Summer Games Festival demo nights

night one

Yesterday evening I streamed the first of 3 nights looking at some demos for the Steam Summer Games Festival. There are over 900 demos to choose from so I spent a good part of the day yesterday sorting through what I was interested in. Some were games I’ve backed or wishlisted and others were games I’ve never seen. The Games Covered last night were Tenderfoot Tactics, Fights in Tight Spaces, Sail Forth, Outrider Mako, and Uragun. I also finished the stream off with a first look at Hardspace: Shipbreaker (affiliate Link).

I covered Tenderfoot Tactics last year and knew what I was getting into but I wanted to see how it has progressed. The game is a fun tactics game where you play as a band of goblins in an open world. When you progress into combat you have a small tight battlefield to work with, making every decision count. This is one of my most anticipated games of the year and one not to look over

Outrider Mako has been a game I’ve been following for some time now but never really knew what it was. Turns out it’s an action game where you’re running errands to pay off a great debt. The combat was fun, fast, and had depth to it. The art is beautiful, the soundtrack is interesting and fun to listen to. I can’t wait for its release.

Uragun’s demo drops you right into the mix. This is a twin-stick shooter where you’re in a mech in the middle of a populated city. The action is fast and confusing. I didn’t quite understand what or why I was doing what I was but overall the game worked and is one I will watch. The demo was extremely short.

The two games from last night that surprised me the most and were my absolute faves were Fights in Tight Spaces, and Sail Forth.

Fights in Tight Spaces takes the roguelite deck building genre and gives it a left hook. Instead of just playing cards and seeing the enemy take damage, you have a whole playing area that you can move to set up combos and get out of harm’s way. Your hand is full of attacks, blocks, and movements which help navigate and strategize each turn.

Don’t have any attacks in hand? No worries! Just set up the enemies to do the attacking for you.

Movement is key in this game. There are enemies with guns, large enemies that grapple, and bosses that can hit a large swath in front of them. You can use the environment for kills, throw them out of the room, or just let them kill each other. It’s such a cool take on the deck builder roguelite genre that has become so popular and this has moved up to my most anticipated list for 2020.

Sail Forth surprised me and continued to reinforce that cute games are deceptively hard as of late. You play as two cats in a sailboat as you leave your home island and head off for adventure. Races, Pirates, and treasure await!

The world of Sail Forth is gorgeous, I could sail around for hours and never tire of it. The wind is very real, it can change directions and your sail absolutely depends on it. You do have oars if you absolutely can’t figure out how to tack (I absolutely fall in this category). The waves adjust the further out you are the larger the swells seem to be too. Pair with it a day and night cycle, wildlife, and the islands, it’s just amazing.

The map is cut up into sections. You have multiple choices and it tells you what is coming. Is there a pirate or a pirate shrine perhaps? Maybe a race. once there you have a local map to help you find and complete your objective, which is the only way to leave to the next area.

I have yet to do a race but the ship battles are intense and a ton of fun. You find yourself lowering your sails to turn sharper and raising them to catch up when you’ve drifted too far. Your guns can be upgraded too. So far I’ve found small and large cannons and flaming balistas! You can repair your boat while fighting but be aware this can only go so far before it’s abandon ship and the round is over.

Sail Forth and Fights in Tight Spaces absolutely won me over. I didn’t know about these game before now and now I MUST have them!

Night 2

Last night’s stream was a blast and we found some really great games in the Steam Summer Game Festival. A total of 8 games were covered and we had some real standouts! I only wish that I had the time to try every single demo. The stream covered The Last Spell, Going Under, Cavity Busters, Roboquest, Disc Room, Liberated, Skeleton Crew, and Hammerting.

The first game of the night was The Last Spell. Another entry into the Tactics genre and another of my most anticipated titles. 2020 is absolutely shaping up to be the year of the tactics games. This game does something I’ve never seen a tactics game do. It throws hundreds of enemies at you. It’s insane!

You have melee and magical characters, each with 1-4 skills for attacking. You can move and reset as long as you don’t attack, which is something I wish more games would implement. Thankfully the enemies are pretty weak and you do have some strong skills that attack multiple enemies.

