A handful of upcoming hidden gems you need

Steam had decided to rebrand their Summer Games festival to Next Fest and shift the focus onto upcoming games. I love these events. They allow people to see and play upcoming games. However, these festivals have grown too big in my opinion. When this all started there were about 40 games to try. This festival had over 600! But I digress, you’re all here for the Next Fest top demos that I found in this trove of games.

5. Above Snakes

Above Snakes from Tobias Schnackenberg is an interesting twist on the survival genre. You play as Aiyana, the daughter of a tribal chief. You’re tasked with discovering why the dead are rising from their graves. Survive in the wilderness as you discover the truth of what happened in Corpse Creek. What’s unique about Above Snakes is the way the world unfolds. You build the world, one tile at a time. You select the next main resource and it shows up in a newly tiled area. It leads to keeping each run fresh and you never know what you’ll find.

  • Release Date – 2021
  • Platforms – PC
  • Developer – Tobias Schnackenberg
  • Publisher – Crytivo

4. Anvil Saga

Anvil Saga from Pirozhok Studio is a Blacksmith Simulation game done in beautiful pixel art. Having taken over the forge from your father, you set out to build the best blacksmith and win the heart of the merchant’s daughter you met when you were younger. In the game, you will build up your business, add new employees, build rooms, mines, and more. While the demo did have a few localization issues it was an absolute blast and had me wanting more. Management Sim fans will definitely want to check this one out. I also have a video looking at the demo here.

  • Release Date – 2021
  • Platforms – PC
  • Developer – Pirozhok Studio
  • Publisher – HeroCraft PC

3. Rail Route

Rail Route from bitrich.info is a management game based on Railroad Dispatching. Control the traffic, build rails & stations, optimize and expand! Tons of new tech to research and upgrade and even automate. An in-game editor will allow you to design and share your own maps too! Honestly, this game is quite complex but after a little bit, you will be hooked if you like management games in the slightest. It’s easily one of those games where you blink and it’s 3 AM.

  • Release Date – June 23, 2021
  • Platforms – PC
  • Developer – Bitrich.info
  • Publisher – Bitrich.info

2. Sable

Sable from Shedworks is easily my most anticipated game for this year. I have been hooked since I saw the first gif of it on Twitter a long time ago. You play as sable and are about to set out on her Gliding; a rite of passage that will send you on an epic journey across the planet. Vast deserts and mesmerizing landscapes littered with spaceships and ancient ruins are your playgrounds. This short demo more than solidified my desire for this game and I CANNOT wait for September to finally jet across the desert.

  • Release Date – September 23, 2021
  • Platforms – PC
  • Developer – Shedworks
  • Publisher – Raw Fury

1. Deepeye Deepfake Simulacrum

Deadeye Deepfake Simulacrum from nodayshalleraseyou came out of left field for me. The name alone almost turned me away but the minimalist graphics got my attention. This game takes the challenge of Caves of Qud and smashes it together with some Hotline Miami (as far as mission types and structure) and a dash of Hacknet. You were revived by the corporation that now employs you, but revival isn’t free and now you must work your debt off by being an agent for them. Taking missions will send you into visceral gunplay, hack cameras, turrets, people, even bullets! Hack your way to victory, your abilities include, but are not limited to: everything.

Hacking in this game feels awesome, and the things you can do lead to some amazing runs. I was able to hack into a data node and then see what other nodes were in its network. Eventually, I ended up seeing an enemy on the other side of the map, hacked into his head, befriended him, and had him go kill the rest of his pals for me. Crazy stuff but this happens a lot! you can get really creative. Just don’t die because remember, revival isn’t free.

This demo (which is still available right now) put this game in my top 5 anticipated titles for 2021. It’s tough as nails, unique, and just a ton of fun to play.

  • Release Date – Winter 2021
  • Platforms – PC
  • Developer – nodayshalleraseyou
  • Publisher – nodayshalleraseyou

Honorable Mentions

  1. Kitaria Fables
  2. Unpacking
  3. Swarm City

These three games were also a ton of fun but I struggled on where to place them. So they’re down here in honorable mentions.

Kitaria Fables mixes Action-Adventure with RPG and Farming elements. Think Animal crossing meets Rune Factory. I really dug it and cannot wait to get out more (the Demo is still available to play).

Unpacking is a really interesting puzzle game. The demo has you unpacking boxes into a dorm room. What’s fun about this is not only getting to organize these rooms but each item has a general placement that you must meet to solve the puzzle. So no putting shoes in the bathroom cabinets for example. It’s incredibly relaxing and wholesome and a puzzle game I can’t wait to play more of.

Swarm City puts a lovely twist on zombie games. You are Karr the Great, a dark lord of zombies. Raise the dead and destroy and enslave humanity. This game really feels almost Pikman-esque. You make your horde of zombies, you send them to kill other humans, thus making more zombies. Upgrade your zombies as you progress and bring in special zombies like fire zombies! It’s a very fun game and the demo is still up to try it out yourself!

Did you find any cool demos in the Next Fest? Let us know!

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Indie-Gems | Indie Radar | Indie Radar - July 2021
June 28, 2021 1:58 PM

[…] is over. It’s such an overwhelming month. E3, Wholesome Games Fest, Next Fest, and the Steam Summer Sale launching made it all incredibly difficult not to get lost. With Those […]

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