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Steam Next Fest returns with more demos and livestreams

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Time load up that Steam downloads list because Steam Next Fest is here once again, and there's a whole lot of demos for you to try out. Not only are there plenty of demos but various livestreams will be happening during the event too with developers showing off their games.

Event trailer below:

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I've gone through and picked out a few that may be worth your time that I thought seemed really interesting, also noting those that have a Native Linux demo but I'm sure most will run just fine with Proton:

  • BORE BLASTERS (Native Linux) - underground mining with a helicopter. Yep, that's a thing.
  • Homeworld 3 - War Games Demo - The space sci-fi strategy game Homeworld returns! 
  • Lightyear Frontier - a peaceful open-world farming adventure with upgradable mechs, whatever will they think of to combine next? 
  • Planetary Life - a quirky looking planet and life sandbox simulation game.
  • PRIM (Native Linux) - a creepy-but-cute point’n’click adventure game full of dark humour.
  • Maniac (Native Linux) - GTA meets Vampire Survivors for some real chaos.
  • Millennia - could this be the next big Civilization-like? It just might be.
  • shapez 2 (Native Linux) - a huge factory building sim that's good for beginners. Cut up lots of shapes and just keep expanding.
  • Stormgate - a new RTS from former Blizzard developers.

As usual, if I find anything especially good / fun, they may see their own articles to highlight them directly.

Check out the whole event on Steam.

It's live until February 12th at 10AM PT / 8PM UTC.

If you find some great demos, be sure to come back and give over your suggestions in the comments. Sharing is caring as they say.

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Tags: Event, Misc, Steam
About the author -
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I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly. Find me on Mastodon.
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Jarmer Feb 6
Quoting: wytrabbitHomeworld 3 is Published by Gearbox (Embracer) 😬

Oh lord, that's terrible news. And as I sit here downloading the demo right now, now suddenly I have almost no interest. Damn.
Jarmer Feb 6
I love these Steam Next Fest's! So I tried some demos, and here's how it went:

- homeworld 3: autodected ultra visual settings, ran at 16fps, made me nauseous. Turned it down to high, got to about 20 fps. Turned it down to medium, finally ran at 70+ fps. But now the asteroid in front of me looks like a smooth rubber ball. Needs some MAJOR optimizations. Also I had to accept a crazy amount of legal agreements with a billion pages I'll never read.

- pacific drive: Up until now I was SUPER EXCITED for this, but now I can safely forget it about it forever. 1) Doesn't even run at all on linux. 2) no ultrawide support. 3) even if it did run, everyone else is saying it runs at like 20 fps (but this'll be improved I'm sure)

- bore blaster: holy shit so much fun!!! I'm always on the lookout for something that can scratch that steamworld dig itch, and this isn't exactly the same, but it's SO FUN!!! I can definitely see running this on the deck a lot. This is a definite purchase.

- dungeonborne: can safely forget about this forever as well. Never got to even play it. Doesn't launch, and upon reading the discussions, apparently because of the anti-cheat garbage they use. Oh well.
Pengling Feb 6
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Quoting: Jarmer- bore blaster: holy shit so much fun!!! I'm always on the lookout for something that can scratch that steamworld dig itch, and this isn't exactly the same, but it's SO FUN!!! I can definitely see running this on the deck a lot. This is a definite purchase.
This is what I was hoping to hear - I've had Bore Blasters on my wishlist for a while. Better check it out once my Steam Deck's finished charging.

Incidentally, I notice that the store-listing for the game now has the new "Dwarf" tag.
Anza Feb 6
Haven't been able to dedicate that much time for playing the demos, but I have had time for few at least.

Park Full of Cats is continuing the cat themed hidden object games and in the demo there's not that big changes in the game mechanics compared to the previous game. Which is fine as not every hidden object needs to be inventive. Pushing out just more content is fine too. These games cost peanuts after all.

Also played Synergy as well. There's nice sci-fi flavor and art looks like it's inspired by Moebius. All the staples of builder games are there including some bit more rarely seen ideas. There's some hints that the flora has some diversity.

Demo ended right when things started to go from bad to worse. Second try might go little bit better as there are ways to protect from the heat waves, I just didn't know to build in the shade.
CatKiller Feb 7
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Voxlands was pretty fun.
Anza Feb 8
Haven't had that much time to play games, but still managed to play some.

Arcticide is kind of rogue-lite version of Tarkov. I haven't actually played Tarkov, but there are some survival elements and exploration seems to be necessary. The game is just quite rough around the edges. For example by default lean is toggle instead of hold. Which wouldn't be necessarily bad, but with toggle I didn't find way to recenter the view. I guess the games pricing needs to be quite low so there's not too much competition from the old classics.

Escape Room VR first VR game I have had time to play. There's few more in the queue.

Title says basically what the game is about. Two rooms that I completed today were doable, though time limit is bit tight, might be easier to reach with multiple players. Though you can keep playing when the time runs out, so the experience is stress free compared to the physical escape room games.

So as far I know, it's compatible with original including the multiplayer, it's just made for VR. The VR side is fine, but interaction with the objects is bit streamlined. Good thing is that interaction with objects is quite effortless once you get used to it. Immersion less so, but games rarely get to Alyx level of immersion. Now the controls can be bit confusing as grip and trigger both are used for grabbing objects, it just depends on the context which one actually works. Trigger just has way longer reach.

All the regular VR sickess reducing things are there. Teleportation, slide show turning and probably vignette that appears when turning might help. I'm too used to VR so I turn those features off whenever I can. Though this game is quite suitable for room sized experience as the pace is relatively slow and game rooms are somewhat small. Probably bit bigger than the Steams smallest recommended play area.

Kind of hard to say if the VR version actually improves the experience over the original. It's nice that you get better immersion in the world, but the actual gameplay might not benefit that much. Though at least the DLC is compatible between the versions, so you don't have to buy everything again if you device to switch to the original.
CatKiller Feb 8
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I've found this site which has a handy scrollable list of all the Next Fest game descriptions.
whizse Feb 8
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Tried out #DRIVE Rally

Pros: Linux native. Super cute graphics. Arnold Schwarzenegger is your co-driver!
Cons: Quite lackluster sound effects. Gameplay is too Sega Rally arcade for my taste.
neolith Feb 8
Quoting: CatKillerI've found this site which has a handy scrollable list of all the Next Fest game descriptions.
That is so much better than Steam's own site! Thank you!
Anza Feb 9
Quoting: CatKillerVoxlands was pretty fun.

I concur. Basically, do quests, shoot enemies and maybe do some survival stuff on the side. Apparently there's also crafting. There's also surprisingly fun way of showing how much health spongier enemies have left.

I played a bit of Shapez 2 also. Core idea is still the same, Factorio-like with more puzzle like coziness, now in isometric 3D. But if you like automation games or have even played the original one, it's worth trying out.
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