October opened with a fall festival for fans of indie games as Steam’s Next Fest is currently running with scores of short game demos to play for free. This PC-friendly, PC-friendly event, once known as Steam Game Festival was home to hundreds of titles. There are enough games for everyone during its seven-day duration, some even exceedingly overwhelming. But don’t worry about the cold reality of indecision; you can take comfort in our blanket of suggestions. The Steam Next Fest is only available until October 7th, but there’s plenty to look forward too in the first half.
Jump On The Hayride; We’re Going To The Festival
Bountiful treats await gamers this week at Steam’s packed carnival. One of indie’s most anticipated titles, Tunic, has a demo for anyone that missed it in the summer. Newcomers like Lil Gator Game are also available and will give gamers a taste of the game. New or old, familiar or little-known, here is a list of demos you shouldn’t miss.
The Zelda-like action-adventure game Tunic is offering a free hands-on experience on Steam this week for anyone interested in battling monsters and navigating dungeons as a plucky, sword-wielding fox. The team is calling it the “2021 demo,” so if you caught it during the Xbox Summer Game Fest or Indie Arena Online event, there won’t be any new content. In a game so packed with secrets to uncover, however, it’s possible this demo still holds a few surprises for anyone who previously played it and is a must-play for anyone that hasn’t tried it out yet.
Lil Gator game
Revealed only two weeks ago, MegaWobble’s Lil Gator Game is on the top of our list of demos to try out. According to its creators, the game will let you “bop cardboard baddies, climb mountain peaks, glide, fling, and ragdoll around as you discover new ways to approach your environment. Collect arts and craft supplies to create all sorts of goodies and see the park flourish.” If a game that mixes elements of A Short Hike and Zelda sounds good to you, don’t miss out on the chance to check Lil Gator Game this week.
The Last Campfire
Though the Steam Next Fest tends to highlight games that have not yet released, it seems like the organizers made an exception for Hello Games’ The Last Campfire. The team behind No Man’s Sky launched this puzzle-focused title on consoles last year, with an update coming out only a few months ago. On October 7, The Last Campfire, a demo-filled event that took place in the middle of which was filmed, will be fully launched on Steam. If you check out the demo, you’ll find yourself in an atmospheric world where you play as Ember, a small soul that is able to spark hope in those around it. You’ll travel from level to level, discovering those in need and aiding them by overcoming various puzzle-based challenges.
Aztech Forgotten Gods
Aztech Forgotten Goddesses explores mythological content that is less well-known than the Norse and Greek pantheons. The Mesoamerican-inspired story was first shown off in Nintendo’s April Indie World presentation, and this week is the first chance to get a feel for the action. The developers call it cyber-stone. You take on the role of Achtli. Here Aztec tradition meets futuristic technology. She wants to defeat the gods using her divinely-powerful artifacts.
According to developer Daniel Mullins Games, Inscryption combines these three elements: “deckbuilding roguelike, escape-room style puzzles, and psychological horror.” That description and the backing of well-known indie publisher Devolver Digital, known for its unusual titles, makes this demo worth a look. The free gameplay sample currently on Steam may help players wrap their heads around Inscryption’s moment-to-moment action, but be cautious. Unsettling is the promise of discovery.
The Good Life
It’s only been a couple of weeks since White Owls Inc., headed by Deadly Premonition director Swery65, revealed this long-awaited indie’s release date. Now you can play the photography-centered, debt-repayment RPG’s demo at the Steam Next Fest before it launches on PlayStation 4, Xbox One (via Game Pass), and PC on October 15. As deeply indebted reporter Naomi Hayward, you come to Rainy Woods hoping to rake in some cash and discover the town’s big secret. It could be that everyone can transform into dogs and cats. This is just a guess. Besides jumping into a cat’s body, the team says The Good Life will let players “cook, eat, sleep, shop, farm, and explore the town, taking on photography jobs and other more “unconventional” quests.”
Why would you only want to play one demo fox-centered when there are two options? Endling has a brand-new sneak peek of its gameplay where you’ll take the role of a mother fox protecting her furry little vulpine offspring. Unfortunately, defending your cubs won’t come easy in this 3D side-scrolling world where dangers like humans and environmental devastation lurk around every corner. Your failure to fulfill your mission will cause irreparable damage that can reach far beyond your personal tragedy, as you represent one of the last remaining foxes left on Earth.
