15 Demos To Play In Steam’s First Next Fest Of 2023

15 Demos To Play In Steam’s First Next Fest Of 2023

I love demos. I love to try before I buy. I fear what I don’t understand, and I understand very little, so I live in constant fear. However, it’s events like Steam Next Fest that help quell this fear with all sorts of demos.

It’s the first Steam Next Fest of this year, baby! From February 7th to February 14th, around 1000 different games will have demos available on Steam for you, the gamer, to give a red hot go. How very exciting!

While we can’t go over all of them (1000 is a big number), I will be taking a leaf out of many a book (this has been done before) and recommending some demos that I think you should check out to start your year off with deep, deep yearning.

Some of these games are set to release this year, some of them aren’t. They’re all very different, so there’s something for everyone! Anyway, please take a look at our picks for demos in this year’s first Steam Next Fest.

Note: All titles in our blurbs will have links to the Steam pages of the games for you to click and download, if you so wish.


Fabledom is a laid back city builder where you are tasked with building and growing your settlement in a fairytale world. I love a good city builder, and this one seems to fit a very specific niche of detailed building and management without too much stress. The art style is lovely, and the fairytale aspect of the city building looks really neat! Also, flying pigs!


Planet of Lana

Planet of Lana is a cinematic puzzle adventure that mixes lush green environments with intricate sci-fi themes. We first saw Planet of Lana during 2021’s Summer Game Fest, and it’s looking to be a new colour-filled take on the side-scrolling adventures we’ve seen in games like LIMBO.


System Shock

The System Shock remake has been in the works for some time now, and it’s almost freakin’ here. I got the chance to play this demo at the PLAION showcase, and lemme tell ya. It absolutely rocked my socks off, and I can’t wait for the full release. Give it a go.



Afterimage is a 2D Metroidvania that is just visually stunning. The entire game is painstakingly hand-drawn, and moving through these worlds is breathtaking. Not to mention, the combat is a riot!


Bleak Sword DX

Bleak Sword DX takes the concept of lo-fi 2.5D and absolutely turns it on its head. This one was originally an Apple Arcade release, but is getting a wider release with extra goodies. I played this on iPad and it slaps, all the beasties look sick and it feels really good to smack ’em down. Highly recommend jumping in.


Ninja or Die

Ninja or Die is an ultra-fast roguelite platformer made by sole developer Nao Games that combines fast-paced hardcore action with simplicity. When I say that, I mean it’s literally just one button. Very unique take on the genre, heaps of fun!



1000xRESIST is a hyper-cinematic narrative adventure with multiple endings. You play a clone that can travel through time, and it’s up to you to decide whether you’ll save everybody or simply inflict chaos. Super fascinating concept inspired by NieR:Automata and Perfect Blue.



URBO is a relaxing city-building puzzle game where each city build leads to another. You build settlements upon floating islands, watch them grow, and watch as more islands appear to build upon. The aesthetic of your cities is up to you with an array of different worlds to build upon. Somehow both a head massager and a head scratcher.



Troublemaker is the setting of Bully meets the gameplay of Yakuza, but it’s situated in Indonesia. If that doesn’t hook you in, I don’t know what will. You’re a new transfer student that must literally fight your way to the top of the high school social ladder. As well as high school fight club, you can also make friends and play an array of mini-games. This game goes hard as hell.


Mail Time

Mail Time can be best described as “What if Death Stranding was nice?”. You’re a sweet little mail scout whose job is to deliver letters to the many woodland creatures that live in the land. The dialogue is impossibly cute, as is the art style. This is the sort of game you play when you’re feeling sad and want an immediate mood lift.


Ribby: The Game

Ribby: The Game is an RPG adventure following the tale of Ribby, a little frog girl on a quest to return home. The visual design of this game is simply divine, and harkens back to the little 16-bit adventures we know and love. Also, the music in this game ROCKS.


The Many Deaths of Lily Kosen

steam next demos
Image: Too Many Teeth

The Many Deaths of Lily Kosen is an Australian-made horror visual novel where you’re tasked with making sure all your friends don’t die at the hands of a demon set on killing you. I gave this one a go at PAX Australia last year, and was enamoured by its crisp art and engaging story. I love a good horror VN. Also, Victoria is best girl.


Mika and The Witch’s Mountain

Mika and The Witch’s Mountain is a Kiki’s Delivery Service-inspired adventure made by the minds behind Summer in Mara. You play as Mika, an aspiring witch set on journeying to the top of the mountain. The thing is, your broom can’t get that far, so you need a new one. How do you get a new one? By getting a delivery job! It feels like this game was made for me, but you might love it too!


Mahou Senshi Coslay Club

Mahou Senshi Cosplay Club is a turn-based RPG where you’ll embark on a journey to become a Magical Girl cosplayer. Similarly to Costume Quest, each cosplay that you construct will give you different abilities to use in quests, contests, and battles. Honestly, there’s so much to love about this game.


Moonlight in Garland

Moonlight in Garland is an Australian-made open-ended life sim about moving to a big city and finding your bearings. For fans of Stardew Valley, this is going to be the next game for you. It’s sweet, serene, and filled with personality. You choose your own apartment, make friends, explore the city, get a job, and maybe even get married. It’s a pixel-pastel fantasy simulator.


And those are my personal recommendation for some of the Steam demos you should check out for this year’s first Steam Next Fest! Have there been any Steam Next Fest demos that have caught your eye that I didn’t mention? Let us know!

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