Patron Saint of gaming Gabe Newell has blessed us with a new iteration of Steam’s wildly popular Next Fest. What is Next Fest? It’s a celebration and showcase of upcoming games from a variety of developers. From one man, bedroom devs to names you might recognize and everything in between. I decided that I might as well use the venue I have here at Terror-Byte Gaming to shine a wee spotlight on a few of my favorites that I’d love to share with you all. They are in no particular order so there’s no rankings here, even if some of you have been subjected to me fawning over how adorable some might have been.
Lil Gator Game is first up on the list. Developed by MegaWobble, published by Playtonic Friends and slated for a 2022 release.
If you know me, you’ll know I’m an absolute sucker for anything adorable. In the demo for this delightful little adventure, you play as the titular Lil’ Gator, careering around a little island, exploring and going on quests set by your friends while you try to convince your big sister to join you in your adventure!
It is such a charming little title, whether you’re battering cardboard baddies with your stick, er, sword or climbing mountains. Lil Gator is sure to win your heart unless you don’t have one. You monster. I highly recommend adding this to your wish list right now. Do it. You’ll love it. It’s right here. Best bit is, according to their website, it’s also coming to the Switch as well as Steam!
Developed and published by Gleamer Studio and due for an October 2021 release in Early Access, Settlement Survival is next up.
Yes, I know, I’ve picked another city/settlement builder/manager but hear me out. Despite my penchant for politicking in videogames and micromanagement of my failing empires, I find myself helplessly drawn towards games of this ilk. Settlement Survival is no exception.
Settlement Survival is a little different and allows you a few approaches to establishing your titular settlement, managing it and gently nudging it on its way to becoming a thriving metropolis. You can work with the environment sustainably to Settlement Survival is a little different and allows you a few approaches to establishing your titular settlement, managing it and gently nudging it on its way to becoming a thriving metropolis. To begin with, You can work with the environment sustainably through the use of foresters at a logging camp, maintaining the balance of the forests around you by planting saplings and only harvesting mature trees. As your settlement grows and your technology advances and improves, you can begin taking full advantage of what industrialization has given you; Tree Farming. It’s a surprisingly deep little demo with quite a bit available for you to experiment with at such an early stage. Don’t let the idea of it releasing into Early Access put you off. The crew behind it are certainly a dedicated bunch. If you enjoyed the likes of Banished or the Anno series, add this to your wish list.
If you’re looking for a wonderful mish-mash of ideas, try Peglin. Developed by Red Nexus Games Inc and published by Red Nexus Games Inc and Indie Ark. Pegged for a 2021 Early Access release.
Here’s a weird one. Imagine the ball dropping, peg bopping mechanics of a Pachinko machine combined with a little roguelike and you have Peglin. Described by Red Nexus Games as Peggle combined with Slay the Spire, Peglin lets you fight enemies by dropping various orbs into a Galton Board, the more pegs you hit, the more damage you do. Add in the various little powerups that are scattered amongst the pegs and your wee Peglin can go from pitiful to powerful very quickly.
All of this provided against the backdrop of your adorable little Peglin taking All of this is provided against the backdrop of your adorable little Peglin taking revenge against the dragons who have been bopping off your pals and stealing all your gold. Add in the simply endearing pixel art and the delightful little soundtrack makes this a must to add to the wish list.
We have been too wholesome and adorable. Time to fix that. Forgive Me Father developed by Byte Barrel and published by 1C Entertainment is scheduled for release into Early Access on the 26th October, 2021.
Time to tread Knee Deep in the Dead in this brutal, Lovecraft and Poe styled Retro FPS. Forgive Me Father is a fantastic little shooter that’s taking notes from the classics, throwing in an interesting, dynamic Madness mechanic that distorts the gameplay and the sensory experience of the game itself and presents you with additional powers makes this a painfully easy recommendation.
The sketchy, pulpy, comic-book presentation is beautiful. The gunplay and movement combines to form a tight, visceral shooter and throw in the sound track. It’s brutal, it’s merciless, it’s grim and it’s great. If you haven’t been corrupted by the unnamable horrors beyond add it to your wish list right now.
Last and certainly not least: Postal: Brain Damaged. Developed by Hyperstrange and CreativeForge Games, published by Running With Scissors and Hyperstrange and preparing to be spat out onto the world during May 2022.
What else is there to say about Postal and its reputation that hasn’t already been said by its detractors? Well, its crass, outrageous, crude, deeply satirical, gross and utter engrossing nature has been transplanted into a boomer shooter. It works and it’s beautiful.
It is so f*cking good! The movement is tight and responsive, you can speed about the map with slide jumping, the hook on the shotgun (a la DOOM: Eternal) only adds to how maneuverable you truly are. It’s cherry-picked things and concepts it’s liked from other games, made it its own and is unashamed about it. I can’t put across how quick, how visceral, how brutal or even how great it is to play in text. Go and play the demo. Add it to your wish list! Do it.
So, there we go. My favourite picks from the Oct 01-07 Steam Next Fest so far. Do yourself a favour and go explore. Pick up demos you wouldn’t normally try, broaden your horizons and support the devs who are propping up the industry with their creativity, their vision and passion.