Journey deep to the ocean floor in Samudra
Demo,  First Look,  Games

Autumn Steam Game Festival – (so many) demos to try

The Autumn Steam Game Festival is here, and it brings many new demos to try! I love when these festivals come around because I find out about so many new games I hadn’t heard of before. Nearly every game in my list today is something I didn’t know about before the festival, and now I have more games to look forward to in the future! There are so many games available to try out with the festival, but these were the ones I liked the most from the ones I tried in the last two days.

Carto

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Genre: Adventure, puzzle
Platforms: PC (Humble & Steam), Nintendo Switch, Xbox and PS4
Release date: 27th October 2020

Map the world in Carto, and then flip it all around to tell the story. In the demo, we start on a little piece of an island and need to explore to see what is around. A map! That’s an excellent start because Carto is all about mapping. Place map pieces down to explore further and find interesting characters along the way.

Carto is gorgeous, and the map system is such an interesting way to tell a story. It all works so well together. Changing map pieces felt seamless, and it was fun to experience pieces from a different perspective.

I’ve been waiting somewhat impatiently for it to come out and was so excited to see the demo available with the festival. The full game release is on the 27th of October, so, fortunately, we don’t have much longer to wait to explore more of the world of Carto!

Samudra

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Genre: Adventure, sidescroller
Platforms: PC
Release date: Q1 2021

The demo begins with our character falling through water down to a polluted ocean floor. It’s gloomy (as you would expect) and a little scary. We don’t really find out why we’re there, but there is a sense that escape is the best option. Run, jump and solve puzzles to make it through to the end, all while trying to escape creepy deepsea diver enemies.

While the demo doesn’t give a full idea on what the game is about, it is beautifully made. The sound design is incredible with beautiful, haunting background music and excellent sound effects. The art and character design are also quite lovely, and I found myself taking screenshots at every opportunity.

Down in Bermuda

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Genre: Point and click, hidden item, adventure
Platforms: PC, Apple Arcade
Release date: Unknown for PC, already available on Apple Arcade

I’ve always loved reading about the mysteries of the Bermuda Triangle, so as soon as I saw Down in Bermuda, I knew I had to give it a try. Milton’s plane went down in the triangle, and he’s been stranded on an island ever since. Fortunately, after 30 years, we turn up to help him out. The island has puzzles all over and, together, we can find the secret to getting home.

Scattered over the different islands are stars and orbs, and these are the ticket to progression. Usually, I don’t go for hidden item games, but Down in Bermuda looked too lovely to miss, and I’m glad I gave it a try! I look forward to learning more about Milton before the accident.

I can see how it would work well on Apple Arcade, and it would be a great commute or relaxing game on an iPhone or iPad. Currently, the demo has two levels included, but it looks like the devs are still regularly adding content to the game, so hopefully, there will be a lot of variety when the full game is released on Steam.

Webbed

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Genre: Adventure, 2D platformer
Platforms: PC
Release date: 2021

Webbed is a spider game you’re going to want to play! Our spider friend is on a quest to save her boyfriend from a bowerbird, but the demo happens the day before those events. Climb trees, swing from vines and make incredible webs to explore the world. You’ll also find some friends that need a hand in the form of a quest.

Webbed is very cute, and the sound design is excellent! As you create more webs, the tone changes as you jump around on them, it’s a nice touch! I played with keyboard and mouse, and I’m assuming it is probably easier with a controller. The web functionality took a bit of time to work out, but when I did, I had web everywhere!

Isn’t it interesting how, in some games, we’re a happy little spider just making webs, but in others, the spiders must be squished? Fortunately, there is no squishing of our spider friend here, I hope.

Undying

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Genre: Survival, Adventure
Platforms: PC, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, PS4 and mobile
Release date: 2021

It’s finally time. Anling and Cody (mother and son) are preparing to get out of the infected zone, but just as they’re ready to depart, the zombies’ attack. Anling shields Cody from a zombie, but it bites her, and they both end up in the infected zone again. Initially, I thought that they were still going to leave and Anling would cause infection outside of the infected zone, but fortunately, that doesn’t happen. I was ready to get angry about her potentially harming everyone else.

Anling’s goal now is to protect Cody at all costs and teach him how to look after himself when she’s gone. There are three choices when you start the game: Combat, crafting and survival. I’m not sure if they change the difficulty of the game, but I went with crafting because it seemed like the easiest option. The game was still pretty difficult though, and I spent a lot of time running away from zombies, but I did make it to day 3!

