, it's worth trying out, if you like bit more relaxed games.

---Red---Tether-->

Game mechanics are somewhat unique. Basically you can drag things with a tether in your ship. There's tutorial, but actual gameplay wasn't that fun. Might have to rethink the level design to better have fun with the tether mechanic. Maybe there's something interesting coming up, but I gave up before finishing the demo content.

Cloaks and Capes

One more metroidvania (I have few more in the queue that I haven't played yet). I lost interest once I had to endure seemingly unskippable introduction too many times. I died several times and gave up. Maybe there's cool coming up, but I didn't get that far.

Neverlooted Dungeon : Almost Epic Adventures™

This one is immersive sim mixed with a dungeon crawler. Immersive part is that you have interact with the environment somewhat natural way, for example you have to actually pull the lever instead of just clicking it. Being modern game, physics are simulated, which affects some puzzles. Based on the screenshots, physics can be exploited even more than in the demo.

Graphics are kind of economical. There's not lot of polygons and there's no high resolution textures anywhere. Instead usage of light and shadow make things interesting.

There's bit of humor here and there and puzzles are fun enough. Quite often looking around and paying attention is rewarded (or not paying attention is punished in case of traps).

Pacing could be little bit better, but as some places are slow only because of puzzles, if you know what you're doing, things will be lot faster.

Give this one a try.
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