Dem-OH! June Round-up

Sorry for the delay! After 27 months, ol’ COVID finally caught up to us. Not to worry, there’s plenty still to play in our mini-quarantine – and damn was the Cuphead DLC fun!

Unfortunately it has intefered with a couple of demo streams but we still played plenty this month and, of course, managed to dig up up a couple of stand-outs to share with you all. Enjoy!

Stand-Out Demos

(in recording order)


Aces and Adventures Demo on Steam

I saw another title boast the poker-hands turn-based RPG mechanic a little while back and found it particularly intriguing. I mean, how do you handle the sheer randomness of it all? Well, it turns out, by implementing a good amount of intreresting mitigation strategies via power cards, passive and active abilities, and items that are each based around the unique character you’re playing. Aces and Adventures can still be dominated by RNGesus, just as many games with crits, dice rolls, or cards can be, but when the balance holds true the decision space really sings. It’s a fantastic mix of the excitement one feels from playing a game of chance but with enough tools to more-often-than-not sway the tides in your favour, if you think tactically and plan well enough that is. I have no doubt this is going to be another one I put an embarrasing amount of time in.

The Fridge is Red Demo on Steam

Easily one of the most atmospheric horror games I’ve played. Ever. Well, the second episode anyway. The Fridge is Red appears to be a collection of mechanically and thematically unique spooky experiences, but if any of the others can even come close to the excellently-grim ambience that just oozes from the chapter ‘For Daddy to Work’ it’ll be a damn good day for fans of the genre. Much like many (maybe even most?) indie horror games these days, it adapts the PS1-era graphical style to both negatively affect the player’s ability to see too much, making it all the more haunting to navigate; and to abuse the creepy nature of broken nostalgia, which you may have seen become very popular in recent years as ‘analog horror’. This is a definitely one to watch out for – truly a journey through hell.

Melatonin Demo on Steam

This game makes me so happy. The music, the animation, the gameplay, the art style, the colours (purple, purple, and more purple), everything! I had such a great time just bopping along to the original soundtrack and tapping buttons in time with the beat. How can a game be simultaneously so exciting yet deeply relaxing. Going the same route as titles like Rhythm Heaven instead of more classical music/rhythm games, there’s no long stream of notes to hit here. Instead it’s about connecting with the natural cadence of the beat and feeling it almost instinctually, with just a little help from the cartoony animations playing alongside it. Real vibes.

Eyes in the Dark Demo on Steam

2D black & white roguelike action platformer that uses a crazy upgradable flashlight as a weapon against creatures of darkness? Yes, PLEASE! The thing with Eyes in the Dark is that from the get go it didn’t seem terribly unique – it’s safe to say 2D action platformers are one of the most common demo paradigms I find. But from the word ‘go’ it continued to surprise with fresh ideas and illuminating execution. I mean, how many ways can you upgrade a torch, really? Well what if it shot pockets of light like bubbles, or exploded in large AoE bursts? Perhaps it could bounce between enemies like an electric shock effect. Couple that creativity with solid combat, mobility upgrades, a flashy artstyle, and a decent challenge? I’m all in. No, for real, I’ve already pre-purchased it and now I’m just waiting for it to burst into life. Let there be light!

Fashion Police Squad Demo on Steam

I play a lot of retro Quake-like FPS demos. And most of them are good, great even! So when it comes to recommending them I usually just say ‘pick the one with the theme you’re more interested in’, whether that be sci-fi, fantasy, medieval, victorian witch-hunters, demonic, or one of the thousand other similarly fun sub-genres available. Not anymore. Now it’s going to be ‘you have got to try Fashion Police Squad‘. What a colurful, whimsical, and totally dumb breath of fresh air! In how many of these grungy old-school FPS titles do you actually get to see sunlight? Not bloody one of them. I never new blasting enemies could be so cheerful! Well it can be if you’re not shredding yet another horde of monsters to pieces but are instead fixing each of these glum nobodies up with fresh drip. Saving them for their boring lives with a new look. That would be fun enough but Fashion Police Squad still brings the heat gameplay-wise with a nice range of weaponry necessary to work on the different fashion-criminal archetypes that attack you. Using a pin gun to fix up ill-fitting suits, or charging up a close-range belt whip to tighten the pants of the baggy-trousered stoners, for example. I only hope it can continue to up the ante and keep the humour flowing throughout the campaign.

Previews


RIPOUT Demo on Steam

Check out the Preview here!

Although I would love a truly great co-op horror (which I don’t think really exists right now), a co-op FPS survival horror with modularly enhanced monster-melding nightmares seems to be doing the job just fine. There’s nothing more fun that a team game that actually requires good communication, concentrated fire, and group strategies. I hope RIPOUT continues to build on these elements and really go all out on the enemy transformations and secondary players abilities granted through the ‘mutation system’.

Foretales Demo on Steam

Check out the Preview here!