Enjoy these Upcoming Releases and Snuggle up by the Fire
Enjoy this October’s beginning to get caught up on the amazing indies, before the scary half of the month begins.
PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC
Retro-inspired first-person shooter Exophobia gives off some early Doom vibes, so if that’s your jam, you might want to check out this early October gem. The game’s protagonist is having a bad day, having woken up in a hostile, maze-like spaceship stuffed with alien soldiers looking to kill any intruder. You have the ability to shoot, dashing, or use other extraordinary skills to save yourself from annihilation. You’ll even be able to find a room in the mayhem where you can upgrade your weapon, so that’s convenient. Exophobia will be released on October 5.
PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC
PlayStation owners, start your engines because Art of Rally is coming to Sony’s platforms for the first time on October 6. This indie driving sensation has finally made its way to PlayStation after PC gamers have enjoyed it for nearly a year and console users for several months. Art of Rally allows you to travel through 60 countries, and compete in Career mode. You’ll also be able to capture the game’s exceptional art style and your greatest high-speed maneuvers with Photo and Replay mode.
Xbox Series X/S. Xbox One.
Moonglow Bay tells the story of an angler on the Eastern Canadian coastline during the ’80s. While the game promises to be a “relaxing, slice-of-life fishing RPG,” its story may just wring a tear from your eye. Your partner died before you could keep your promise to continue the business. But bankruptcy may be just around the bend. In order to avert this fate, and to keep your promise to yourself, you set sail for the oceans in search of fish. The aquatic trophies you earn will inspire you to create sellable recipes that can be used in your shop or trade. Local co-op is available for those who feel the need to help others. You can invite a friend and have them join you once the game hits Xbox consoles via Game Pass, or PC, on October 7.
Travel with Book of Travels
Book of Travels has been delayed in August and will now be accessible on Steam Early Access October 11. Jumping in during this early period gives you access to chapter zero, something developer Might and Delight describes as the ongoing game’s first season. The game will remain in Early Access for the next two years. If you have yet to see this unique “TMORPG” – the “T” stands for tiny – here’s the basic premise. You’re dropped into an online world with beautiful rural areas and animated towns where meeting others is rare. This game is designed to be a relaxing, player-driven adventure.
PlayStation 4 (One, Switch), PC
We’ve had our eyes on this one since before it went into Early Access last summer, but now it’s time to see what the full game has to offer. The Pokémon-like Monster Crown is set to launch on October 12. Pokémon fans have a lot to look forward to this fall season, with Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl hitting in November. Monster Crown is a great option if you want to train adorable creatures, battle, catch and retrain them. You can check out the RPG’s Early Access trailer here to get a better idea of what to expect.
Disco Elysium – The Final Cut
PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One Switch, Stadia and PC
Disco Elysium was awarded more trophies in 2019’s The Game Awards than any other AAA or indie nomination. Our review gave it a 9. It’s featured in our list of best RPGs to play right now. Now, the game’s Final Cut is coming to Xbox consoles and Switch on October 12, giving everyone a chance to play. ZA/UM’s intricate, tabletop-inspired adventure tasks you with solving a murder. You’ll soon discover that you may not be the most competent agent you have. That discovery is aided by the game’s tremendous writing, which is fully voice-acted in The Final Cut.
The Ori Collection
Xbox Series X/S. Xbox One. Switch. PC.
What constitutes an indie is an ongoing discussion, and the Ori games fall in a grey area because its developer, Moon Studios, made both entries in the series with support from what’s now known as Xbox Game Studios. But it’s hard to cut this little furball spirit out of our indie lives, especially when Ori: The Collection is coming to Switch on October 12. The package contains Ori, the Blind Forest: Definitive edition and Ori. This beautiful franchise’s second entry earned a spot on our best current action games list, and soon you’ll be able to take it with you wherever you roam.
PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S and PC
The Xbox Game Pass will launch the Riftbreaker, an action RPG that combines elements of survival and real-time strategy base building. You can also fly in a mech suit, Captain Ashley Nowak, and enjoy all of the genre-blending fun. Your goal is to survive in hostile alien environments for long enough to learn how to make a transporter to return to Earth.
We are looking forward to covering some of the smaller titles in the second part of October. Are you looking forward to something else? Let us know what you think in the comments. If you need more indies in your life, don’t forget to check out our round-up of games that hit right at the beginning of the fall season and click the goose below for more list content.
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