Best Steam NextFest Indie Game Demos Feb 2024

11 best indie game demos from Steam Next Fest – February 2024

Steam Next Fest is one of the best opportunities we get to learn about new indie games that are coming our way down the pipeline. In February of 2024, Steam featured over 1,100 demos in their semi-annual event. While we didn’t play all of them, we did play a lot, and we compiled our list of the 11 best demos from this latest Steam Next Fest.

11 Best Demos Steam Next Fest - Ultros

1. Ultros

Kate’s Pick

The art, music, vibrant colors, and overall psychedelic/sci-fi vibe makes Ultros a memorable experience. I’ve never played a Metroidvania, but I had a unique and positive experience playing, and it has sort of lingered with me. The platforming elements are really smooth, and the combat is engaging and challenging. I’m also really curious about the overall story after experiencing a taste of this!

Developed by Hadoque and published by Kepler Interactive

11 best Steam Next Fest Demos - #BLUD

2. #BLUD

Emily’s Pick

This feels like a love letter to 90s Cartoon Network shows, but with a modern and somewhat more edgy twist. A little bit Dexter’s Laboratory, a little bit Buffy the Vampire Slayer, you play as Becky as she navigates the trials and tribulations of her freshman years of high school, while also trying to save her friends and family from a vampire apocalypse. The characters are goofy, charming, and the overall experience was a hilarious, action-packed dose of nostalgia.

Developed by stoneskip and published by Humble Games

3. Coffee Caravan

Kate’s Pick

Are you a former barista? Are you addicted to stress and caffeine? If so, Coffee Caravan is for YOU and for ME! This game reminded me of SO many of my favorites (Lemon Cake, Slay The Spire) and who doesn’t dream of opening their own little coffee shop in a reclaimed minivan or trailer? Coffee Caravan adds the perfect amount of stress to our fantasies of a simple life.

Developed and published by Broccoli Games

4. Pesticide Not Required

Emily’s Pick

Ok, I get it now. I get why you all are bonkers for Vampire Survivors. Pesticide Not Required is a bullet-hell roguelite very much in the style of Vampire Survivors, where you play as a frog farmer, trying to fend off the waves of ravenous pests from their crops. One key difference from Vampire Survivors that I appreciated is that you level up your frog separately from its weapons. Weapon upgrades are bought as seeds and grown as crops, while frog experience points are earned through defeating enemies. I found that this twist actually kept me more engaged and excited to unlock new upgrades and weapons.

Developed and published by Jampacked Games

5. Pepper Grinder

Kate’s Pick

I simply couldn’t put this one down! This 2D platformer has a “drilling mode” where you can dive through the earth at incredibly satisfying speeds as you collect gems and destroy enemies. The best part is the chainsaw sound effect when you enter drilling mode. I also love a female protagonist with turquoise Hair (Shout out to Alex from Oxenfree!)

Developed by Ahr Ech and published by Devolver Digital

6. Dreamcore

Emily’s Pick

Dreamcore is a creepy, unsettling walking sim set in lonely and surreal Backrooms-style scenescapes. This is a great game if you like to feel the heebie-jeebies but aren’t quite a full-on fan of the horror genre. Prepare to take notes and observe your surroundings carefully if you want to figure out the puzzles hidden in these levels, but I honestly had a great time just wandering around and scaring myself.

Developed and published by Montraluz

7. Miniatures

Kate’s Pick

This set of whimsical and slightly sinister interactive short stories was an unforgettable experience! With a hand drawn art style and isolated sound effects, Miniatures offers you “stories seen from a children’s perspective.” This short demo was the perfect length to leave me wanting more, and I’ll immediately purchase Miniatures as soon as it becomes available. I gotta see what’s going on there!

Developed and published by Other Tales Interactive

8. Diceomancer

Emily’s Pick

I’ve commented more than once on how lately I’m seeing many indie games try to sell themselves purely based on mashing up two or more popular genres. If someone had pitched Diceomancer to me as a blend of Dungeons and Dragons-style encounters with deck building mechanics, I would have judged it as falling into this trap. Luckily I went in fresh and was absolutely delighted by the world-building, the art style, and the addictive combat. I played this demo for almost an hour and had to pull myself away, and I might even return to it again before the official release.

Developed by Ultra Piggy Studio and published by Gamera Games

9. Hauntii

Kate’s Pick

I honestly don’t even know how to describe my experience playing this demo. I laughed, I cried, I was in awe, I was delighted. In Hauntii, you play as a little ghost exploring the large world of eternity. You have the power to “haunt” items and use them to your advantage in this beautifully mysterious place. The art style and music cannot be described, it must be experienced! I think many people are going to love this game, and I can confidently say that this was my most memorable demo of Steam Next Fest. I really can’t wait for the release!

Developed by Moonloop Games and published by Firestoke

10. Duck Detective: The Secret Salami

Emily’s Pick

Paper Mario graphics are having a moment right now and, honestly, I’m not mad about it! I loved the cute 2D graphics and 3D environments paired with the tongue-in-cheek dialogue in this self-described Obra-Dinn-like investigation game. The demo is short, just about 15 minutes of gameplay, but it was a great taste and got me anxious for the full game’s release later in 2024!

Developed and published by Happy Broccoli Games

We discussed Duck Detective a bit in our Bonus Episode on the 2023 Wholesome Snack!

11. Pacific Drive

Kate and Emily’s Pick

Emily: You know I love a game with thick vibes, and Pacific Drive is the most thick when it comes to vibes. We’ve got a Pacific Northwestern setting, supernatural (or extraterrestrial???) anomalies, and an autoshop: the perfect recipe for a creepy and adrenaline-fueled road trip through the forest. The best part is its February 22, 2024 release date.

Kate: This is going to be my scary version of Firewatch on wheels. Pedal to the metal, babyyyy!

Developed by Ironwood Studios and published by Kepler Interactive

What were your favorite Steam Next Fest demos?

With over 1,000 demos featured in Next Fest, it was incredibly hard to boil down our list of favorites to just 11 titles. Not only did we have many more games that were at the top of our list of the demos we tried, but there were hundreds of great demos that we didn’t get to play!

We’d love to hear about your higlights from Steam Next Fest!! Let us know on Twitter what your top picks are!

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