Today I played: Steam Game Festival

I spent a lot of yesterday waiting for UPS to bring my copy of Animal Crossing: New Horizons (yes, I bought a physical copy, I am old school like that). To avoid counting the hours, I played a few more demos on Steam. Here are my thoughts:

Filament

Screenshot from Beard Envy website: Filament Coming q1 2020

Filament is a puzzle game. Your space explorer has found a station in need of help. You use your little robot to solve puzzles involving lighting up pillars around the station to open doors. Another one that starts out simple but eventually you find yourself scratching you head. As you move through the station, you get little bits of story from the lone survivor trapped somewhere on board.

Definitely a fun demo and a game I will watch out for because I was enjoying the puzzles.

Spiritfarer

Spiritfarer describes itself as “a cozy management game about dying” which sounds rather grim but it is actually a beautiful game with hand-drawn art and, most importantly, a HUG option to hug your friends.

From what I could tell from the demo, you have souls on board who tell you when they are ready to move on, but they have a few quests for you before the actually depart. I loved the art style. The first character I met was this snake creature, wrapped in a robe, she was so darling. Like all games today, there is a fishing mechanic, but it was lovely to catch the fish then cook the fish for my friends on the ship.

This one is on my list and one I want to get when it comes out because it has so much potential for a beautiful story. I could already tell that saying goodbye to these characters was going to be rough. But I love the whole concept. Please check out this demo, especially if you’re a fan of games like Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing but want to change it up with a little bit more platforming.

Backworlds

screenshot from Backworlds

In Backworlds, you play as a weird looking creature who can manipulate reality, changing things from color to black and white, revealing a hidden world. You push, pull and platform around, solving puzzles and collecting the swirling rainbow blobs that open gateways into the next zone.

This one is light on story and more just about gameplay. I thought it was interesting that both this and Chicory were based on messing with colors in the game. It didn’t take my long to get stuck in this one and I didn’t finish the demo because I wasn’t feeling engaged enough to keep trying. Might have just been tired.

A Space for the Unbound – Prologue

This demo is a prologue to the main game in the world. It has a very “Your Name” feel, with two friends who are manipulating the world around them using a magical red book that lets them see and access people’s inner desires, helping them overcome their mental blocks.

I really love the look of this game, it has beautiful pixel animation giving it a retro-vibe of the 90s point and click adventures but the animation is so well done it somehow feels modern at the same time.

This is very much an interactive visual novel and story rich. After playing the prologue, I am curious about what the full story will be like and might pick this up at some point when I need something chill.

When the Past Was Around – Prologue

animated gif from When The Past Was Around

I mean, look at that image. THIS GAME IS GORGEOUS. Another hand-drawn gem. This one is a point-and-click puzzle game but there is a story going on behind it that is unfolding slowly, all told through images, letting you interpret what happened between this young girl and her owl-headed (?) boyfriend.

One of the shorter demos, but it was very much a mood. And the set pieces were just so beautiful, I actually felt bad anytime I clicked a plant and it would suddenly fall over, wishing I could pick it up and tidy the place up again.

One to watch and definitely a game that will show up on the “OMG SO PRETTY” lists once it is fully released.

And then UPS arrived with Animal Crossing: New Horizons and I began setting up my island…

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