Dem Oh! Round Up Feature Art

Dem-OH! June Round-up

The latest Round-Up there ever was…

Sorry for the delay, it has been a busy season of travelling/working and July is absolutely PACKED with events and birthdays (including my own!)

June was a fantastic month for demos with three completely disparate genres claiming the Stand-Out awards and a ton of other close calls across the board! A big thanks to the #NextFest, as usual, for raining so many incredible new games upon us this sweaty season but I personally can’t wait for the air to cool once again so we can wrap up with a blanket and some tea to really get some cozy gaming sessions in – lord knows I need them!

Stand-Out Demos

(in recording order)

Amnesia: The Bunker Demo on Steam

This game was conjured by devils – true masters of horror design. It also turned out to be releasing the very day I played the demo and so Dom already has a review up! I’m being dead serious when I say everything in this game was hand-crafted to unease the player and create a deep threatening tension. Built around a singular area this time, one that you’ll grow familiar with as you play, means you’ll be travelling out from your hovel in small bursts of terrifying exploration and returning with a little more information about where you are, what you need to accomplish next, and what the hell is out there. Each time, hopefully, bringing back resources for healing, evading the nightmarish ancient beast that hides within the walls, and, most importanty, fuel for the lights. That’s right, if just the giant evil monster you’re stuck with isn’t scary enough, you’re also on a timer for the power. I mean, you could go out without the lights on but then you’d be completely at the mercy of the creature and the only meager source of light you’d have is the loudest crank torch you can imagine, turning your only hope into a dinner bell for whatever is out there. It’s fascinating how much I could write about The Bunker here after having only played the demo, but most everything is brimming with horror design insight – a must-try for those without heart problems.

Rogue Voltage Demo on Steam

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a billion times – turn-based RPGs put me to sleep. Mashing ‘attack’ and pulling off the odd heal is simply not stimulating enough for me anymore. I want games that push me, that challenge me, or at least show me something new. Rogue Voltage does all of that by replacing the usual boring old combat with a sort of automation design puzzle. By giving the player a few interesting yet basic tools in order to let them build their own combos with, the whole game is blown wide open for creative exploration. Whether you’re focusing on pure damage output, turn-order manipulation, item crafting, or a mix of the above, managing the tiny amount of energy you’re blessed with every round is critical. With almost perfect information of enemy patterns and attack-order, it is entirely down to you to build out a chain of modules and triggers that can maximise efficiency for not just the current turn, but for the entire battle. And here, every action counts like never before.

The Case of Andrew D. Demo on Steam

Some games claim to be investigative mysteries but almost none of them can make you feel like a real detective – researching, deducing, poring thorugh evidence. This absurd little game launches in a Windows 95-looking program, or, even more accurately, a database reader and interacts with your filesystem directly allowing you to ‘download’ files and ‘re-upload’ them back to the server for colleagues to read and update you on. From having to track down a municipal building in Poland and pin its location on a map, to going over personnel files in order to crack a zip file’s password, The Case of Andrew D. is unlike anything else you’ve played. It’s more like the online murder mystery ARG ‘Isklander‘ we previewed a few years back and it is incredibly absorbing. I can’t wait to get lost digging for answers to each of the varied and complex cases. Now I just need a cork board to pin up images and mark loose connections with thread like a true lunatic PI.

Dem-OH! Dashes

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. Backpack Battles (4)
  2. Typing Tempo (2)
  3. Blade Prince Academy (4)
  5. Presences: Dark Awakening (2)
  6. Alone in the Dark Prologue (2)
  7. Amnesia: The Bunker (5)

No. 2

  1. Christ’s Revenge (0)
  2. Math Ascension (1)
  3. Aggregator Elevator System (3)
  4. The Bookwalker: Thief of Tales (4)
  5. Novus Orbis (3)

No. 3

  1. Bleak Sword DX (3)
  2. En Garde! (3)
  3. Wizard with a Gun (3)
  4. Luna Abyss (3)
  5. Lies of P (4)
  6. Luto (3)

No. 4

No. 5

  1. Dungeon Golf (4)
  2. Lhama Clicker (1)
  3. Yomi 2 (4)
  4. Cubenomics (2)
  5. Unholy (3)

No. 6

  1. Astronauters (1)
  2. Limos’ Lair (3)
  3. The Mage (2)
  4. Snowscapes (0)
  5. Simple Game (3)
  6. This Bed We Made (4)
  7. SLUDGE LIFE 2 (3)
  8. Death Unphased (3)
  9. Mr. Stretch and the Stolen Fortune (4)
  10. Elemental Survivors (1)

No. 7

  1. CrossOver: Roll For Initiative (3)
  2. Rogue Voltage (5)
  3. Surmount (4)
  4. Tamarak Trail (3)
  5. LAPSUS (3)
  6. The Case of Andrew D. (5)
  7. Legendary Hoplite (2)