The Steam Game Festival is underway at the time of writing. This is an event where developers show off their upcoming games by releasing exclusive time-limited demos — and there are some real belters out there this year.
Over on Rice Digital, I picked out five of my favourite demos from this year’s Festival that are well worth your time. I kind of want to talk more about all of them, but I’ll take them one at a time — starting with probably the one I found the most striking.
Tasomachi: Behind the Twilight, also known as Tasogare ni nemuru machi (A City Sleeping in Twilight), is a 3D platformer with a gorgeous soft-edged visual style and some intriguing exploration-based gameplay. And I love what I’ve seen so far.
If you’ve been following along for a while, you’ll know that friend of the site and big bossman of DigitallyDownloaded.net Matt Sainsbury has been beavering away at a series of visual novels of late.
Collectively known as My Time With Dee Dee, each “volume” of the series focuses on a particular aspect of literature and explores it in depth from a practical perspective, both through the volume’s own narrative and a bonus academic-style explanation of the genre or school of thought.
Sometime in 1997. I am in my last year of compulsory education. My brother, ten years my senior, has come home from America to visit, on vacation from his job on Electronic Gaming Monthly and the Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine. I always enjoy this, because he tells me all about the interesting new games that are coming out for exciting new platforms like the Sony PlayStation.
“Have you heard of Final Fantasy VII?” he asks. I respond in the negative. I had a feeling I’d heard the name Final Fantasy before, perhaps in the Super NES magazine Super Control that his ex-girlfriend used to work on back before they split — and before he left our green and pleasant isle for pastures new — but I’d never really paid it much mind. He seemed excited, though — and given that his position meant that he saw a lot of new games each and every day, this was enough to make me pay close attention.
“It’s the only game that I’ve ever seen make someone cry,” he said. I knew immediately that I had to play it. And thus a switch flipped, and what would become the Pete of today was born.
Sometimes when you sit down in front of your 1980s microcomputer, you don’t really want to do anything particularly productive or meaningful.
If you’ve ever found yourself in this situation, you have long been well catered to, since both interactive and non-interactive demos and software toys have been part of the public domain software landscape pretty much since the earliest days of computing.
A great example of something that is fun to play with but has no real “meaning” to it is Jane’s Program, an addictive exploration of sound, colour and rudimentary physics that might be just the thing if you’ve had a hectic day!
It’s always a pleasure when a developer, publisher or localiser reaches out to me and asks if I’ll take a look at their project, because it tends to expose me to things that I might otherwise have been unaware of.
In turn, I can then share those things with you, and you can check them out as well! Everyone wins.
The latest title I’ve encountered in this manner is Bluemoonpark, an upcoming Kickstarter-funded visual novel by LA-based startup Amateras Inc and Korean developers Archive Factory Creative Group and Project Team Heimdallr. Let’s take a first look!
I’m no expert on mech games — or indeed the mecha “genre” in general — but Daemon x Machina had me intrigued from the moment Nintendo announced it.
And it’s certainly a game that is worthy of your attention, regardless of whether or not you have an interest in giant robots blowing things up; the sheer amount of pedigree attached to the project makes it immensely intriguing.
With that in mind, then, I decided to give the Prototype Missions demo that launched on Valentine’s Day a go. Read on for some impressions!