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Johnny Unusual


Wait, I played Deep Rock this year?


Today I learned that the average Steam user in 2023 played only 4 different games. Which blows my mind, really.

Paul le Fou

24/7 lofi hip hop man to study/relax to
I only played 3 games this year on Steam: Tacoma, Pentiment, and Case of the Golden Idol. Pentiment had the most playtime and sessions.


Red Plane
I had three games, one of which was retroarch which I didn’t actually spend any time playing anything in, just fiddling with the menus trying to get it set up. So I had like 95% of my steam time in Elden Ring and a bit of Natsuki Chronicles. I also played a lot of ZeroRanger, but I got it from itch and only launched it through steam, which the review thing doesn’t count.


Aging Hipster Dragon Dad
Next Fest thoughts:

 Zau is a lot more Metroid-y than I was expecting out of metroidvania based on African mythology. This might end up being cool, but the demo's performance was a bit rough on the Steamdeck at least.

The other metroidvania I thought was worth noting was Ultros for how inscrutably weird it is. Combat is a little stiff and it can be visually confusing, but I'm still intrigued because nothing else quite looks like this.

Pretty much every other metroidvania I tried was awkwardly riffing on Hollow Knight, so moving on...

Pepper Grinder seems like a delightful platformer. Don't think I need to explain this one.

Mad Mulletjack is over the top schlock combing 80s ultraviolet OVA anime, Hotline Miami, Boomer Shooters, Half Minute Hero, and Roguelikes. I'm not sure how a full game of this will pan out, but the demo is worth checking out.


Slam Master
(he, etc.)
Also Nextfest thoughts:

Mullet Mad Jack does, indeed, rule. I agree with Becksworth that I'm not certain it will hold for an entire game, but if it's cheap enough, I'm in, regardless.

Rot Wood is Klei going back to an action game for the first time in a while, and it's like... Castle Crashers but with more RPG elements? And also kinda a roguelike? Not sure how it would do solo, but I played it four player last night and had fun.

Crow Country is like... Resident Evil with FF7 Duplo people? In a haunted amusement park. I need to finish the demo, but I like it so far.

Anger Foot is the 2nd best FPS I played during Nextfest so far. I... yeah. I think I expected more from Free Lives.

Balatro is still better than it has any right to be.

Children of the Sun is one telekinetic sniper's battle against a cult, and let me tell you: if an aesthetic that I can best describe as the movie Mandy meets Killer7 in a puzzle game about sniping cultists with a single bullet sounds good to you, well... download this demo.

Stick It to the Stickman is a bit of a disappointment. It's... fine.

I also grabbed Zau and Peppergrinder, as well as Dicefolk, Hollowbody, Pacific Drive, Mouthwashing, and Normal Fishing, but haven't played any of those yet.


Slam Master
(he, etc.)
More Nextfest impressions:

Dicefolk will probably scratch a particular itch for some folks here, but it didn't do much for me.

Mouthwashing is genuinely unsettling in a way I find hard to elucidate, but if you enjoy feel nervous and stressed and kinda grossed out, I recommend it. (This doesn't actually say much: it's a kinda PS1-style first-person adventure game, in the vein of D or Enemy Zero but featuring the free-roaming but not combat of the latter.)

I played more of Mad Jack and Children of the Sun and stand by my initial feelings.


My NextFest demo impressions:

Geometry Survivor: Mash Geometry Wars and Vampire Survivor together to get this. It's fun!

Balatro: So excited for this to come out. I should make a thread before it's out.

Tales of Kenzera: Zau. I would be playing this on Switch rather than Steam but there's no demo on Switch. This was fun and I enjoy a game with vibrant colours like this.

Pepper Grinder: I enjoyed this but it's definitely the sort of game that I might not be good enough to play as the difficulty increases.

Baladins: A very cute local play D&D game with a time loop mechanic. The interface has a couple bugs but I enjoyed it.

I'm not sure how I heard about StellaGale, but the writing was very, very bad so only played about 10 minutes before deciding this was too annoying to deal with. It takes a lot for the writing/grammar/typos in a Hack and Slash game to annoy me so much I quit but here we are.


Slam Master
(he, etc.)
Pepper Grinder was fine, but not exactly what I expected. Might grab it on sale at some point down the line.

Normal Fishing is... well, not exactly what the title says, but I like it. It's like... a fishing shoot-'em-up, but not like Darius.


Slam Master
(he, etc.)
Berserk Boy is a 2D, Mega Man-ish thing with melee attacks instead. Probably will appeal to a bunch of folks here.

