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Game News Steam Next Fest, February 2023: Demos of upcoming RPGs available from February 6th to 13th

Infinitron

I post news
Staff Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2011
Messages
96,881
Codex Year of the Donut Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Pathfinder: Wrath I'm very into cock and ball torture I helped put crap in Monomyth
Tags: 68k Studios; Adventure Awaits; Archmage Rises; Brace Yourself Games; Coldwild Games; Dark Envoy; Defiance Game Studio; Drop Rate Studio; Event Horizon; Ludus Mortis; MocaJet; Phantom Brigade; Prometheus Wept; Steam Next Fest; Stories from the Outbreak; Timeslip Softworks; Urban Strife; Wantless; White Pond Games

Demos for hundreds of upcoming titles will be available on Steam until next week as part of the latest edition of Steam Next Fest. The February installment of Steam Next Fest is usually less interesting than the other two, but this year a good number of anticipated RPGs are participating for the first time. These include vaporware mage simulator Archmage Rises, which is finally entering Early Access in April, guns n' sorcery real-time tactical RPG Dark Envoy, undead ancient Rome dungeon crawler Ludus Mortis, simultaneous turn-based tactical mech RPG Phantom Brigade, which is finally leaving Early Access on February 28th, and Prometheus Wept, the post-technology RPG from Vigilantes creator Daithi McHugh.

As usual, developer livestreams for some of these games are scheduled over the course of the week, the details of which are available on their Steam pages. Feel free to post your impressions of these and any other interesting titles you discover during the event.
 

Moaning_Clock

SmokeSomeFrogs
Developer
Joined
Feb 7, 2021
Messages
651
Ludus Mortis looks super interesting. There is still a lot of untapped potential in historical inspired Dungeon Crawlers, aside from the Raskopnik one (WW2) and this, there are none afaik!

:kingcomrade:
 

notpl

Arbiter
Joined
Dec 6, 2021
Messages
1,275
Adventure Awaits bucks the current trend of endless stats & dialog by bringing back the era of the Ultimas (Exodus, Quest for the Avatar, etc.) when RPGs were simpler and more approachable. The story, quests, and all maps are procedurally generated to provide endless replayability.

Zzzz....
 

Grauken

Arcane
Patron
Joined
Mar 22, 2013
Messages
12,545
Adventure Awaits bucks the current trend of endless stats & dialog by bringing back the era of the Ultimas (Exodus, Quest for the Avatar, etc.) when RPGs were simpler and more approachable. The story, quests, and all maps are procedurally generated to provide endless replayability.

Zzzz....
Lol referencing Ultima and then talking about procedurally generated stories. There should be a punishment for that
 

deuxhero

Arcane
Joined
Jul 30, 2007
Messages
11,215
Location
Flowery Land
Two of the three demos I even considered I put on ignore after reading the full description. First when I saw pronouns in character creation, and the other saying they were the developers of Chroma Squad. DLed Grim Guardians.
 

deuxhero

Arcane
Joined
Jul 30, 2007
Messages
11,215
Location
Flowery Land
I care about playing as a cute girl. If I can't only play as a crazy man, I'm not playing as a cute girl.
 

lukaszek

the determinator
Patron
Joined
Jan 15, 2015
Messages
12,482
execute extra clicks to move appear to be popular strategy with this demo festival.
Its like if devs played games as much as codex admins
 

elverkongen

Learned
Joined
Apr 17, 2020
Messages
148
Took a peek at Adventure Awaits. Where are these fucking character models coming from? I've seem them crop up goddamn everywhere. Are they stock assets from Unity or something? Christ almighty they're uglier than sin and massively overused to boot.

ss_03e83919de44ab250a96cee4c131c26b5a0eac5c.1920x1080.jpg
 

elverkongen

Learned
Joined
Apr 17, 2020
Messages
148
I just played the Dark Envoy demo. 11 minutes Steam says. Subtract loading times and that's maybe 9. Subtract character creation and that's about 3. It felt very generic both in presentation and combat, maybe that changes if I got more than 3 minutes of gameplay but I can't imagine ever thinking, "Hey wouldn't it be great to play this remarkably subpar version of something you've played before?"

Played almost half an hour of Archmage Rises which reminded me a little bit of Neo Scavenger. At the start you have to generate a world complete with "historic events" although it's not readily apparent whether this impacts... well, anything, except to excite the butt-huffing of the procedural generation cult. Are NPCs and quests proc-gen as well? I'm guessing quests are (since they are shit like "kill 5 skeletons", "kill 5 spiders") but I saw one NPC going by the name of "Sylvester Stelon" (or maybe it was "Stefon", I can't go back and check as you'll see soon). Anyway, on a map tile I got a random event where I found some shrubbery. There were choices about how to deal with the shrubbery, I went with the one in which I would tend to it and help it grow because there wasn't an option to bring the shrubbery to a bunch of strange knights. Right after that the game bugged out and I couldn't do anything. The only way to save is "Save and Quit". Oh and the only way to quit is "Save and Quit". I did that, reloaded, and the problem persisted. I said fuck it and decided to quit altogether but the game bugged out again when trying to exit so I had to terminate the application.

