Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Five Horror Demos to Check Out from Steam Next Fest – June 2024

Steam Next Fest is in full swing, wrapping up on June 17, with a whole new crop of demos for upcoming games.

It can be overwhelming to figure out which ones are worth your time, so here’s a list of five highlights to try out and add to your wishlist!


What if the Winchester Mystery House was a roguelike? This is the question that Blue Prince attempts to answer. An eccentric relative of yours passes away and leaves you their mysterious mansion on the condition that you can find the hidden 46th room in the 45 room estate. But of course there’s a catch: the house’s layout shifts every day, making any sort of consistent mapping impossible.

Each day you explore the house and attempt to get as deep as possible. Everytime you open a door, you’re presented with three options for what room will be on the other side. Rooms vary in the amount of doors and bonuses they confer, so there are many factors to consider with each new addition to the mansion. You’ll need to collect keys to make sure you can open locked doors that block your way, as well as collect gems that can be used to add more beneficial rooms. The day ends when you either build yourself into a situation where you have no new doors to go through or if you run out of “steps,” a resource which ticks down every time you enter a room.

While there aren’t any monsters that chase you through the hallways, there’s still an eerie vibe to your time in the house. There are surprises around every corner, including puzzles to solve and story moments to experience. Initially, Blue Prince felt like something that could be played in a more simplified board game format, but the act of walking through the gorgeously rendered house is so essential to the experience. It’s not entirely clear to me yet what the progression between runs feels like since the demo only lets you play four days, but Blue Prince has such a unique core loop that I can’t get it out of my mind.


I’m not a visual novel enthusiast, but I try to dabble in the genre when I find something interesting, and Vampire Therapist is the latest one to catch my eye. The game delivers exactly what the title promises: you play a vampire, who still dresses and acts like a cowboy, who wants to help his fellow creatures of the night by becoming a therapist. While the game is humorous (and a bit sexy on occasion), it takes the subject matter of mental health seriously and teaches you a bit about cognitive disorders that people suffer from.

Your dialog choices help add flavor to the story, like most visual novels, but the core of the gameplay involves identifying behaviors in other vampires and helping them work through it. For example, one client kept bringing up how his long time on Earth should have allowed him to make more progress on his project, and I identified how his “should statement” was harming his self-worth. It’s a unique angle to take on the genre, and its sharp writing kept me fully invested throughout. Add in great voice acting and a sharp art style, and you’ve got a total package of a visual novel on your hands. Very excited to see more from this one.

Vampire Therapist is due out July 18.


Nothing embodies the combination of survival and horror better than war, particularly the brutality of World War I trench warfare. Conscript throws you into the Battle of Verdun as a French soldier who is searching for his missing brother. Presented in a beautiful top down pixel art style, you explore trenches and bunkers as you scrounge for supplies and fight for your life during this horrific conflict.

After Amnesia: The Bunker, it shouldn’t be a surprise that this setting works so well, but the limited resources and high stakes combat of the survival horror genre compliment this situation perfectly. There were some absolutely harrowing battles where I was getting down to my last bullet while scrambling around the battlefield, chased by enemy soldiers. It was a tense and visceral experience that felt unique within the genre, hooking me right from the jump. I’m always excited to see new takes on classic survival horror, and this one sets itself apart.

Conscript is due out July 23.


If you’re looking for a fast and vicious arcade experience, Kill Knight is a no brainer. You’ve been banished to the Abyss, and must progress deeper by mowing down hoards of increasingly terrifying enemies with a variety of weapons. Clearly inspired by the recent DOOM games, there are several layers of mechanics that you need to use to their fullest to optimize your play while chasing high scores.

Your combinations of sword and guns all have their own utility and synergize with each other perfectly. Need more bullets for your heavy weapon? Use your sword to refill it. Low on health? Absorb pickups from enemies to charge your powered shot that explodes monsters into healing shards. There’s a clever balance of systems that adds complexity to the bullet hell gameplay, but does so without crossing over into ‘too much information to process’ territory. Initially it feels tough to keep track of, but once you get in a rhythm it’s surprising how intuitive it all becomes in motion. There are some extra pieces of equipment you can unlock by completing specific challenges, so I’m looking forward to seeing how those elements can evolve your play style in the full release.


I’m a sucker for a good tactics game, so when I saw a listing for a new one called Demonschool, I was instantly intrigued. You play a group of misfits at a university where the curriculum involves things like hunting down a haunted video tape or locating a cursed paint brush. Its tone is light and funny, even when dramatic phrases like “only nine weeks until the apocalypse” are brought up in conversation. Similar to the Persona series, you’ll be going to different locations around the school and surrounding area in order to interact with fellow students and investigate strange happenings involving both horrific demons and local gangsters. It’s presented with a combination of cartoon and pixel art styles with fun music to back it all up.

When you come across enemies, the game switches to a grid-based area for a tactical turn-based battle, but with a twist. You’re still trying to clear monsters from the board, but the battle ends when you have killed a specific amount of monsters, then move a character to the far side of the map to seal the portal. At the same time, you want to prevent demons from crossing over to your side of the map, adding in a bit of a tower defense flavor. All characters share AP to be used for various actions, and each character has their own niche in the group. Overall, the clever and fast-paced battle system complements the entertaining story and tone, which will definitely keep this game high on my wishlist.

Demonschool will be released September 13.

What games have you run across during this week’s Steam Next Fest? Sound off in the comments with your suggestions!

The post Five Horror Demos to Check Out from Steam Next Fest – June 2024 appeared first on Bloody Disgusting!.


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