Steam Next Fest October 2023 (Part 3)

There are demos I will have played but will not be mentioning on my site. Mostly if I quit a demo it’s one of two reasons, it is not optomized well and can barely run or… the game even if amazingly beautiful has extreme control issues and needs to be reconfigured completely. Pop-Culture Spectrum makes efforts to only promote, discuss or speak of the positive unless recieving a key and putting in enough effort to mention the game and find the merit even if disliking it. That won’t happen here, but there have been at five demos I have played and chosen to not speak of because of gameplay design issues by the dev and I’m not a pro gamer, but a DEMO should NEVER cause you frustration and anger, so “buyer beware”. Now here’s demos I loved.

What I could explore of the one room offered was excellent. Music was fun, the art is beautiful and exquisite. I love how simple it truly is. You can draw, take photos, play guitar, even bird watch… but I also can’t get a feel for what the rest would be. A dorm room? An apartment? Would it be like Unpacking but more elborate with more to do then unpack, but actually play with items and a paintered digital art look? I’m curiously interested for more.

This feels like it’s still very much in development, but it is part of the Steam Next Fest and a first person point and click exploration it’s interesting. Discovering story elements through memories, videos, digital devices, etc. via a VR recreation of a crime scene (I think) feels wonderful. I don’t fully have the gist of what our mission is other than we are in the future, we’re cops of a sort and we’re exploring a cult that suddenly disappeared. I’ll be keeping my eye on this and so should you.

Absolutely adorable platform puzzler. Not easy in the least. I have NO idea what the story is or what my motivation is from the demo, but the visuals are wonderful. I would watch the hell out of this as a cartoon although it is reminscent of Adventure Time meets a Boy and his Blob from both stylistically and gameplay. An alien like backpack that helps you grab enemies to jump higher cause your jump sucks while hunting down disc pieces for… I don’t know why. Again though, it’s adorable looking and super fun, even though I didn’t beat all the levels and I’m not even sure how to, I enjoyed my time and it is worth looking into.

Traditionally I don’t enjoy isometric games or games with with rounded strategy combat yet those are two things this game are built heavily upon and I enjoyed them immensely. Mystical horror magic in the “olden times” (scarily not so LONG ago) of Rasputin (a character in this game) is definitely a good approach to make something feel different and original. Lovecraftian and/or Baba Yaga seems to be the go to a lot and instead Thaumaturge goes another approach. The investigation, keeping track of your skill management, discovering what is missing and solving the mystery on way to battle. I must admit at press time I did NOT finish this demo… I’m missing, something… but it is a marvel of an experience.

Hidden cats are great. Super fun. Zen and yet also challenging. The story part of these both makes it even cooler and more fun. The demos only offer two hidden pictures, in the arcade the year 1995 with involves finding cats, but the other involved beating an arcade game to get cats an item so they can unlock other levels in the game if it was the final product. In Tower there were three levels and more objects to find as well, it’s a tower of time so it was prehistoric and egyptian These games were so fun it makes me wants to experience what Dev Cats did with Castle full of. 15/10 score.

At first this escape room weirdness is something I can wrap my head around. Then it just gets way too much for me. It’s really well done though. If I had the patience to rteally think about the logic or not logic I think I would have a blast. The exploration is very well done, the puzzles are sound, but they just take a lot of mental power at a certain point. The kind of mental power where you’re like “Okay, that opens this, so that opens that, but… I can’t open that cause I need this and to get that I need to decode the morse code, but the morse code of what cause it’s a word but where’s the morse code itself? Oh I need to figure out this graph to figure out the code? Can I call a friend?”. That might be exactly what you’re looking for and if it… this is the game for you!

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