Niche Gamer’s Steam Next Fest 20 Demo Highlights

Severed Steel

Image: Severed Steel

If you haven’t noticed yet, Steam currently has a big banner declaring that the Steam Next Fest event is now live. Much like last year, this is an opportunity for PC gamers to sample tons of demos for upcoming games. And I do mean tons; there is somewhere in the neighborhood of 700 games participating in some capacity.

As with last year’s event, I took the time to browse through a few pages of demo lists to find the most interesting ones you might want to consider giving a try over the weekend. Considering the aforementioned 700 or so games participating, this is obviously by no means a comprehensive list, so be sure to dig around yourself if you have the time.

The Steam Next Fest runs until June 22nd. Here’s Niche Gamer’s list of 20 demos you may want to check out during the Steam Next Fest:

Developer: Flow Fire Games


One of my most personally hyped demos of the event is for SYNTHETIK 2, the upcoming follow-up to Flow Fire Games’ excellent roguelite shooter from 2018.

Much like its predecessor, players will find themselves fighting endless hordes of rogue machines utilizing a variety of procedurally generated weapons and gadgets. This new installment promises more weapons, more classes, more enemies, a faction system that determines what your foes are equipped with and how they fight, and tons of improvements over the original.

SYNTHETIK 2 enters Early Access August 19th.

Blaster Master Zero 3
Developer: Inti Creates

Blaster Master Zero 3

Blaster Master Zero 3 is another sequel to a beloved series that has a demo up right now.

Blaster Master Zero 3 is the final game in the Jason arc, and follows Jason and Eve as they arrive on Sophia; only to be attacked and separated by the planet’s military. Pilot the G-SOPHIA SV tank, or fight on foot in a mixture of 2D side-scrolling and top-down action sequences.

If you enjoy the demo then don’t worry, you won’t have long to wait for the full version. Blaster Master Zero 3 launches July 29th.

Idol Manager
Developer: Glitch Pitch
Publisher: Playism

Idol Manager

As its name implies, Idol Manager is a management sim where you oversee a newly-formed Japanese idol group.

You’ll have to manage the group’s events, run ad campaigns, record singles, grow your idol group’s fanbase, and deal with all the usual PR nightmares that are bound to arise from popular young girls being thrust into the public eye. You’ll also have to diffuse internal drama as the idols get into feuds, or crack under the pressure of their newfound fame.

Idol Manager is another game that is coming out pretty soon, and will be launching on July 27th.

My Lovely Wife
Developers: GameChanger Studio, Toge Productions
Publisher: Neon Doctrine

My Lovely Wife

My Lovely Wife is the latest game from the developers of 2018’s My Lovely Daughter, and it involves similarly dark subject matter.

You play as Jake, a grieving husband who has just lost his wife in a sudden and unexpected tragedy. A mysterious man approaches Jake and grants him the knowledge to summon succubi, along with a way to be reunited with his wife.

Summon a variety of different succubi, mange their abilities and stats, get them to fall in love with you, and then ritualistically sacrifice them in your elaborate plan to rebuild your wife’s body and soul.

Carrier Command 2
Developer: Geometa
Publisher: MicroProse Software

Carrier Command 2

The newly resurrected MicroProse has a lot of strategy games coming up this year, and one of the demos they have on display during the Steam Next Fest is Carrier Command 2.

This modern reimagining of the classic strategy series places you in command of a futuristic aircraft carrier full of state-of-the-art technology. Launch airstrikes with a fleet of advanced drone fighters and bombers, and conduct amphibious assaults using unmanned fighting vehicles like tanks and armored recon drones.

Carrier Command 2 launches Summer 2021.

Developer: Bird’s Eye Games
Publisher: MicroProse Software


Another upcoming MicroProse game highlighted in the Steam Next Fest is Regiments.

This real-time tactics game places you in command of NATO or Warsaw Pact forces in the opening engagements of a theoretical war in 1989, as Soviet and East German armored brigades breach the Fulda Gap. Regiments features a wide range of historically accurate vehicles and technology from the ’80s, with over 60 units across four nations.

Regiments launches 2021.

Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector
Developer: Black Lab Games
Publisher: Slitherine

Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector

Slitherine is another developer known for their in-depth wargames, and they have yet another 40k strategy game coming out in a few weeks.

Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector is a turn-based tactics game set in the aftermath of the Devastation of Baal. Control the Blood Angels and Sisters of Battle in a campaign to purge a Tyranid infestation from Baal Secundus, or control the galaxy’s most infamous space locusts in skirmish and multiplayer modes.

Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector launches on July 15th.

Terra Nil
Developer: Free Lives
Publisher: Devolver Digital

Terra Nil

Terra Nil is a “reverse city builder,” which in practical terms means it’s about reclaiming a desolate wasteland for nature. Build various structures to purify the ravaged soil, fix the environment, plant vegetation, reintroduce wildlife, and recycle your structures when you are all done to leave a pristine and thriving ecosystem.

Developer: Stonewheat & Sons
Publisher: Sold Out


KeyWe is an adorable little co-op game about two small kiwis in a very large and chaotic post office.

Team up with a friend as you work together to help the kiwis Jeff and Debra type telegrams, label packages, ship mail, and send messages. If that wasn’t hectic enough, you’ll also need to deal with seasonal chaos like floods and hard freezes.

KeyWe launches August 31st.

