Every time it pops up, the more I realise that Steam’s Next Fest event is rapidly becoming one of my favourite gaming events on the calendar. Eyes light up with unrestrained glee, which is great for gamers and developers. For gamers, we get to sink our teeth into new offerings in bite-sized chunks to tempt us into pre-ordering games and for developers it offers them to advertise their games while also being able to gauge interest in their upcoming title and do a little market research.
With that being said, I’m wasting time here, let’s get right into my picks for Next Fest June 2022!
To start us off, we’ll start with Selaco, published and developed by Altered Orbit Studios.
To anyone who knows me, they will know I love what people are capable of doing with the Doom engine, source ports like GZDoom and seeing what the extremely passionate modding scene can come up with. Now, all biases declared, Selaco has been on my radar for quite some time and it’s fantastic to finally get to give it a shot!
I can’t even begin to describe how much fun Selaco is to play. A beautiful mix of the razor-sharp NPC AI of F.E.A.R, the purity of FPS Gunplay from DOOM and Quake, a world that you can tear through and destroy and a plot to really get your teeth into. The Neon-drenched, destructible environment of the demo that’s loaded with secrets to find is such a delight to explore and dodge bullets in. There is PLENTY of Build Engine style interactivity in this world too, think Duke Nukem 3D but less tipping strippers and more using vending machines and petting Roombas.
We won’t be waiting for this to release for too long, 2255 isn’t too far away! Consider the release date as “To Be Confirmed.”
The next title up on my wee list of highlights is Spirittea! Developed by Cheesemaster Games and published by No More Robots.
This delightfully charming little title struck me as soon as I saw the trailer and I have LOVED the few hours I’ve sunk into it. You’ve arrived in town and been roped into dealing with the troublemaking spirits through a chance encounter with a spirit called Wonyan. Inheriting the role of the keeper of the local bathhouse of which the clientele are the local spirits!
From mundane duties such as sweeping the bathhouse, pampering spirits with fine food and scrubbing the awkward bit on their back while they release, and making sure the boiler is fired up and the temperature is perfect all while juggling the management, upgrading and decoration of the bathhouse as well as making maintaining friendships with the local living.
If this brief glance at it has tickled your fancy, you can wishlist it and keep an eye on it. It has a release date of “Coming Soon” but soon can’t come soon enough!
Next up on the list is the delightfully simple and cosy Gacha Garden! Developed and Published by Anneka Tran.
The premise of the game is simple. Little spirits or creatures will bring you coins to spend, you pop the coin in the pot and random additions and garden pieces pop out.
The gameplay loop is just that simple. As you build your garden, you can find cheeky wee ways to help get more of the items you want, you can decorate your garden as you go, and as it grows your canvas to decorate grows with it. It’s honestly a wonderful wee idea and sitting with a cuppa, idly putting together my garden and watching it grow is deeply gratifying. It must be quite similar to the thrill gardeners get when they plant flowers.
Gacha Garden is slated to be released sometime in 2022 and I’ve certainly added it to my wish list to keep an eye on!
Next up is the gloriously spooky Gloomwood. Developed by Dillon Rogers & David Szymanski and published by New Blood Interactive
New Blood Interactive is a publisher I have a lot of time for, be it for Dave Oshry’s doggo, their spearheading the boomer shooter renaissance and the summary destruction of any sort of reputation Civvie 11’s genitals had. (Also, compulsory, #FreeCivvie )
Gloomwood is set in the dark, twisted, Victorian city that’s undergoing a rather horrifying transformation and it’s surprising how much depth the game offers. If you’re a fan of the original Thief games then this will definitely tickle your fancy. You can lean against doors to listen in on what is happening on the other side. Surfaces you are walking on and your exposure to light are of the utmost importance as sound carries making stealth more than a case of crouch walking everywhere.
The city and world around you is choc-full of interactivity. You can pinch items near grated windows so it avoids you having to enter the room to pinch the item originally, you have to manually check the bullets left in your firearms, and different surfaces make varying levels of noise. It’s simply excellent, if you’re looking for a follow-up to the Thief games, you’ve found it.
If your PC already has a gloomy or a boomy sound card installed, you’re ready to rock and roll through Gloomwood. It’s due to be released SOON™ according to the steam listing.
My last addition to the list comes from the developers and publishers of Golf Peaks. Afterburn’s Railbound!
A charming wee puzzler at the end of the line of this little round-up. (See what I did there?) The premise is simple. Build train tracks to get the carriages connected to the train. The complications start to arise when you take into account the carriages have to be connected in a certain order, you have a limit on the number of sections of track you can place, and the challenge soon starts building!
It is such an easy game to get into and the comic book aesthetic just makes it a feast for the eyes as well as the brain and my time with it has been absolutely wonderful.
Railbound is just such a delight to play, a simple concept executed well and I honestly can’t wait for the full release! According to the trailer, it says it will be released in September 2022 but the planned release date on the steam listing whimsically states “🚂🚃🚃🚃 arriving soon!”
That’s it! Another round-up of my top picks of one of my landmark events on the gaming calendar. I’d love to hear what your favourite picks are. Have I missed any hidden gems? Do you disagree with me vehemently? Let me know in the comments or on the discord! Tah-tah for now!