After you wipe out the incoming waves you have a build phase. You can buy supplies, level up your characters, and rebuild the town and defenses that help slow the advancing army of undead. All while you play a KILLER soundtrack is playing in the background. Fans of tactics games, don’t miss this one.

Gone Under surprised me. I had heard rumblings about it being fun and holy shit they were right! It’s a roguelite where literally everything in the environment is a weapon. You work as an intern for Cubicle, a corporate tech giant, and you’ve been tasked with clearing out the Goblins from the office basement to stop them from looting office supplies. The game premise is nuts and it only gets crazier.

Much like other roguelites, this game has individual rooms. Some are filled with enemies, challenges (this game calls them new job assignments), item rooms, and shops. You get consumables in the way of apps that you load to your phone. These can be a goblin friendly to fight for you, a flailing tube person to distract enemies, and even yoga mats to meditate and get health back. This game was so much fun and so hard to put down. Check it out, wishlist it, and check this gif of me killing a goblin with a red stapler!

Cavity Busters just didn’t work for me. The demo wouldn’t allow me to roll and thus I couldn’t play the way it wanted.

Roboquest was next and another Gem out of the bunch I played. It’s an FPS roguelite that has an art style very reminiscent of Borderlands. You play a robot that a young woman finds and brings back to life and for some reason, the local robots are out to kill you. So what do you do? Of course, you shoot back! The guns feel good to shoot and the movement and chaos reminded me of playing Tower of Guns or Mothergunship. You get power-ups that augment your stats and new guns like a longbow, or assault pistol. I had so much fun with this game and immediately wishlisted it.

Following these gems, I checked out Disc Room, a fun small game from Devolver. You’re a scientist researching a giant disc that just showed up. In this game, you go into rooms where spinning saws spawn and you must live as long as possible. Death is the ultimate goal though. It’s the only way to progress. This was a fun time sink and with leaderboards, it will be a fun game to see how long you can survive certain rooms.

Liberated is a game in a comic book. It’s got a unique setting but I felt the gameplay loop might get stale. You run through panels on a 2D scale, killing enemies by getting headshots. There was a little puzzle we ran into but it was just pushing a box. If anything it had wasted my time by how many places I had to push the same box. I like the premise of this game but the story and more varied gameplay needs to be shown before I jump on the train.

The final two games we looked at were Skeleton Crew and Hammerting. Skeleton Crew was an odd action platformer where kicking skeleton heads, spike balls, helmets, and anything else you could grab. This action had a very angry birds like feel to it. Once you use it to hit a switch or kill a faraway enemy you move on through the level. I didn’t quite understand why or where I was headed and felt lost. The other characters added a little variety to the combat, but overall they really built this for the kicking mechanic. I’ll be watching to see how this one develops.

Hammerting was a game that is right up my alley. You are running a Dwarf settlement underground to aid the war happening on the surface. It’s 2D but you can build your settlement all around. Everything is mineable and you can farm underground too. As you mine and make metals your goal becomes supplying the surface war with weapons, armor, and food. The demo was time and I could have played this all night. It’s on my list and expect me to cover it in more detail upon release.

I hope you’re all enjoying these demo nights. I’m having a blast finding some cool games. If you’ve found some you think I should try, send me a message in the discord below!

Night 3

Last night was the final stream of the Steam Game Festival Summer Edition. I covered a number of games and found a number of amazing demos that have added to my wish list now. The final demos we looked at this night were Fae Tactics, Floppy Knights, Dwerve, Rogue Heroes, Insatia, Greak: Memories of Azur, and Trifox.

As I did with the other two nights, I started last night’s stream with one of my most anticipated games for the year, Fae Tactics. This gem gave all the nostalgic feels of Final Fantasy Tactics but with modern conveniences. Gone are the menus of spells and inventories. Instead, if you cast magic, your attack is just that. If you’re a melee build, the same applies. It keeps you focused on the gameplay at hand and feels great.

The art and soundtrack are amazing. It’s colorful, beautifully designed with great portraits for your protagonist and her friends. I felt like a kid again playing tactics games and it was such a welcoming experience.

