Hundreds of video game samples are available to try – for free – on Steam as part of the Steam Next Fest. Valve describes the event, which runs from June 19 to June 26, as a “celebration of upcoming games,” and it is certainly that.

Browsing the sheer number of demos out there can be overwhelming, but it’s worth digging through the list. You’re sure to find something that catches your eye, and there’s no limit to how many games you can install and play. We’ve compiled a list of 13 games we’re excited about, but that’s not even close to the full list of promising games appearing at the latest Steam Next Fest.


Venba, from Visai Games, is a narrative cooking game set in the 1980s after an Indian mother immigrated to Canada with her family. The game revolves around solving puzzles that will bring back lost family members and reveal “a story of family, love, [and] loss.” VenbaThe release date is set for July 31st.

Spirit Swap: Lofi Beats to Match-3 To

From the developer of Soft Not Weak, Spirit Swap: Lofi Beats to Match-3 To is a puzzle game with a queer, magical twist. The narrative revolves around a match-third game and lo-fi music. There are dating sim elements, a story and even rooms to decorate. Spirit Swap: Lofi Beats to Match-3 To is expected to be released in 2023.

Goodbye Volcano High

KO_OP Goodbye Volcano High recently won the Video Game Awards at the 2023 Tribeca Festival, and now you can play its demo via Steam Next Fest. Goodbye Volcano High is described as a “cinematic narrative adventure” where you play as Fang, a senior high school student. It looks moody, sweet and sincere. Goodbye Volcano High will be released on August 29.


Searcher is a game of perception and perspective, using photographs to change an already tired world. From Sad Owl Studios and Thunderful Publishing, Searcher is an innovative game where you will use pictures to solve puzzles and open the world. Searcher is scheduled for release on July 18.

Pacific Drive

Survival adventure game Pacific Drive is an energetic experience where your customizable station wagon is your most important tool. From developer Ironwood Studios, Pacific Drive is a journey out of a dangerous world where you have to scavenge and explore if you want to survive. It is expected in 2023.

Laika: Aged Through Blood

Developer Brainwash Gang describes Laika: Aged Through Blood as “a Western-inspired motovania set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. To that I say: Yes! The beautifully stylized world features a motorcycle-riding “mother coyote” on an “endless path of vengeance to reclaim what her people lost.” Laika: Aged Through Blood is listed as coming soon.

Star link

4X games are notoriously long, letting you play for hours (and days and weeks). That’s great and all, but sometimes a rich experience is nice. That’s where the 4X game comes in Star link comes in. Designed to be played in hours, the sci-fi strategy game condenses everything you love about 4X games into a short, sharp and almost board game-like experience. There is no release date yet.

Sticky Business

If you’ve ever wanted to try building a small, creative business, then Sticky Business is for you. The cute, cozy game from Spellgarden Games is a sticker-making small business sim. You’ll design, sell, and then pack orders as you navigate your way around running a cute little shop. Sticky Business is expected to be released in 2023.

Saltsea Chronicles

From the creator MutationThe Good Factory’s Saltsea Chronicles takes place on the high seas in a ‘post-flood world’. There’s plenty to see on the salt lakes and lots of people to meet as you make your way through the ruins of the old world. Plus there are cats! Saltsea Chronicles coming in 2023.

Basket life

Basket life is back thanks to a collaboration between developer Richard Hofmeier and AdHoc Studio. The game famously disappeared from stores years ago, but it’s back – first as a demo at the Steam Next Fest – so players can explore the lives of three street vendors once again. Basket life is expected to be released in 2023.

Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes – Definitive Edition

Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes – Definitive Edition has it all: puzzle, strategy and RPG. The game was first published in 2009 by Capybara Games, and the final version, coming on July 20, combines the original game with DLC, new character art, and “many quality-of-life improvements and an expanded, fully reworked and rebalanced online mode.”

Fortune’s Run

Team Fortune Fortune’s Run has a classic first person shooter feel with a twist – it has a fighting game system. You’ll punch and slash your way through the gritty world while mastering different combos and special moves. Fortune’s Run will be released on Sept. 1.

Americas Tower simulator

Americas Tower simulator puts you in the seat of an air traffic controller, clearing planes for takeoff and guiding them to their gates. You’ll quickly be turning multiple plates as you transmit severe weather data, clear the runway of birds and respond to emergency landings. The immersion is complete with the game’s use of voice recognition. You have to learn some jargon, but it’s worth it for the magic of piloting planes around the airport with nothing but your voice. Americas Tower simulator lands sometime in 2023.

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