Foretales is a beautiful narratively-driven choose-your-own-adventure game with resource management and a fantasy world you will just fall right into. Although it uses playing cards onto a table as its medium for the player to make these decisions, it really isn’t a ‘card game’ per se. There’s no deckbuilding, drafting, or poker-style scoring here. Instead, the cards allow for a rich story to be told through wonderful pieces of artwork and simple iconography. Particularly genius, if you ask me. After already playing the entire preview more than twice (which were about 3-4 hours/run), I still can’t wait to struggle my way through the challenges ahead and find out where the many different paths forged through fame or infamy may lead…

Demos


Horror TycoonDemo on Steam

SpiritteaDemo on Steam

We Who Are About To DieDemo on Steam

Fabular: Once upon a SpacetimeDemo on Steam

CYCODemo on Steam

Backfirewall_Demo on Steam

NAIADDemo on Steam

ArtoDemo on Steam

Kaichu – The Kaiju Dating SimDemo on Steam

The Last WorkerDemo on Steam

Bendy and the Ink MachineDemo on Steam

The Spirit and the MouseDemo on Steam

Dem-OH! Dashes


Ahhh, Steam Next Fests, possibly the best thing to happen to indie games since the Xbox 360’s open-market and the annual showcase ‘Summer of Arcade’ event that brought us Limbo, Braid, Castle Crashers, ‘Splosion man, Bastion, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, and so many more.

Working with devs to release 100s of new demos, spotlighting as many titles as possible, and pushing for total indie domination; it’s safe to say Valve are crushing it. Check out everything we managed to play during that limited period of demo-madness both above and below (off and on-stream, respectively).

NOTE: Ratings are basically representative of how much I enjoyed the demo and the likelihood that I’ll come back to the title in the future (or even would liked to have continued playing it right then), with regards to gameplay, quality, and (of course) personal preference to genre, etc. A zero represents that the game is too non-functional to really get a feel for it. It is essentially a non-rating.

No. 1

  1. Golazo! 2 (3)
  2. Immortal Tactics: War of the Eternals (3)
  3. Roboholic (1)
  4. WrestleQuest (3)
  5. CLeM (3)
  6. Thunder Ray (2)
  7. WHATEVER (2)
  8. Nebular Crush (2)
  9. Binary Run (3)

No. 2

  1. Toilet Chronicles (2)
  2. Shrine of Cards (2)
  3. Aces and Adventures (5)
  4. COGEN: Sword of Rewind (3)
  5. Escape Room Academy (2)
  6. Ghostlight Melancholia (2)
  7. Homemade TCG (1)
  8. 心Soul (2)

No. 3 (Summer #SteamNextFest Pt. 1)

  1. Agent 64: Spies Never Die (3)
  2. Makis Adventure (2)
  3. Turbo Golf Racing (3)
  4. Cult of the Lamb (4)
  5. Brewmaster: Beer Brewing Simulator (2)
  6. Hamster on Rails (3)
  7. The Fridge is Red (5)

No. 4 (Summer #SteamNextFest Pt. 2)

  1. Lost in Play (4)
  2. Gloomwood (4)
  3. Running on Magic (2)
  4. Melatonin (5)
  5. Rusted Moss (4)
  6. SIGNALIS (4)
  7. The Cub (2)

No. 5 (Summer #SteamNextFest Pt. 3)

  1. Chessarama (2)
  2. VergeWorld (2)
  3. Depersonalization (1)
  4. Anger Foot (4)
  5. Hellscreen (3)
  6. Eyes in the Dark (5)
  7. Necrosmith (3)
  8. Life Gallery (4)
  9. Shred & Tear: Explosive Kajun (2)

No. 6 (Summer #SteamNextFest Pt. 4)

  1. Moonscars (4)
  2. Fashion Police Squad (5)
  3. The Fabulous Fear Machine (4)
  4. Cryospace – survival horror in space (1)
  5. Earth’s Shadow (1)
  6. Midnight Fight Express (4)
  7. Greek Tragedy (2)

No. 7 (Summer #SteamNextFest Pt. 5)

  1. LEGO® Brawls (2)
  2. A Day Out (1)
  3. DreadHaunt (2)
  4. Gehinnom (1)
  5. Sker Ritual (3)
  6. Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak (4)

No. 8

  1. A Building Full of Cats (1)
  2. Pure Logic (1)
  3. Pocket Wheels (2)
  4. Road Defense: Outsiders (2)
  5. Pictoglyph (2)
  6. Unknown Number: A First Person Talker (2)
  7. Olliefrog Toad Skater (2)
  8. Hook 2 (1)
  9. Last Command (4)

No. 9

  1. GRAPPIN (3)
  2. Half-Life Decay: Solo Mission (4)
  3. Kandria (2)
  4. Bigger Than Me (3)
  5. DELETE AFTER READING (2)
  6. DIGGERGUN (2)
  7. WipeOuters (2)
  8. Fear the Spotlight (4)
  9. Good Company (3)
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