Steam Game Festival: Summer Edition Demo Highlights

Iron Harvest

Just in case you haven’t noticed yet, Valve is running their Steam Game Festival: Summer Edition event right now. Until June 22nd, gamers can sample dozens upon dozens of demos for upcoming games. There are also daily AMAs and livestreams where developers showcase some of the games participating in the event.

The sheer number of games participating means it’s nearly impossible to list them all. I’m personally in the process of playing through demos, and my desktop is littered with icons for about 30 of the damn things, and that isn’t even half of the demos on display.

It’s with that in mind that I decided to highlight some of the more noteworthy games that I’m personally looking forward to playing through. Many of these demos will get more in-depth impressions in separate previews.

Here is a list of 15 demos to check out during the Steam Game Festival:

Desperados 3
Developer: Mimimi Games
Publisher: THQ Nordic

Desperados 3

Let’s start with Desperados 3, a game that actually just recently released a few days ago. You can find my full thoughts on the game in my review; but the basic idea is that it’s an isometric, character-driven, stealth-action game by the developers of Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun.

I gushed about it in my review, stating that its not only an excellent stealth game with an interesting cast of characters, but is also a perfect example of how to reboot a classic franchise in the modern era.

Desperados 3 is available now on Windows PC (via Steam), PlayStation 4, Xbox One.


Developers: One More Level, Slipgate Ironworks, 3D Realms
Publisher: All in! Games


I played the Ghostrunner demo a while back during a different limited time event. In the game, you play as a cybernetic ninja ascending the Dharma Tower; a dystopian cyberpunk metropolis that houses the last remnants of humanity.

The game is essentially what you get if Mirror’s Edge was faster paced, and you had a katana that can slice people in half with a single stroke. This goes both ways, as you die in one hit as well.

Ghostrunner is launching 2020 for Windows PC (via Steam), PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.


Developer: Trepang Studios


Another demo I had a chance to play is Trepang2. In many ways, Trepang2 feels like a modern, indie-developed spiritual successor to F.E.A.R.

It has some extremely gory gunplay, a story involving all kinds of ethically questionable human experiments, and supernatural powers like invisibility and bullet time.

It’s pretty early in development, so the demo has its fair share of jank, but the gunplay is really fun, and I’m looking forward to what the developers can eventually come up with.

Trepang2 is coming soon to Windows PC (via Steam).


Developer: Arsi “Hakita” Patala
Publisher: New Blood Interactive


Rounding out the list of demos I’ve already had a chance to play is Ultrakill, an absolutely insane retro-inspired FPS. Ultrakill is challenging and full of completely over-to-top action that doesn’t let itself get bogged down by such lame concepts as “story” or “lore.”

You have a shotgun that can fire grenades, you can jump dozens of feet into the air, and your robotic fist is strong enough to punch rockets. The combat is accompanied by a grading system akin to the ones featured in Devil May Cry or Bulletstorm, and you can use your score to unlock new weapon variants. It’s loads of fun, so make sure you check out this demo for sure.

Ultrakill launches Summer 2020 on Windows PC via Steam.


Fae Tactics
Developer: Endlessfluff Games
Publisher: Humble Games

Fae Tactics

Fae Tactics is a tactical RPG I’m personally really looking forward to playing. The game is set in the same universe as Legend of Fae, and tells the story of a young magic user named Peony, that gets pulled into the growing conflict between humanity and the fae.

The game’s combat revolves around a streamlined and menuless battle system that, much like Legend of Fae, places a big emphasis on exploiting elemental strengths and weaknesses.

Fae Tactics launches 2020 for Windows PC (via Steam).


The Last Spell
Developer: CCCP
Publisher: The Arcade Crew

The Last Spell

The Last Spell is a turn-based tactical roguelite RPG about defending the last bastion of humanity against a never-ending tide of zombies and demonic creatures.

During the day, players will manage their stronghold and scavenge for resources. At night, players will need to defend their castle with a band of powerful, upgradable heroes. The ultimate goal is to hold out long enough for a council of mystics to cast the titular Last Spell, cleansing the land of the forces of darkness.

The Last Spell launches 2020 for Windows PC, Mac (both via Steam), and is coming soon to Nintendo Switch.


Destroy All Humans! (2020)
Developers: Pandemic Studios (original), Black Forest Games
Publisher: THQ Nordic

Destroy All Humans!

Destroy All Humans! is a near exact remake of the classic third-person action game by Pandemic Studios from 2005. I’ve played a prior demo for the remake, and honestly, the only true difference are the updated HD graphics.

Regardless of if you are a nostalgic fan of the series or a complete newcomer, the Destroy All Humans! remake is shaping up to be a faithful adaptation of the original game that still remains fun to this day.

Destroy All Humans! (2020) is releasing on July 28th for Windows PC (via GOG, and Steam), PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.


Book of Demons: Hellcard
Developer: Thing Trunk

Book of Demons: Hellcard

Book of Demons: Hellcard is a spin-off of Book of Demons, a card-based action-RPG with a papercraft aesthetic from 2018.

