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This year's Steam Next Fest runs between June 19 and June 26, showcasing hundreds of free demos for upcoming PC games. Below is a selection of some of the most noteworthy trials, but interested readers should check the Next Fest page, which categorizes the massive number of demos by genre.
While many of the demos will only be available until 10 AM Pacific on Monday, June 26, some will likely remain up indefinitely. Developer live streams are also available on many of the store pages to give users a good look at the gameplay before downloading and trying a demo.
This is 2023's first general "Fest," but Valve previously revealed the dates of every demo showcase for 2023. Others throughout the summer will focus on specific genres like visual novels or strategy games, while another general Next Fest will run in early October, possibly offering another chance to play a demo you either enjoyed or missed out on.
Justant (Release Date: TBA)
This action puzzle game from the developers of Life is Strange has players climb an immense tower while managing their resources and exploring alternate paths, which take them through multiple biomes. The title also offers players an early look at Unreal Engine 5.1, utilizing next-generation graphics features like Lumen and Nanite.
Cart Life (Release Date: 2023)
An award-winning life simulation game that puts players in the shoes of struggling street vendors as they manage a business and personal finances, Cart Life was originally released in 2010 but disappeared from Steam in 2014. The developer considers this new version the game's first "complete" edition, featuring new content and altered gameplay mechanics.
Rise of the Triad: Ludicrous Edition (Release Date: July 31)
The absurd 1995 classic first-person shooter has been available on Steam for years, but this new release gives the title the full Nightdive treatment. The remaster adds higher resolution support, ultrawide support, a FOV slider, controller support, an uncapped framerate, restored alternate characters, a new episode, and more. The demo includes one level from each of the four episodes.
The Invincible (Release Date: 2023)
Based on a classic hard sci-fi novel of the same name, The Invincible is a story-based adventure game where players piece together a mystery while exploring a mysterious alien planet. If you played the demo from May, the one available during the Steam Next fest is new.
Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective (Release Date: June 30)
From the creator of the Ace Attorney series, this remaster brings Capcom's supernatural detective adventure game to the PC for the first time. Players control a ghost who must manipulate objects and reverse time to solve the mystery of his murder. The new edition features improved graphics and music. Progress from the demo carries into the full game.
Shadow Gambit: The Cursed Crew (Release Date: August 17)
The latest turn-based tactics stealth game from the developers of Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun incorporates supernatural and Caribbean pirate themes. Players choose from multiple characters to tackle strategic challenges however they wish. The demo includes the game's first few hours, and progress will carry into the full release. Furthermore, the developers confirmed the demo is playable on a Steam Deck.
This sampling barely scratches the surface of what's available to try this week. The Steam Next Fest started as a remote alternative to physical showcase events, so developers are looking for player feedback. Check each store page for links to Discord or other social media channels to report issues or ask questions.