I tried Phantom Brigade which was probably the most impressive of the bunch. It has a unique spin (or at least one I've never seen) on turn-based combat in that you plan out the actions for each turn along a timeline, then execute them and watch them unfold. When the actions are plotted on the timeline it kind of reminds me of music recording software like Garageband :-D As interesting as that may be, I can see it becoming pretty tedious after a few battles. The "brigade" starts out as a squad of your typical current-era rag-tag group of diverse survivors complete with non-white short-haired females (although there is a white male on the squad, how dare they?!). I played for nearly a half-hour which included two battles and several cutscenes and in-game cutscenes that I skipped because the story so far sounds like it was ripped from Ace Combat 7. I probably would have played a little more but FPS started tanking after the second battle, hovering around 10 or so. My PC isn't new but the way this game looks... it shouldn't be struggling so much.

I almost forgot about the Shadow of Doubt demo. It seems to be an imsim or similar but the world is proc-gen and everything is made of voxels apparently so it's ugly as fuck. You're an ex-cop investigating... stuff, I assume proc-gen stuff. You have an investigation board you can pin stuff to like people, locations, items, etc. Using the menu felt like shit, especially the inventory. The first time I had to pick a lock I opened the inventory to try to equip a lock pick and didn't see any in there despite picking some up. I also tried to equip a wrench because I'm a goddamn red blooded American and I like to hit stuff with wrenches in my imsims. Imagine my horror when I realized you can only throw it. I tried to follow the leads I discovered, which pointed me to a woman's name and her apartment number. Went up to the 9th floor, knocked on the door - no response. Figured I'd have to break in. Disabled the security camera (by lock picking a breaker box, not by hacking :mad:) then let myself in. She was dead on the floor and so the game wanted me to escape through a vent. Awesome, right? NO. These are procedurally-generated vents. This is a new horror dreamed up by the sick and depraved. They are so long, with many branching paths, just when you think you're going in the right direction - nope, dead end and the only way is straight up for 10 floors. Eventually I found an exit to someone's bathroom and they were pissed I was in their apartment so they started punching me. What the fuck do I do? I had to open my inventory, equip my fists, then beat on 'em. Well apparently I exited out the wrong vent because the tutorial instructions wouldn't advance further. So much for "play your way".

Almost forgot, the first phone I found I dialed 000451 and someone named "Jamal" answered.

7ad16w.jpg


Long story short, proc-gen implemented in an imsim - "wow!" but much more importantly, "why?"
 
Joined
Jul 8, 2006
Messages
2,896
I just played the Dark Envoy demo. 11 minutes Steam says. Subtract loading times and that's maybe 9. Subtract character creation and that's about 3. It felt very generic both in presentation and combat, maybe that changes if I got more than 3 minutes of gameplay but I can't imagine ever thinking, "Hey wouldn't it be great to play this remarkably subpar version of something you've played before?"

Played almost half an hour of Archmage Rises which reminded me a little bit of Neo Scavenger. At the start you have to generate a world complete with "historic events" although it's not readily apparent whether this impacts... well, anything, except to excite the butt-huffing of the procedural generation cult. Are NPCs and quests proc-gen as well? I'm guessing quests are (since they are shit like "kill 5 skeletons", "kill 5 spiders") but I saw one NPC going by the name of "Sylvester Stelon" (or maybe it was "Stefon", I can't go back and check as you'll see soon). Anyway, on a map tile I got a random event where I found some shrubbery. There were choices about how to deal with the shrubbery, I went with the one in which I would tend to it and help it grow because there wasn't an option to bring the shrubbery to a bunch of strange knights. Right after that the game bugged out and I couldn't do anything. The only way to save is "Save and Quit". Oh and the only way to quit is "Save and Quit". I did that, reloaded, and the problem persisted. I said fuck it and decided to quit altogether but the game bugged out again when trying to exit so I had to terminate the application.

I tried Phantom Brigade which was probably the most impressive of the bunch. It has a unique spin (or at least one I've never seen) on turn-based combat in that you plan out the actions for each turn along a timeline, then execute them and watch them unfold. When the actions are plotted on the timeline it kind of reminds me of music recording software like Garageband :-D As interesting as that may be, I can see it becoming pretty tedious after a few battles. The "brigade" starts out as a squad of your typical current-era rag-tag group of diverse survivors complete with non-white short-haired females (although there is a white male on the squad, how dare they?!). I played for nearly a half-hour which included two battles and several cutscenes and in-game cutscenes that I skipped because the story so far sounds like it was ripped from Ace Combat 7. I probably would have played a little more but FPS started tanking after the second battle, hovering around 10 or so. My PC isn't new but the way this game looks... it shouldn't be struggling so much.

