7 Essential PC Demos Featured In Steam’s Latest Next Fest

7 Essential PC Demos Featured In Steam’s Latest Next Fest

Next Fest is Steam’s triannual event where hundreds of developers upload demo builds of their games for you to try for free. And it’s one of the very few things in gaming that just feels unambiguously positive! Indie sits alongside—or often above—AAA, nothing is about gouging anyone, and it revives the lost art of the demo in a way that makes the whole industry pay attention. But the number of demos can be a little overwhelming, so let us help with getting started.


Highlighted during the PC Gaming Show at Summer Game Fest, The Invincible promises a hardcore sci-fi story based on the work of Stanislaw Lem. Luke recently highlighted the amazing work of one of the artists involved, and everything about this narrative-led philosophical story looks so enticing. Now you can play a chunk to see if it lives up to this.

Starward Industries

This eye-ticklingly lovely-looking voxel railway sim makes building a train network look enticing, rather than daunting. Station To Station’s emphasis on minimalism and relaxation really piles on that appeal. There’s now a portion of the game to try for yourself, and it really delivers.


I’m so pleased Word Factori is as fun and daft as it looks. This is a game about building all the letters of the alphabet out of the letter I, using, you know, factories. As you’ll likely know, a C is just a curved I, so you need to run those through a curving factory. And a V is two Is joined together at the bottom, so you’ll need to use a merging factory for that one. I totally made a CAT out of Is! The presentation is lovely and simple, too, even if the puzzles are not, making this well worth a look.

Star Garden Games

Galvanic Games’ co-op survival game revealed at Summer Game Fest shone at the show, and now has a demo you can play. Wizard With A Gun is about exploring the unknown as a wizard, alone of with a chum, in a sandbox game with all manner of combat and action.

Devolver Digital

When I first read about A Tiny Sticker Tale, I had one desire: that it feel like those laminated background scenes you’d get as a kid, where you could place the rubbery, restickable stickers on top, to create your own stories. It is that! It’s exactly like that! Except here, when you place a sticker onto a scene, it magically becomes part of the drawing. It’s so splendid that I could happily play with it even if it weren’t a bunch of sweet little puzzles.

Ogre Pixel

Ooh, there’s a new full-length Rusty Lake game coming! And from this demo, it plays like their classic Cube Escape games, returning to the series roots, and with all the menacing air that comes with the peculiar puzzles.

Rusty Lake

I’d never heard of Thronefall before, but it’s straight on my Wishlist. It’s the most extraordinary combination of city builder, auto-battler, tower defense, and direct-control RTS, but all presented in a calm, clear and minimalist manner. The demo neatly piles on the instructions and introduces all these elements in a way that feels manageable and frequently surprising.

Grizzly Games

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