Whereas the original was closer to a Diablo-like RPG, Hellcard is more like a Slay the Spire-style deckbuilding roguelite. The largest difference from Slay the Spire is that monster placement plays a big role in battles, and that Hellcard can be played cooperatively with up to two friends.

Book of Demons: Hellcard launches Q4 2020 for Windows PC (via Steam).


The Riftbreaker
Developer: EXOR Studios

The Riftbreaker

The Riftbreaker is the next game by EXOR Studios, the developers of the excellent tower defense/top-down shooter hybrid, X-Morph: Defense. This time they are taking their blend of shooter and tower defense to its logical extreme by creating a base building survival action-RPG, where you directly control an upgradable mech.

As Captain Ashely S. Nowak you are tasked with establishing bases on the uncharted planet of Galatea 37, gathering resources to build defenses and craft upgrades, and then fending off gigantic hordes of alien wildlife that aren’t too happy about your presence.

The Riftbreaker launches 2020 on Windows PC via Steam.


Stronghold: Warlords
Developer: Firefly Studios

Stronghold: Warlords

Speaking of base defense, the Stronghold series is about to receive a new, Asian-themed installment called Warlords. For the first time, the franchise will leave the battlefields of medieval Europe and the Middle East behind in favor of ancient China and Japan, introducing many exotic new siege engines and infantry units from the Far East.

The “Warlords” part of the name also refers to a new mechanic, where players can recruit upgradable AI lords that can be assigned to different areas of your empire to unlock powerful bonuses and perks.

Stronghold: Warlords launches September 29th for Windows PC via Steam.


Iron Harvest
Developer: KING Art
Publisher: Deep Silver

Iron Harvest

If you want a smaller scale RTS, then chances are you’ve been keeping a close eye on Iron Harvest.

This Company of Heroes-inspired RTS is set in the world of 1920+, the same universe as the popular strategy board game, Scythe. If you don’t know what that means, 1920+ is an alternate history dieselpunk world where the battlefields of post-WWI Europe are dominated by mechs and other bizarre retro-futuristic technologies.

Iron Harvest launches September 1st for Windows PC (via Steam), PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.


Everspace 2
Developer: ROCKFISH Games

Everspace 2

Everspace 2 is the follow up to ROCKFISH’s hit space roguelite from 2017. While the original Everspace was a roguelite, Everspace 2 is more of an open-world sandbox space RPG.

This includes a greater focus on storytelling, completing quests for various people and factions, and gradually rising up the ranks from a scrappy newbie pilot in a flying rust bucket, to an intergalactic ace equipped with the latest in starfighter technology.

Everspace 2 will enter Early Access in December 2020 for Windows PC (via Steam), and launches 2021 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.


Tesla Force
Developer: 10tons Ltd

Tesla Force

As a fan of Tesla vs Lovecraft, and 10tons Ltd as a whole, I’m pretty excited to see how Tesla Force turns out.

While the original game was more of a top-down arcade shooter about Tesla shooting through hordes of Lovecraftian abominations, the sequel is taking a more roguelite-style approach. Tesla Force is also adding Lovecraft, Marie Curie, and Mary Shelly as playable characters.

Tesla Force enters Early Access on August 5th on Windows PC (via Steam).


Developer: Ominux Games
Publisher: Chucklefish


Starmancer is a space station management sim where you play as the station’s AI. Care for your human colonists’ well-being by constructing the rooms they need to establish a thriving artificial ecosystem, far away from the decimated wasteland that Earth has become.

Alternatively, you can go rogue and perform horrific experiments upon the helpless colonists. You’ll also need to fend off disasters, including invasions by space pirates and rival factions.

Starmancer is coming soon to Windows PC via Steam.


Solasta: Crown of the Magister
Developer: Tactical Adventures

Solasta: Crown of the Magister

Finally, we come to Solasta: Crown of the Magister, a turn-based tactical RPG based on the SRD 5.1 Ruleset under license from Wizards of the Coast.

Solasta is all about replicating the authentic tabletop experience, allowing players to build a party of four adventurers from a wide range of races, classes, and skills. The game also focuses more on verticality than your typical fantasy RPG as your party descends deeper into ancient and forgotten dungeons.

Solasta: Crown of the Magisters is coming soon to Windows PC via Steam.


Gestalt: Steam & Cinder
Developer: Metamorphosis Games
Publisher: Sold Out

Gestalt: Steam & Cinder

Editor’s Note: With the sheer wealth of demos available, I couldn’t resist chiming in with my own recommendation! This Metroidvania sports slick pixel art and animation, and promises a “twist-laden narrative.”

Players control Aletheia, as she seeks out the mysteries, conspiracies, and corruption behind the steampunk city of Canaan- mankind’s last bastion. Players grow and craft their abilities, and the choices they make will affect the lives of everyone in the city.

Gestalt: Steam & Cinder launches 2020 on Windows PC (via Steam), Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

Which of these demos are you currently giving a try? What other games being showcased in the Steam Games Festival are you excited for? Tell us in the comments below!

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Frank was a former Niche Gamer contributor.

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