I almost forgot about the Shadow of Doubt demo. It seems to be an imsim or similar but the world is proc-gen and everything is made of voxels apparently so it's ugly as fuck. You're an ex-cop investigating... stuff, I assume proc-gen stuff. You have an investigation board you can pin stuff to like people, locations, items, etc. Using the menu felt like shit, especially the inventory. The first time I had to pick a lock I opened the inventory to try to equip a lock pick and didn't see any in there despite picking some up. I also tried to equip a wrench because I'm a goddamn red blooded American and I like to hit stuff with wrenches in my imsims. Imagine my horror when I realized you can only throw it. I tried to follow the leads I discovered, which pointed me to a woman's name and her apartment number. Went up to the 9th floor, knocked on the door - no response. Figured I'd have to break in. Disabled the security camera (by lock picking a breaker box, not by hacking :mad:) then let myself in. She was dead on the floor and so the game wanted me to escape through a vent. Awesome, right? NO. These are procedurally-generated vents. This is a new horror dreamed up by the sick and depraved. They are so long, with many branching paths, just when you think you're going in the right direction - nope, dead end and the only way is straight up for 10 floors. Eventually I found an exit to someone's bathroom and they were pissed I was in their apartment so they started punching me. What the fuck do I do? I had to open my inventory, equip my fists, then beat on 'em. Well apparently I exited out the wrong vent because the tutorial instructions wouldn't advance further. So much for "play your way".

Almost forgot, the first phone I found I dialed 000451 and someone named "Jamal" answered.

7ad16w.jpg


Long story short, proc-gen implemented in an imsim - "wow!" but much more importantly, "why?"
lol..equip fist
 
Joined
Jul 8, 2006
Messages
2,896
Took a peek at Adventure Awaits. Where are these fucking character models coming from? I've seem them crop up goddamn everywhere. Are they stock assets from Unity or something? Christ almighty they're uglier than sin and massively overused to boot.

ss_03e83919de44ab250a96cee4c131c26b5a0eac5c.1920x1080.jpg
its so retro though! oh....look!! the little tree/bush thing has a shadow! maybe it is so ugly because I only had shadows turned up to medium....lol... Who cares if your ugly little tree has a shadow or not? Why even include 'shadows' at this point?.... The green health bar over everyones head just bleeds into the green background..are they even trying? or maybe its because its a beta and its really a giant green screen and when the final version comes out the monotonous green background is actually going to be replaced by transfixing special effects...that is probably what is happening here.
 
Last edited:

lukaszek

the determinator
Patron
Joined
Jan 15, 2015
Messages
12,482
By the way, I will be glad to have some of you as alpha testers!

I have a few Steam keys in my pockets, let me know if you are interested!

You can send a DM (you can also contact via discord here: https://discord.gg/MD3gbcMSNb)

not part of fest, but after trying it myself I can attest its better than anything on this list. He can use our feedback and support so will be able to buy proper display for his future dev work
 

Grauken

Arcane
Patron
Joined
Mar 22, 2013
Messages
12,545
By the way, I will be glad to have some of you as alpha testers!

I have a few Steam keys in my pockets, let me know if you are interested!

You can send a DM (you can also contact via discord here: https://discord.gg/MD3gbcMSNb)

not part of fest, but after trying it myself I can attest its better than anything on this list. He can use our feedback and support so will be able to buy proper display for his future dev work

Open-world procedural illustrated text-based RPG

eh, god no
 

Taka-Haradin puolipeikko

Filthy Kalinite
Patron
Joined
Apr 24, 2015
Messages
18,906
Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy Bubbles In Memoria
By the way, I will be glad to have some of you as alpha testers!

I have a few Steam keys in my pockets, let me know if you are interested!

You can send a DM (you can also contact via discord here: https://discord.gg/MD3gbcMSNb)

not part of fest, but after trying it myself I can attest its better than anything on this list. He can use our feedback and support so will be able to buy proper display for his future dev work

Open-world procedural illustrated text-based RPG

eh, god no
Are illustrations too much?
 

rap2h

Arcane
Developer
Joined
Dec 21, 2022
Messages
52
Location
France
Hi, developer of Secret of Darkwoods here! Thank you for your interest (I just received a notification about this thread, so here I am)

The game is a traditional gamebook that you can explore the way you want, with 700 unique paragraphs (some have many variations). Not for everyone though!

https://store.steampowered.com/app/2271590/The_Secret_of_Darkwoods/

I would be glad to have testers! lukaszek tested it and sent me useful feedback that helped me improve the game.

Feel free to send me a DM and I will send you a key to tests alpha (testers will have their name in credits, that's the only thing I can offer since the game is free (and costs me a lot!))
 

rap2h

Arcane
Developer
Joined
Dec 21, 2022
Messages
52
Location
France
By the way, maybe I should remove the word "procedural" from the page since it's just for filler indeed (all side quests and game situations are handwritten too).
 

CyberWhale

Arcane
Glory to Ukraine
Joined
Mar 26, 2013
Messages
6,011
Location
Fortress of Solitude
Feel free to send me a DM and I will send you a key to tests alpha (testers will have their name in credits, that's the only thing I can offer since the game is free (and costs me a lot!))
1. What do you mean by free? I hope you're talking only about keys to alpha testers, and not in general.
2. Open a thread for your game and update it with news and use it for discussion.
 

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