The latest Steam Game Festival has arrived, giving PC players a chance to learn more about hot upcoming releases. Live streams for the February 2021 Edition are already underway, and developer events are rolling around the clock. And, of course, there are plenty of new demos for gamers to check out — so many that it’s not really feasible to see them all, unfortunately. That’s why we’ve put together our list of the best Steam Game Festival demos for February 2021, ranging from strategy to horror and everything in between.
Best Steam Game Festival demos | February 2021 Edition
The February 2021 Edition of the Steam Game Festival is loaded to the brim with demos. All of the major genres are present, but sorting through the mix takes time. Since the Game Festival is only around for a week, the smart move is to hit the highlights first. Luckily, we’ve done the legwork for you. Here are our picks for the best and most interesting demos featured in the February 2021 showcase.
Specular Stranded from developer Pozessed Studios is a new sci-fi horror experience based around stealth gameplay. It looks almost like a combination of Dead Space with a little bit of Thief thrown in the mix, where safety is really only found in darkness. Perhaps best of all, the game aims to offer challenging combat, a rarity among horror releases. The combination of deadly opponents and the goal of never being spotted results in a degree of tension that is all-too-often absent in the horror genre.
Neon-soaked cyberpunk-inspired themes are all the rage these days, but the developers at Dark Lord are taking that style in a distinctly old-school direction. Their latest game is called Glitchpunk, and it’s a top-down shooter set in a sprawling urban landscape. The resulting mix is very similar to classic Grand Theft Auto games, where the hero takes on missions and generally causes chaos while working for or against a number of warring gangs. Loads of weapons and vehicles are available, and there’s even an in-game radio radio station complete with news and preposterous commercials. It’s almost like stepping back into the late 90s, albeit with much higher visual fidelity.
The survival genre is all about making the most out of what you can find. However, many survival games place the action in familiar, earthbound locations. This is not the case in Starsand, the upcoming release from Tunnel Vision Studio. Stranded on a barren planet, players will need to hunt, craft, build a base, and avoid the dangers lurking just beneath the dunes. And, if they can survive for long enough, they may eventually discover what happened to the long-lost civilization that used to call the planet home.
Unbound: Worlds Apart
The Metroidvania genre is both a developer and fan favorite, offering approachable gameplay full of branching paths and puzzles. These attributes certainly apply to Unbound: Worlds Apart, an upcoming game from the crew at Alien Pixel Studios. Unbound could easily be compared to the likes of Hollow Knight or Ori, and that’s definitely not a bad thing. However, the unique twist for this game is the hero Soli’s ability to conjure portals used to evade enemies or obstacles. Each portal only affects a small area, but they can be used to get by foes safely, pass through barricades, jump higher, or even alter gravity.
One of the most interesting releases on this list comes from the crew at Main Tank Software. It’s called Hexarchy, and it’s overtly a 4X strategy game with turn-based combat. However, what sets it apart from more classically inspired releases is its pacing. Whether solo or multiplayer, matches can be completed in an hour or less. The developer’s goal was to create a game with all of the usual trading, city building, research, and combat without the need for a tremendous time sink. This fast-paced direction results in a 4X experience that’s rather unlike anything else on the market. Strategy fans with dwindling free time will certainly want to give this one a look.
Rhythm of the Universe: Ionia
It wouldn’t be a Steam Game Festival without some love for VR headset owners, and the February 2021 Edition certainly does not disappoint. However, few other VR demos offer the level of polish seen in Rhythm of the Universe: Ionia. Developed by Rotu Entertainment, this upcoming release blends fantasy, action, adventure, music, and puzzles together into something that feels distinctly unique in the VR space. It’s also downright pretty, moving away from the low-poly theme commonly found in other indie VR titles. Of course, all that detail means you’ll need a beefy rig in order to run it. Otherwise, it’s compatible with all of the most common virtual reality headsets.