I fell instantly under this games spell the second I saw the combo system. Play a melee character next to an enemy and when another character attacks that enemy the melee character will attack too and help to build combos! It was so much fun to pull off and added quite the layer to how I moved my characters. Time flew while playing this game and before I knew it 45 minutes passed and I could have played all night and not cared. It’s that good. If you like tactics games, put this to the top of your list.

Our next game was Floppy Knights from Rose City Games. Now I love their games. They make fun, endearing, and cute games that have yet to disappoint. This was just as cute and endearing as the rest. You play a girl with an AI computer for an arm and you’re off to kill goblins for money. You do this by playing on a board and use cards to move and attack. It all looks great and is pretty fun. The biggest flaw to me was that combat is slow. Like really slow and I just couldn’t get into the game as much as I felt I could have.

Dwerve was next and wow this little game is a gem. You’re a dwarf that lives on the surface and great tragedy befalls the village you live at. You learn how to build towers to help fight since you’re a dwarf you can’t move fast enough to fight. Dwerve takes the tower defense genre and flips it on its head. You have power stones that you can use to build spinning blade towers, arrow towers, tar pit traps (to slow enemies), and a spike trap. You can build these and call them back at will, as long as you have the power stones required you’re good to go. It’s a really interesting way to work a tower defense game. In certain points it felt like a top-down, pixel art version of Orcs must die and that is not a bad thing at all.

A roguelite I have been waiting for was our next game. Rogue Heroes. This is a roguelite for 1-4 players. It was a lot of fun to play. You play heroes trying to take back land of legend and help rebuild a town. The town rebuilding is the meta to the game. You gain gems from fights that allow you to build new houses and stores that allow you to unlock classes and stat boosts. The thing that was immediately apparent is this game is heavily inspired by the Legend of Zelda. The levels look so much like it but are larger and with more traps and puzzles. Now, this isn’t a bad thing. I’ve always wanted to play Zelda with my friends and now I will be able to and it will be a roguelite. If you like roguelites and old school Zelda, check this one out.

On a whim, I checked out Insatia, which to my understanding is but much prettier. It was fun to scoot around like a worm, centipede thing, and eat smaller bugs and grow. That’s really all there was too it. It’s a fun time sink.

Greak: Memories of Azur is an absolute gem and I am so happy I got to check this demo out. The game opens with this beautifully animated cut scene that drops your character into this just gorgeous ethereal world. As you learn the basics of movement you run into these mud skeleton monsters and slimes as your first enemies and then learn how to fight. Equipped with a sword you slash and roll your way to victory. Eventually, you find your sister and this is when things get interesting. You can swap between the two at any moment and you very quickly realize you will use this a lot. Your sister is a magic-user. She can charge up and shoot a bolt of energy. She floats using magic, where your first character double jumps.

The other character that you aren’t controlling isn’t helpless. Enemies that come near will be attacked which is really nice. You don’t have to worry about leaving them for their death while you try to unlock the door to progress. While running with my in-game sister and we both jumped our way around and solved puzzles I couldn’t help but feel like I was playing Trine. I loved Trine. Each player having their unique ability to help progress the story and puzzles was such a fun time. This really felt like that but even better in that you can separate from your group and don’t have to always be glued together. This game is beautiful, challenging, and clever. I cannot wait for it.

The last game of the night was Trifox. I’ve been following Trifox on twitter for a while now and other than screenshots I had no real idea what I was in for. To start you play this adorable fox and you have 3 variations to play as (although I didn’t realize that till after I did my first playthrough). You start as a steampunk fox. You’re able to place turrets, walls, mines, and shoot with a gun. The other is a hammer-wielding fox where you can swing your hammer, ground pound, or spin in a circle with your hammer. The last is a dapper magic fox. You shoot magic bolts, a ball of electricity, a gravity bomb (this was devastating) and you could teleport. You go through the game killing hordes of enemies and solving puzzles which seemed to entail also killing hordes of enemies. The game was a lot of fun and I definitely am excited to see how it turns out.

I hope you all enjoyed checking out these games with me. I really had fun, we found some gems already and they’re just demos! Let me know if the discord below if you found some gems that I missed!

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