The 2021 Steam Game Festival: My Favorite Demos and Thoughts of the Event

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Back in 2020, Steam (the popular PC game client and storefront) began to do a virtual event called the Stream Game Festival which they host hundreds of demos for upcoming games which steam users are free to try until the festival is over. I really like the idea as if gives people who would not have access to this content (since in the past this was stuff you had to go to PAX or other gaming conventions to see). It also is good to create awareness of smaller games that maybe some people are not fully aware of yet. Last year, I played a few demos and watched some of the live streams. This year, I really want to play as many demos as I can and come up with a list of games that really interest me.

This was something while working on my other articles and projects, I really also wanted to go over as much as I could, so please indulge me even though many other online publications will do a far better job with covering this event then me. I’m mostly just having fun with this.

There are 500 demos available during the festival and I played as many as I was able to in the 6 days of the event. I hope you enjoy what I was able to cover and ones I’m very excited to play the full release of soon. So I suppose you can call this a first impressions piece on what I was able to play. Just to be clear, these are personal picks, I don’t have any professional relationship with these developers and studios. These were the ones that I had time to play and really liked overall.

Be advised, these are incomplete games and are subject to change upon their actual release dates. I’m only playing the demos that were made for the general public.

Don’t Forget Me By The Moon Pirates

I first heard about this game in 2020. A cyberpunk themed puzzle style game where you actually go into people’s memories to solve a mystery as it unfolds in the story. You play a Fran who works for a small operation of sorts were you have people’s memories copied and archived for them as your man service with your partner Bernard.

The gameplay is basically you having to decode the persons memory using words that may correspond with each other. For example, in the demo one of our patients as they ere called we couldn’t access the memory he wanted to digitize so we had to decode what his movements were up top that point. I typed in words that correspond with his background based on my interaction with him when he arrived, his outfit, and other words that logically seemed to make sense that would lead to more information being uncovered.

The developers described the game as inspired by HER Story which I totally see with the gameplay as HER Story was essentially the same concept in gameplay of using words and gaining clues from the video clips to unlock more of the story.

I was quit blown away by the concept, its not everyday you find cyberpunk-themed mysteries that were pretty explicitly a cyberpunk or futuristic detective game and funny enough during the festival there were a whole bunch on the roster I noticed. Ring of Fire, Lacuna, Song of Farca and so on. I love detective focused games that don’t do a ton of hand holding but gives the player the tools they need to play and find what they need but that’s it.

The Moon Pirates according to their press page is a brand new studio formed back in June 2020 of three people and they are based in France. They also have two other people who are collaborating with this project. Benjamin Heut who is another unspecified developer and Aurélien Montero who is handling the music and audio. So this is their first project under this group name and so far is a promising game and project. The game does not have a specified release date just yet but I’m keen to play it when it comes out.

GlitchPunk By Dark Lord

Glitchpunk is a cyberpunk/dystopian style top-down shooter. You play “Texas”, an android bounty hunter where in order to make a living and survive you take on contracts by local gangs and corporations to “take out” androids.

I really like the graphics and design they are going for including that’s its a top down shooter. They definitely did not hold back on the cyberpunk inspiration which is also something I’m all about. The graphics alone are impressive with the top-down look with the buildings and light effects. It was certainly a jarring experience to adjust to the controls (there is a bit of a learning curve) but once I got the hang of it I definitely saw the appeal.

According to Steam the game will be in early access sometime in the Spring of 2021. I would have to say I’m putting this on my Wishlist and recommending it if you like to-op down shooters. It has a lot of potential and with the other features of customizing your character and learning more about this universe and city you’re placed in.

Dark Lord studios does not seem to have a ton of info online however they are a polish based studio and the game is being published under Daedalic Entertainment whom is very well known in the video game industry for publishing and developing video games for over 10 years. The developers describes it as a game heavily inspired by Grand Theft Auto and Hotline Miami. I can immediately see the inspiration by Hotline Miami with the gameplay without a doubt so I agree with that statement.

At the moment, there is not a ton of info about the game or the development but I’m assuming as time passes more info will be released. I’m curious to see how this game unfolds in the near future.

The Last Stand: Aftermath By Con Artist Games

This is kind of funny to me because I’m actually already familiar with this one as I saw their Kickstarter a few months ago for this and even back then it intrigued me.

What I didn’t realize is that this is actually a series called The Last Stand currently Aftermath is the 5th upcoming game. It then hit me like a bullet, I played this series before when it was on Newgrounds and the name and original profile picture also hit me. I had no idea the series of games was still going to this day from that very first flash game that was published in 2007.

This game makes me think of several zombie CRPGs I played in the past such as Dead State, How to Survive and several others. This one seems to be another promising one as the animations and gameplay is so far pretty fun as I found myself playing the demo for quite a while. I just still cannot believe that this is a series from a flash game from my youth that I used to play on my little Dell laptop in middle school.

