Seven Steam Next Fest Demos To Try Out This Weekend

Seven Steam Next Fest Demos To Try Out This Weekend

Steam Next Fest is upon us again, bringing with it hundreds of demos for up-and-coming games, which can be frankly overwhelming if you’ve not already got your sights set on trying out a particular title. Just in time for the weekend, I’ve got you covered with a list of seven great demos to have a crack at before Next Fest finishes up on 26th June.

Our friends over at Kotaku US have also got a fantastic list of games they recommend trying out, which you can check out here (and they’re all wonderful picks). Steam Next Fest really has the good stuff this time around, and if I listed out every demo I think you should try, this would become thesis-level long, so I’ve whittled it down to a bite-sized seven that should tide you over for the weekend.

There’s a mix of genres, from action roguelites, to deep narrative exploration to sandbox god games, so whatever you’re in the mood for, I hope this list helps you find your next favourite new game – there’s also a couple of great Aussie indies in this list, naturally.


Image: Visal Games

Venba is a sweet short narrative cooking game where you play as an Indian mum who immigrates to Canada with her family in the 80s. Cook different (delicious) dishes, restore lost recipes from your family, and hold branching conversations to explore a story of family, love, and loss. The cooking is a lot of fun, with the ability to retry if you make mistakes, making it a low pressure, relaxing experience. There’s also a radio that softly plays while you cook up a storm, paying homage to Tamil music throughout the ages. The demo itself is short and sweet too, with a really wholesome storyline that left me smiling after I finished. Venba will get a full release on 31st July, but for now the Steam demo is the perfect entree. 

The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood

Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood
Image: Deconstructeam / Devolver Digital

The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood can be likened to a visual novel, with beautifully illustrated pixel-art, ambient tunes, and a really interesting story to match. You play as Fortuna, a witch exiled to an asteroid by her coven after foretelling the end-times. 200 years into her isolation, she makes a pact with a Behemoth (big sexy space worm) to change this, and in the process learns to craft her own unique tarot-like deck to divine the past, present, and future. Create your own tarot cards (either by making them really cool looking or really ridiculously cursed, your choice) and shape the fate of cosmic witch society, all the while making choices that will impact the game and your relationships with other characters. The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood demo is available to try on Steam here.

Wood & Weather

wood & weather
Image: Paper House

Melbourne-based Paper House have smashed it out their park with their single-player god game, Wood & Weather, where you control a floating blue hand in a deeply chaotic wooden toy city. Change the weather, help out the residents with all their needs, or simply pick up cars and throw them around the map; the world is your building block. It’s filled with hilarious and recognisably Australian dialogue, and just to make it even more realistic, as per the Steam listing, you can stand around awkwardly on two little fingers while the townspeople go about their business (the ethereal hand is just like me fr). If you’re in Melbourne and keen to check it out but also love a little adventure, Paper House has a Softcore Gamers Nook (SGN) set up in their Thornbury studio with the demo running on weekdays in June, between 11am-4pm.

Jumplight Odyssey

Image: Jumplight Odyssey, League of Geeks

Another great Aussie entry into the Steam Next Fest lineup, League of Geeks’ Jumplight Odyssey is a roguelite starship colony sim. Build, repair, promote, and grow across the multiple decks of your starship as you escape to the sanctuary of the Forever Star to escape the clutches of Admiral Voltan. It’s heavily inspired by sci-fi anime from the 1970s, and each game has the potential for absolute chaos – as the captain, you’re tasked with taking care of all the ship’s residents and their human needs (including socialising, sleeping, and water – three things I absolutely barely achieve in providing myself). There’s also a pig you can pat, which is obviously the most important and best part of Jumplight Odyssey

En Garde!

En Garde!
Image: Fireplace Games

In En Garde! you play as legendary swashbuckler and hero of the people, Adalia de Volador, while you parry, riposte, and lunge your way through sword-fighting battles against guards and noblemen. Never one to not love playing a lady with a sword in a cool outfit, I’m a big fan of En Garde! – the environments are beautifully painted, with the environment at your fingertips to make combat all the more interesting (think throwing shit you find around you at your enemies, and the classic cut-down of a chandelier on top of your opponents). It’s got a fun cast of charismatic characters and Adalia’s drip game is on point – a good hat really makes the outfit. En Garde! is set to release in August, but for now the Steam demo is a heap of fun to get you excited for all the swashbuckling action.


Cuisineer Key Art
Image: BattleBrew Productions

I’ve already spoken at length about Cuisineer, but I’ll continue to sing its praises. The roguelite cross restaurant management and cooking game where you find yourself playing Pom, an adorable catgirl tasked with saving her family restaurant, is such a great mix of elements from multiple genres. It’s got combat with giant chickens using a comically large kitchen spatula (and range of other cooking utensils), cooking food that comes with drool-worthy illustrations for demanding customers, and a host of townsfolk to interact with. If you’ve ever wondered what it might be like if instead of going to the supermarket, you had to instead go into hand-to-hand combat with the produce you wanted, Cuisineer might be for you.

Lil Guardsman

Lil Guardsman
Image: Hilltop Studios

Lil’ Guardsman is an adorable deduction adventure where you play as 12-year-old Lil, as you cover your dad’s shift at the guard shed and decide the fates of over 100 characters. Question humans, elves, and all sorts of other fantasy creatures, and use your powers of deduction to determine who to admit or deny. You can also zap them to dust in a horrific addition to an adorable-looking game. Each new guest admitted through the castle’s gates determines the whole kingdom’s fate, so you must choose wisely. Lil’ Guardsman is a goofy, adorable, and fun little title, and I definitely recommend checking out the demo if you get the chance.

While these are my top picks from Steam Next Fest so far, there’s still hundreds more to play through before the event wraps up on the 26th. Do any of these games sound up your alley, or have you got your sights set on another demo? Let us know!


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