10 Demos You Need To Play During The June Steam Next Fest

Image: Extra Nice
Image: Extra Nice

Steam Next Fest, which kicked off in 2021 as the successor to the Steam Game Festival, remains one of the best ways to see what good games are on the horizon. The event, which runs several times a year, acts as a hub for in-development titles to offer demos. We’ve been through the latest batch to highlight some of the best from the event, which runs from June 10 through 17.

Games seen during the previous Steam Next Fest, since released to widespread acclaim, include the religious horror title Indika, the Resident-Evil-inspired Crow Country, and noir parody Duck Detective. Here are ten more that could very well do the same.


Release Date: September 13, 2024

I’ve been waiting for tactical RPG Demonschool for what feels like forever, so I’ll take any chance to play just a little bit more of it. The latest demo for the Shin Megami Tensei-inspired game brings more of the same goodness: b-horror vibes and exciting strategy combat. The game’s horror aesthetic and non-high school cast make it a nice variation from the SMT/Persona formula, and I can’t wait to play more. Thankfully, we finally have a release date.


Release Date: September 9, 2024

If you’ve played Triband’s other absurdist comedy games What The Golf? And What The Bat? then you somewhat know what to expect with What The Car? This time, players will take control of a car with legs, on an adventure through silly platforming levels. The demo gives you just enough silliness to assure you the game still has the same humor as its predecessors. The full release promises a range of activities, including fishing, swimming, and singing “CAR-aoke.”


Release Date: TBD

When first looking at Tormenture, I immediately compared it to the indie horror/deck-builder/roguelike game Inscryption. Tormenture is a nostalgia-fueled game inspired by classic ‘80s titles, but it twists that into a terrifying metanarrative with layers of puzzles and mystery to uncover. The demo pulls you into a game that constantly shifts itself in form, taking on the styles of retro games such as Atari’s Adventure. For lovers of classic games and meta-horror, Tormenture is a thrilling experience so far.

Arranger: A Role-Puzzling Adventure

Release Date: July 25, 2024

Arranger is a challenging and extremely adorable entry in the 2024 micro-trend that is “map-based puzzle games.” I don’t know how many games are required for a micro-trend, but between this and Paper Trail I’m just gonna go with it.

Like the latter, Arranger’s puzzles revolve around how the player interacts with and shifts the map of the game world. The tile-based maps are shifted as you move, almost like a conveyor built. Move forward and everything in a line moves forward with you until you wrap around the screen. Sliding and arranging (get it) the map to progress forward is a deceptively simple but challenging mechanic that the demo proves is delightful.

Dungeons & Degenerate Gamblers

Release Date: TBD

If you have been Balatro-pilled this year and are searching for your next gambling-adjacent gaming fix then Dungeons & Degenerate Gamblers is here for you. The roguelike adventure takes the form of gambling against a series of enemies in a tavern, in a game of blackjack (or twenty-one). You pick cards in hopes of getting the highest score without going bust. The twist is that the game isn’t just populated by a normal deck. Tarot, business, library, and note cards are all possible things you can draw, each with their own unique skills. Like Balatro, the random element creates situations in which you must roll with the deck and come up with new solutions to outsmart your enemy.

Kitsune Tails

Release Date: August 1, 2024

I played a press demo for this sapphic Super Mario-inspired retro-platformer and was charmed by the familiar mechanics and cute queer story. While I had some issues with finicky mechanics and design issues, the public demo fixes at least one of my problems—the invincibility power-up now has a clear indicator of its time limit—so developer Kitsune Games is working to make the game better. The Next Fest demo will give you a short taste of Kitsune Tails’ beautiful pixelated world and make you fall in love with protagonist Yuzu.


Release Date: TBD

ONE BTN BOSSES is a boss rush game in which you have a single button to press in each level. Sounds simple, but it isn’t. Each level adds new twists and mechanics to the single-button system. The core gameplay has you controlling a ship on a set track, with the ship moving on its own—you press a button to change direction, but that slows you down. The faster you go the faster you shoot, so it’s all about balancing speed and control as the enemy fires back at you. It’s a tightly designed mechanical marvel and the demo is the perfect taste of what’s to come.

Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn

Release Date: July 18, 2024

The beauty of the Soulsike genre is that there are so many variations on the FromSoftware formula. With Flintlock, developer A44 is focusing on high mobility, with combat that offers guns, swords, and magic to wield. Verticality is also a unique twist, with special abilities letting you move above enemies to unleash powerful attacks. A44 previously developed Ashen, another great twist on the Soulsike genre, so I’m excited to see how they evolve that with Flintlock. So far, the demo delivers an impressive combat system, even if it still has some kinks to work out.

Whimel Academy

Release Date: TBD

One of the cutest visual novels on offer during Steam Next Fest is Whimel Academy. Set in a magical school filled with interesting characters to get to know, the game lets you live out those Harry Potter fantasies (just with less racism and queerphobia). In the demo, you will get a taste of the game’s time management mechanics that have you picking and choosing the classes you want to take, and with whom you want to spend your time. All of this will culminate in what type of witch or wizard you become, as well as any romance you might find yourself in the middle of.


Release Date: July 18, 2024

SCHiM’s demo confirms that the 3D platformer is just as charming to play as it is to look at. Set in a monochromatic world of light and shadows, you control a little blob that can only step in the dark shadowy parts of the map. With busy city streets full of cars, pedestrians, strollers, ducks, and more that all create shadows, moving from point A to B becomes an adorable adventure.

That’s ten picks for what you shouldn’t miss at Steam Next Fest, but it barely scratches the surface of what’s available. Once you’ve gotten through everything on this list, go see what else catches your eye.

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