I haven’t made it to the end of the demo yet, I believe there are 15 days available to play which is huge for a demo, but I am keen to jump back into it once my heart rate calms down!

Airhead

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Genre: Metroidvania, puzzle, 2D platformer, combat-free
Platforms: PC
Release date: 2021

In Airhead, we play as a headless character, who is quite good at running and jumping considering their predicament. Eventually, we stumble upon a head to use that we have to keep inflated at all times. This (according to the Steam page) is known as Head, who we are trying to keep alive. Let Head deflate, and both of us die. I’m not quite sure why given we are just holding our head the entire time, and it’s not actually attached. Sometimes it’s best not to question these things.

As far as I can tell, Airhead is combat-free with all of the progress in-game made by solving puzzles and gaining abilities and upgrades. This is always a positive for me, as I love seeing games in genres that would typically depend on combat and weapons thinking of different ways to play.

Airhead is something a little bit quirky and something I’d recommend for those that enjoy metroidvanias. If the demo is anything to go by, it’s shaping up to be a fantastic metroidvania.

Encodya

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Genre: Point and Click, Adventure
Platforms: PC (Steam, Gog and Itch)
Release date: 2021

Encodya throws us into a gloomy future. It’s dark, dreary and not too pleasant. The year is 2062 and Tina (a 9-year-old orphan) and her robot, SAM-53, are trying to get home to their shelter, but they don’t have the credits to buy a ticket for the bus. In the demo, we trek around Neo Berlin trying to get some credits to buy the ticket and talk to an interesting range of characters.

There is a huge amount of breaking the 4th wall in the demo, including many about a Kickstarter campaign that has long ended. The devs have advised they won’t have these jokes in the end game. There is also a lot of fetch quests in the demo which I’m hoping isn’t the case in the full game. The entire demo was pretty much ‘go here, get me this and I’ll give you what you want’ which I’m sure everyone has experienced at some point in their gaming life. I’m hoping this is just to showcase the characters and environments and not a true reflection of the full game.

I considered not adding Encodya into this list of awesome demos because, other than the neat art style, it didn’t really click for me, but that is often the case for point and clicks. I love how they look but don’t like the tedious pixel-hunting that is generally part of them. The developers have mentioned they are keen to keep Encodya as a more old school style point and click, so if that’s what you’re into, you should check out the demo.

The Rewinder

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Genre: Adventure, point and click
Platforms: PC
Release date: 2021

If you see a mysterious long-haired woman by the lake calling out your name, be sure to never, ever reply. Play as The Rewinder to unravel the mystery of the village. The Rewinder has an extraordinary power to be able to travel into memories and change peoples minds. Change the past to improve (hopefully) the present.

The Rewinder demo does a great job of setting the scene and letting us see what a Rewinder can do. The puzzles in The Rewinder are clever, and you will need to investigate other areas of the village to be able to solve them. There are definitely a few ‘aha!’ moments when you find an item to solve a puzzle.

NUTS

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Genre: Walking sim, Adventure
Platforms: PC
Release date: 2021

No problem with isolation? Self-sufficient? Have low expectations? This job is perfect for you! In NUTS, we play as a rookie field researcher investigating the habits of squirrels. Place cameras throughout the day and analyse the footage at night. What do these sneaky little squirrels get up to? Each day you will receive a new mission that will involve snapping a photo of a squirrel. Get the right shot and fax (!) it off to the very persistent Nina to review.

With each mission you receive a GPS marker to scope out. Place your cameras nearby and hope to see some squirrel activity. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it through NUTS due to motion sickness issues. Each day I went trekking with the camera made me feel worse and worse, and eventually, I had to give up on learning the squirrel secrets. Some people may be surprised to know that it’s not only FPS and VR that can make you feel sick.

If you enjoy walking sims, nature and squirrels, and don’t suffer from motion sickness then I’d recommend giving it a try and see what squirrel shenanigans you can uncover.

As mentioned at the beginning, these are just a small selection of the games available as part of the Autumn Steam Game Festival. There are just far too many to try over a few days, but there’s always next time. If you’re looking for even more demos to try be sure to check out my previous demo posts, and let me know which you enjoyed the most.

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