The semi-annual Steam Next Fest (opens in new tab) is now underway, featuring gameplay livestreams, developer chats, tutorials, and—this is the big one—playable demos for hundreds of upcoming games.
The Steam Next Fest is a great way to get hands-on time with unreleased games you've been keeping your eye on, as well as stuff you haven't seen before or wouldn't consider throwing money at without a test drive first. The one potential knock against it—and it's really not much to complain about—is that there are so many demos, and so little time.
There are a total of 628 demos in this round of the Next Fest, according to Valve, which means you're going to have to average 89.7 demos per day, every day, if you want to see them all. Valve expects a few more will trickle in as the Next Fest rolls on, so you might as well call it a flat 90 per day just to be sure nothing gets left out.
If that seems a bit daunting, here are a few that I think would make some good starting points:
- The Wandering Village – A beautiful and challenging city builder that's set on the back of a massive, six-legged megasaur
- Ixion – A space-station management sim with strong Frostpunk vibes
- Line War – A multiplayer RTS with 4X elements inspired by games like Command & Conquer and Axis & Allies
- Pandemic Train – Manage a train roaming the post-apocalyptic wastes as you search for a cure to a deadly pandemic
- McPixel 3 – Save the day in the stupidest way possible across 100 utterly ridiculous vignette microgames.
- Albert Wilde: Quantum PI – As a cat who is also a private investigator, you'll solve murders, flirt badly, and perhaps discover a wormhole to another universe
- Daymare: 1994 Sandcastle – The prequel to the acclaimed 2019 survival-horror game Daymare: 1998
- Card Shark – Become an infamous card cheat (ideally without being stabbed) in 18th century France
- Boundary – A multiplayer tactical shooter... in space!
- Neon White – A deckbuilding FPS that's halfway between Doom Eternal and Mirror's Edge
- The Past Within – Rusty Lake presents a co-op, cross-platform multiplayer mystery for two people
- The Wreck – Make it through the most pivotal day in the life of a failed screenwriter—one way or another
- Abriss – Build things and then blow them up in incredibly fine, satisfying detail
- Demeo: PC Edition (opens in new tab) - A co-op tabletop-style RPG adventure for up to four players, originally released for VR and now coming to PC (opens in new tab).
Remember, this is just a tiny slice of everything that's out there—you can dig into all the demos, and get a full schedule of online events, on the Steam Next Fest page (opens in new tab). We're putting together a deeper dive into some of our favorites for a little later this week—in the meantime, if you have any personal picks of your own, feel free to share them with us in the comments. The Steam Next Fest runs until February 28.