Hot on the heels of Summer Game Fest is the next Steam Next Fest of 2024 and apparently there are over 1800 demos.

Don’t worry those of you who read our Legally Distinct E3 Games Round Up… We aren’t covering them all. However we have a few that have stood out and want to highlight for you.

Golden Lap

Steam Page

Following on from the excellent art of Rally and Absolute Drift, Funselektor take you from behind the wheel, to on the pitwall as you take control of a F1 style team during the ‘golden era’ of racing. Taking a minimalistic approach as is the way of their other titles. But as with their previous games, there is also a ton of depth.

As someone who like the idea of a motorsport management game, I have often found myself feeling left behind, or dumb, because there is so much to consider. Acting almost like a second job as you have so much to balance. Golden Lap still has you needing to make tough decisions, but strips away a lot of the fluff and concentrates on getting you into a race weekend and having fun.

The demo does a great job of selling you the core concept of the game and it has left me excited. However I would like to see some accessibility options added before release, such as a dark mode, as I found the screens a bit too bright. I’d also hope to see some way to allow the UI to be changed up so that the font size can be increased for those that needed.

However, it is definitely one worth checking out.

Linkito

Steam Page

Even as a pure puzzle game Linkito absolutely nails its demo. Giving a cross slice of what to expect from the full game, but leaving plenty of room to introduce more when the release is final.

Some puzzles are super simple, but thinjgs can soon get complicated. Well I say complicated, what I mean is, the solution may need some real planning and testing, but the actual mechanics remain simple. This is what makes a great logic based puzzle game, where you are taking your time thinking about solutions and not just being forced to brute force things, or battle the controls.

Even as someone who struggles with programming language, I found that Linito did a great job of onboarding me and allowing me to think like a programmer. There were some puzzles that made me feel on top of the world once I worked them out and that is always a good sign. Leaving me wanting to build on that success and not put the game away because I got frustrated.

I think there are some secrets in the game too that aren’t being revealed in the demo and I can’t wait to see what is in the final game.

The Operator

Steam Page

Yes! Yes! Yes! Bureau 81 have created the perfect demo! Ond that lasted only 30 minutes, but left me wanting to do two things instantly.

First I wanted to go and play the final release, because I was sold on everything. Secondly I played the demo again straight away to see if I could find any secrets, or break things, find another way through.

Honestly it is just brilliant, as you take the role of a FDI Agent (y’know legally distinct CIA/FBA) who is in a new job. Your role is to help various FDI field agents solves cases by piecing together the clues and evidence they have found. By doing searches, analysing things, etc, etc.

But even in the demo there is a twist I won’t spoil, that is the exact point you want to play more and you want to play more now!!!

This feels like someone has binged The X-Files and has a shrine of Sam Barlow somewhere in their house with a computer dedicated to Her Story and Telling Lies. Because that is exactly how this game feels, an homage, a love letter to those games, but also setting itself apart.

Play this right now and get it wishlisted. I just need a release date and it had better be 2024!!!

The Crush House

Steam Page

Playing the demo of this does one of two things. Firstly it does a great job of giving you an idea of what expect from the full game and secondly, makes you wonder why this hasn’t been done before.

Essentially you take on the role of a producer of a reality show loosely based around a Big Brother or Love Island type thing, where you must film the contestants in house, whilst giving the viewers what they want and making sure you get the ratings to earn the sponsors and get the monies.

Alone this works wonderfully and it made me feel a bit icky as a voyeur in many ways. Which I suspect is part of the idea. The show is set in seasons, which means you get a chance to recast after each run. Yes The Crush House is a mix of life-sim, roguelike and something else entirely. As anyone one who has seen the full trailers can attest.

There is something mysterious, or even sinister afoot and I won’t lie, I jumped away from the demo before it finished as I know I am already in and can’t wait for the full version.

Old School Rally

Steam Page

I suppose this is technically my first disappointment of the Next Fest, because as much as Old School Rally gets a LOT right, it lacks in one vital department (at this moment).

Firstly, it absolutely looks the part as a late PS1 era rally game. It looks how I remember the Colin McRae Rally games looking and on the whole it is a joy to play, except for the fact when driving through the harder corners the handling feels slightly off. Almost as though you need to reduce speed a bit too much.

For the most part it is great, but then you come to a medium left or right turn and the speed reduction needed just feels off, more like it is built around an actual racing track, rather than a rally course.

It’s not the end of the world and hopefully something that can be addressed before release, as everything else is spot on and I really want this to be a success.

Try the demo, offer your feedback and keep an eye on development ahead of release.

Uncle Chop’s Rocket Shop

Steam Page

The last game of this initial selection and a big YES from me. Uncle Chop’s Rocket Shop not only has a great name, but is a fantastic game to boot.

It’s all about being doing repairs on a space based service station as some kind of weird fox creature. It gets a nu,ber of things right from the offset, inclusing interesting characters and an intriguing intro to a story, mixed with gameplay that is simple to do, but has plenty of depth.

You are tasked with fixing various things on various craft that come into the station. How you perform will determine what you are paid. For example an early mission has you fixing an ID scanner, which needed a new flash bulb and the focus fixing.

To do this I had to refer to a manual on how to get to the relevant parts to test, fix and/or replace. Which is all great, but the game keeps you on your toes. Because as I was testing and testing to make sure I got the fix right, I used up all the cartridge for printing photos, so when I handed the task back completed, I got punished for not getting anew refill in there.

These sort of mistakes are vital as there is a rent to be paid and losing money will see you not making rent and well… you want to make rent.

Another demo that did a great job of making sure the full game is right at the top of my wishlist ready for the full release.

Liked it? Take a second to support Mental Health Gaming on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!

Leave a Reply