I learned how to record animated Gifs today. That being said, here are 2020's Steam Game Festival demos that I liked. Thanks to Jason for bringing some of these to my attention in his recent Lockdown video.
Unto The End
It's like a mix of 2D Prince of Persia, Inside, and Bushido Blade. The deliberate, stance-based combat of attacking/parrying high or low feels good, with enemies that have enough animation frames for the player to react accordingly. Other than the prompts for picking up loot and crafting, there's no HUD. There was a point where I barely survived a 2-vs-1 fight and I had to continue on with a limp, repeatedly falling on my face.
Aside from the wobbly Gang Beasts-esque movement and head tracking, there's a realism to the way punches land and throw enemies off-balance that is beyond what the Fight Night and UFC games have ever done. Even if the final game ends up being a glorified tech-demo I'll still get it.
It's a standard crafting game where you're an old witch doing sidequests for NPCs you meet, but I love the medieval, pagan art direction and personality of the world. My biggest issue is that this demo needs a lot more QA because my gamepad, keyboard, and mouse suddenly become unresponsive after performing certain actions.
Fights in Tight Spaces
Card-based Superhot. I made it to the Prison Boss on my first run, which took me over an hour because I was overthinking every move and figuring out what all the onscreen numbers meant. The AI is generous enough not to give you a hand of trash cards because I was always able to escape being killed, till I ran out of health. Still don't know exactly when the gun enemies decide to shoot.
Anew: The Distant Light
This was featured in a UPF a couple years ago. Having now played it myself, the gameplay is nothing special...a Metroid-like that controls loosely like Shadow Complex. I'm mostly into the bizarre, French 70s sci-fi art style and evocative score.
Demos I'm on the fence on
- Ghostrunner - I think the forward momentum of the game goes against the trial-and-error nature of the difficulty, because I always got killed from the side or behind by offscreen projectiles I can barely hear under the thumping music.
- Haven - I don't understand why this is being so wishlisted other than it being hornier than the usual game.
- Cris Tales - A very pretty turn-based RPG with decent voice acting, but I'm worried this will be another Child of Light -- beautiful to look at but with little depth.
- SkateBIRD - Probably the most disappointing demo I downloaded based on my expectations. It needs a lot of work.
- Eastern Exorcist - The stamina-limited combat relies too much on figuring out (via getting hit by various attacks) when to exploit the parry counter. It's a shame because not many games are set in fantasy-China, but then Dynasty Warriors exists so I guess too many games are set in fantasy-China.
- Pull Stay - I give it a D+ for gameplay and an A+ for craziness. No other game has a shrimp tempura that can do a Raging Demon.