Dem-OH! May Round-up
Hitting the Summer time half-way through 2022, E3 is upon us (or should I saw all the events that have grouped together to puppets its corpse around), and there’s another Steam Next Fest on the horizon! What a perfect time to lean back and try something – and we have just the thing!
Lots of incredible Stand-Outs this month, a preview that has me jittery with hype, and 63(!) other demos just waiting for you to explore…
(in recording order)
Although a popular genre, it’s not easy to make a good metroidvania. It takes an interesting world as well as constantly evolving abilities, challenges, and environments. The level design needs to accommodate different levels of skill and upgrades overlapping in the same location. And it needs to feel as smooth as can be. HAAK has it all. Armed with a sort of dagger on a rope and a slew of mobility powers, there’s plenty of secrets to discover, story to learn, and trials to overcome as you explore the outstandingly beautiful post-apocalyptic surroundings. With excellent controls, interesting characters, and so much to do, HAAK aims to be a contender with some of the all-time greats.
I’ve never played anything like this – a fully immersive first-person mystery investigation game that uses time-travel mechanics to allow the player to change minor decisions each of the previously-deceased protagonists make in order to save them all from a grizzly fire and discover the trust behind the disaster. Fantastic writing and voice acting really bring the scenes to life as you watch like a Marty McFly on the wall, just waiting for the right opportunity to put the butterfly effect to the test. How did the fire start? How can it be prevented? Was it merely an accident or an act of malice? And just what is Tom doing down in the basement? Nothing everything is as it first appears to be…
Although I missed many of the Cerebral Puzzle Showcase demos due to stream scheduling conflicts, there were a couple that I refused to lose my chance with, Paper Trail was the first-and-foremost. The gorgeous design alone pulled me in but as soon as I saw a piece of the game world folded back over itself to expose a new pathway I knew immediately there was something special happening here. Then when I realised the folds aren’t just corner-in, but also corner-to-corner, or side-in at different lengths, and so on, my mind was completely blown. The possibilities are stunning! There are so many ways to play around with the maps that it’s exciting just to discover what’s on the back of them using the different origami techniques available before even attempting to solve what’s in front of you. By manipulating the very ground on which you walk the player must create alternate routes to cross gaps, move boulders onto switches, reach secret collectibles, and save poor trapped townfolk. The trick is that it’s not possible to fold over where the protagonist, who looks like a cute little matryoshka doll, is standing. This means having to shift objects around and fold the different sections of the arenas constantly, in order to squeeze around the platforms. It’s wonderfully tight both mechanically and spacially, which makes for some seriously devilish puzzles that I can’t wait to start tackling.
Anyone who knows me at all knows I love puzzles, so to be locked in a room full of them sounds like heaven. Shocking that I’ve never been to a physical escape room, but I have played just about every digital and boardgame version available. Escape academy corrects what so many other first-person escape room experience attempts fail at by doing away with annoying physics issues and inventory problems, instead letting the player get right down to the delicious jammy centre – the solving. Tie all the locales together via an interesting narrative about attending a school of fellow escape trainees and how could it not join the big dogs at the top of my watchlist.
Metal: Hellsinger – Demo on Steam
What do you get when you mix thrash metal and fast-paced demon-blasting FPS action?! Well, you get Doom. BUT, mix that gorefest up with some rhythm mechanics and you get Metal: Hellsinger – a game I’ve been looking forward to since it’s very first announcement two years ago affnd I’fm terribly glad to announce it has lived up to those unfair expectations. This is already a day one play for me, get it on the wishlist immediately.
Monuments Flipper – Prologue on Steam
4D Miner (Second try) – Demo on Steam