As the Summer Game Fest is going on for the next little while, the next edition of Steam Game Festival is here. This time, it opens up a huge amount of free demos to try out. Definitely more selection than the week duration of the festival itself. Because of that, we tried to pick some more relevant titles to check out and do a little first impression on their playable demo.
The Almost Gone (Happy Volcano)
With minimalist design and game mechanics similar to that of Monument Valley (playthrough) but with a more mysterious narrative undertone, The Almost Gone is a point and click mystery puzzle game that focuses on discovering puzzles in rooms that can rotate to discover new things on different walls and furniture as we roam around our home in the midst of moving and parents divorce and other family issues adding in the mix.
The playable demo was the first chapter of the game. The puzzles itself are quite decent and this sort of game definitely will work well on mobile devices as the touch mechanics will work well. The story itself has some heavy content and might not be for everyone, especially those sensitive to this subject matter (they even have a warning at the beginning of the game). The puzzle design is pretty good but the maneuvering around with the arrows can get a little confusing from room to room (but maybe that’s just because I have a bad sense of direction).
The Almost Gone will release on Steam on June 25th.
Moncage is an adventure puzzle game that plays with using different sides of a cube to put together elements of different interactive scenes that help unlock more possibilities. These connections are the key to unlocking scenes and moving through this world trapped in this cubic device.
The demo itself shows off these elements pretty well. It is able to show off the game mechanics and much more, the well thought-out game design and imagination that is all about connecting the dots and exploring the scene. It also has the option to give hints of what items are the pieces to use in the puzzles in the scene that can be used but gives room for the player to work them out themselves. It’s a matter of patience and noticing the little details and then putting it together. Sometimes, its not easy, even in the demo there were some challenging moments. As a puzzle game, its pretty unique. The only thing left is to see what type of story they are trying to tell as each scene reveals pictures to pick up that seem to connect to an unknown narrative.
There is no date confirmed yet for Moncage but its definitely on that should be on your radar if you like puzzle games from the first look at the demo.
Ami (LightHouse Studio)
Ami is an upcoming action side-scroller platformer. The demo is very concise and starts off with a segment of the main character riding a bike in a town without electricity and then getting chased down by two boys in a van that suddenly wants to shoot her where she ends up at a house and it cuts inside where we pull some item and activates a button to get out of the trapped situation and the demo literally ends there.
Based on that, the world itself is fairly dark and shows perhaps something has happened to the place itself that’s caused its lack of electricity and dangers. The visuals, the movement and mechanics gave strong vibes of Limbo or Inside (which is a good thing). The game is in very dark and gloomy colors except for the main character who is a red-haired girl with a light blue dress, yellow backpack and orange bicycle.
Honestly, the demo is too short to truly have much of an impression on this. It does have a lot of room for potential depending on what the “deep story” they plan to deliver is all about. I do like the more minimalist visual style and darker world and even the environment and music from this one or two parts. However, there leaves a lot of room to see more revealed before there’s an actual anticipation for the game.
Arrog (尘归尘, LEAP Game Studios/Hermanos Magia)
Arrog is a puzzle adventure that takes place in a hand drawn black and white world with a few color accents that tells the story of a man who is accepting his death through his dreams. According to its Steam page, its a 30 minute narrative experience which means that the few minutes of the demo does already capture a good bit of where this is heading.
The first impressions of the game is bizarre and abstract. Those are the two words that go with these experiences that want to be created. There’s something very whacky about a game once you realize what its about as the game constantly revolves around the outline of a man lying down and then interacting with different objects on the screen that will create some change and animation to happen. There isn’t exciting gameplay but its focus is on the experience so its probably not for intense gamers as its fairly toned down in gameplay mechanics department. Its just a lot of clicking around. If you like games with deeper meanings and simple minimal style, this might be one to keep an eye on.
Arrog will release on July 28, 2020 on Steam.
A Juggler’s Tale (Kaleidoscube)
A Juggler’s Tale is an upcoming 3D sidescroller that actually has a narrator that tells the story of Abby, a string puppet who escapes from the locked cage at the circus to see the world outside. The demo starts off as she goes to her circus act and then to her escape while showing off some of her abilities.
Visually, the game is set like a puppet show where all the characters are moving with their strings. These strings come into play to hold her up when she’s falling down but it also hinders her movement when there’s an object in her way. It works a little to the concept of Unraveled. At the same time, the environment and art looks a lot like the styles of movies like Coraline. The world itself has a darkness of a little girl traversing a dangerous world and ends up getting help from friends like in the demo, her circus act companion bear, Urs plays a part in aiding her escape, having some strong vibes similar to Little Nightmares (review).
With vibes of so many outstanding games, A Juggler’s Tale definitely feels like it has a lot of potential. The only thing is to see how the mechanics get polished up in the final release which has a way to go as its planned for release in 2021 but there is no official date yet.
Roki (Polygon Treehouse)
Roki is an upcoming adventure 3D adventure game inspired by a Scandinavian folklore which tells a dark fairy tale of a girl called Tove who explores this fantastical winter forest landscape on a mission to save her brother Lars.
In the demo, the general idea is this point and click element where there is a story narration which gives a little bit of reading dialogue. At the same time, its about picking up items to navigate the area to progress. It all works fairly well. The demo puzzles weren’t too hard to figure out. The color palette in this world as well as the game mechanics all work fairly well together. The hand-drawn art style also is pretty nice. There’s definitely a lot a to love about this one and one to look forward to: Folklores and fairy tales, a family tale as well as adventures and fun characters in a winter landscape definitely ticks all the boxes.
Roki will release on July 23, 2020 on Steam.
Here’s the a batch of Steam Game Festival demo first impressions!
Any of these games caught your attention?