The Steam Game Festival: Summer Edition is live right now as part of “Not E3″ online events, and it includes demos for dozens of unreleased games. If you’ve never been to the Electronic Entertainment Expo, it’s a digital adaptation of this experience. You don’t walk up to 30 kiosks in a booth in the Los Angeles Convention Center; you get to enjoy demos from the comfort of your home PC. The festival runs through 10 a.m. Pacific on June 22, so you shouldn’t wait to give these a go.
But where to start? The Steam Game Festival has more demos than most people could play, so you should probably go in with a plan. And that’s where I come in to help. I’ve picked out a handful of demos that are worth downloading and trying for yourself.
Let’s start with my favorite game of Steam Game Fest so far.
Ultrakill is the latest action-packed shooter from New Blood Interactive. This one is from developer Arsi “Hakita” Patala, and it combines Quake-like speed and visuals with the combo system of something like Devil May Cry. If I had to tell you to play one game from the Steam Game Fest, I would point you to Ultrakill.
It has an excellent foundation. You play as a hypermobile robot that can dash in any direction, jump off walls, or slide at superspeed down corridors. Combat uses all that movement, but it also brings in weapons like a shotgun that gets stronger the more you pump it. You can also punch attacks back at enemies. This countering system is crucial to taking on powerful bosses.
Oh, also blood is fuel. That means you can get health back by soaking in the blood of the demons you destroy. It’s a good video game, and I can’t wait to play the full thing.
Ghostrunner is like if Mirror’s Edge were about a cybernetic ninja. Like Ultrakill, Ghostrunner is about moving quickly through a 3D environment. But where Ultrakill goes for a retro aesthetic, Ghostrunner is aiming for cutting-edge realism. It even support RTX for raytracing effects. But the big draw here is the way the game makes players feel like a bad ass. You will zip through stages, grapple over chasms, wall-run, and then slice enemies in half with your sword. Unlike Mirror’s Edge, whose enemies could break up the flow, Ghostrunner’s foes are simply part of the obstacles you must overcome.
Snowtopia is a resort-management sim. You take control of a snowy mountain ski destination, and I find that appealing as the days are getting hotter. In Snowtopia, it’s up to you to design the slopes as well as the lift system. Players will also need to maintain the quality of the snow. This is another game due out this year, according to developer TeaForTwo. But you can get a glimpse at what it’s going to play like now.