Cryptmaster is a fun and unique take on the dungeon crawler. Think dungeon crawler meets Typing of the Dead, but with a sort of Crypt Keeper or the Gatekeeper from VHS board game Nightmare persistently narrating as you type in commands/attacks. I also love the art style.


LudoNarraCon has started, probably my favourite Steam festival each year. I've always loved story-heavy games and every year this festival introduces me to something new and lovely.

This year there's a lot I've already played a demo of or other people have told me about but here are ones I'll call out after taking a glance through the list:

- Times & Galaxy is about being a junior robot reporter, I played the beta and enjoyed it
- Wander Stars is a word puzzle fighting game, I feel like I played the demo for this a long time ago
- Baladins I mentioned in a previous post, had some issues with the controls but all seemed fixable
- Citizen Sleeper I thought this was leaving Gamepass but it appears to still be on there, there's no demo for this fest but I really recommend this game. They just announced a sequel which I'm looking forward to.
- Pacific Drive is one I've heard about from a lot of people here. No demo and I have to say I'm personally struggling with the driving controls/mechanics of it but I really want to like it and will keep trying.
- A Highland Song another one without a demo that I'm curious about. I'm bad at rhythm games so I really want to try this before I buy it.
- Stray Gods is fantastic and just got DLC announced today which is based around Orpheus, very excited for this to come out in June.


I caught up on the Wholesome games, the Women-led games and the Accessibility showcases today and oh boy there were a lot of neat things in those. I was downloading demos as I went and ended up with 24?! Yikes.

Lessee, Tiny Bookshop, Caravan Sandwitch, Fruitbus, Lost and Found Co, Spilled, The Palace on the Hill, While Waiting, Monterona, The Star Named Eos, Kitsune Tails, Building Relationships, Undusted, Hirocato, Nova Hearts, The Crush House, Soulitaire, Mexico 1921, Dungeon Clawler, Urban Jungle, Elsie, Upheaval, Periphery Synthetic, Trash Goblin, Slime Heroes.

Whew, there is no way I'll play all of these before some are taken off but oh well. I'd say about half are things I am unlikely to buy, just curious about.


There's a NextFest happening like... today? Tomorrow? Something, with a lot of demos, too.
Oh, huh, I assumed all of these demos were for the Summerfest stuff that's going on now. All the trailers for the fest things have had "demo available now" overlaid on them. I'm sure a few are the same demo from Nextfests though.


Aging Hipster Dragon Dad
I see demos for Dungeons of Hinterburg, Blade Chimera, Yars Rising, Bo: Path of the Teal Lotus...

Got plenty of timed demos I need to try out this week...


Round and round I go
Staff member
Fields of Mistria is a farming game by a friend of mine (he's married to the person responsible for Pusheen, who is also on the game's staff). It's got a demo in NextFest and a Let's Play by ProZD, and it's looking really polished. If this is at all up your alley, please give it a look!

Aside: My wife likes farming games except if they have romance elements, so I asked him if there would be some sort of "Aro Mode," and he said there would, citing how bad it feels when you get someone to max hearts and then have to dump or marry that person. I'm not sure that in particular is relevant to anyone here, but it speaks to the inclusivity and thoughtfulness that went into the game.


did i do all of that?
Oh wow, that's rad as heck. Wishlisted that, I love farming games and an ace/aro element may convince my wife to finally play a farming sim! (probably not, but I can always hope lol)


While I probably won't play the game (not my genre), I appreciate it, when aro/ace choices exist, and you don't have to make relationships romantic.

Exposition Owl

more posts about buildings and food
Just played the Next Fest demo for Creatures of Ava, and it’s delightful. Think a little bit 3D Zelda, a little bit Metroid Prime, and a little bit Pokémon Legends Arceus, but where the main action is documenting, healing, and cooperating with the titular Creatures. Not only is there a dedicated petting animation for each creature, you actually need to pet them all in order to fill out your Avapedia! Here’s a trailer:



????? LV 13 HP 292/ 292
(he, him, his)
Gotta pet 'em all?


It's different, I'll give you that...

(Alternate version: Gotta scritch 'em all)


Aging Hipster Dragon Dad
Pipistrello and the Cursed Yoyo is basically a Star Tropics-like from what I played of the Demo, so that's something you don't see everyday.

On the metroidvania end, Blade Chimera is looking ggood. Yars Rising was honestly more Yars Revenge based micro games with a lightweight metroidvania as a way to present itself, so I want to see more of it first. Bo: Path of the Teal Lotus is a Hollow Knight-like, but it's pretty and doesn't immediately treat onboarding players with utter contempt, so I have to check it out later.


Kitsune Tails is what if someone really liked SMB3 and also sapphic overtones. It's a little rough but has good music that reminds me of Goemon.