Talk about a blast from the past and I had no idea the series was still going. The good news is that this game did meet its funding goal on Kickstarter, raising just over $60,000 USD. I am looking forward to playing the fully released game soon and according to the Kickstarter page, they estimate the beta keys will be out to backers sometime in the summer of 2021 so a fully released version for the public may be out sometime in late 2021 or 2022 if I had to guess as long as everything is on schedule.

Undying By Vanimals Games

I always loved zombie games. Its just a (almost) reliable subgenre in video games with usually leads to a fun gaming experience. We have flops but I generally enjoy most of them. However, with the market so flooded with games from all types of genres like RPGs, Action, Story-driven, and so on, you need to come up with something very creative to get the attention of gamers. Undying is something that I think will have players hooked. Its a story-driven, open-world (from what it looks like), crafting focused game where you play as a mother who only has a few days until the infection takes hold. So what you do is very time sensitive and also how will you make sure your son is safe when your gone. I really like that concept overall and from what I played so far, I really enjoyed the crafting aspect and how open it is from the start.

From what I can find about the developers, Vanimals Games, they only have one other game on Steam from 2017 called Eternity Warriors™ VR which is still in early access but decent reviews by the community. Undying is definitely a major departure from their main focus being VR according to their website so I do wish them good luck as it seems liker they have a really interesting idea here and I hope it does well. I’m keen to play it when its out. According to steam they are looking at a summer 2021 release.

Ghost on the Shore By Like Charlie

I cannot express how this game just grabbed me completely after the first few minutes. I love the voice actors and how the characters interact as well as the overall tone they are going for.

The game is about you playing as Riley who came to a place called the Rouge Islands after a storm stranded you there. However, Riley suddenly hears a voice in her head, a being named Josh who apparently “lives” on the island but as a ghost.

A few things to note about the developers behind the game, like Charlie, they are the same people that are behind the popular free game Marie’s Room that came out in 2018 which if you play the game and the demo for Ghost on the Shore share a lot of similarities in gameplay and overall presentation style especially with the voice acting which is really good for the most part.

Another thing which was a surprise to me was the actual voice actors themselves. One of them who plays as Josh is Phillip Sacramento. I checked out his other work and I was surprised to find he is in a few games that I’m playing right now which is why his voice for some reason felt familiar, like I heard this voice before. These games included Eastshade which I’m really enjoying right now and voice acting for a board game apps like Gloomhaven.

Ghost on the Shore I think is one of the games I’m most excited about as I adore a good story and this seems like its poised to be a smash success in that circle of gamers who love heavily story-focused games like this one is.

Festival Tycoon By Johannes Gäbler

One of my favorite types of games is management. I love the idea of being given a project like building an efficient road/transit system or a city that is well mapped with everyone being comfortable with low pollution. Festive Tycoon now tackles a theme that I have seen in some smaller ways online but I think this one may be the most in-depth that I’ve personally seen so far. Here you actually put together a music festival. You run ticket sales with early bird specials, you book talent and make sure their needs are met, you make sure the V.I.P accommodations are sound and cut off from the rest of the attendants and actually put everything together with infrastructure.

I actually had a ton of fun tinkering with how I wanted the festival to be laid out and figuring out the bands I wanted there as well as being as cost efficient as humanly possible.

The game is actually a one person operation by Johannes Gäbler, who is a developer and student based in Vienna, Austria. According to the developer website, the game has been in development since February 2019. This was apparently a side project while Johannes was completing his education at TU Vienna. However, with the game growing in popularity the project has added several other team members who handled the arty and audio while Johannes is the lead developer.

I’m looking forward to seeing the game in its full state soon.

Thoughts on the Show

Without a shadow of a doubt in my mind, the most high profile game coming out was Little Nightmares 2. I would like to stress that I DO NOT like scary games at all (not even a little), but Little Nightmares is one of my rare exceptions to the rule. I loved the game, the art style, the surrealism, and overall atmosphere.

I really do like that Steam is doing this because it helped me find a bunch of games that now I’m thoroughly looking forward to trying and it really does help highlight the thriving indie game scene right now. There is so much in the works with all kinds of interesting ideas or just interesting themes. How often do you see a game that it themed after a traveling circus from the turn of the 20th century.

I do think the event needs to be a little longer as I wanted to play so many other games but I didn’t have the time. One example being a game called Song of Farca By Wooden Monkeys which was this hacker detective game that I really wanted to try but by the time I was able to the event was over.

I plan on picking these games up when they are released. For most of them, they seem to be coming out sometime in 2021 so I’m pretty excited to see the fully released versions.

Tell me in the comments what was your favorite demo from the event?

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