Rogue Lords
Developers: Leikir Studio, Cyanide Studio
Publisher: Nacon

Rogue Lords

Rogue Lords is a roguelite adventure where you play as the Devil on his quest for vengeance against the demon hunters that imprisoned him.

Create a party of disciples comprised of insidious individuals from throughout history, and send them on missions to sow terror, kill demon hunters, claim territory, and steal the souls of hapless mortals. As expected of the devil, you don’t have to fight fair either.

You can spend some of your energy to adjust how skills work, alter health bars, create new paths to nodes on the map, and tip the odds in your favor during events. Be careful, this energy is your own health, and enemies will attack you directly as your party falls.

Rogue Lords launches Fall 2021.

Glimmer in Mirror
Developer: MapleDorm Games
Publishers: CubeGames, Pleasant Rain

Glimmer in Mirror

Glimmer in Mirror is a 2D Metroidvania about exploring a collapsed mirror world.

Guide Shiro through a shattered world as you uncover the realm’s mysterious past and find a way home. Collect mirror spirit companions with their own unique abilities that will help you in exploration and combat.

Metal Mind
Developer: Whirllaxy Studio
Publisher: Yooreka Studio

Metal Mind

Metal Mind is a top-down roguelite shooter, where you start out as a cute robot and eventually become a highly customized death machine.

Equip new parts on your battle bot, like torsos to increase your resilience, or legs to give you new movement abilities. Load your robot up with a variety of heavy weaponry, but be sure to keep an eye on your weight limits and cooling systems.

Death Trash
Developer: Crafting Legends

Death Trash

Death Trash is an open world action-RPG set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland full of bandits, rogue machines, and cosmic horrors.

Upgrade your stats, acquire new skills, and craft your own playstyle around stealth, negotiation, or shooting whatever gets in your way. Death Trash can be played solo, but also features drop-in, drop-out co-op.

Death Trash enters Early Access August 5th.

There Is No Light
Developer: Zelart
Publisher: HypeTrain Digital

There Is No Light

There Is No Light is a grim action-adventure set in a dystopian underground world following a catastrophe on the planet’s surface.

Defy the mysterious Church of the Great Hand that rules this underground society to bring your child back. Fight a variety of horrifying enemies with an arsenal of powerful weapons in a resource-driven combat system; based around generating Rage to unleash your most devastating attacks.

There Is No Light launches 2021

Cris Tales
Developers: Dreams Uncorporated, SYCK
Publisher: Modus Games

Cris Tales

Cris Tales is a time-bending RPG that does a few interesting things with the whole time manipulation concept.

You play as Crisbell, a newly-empowered Time Mage that sets out on a quest to save the world of Crystallis from the Time Empress. As a Time Mage, Crisbell can see the past, present, and future all at once. Manipulate events in the past to alter the future, including artificially aging enemies to affect their stats.

Cris Tales launches July 20th. If you missed it, you can our hands-on preview from a prior demo here.

Developer: Overseer Games


Patron is a survival city building game that places a large emphasis on the social intricacies of your population.

Each citizen has their own desires, needs, and beliefs that align them with specific social cliques in the town. You’ll need to carefully balance the concerns of these various social groups if you want to avoid complications later on. If that wasn’t enough, you’ll also have to deal with plenty of natural disasters and seasonal changes that can alter how your town expands and grows.

Patron launches Q3 2021.

Developer: Shiro Games


Wartales is the next newly-announced game from the developers of Northgard.

This open world tactical RPG is set in the remnants of the Edoran Empire, which was devastated by a catastrophic plague over a century ago. Mercenaries and bounty hunters have plenty of job opportunities in these dark times, and you aim to exploit them. Build your own morally questionable mercenary outfit as you travel the nation completing contracts and recruiting new companions.

Wartales launches 2021.

Lost Eidolons
Developer: Ocean Drive Studio

Lost Eidolons

Another tactical RPG with a demo during the Steam Next Fest is Lost Eidolons.

You play as Eden, a renown mercenary that falls from grace due to an aristocratic conspiracy that threatens to disrupt the whole world of Artemesia. Now, Eden finds himself drawn into a conflict to overthrow Emperor Ludivictus. Recruit an army of companions and lead a campaign to restore order and stop the machinations of corrupt tyrants.

Lost Eidolons enters Early Access Q4 2021.

Severed Steel
Developer: Greylock Studio
Publisher: Digerati

Severed Steel

Severed Steel is a stylish FPS based around a fast and fluid stunt system.

Run, slide, and dodge through levels as Steel, a one-armed sharpshooter on a mission. Seeing as how Steel only has one arm, that means that there is no reload system; you have to scavenge for new guns off of dead enemies whenever your magazine runs dry. Severed Steel also features fully destructible environments, and an aggressive AI that works to exploit said destructible environments.

Alongside the destructible environments; recent presentations have shown using sound to lure enemies into traps, hurling spare guns to be picked up later when needed, and kicking off walls bound around your foes. Move fast, kill fast, or be killed fast.

They Always Run
Developer: Alawar Premium

They Always Run

Finally, we jump from a shooter about a one-armed woman to They Always Run, a 2D action-platformer about a three-armed bounty hunter.

Hunt down the most elusive and ruthless bounties in the galaxy as Aidan, a renowned mutant cutthroat. Having three arms means that Aidan can wield more weapons at once, or perform complicated grapples and moves.

They Always Run launches 2021

Which of these demos do you plan to give a try? Are there any other games featured in the Steam Next Fest that you are playing? Tell us in the comments below!

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