Steam Next is live now with a lot of demos to try. A lot. Over a thousand, actually. So many we quickly fell down the rabbit hole to some of Steam’s more interesting games. So, in the interest of efficiency and sanity, we’ve combed through the sea of Steam demos for you to find a sizeable selection of games that are also coming to Xbox (along with a few that just look awesome and should probably be tried out anyway) so that you can try these upcoming Xbox games out straight away.
So, we’ll start with games that are also coming to Xbox, and then include a few that are just for PC but still look pretty great if you’re looking for more demos to try. If you’re wondering what to try out of all those Steam Next Fest demos, take a look through and see if any of these take your fancy!
Coming to Xbox
Roots of Pacha
Let’s start with one that looks absolutely fantastic: Roots of Pacha is a gorgeous farming and simulation game set in the stone age. If you’ve been looking for that next great farming and life sim, this could very well be it. The stone age setting looks to give Roots of Pacha a breath of fresh air, and one of its most interesting mechanics is the idea of, well, “ideas”: as you work to settle in the land, other characters will come to you with suggestions on how to evolve and progress as a clan, like learning to ride animals, or even to understand gravity. You’ll need to work at these ideas to help your clan thrive, while also farming, mining, taking care of animals, fishing, exploring, and developing friendships. This one is most definitely on our radar of games we can’t wait to get — if it looks like your kind of thing, you can try the demo now, and check out our Roots of Pacha interview with developer Soda Den’s Timo and Joni for more info!
Next, we have Potion Permit, a lovely pixel sim RPG where we play as a chemist in the town of Moonbury. The town has always relied on traditional methods of healing and has been suspicious of medical advances, but then the mayor’s daughter falls ill — and that’s where we step in to help. We’ll be kept busy diagnosing symptoms, gathering together ingredients (occasionally fighting off monsters as we do), brewing remedies, befriending Moonbury’s residents, upgrading the town, fishing, and more. Potion Permit looks all kinds of delightful, and the demo is available to try now — plus, you can learn more in our Potion Permit interview where we spoke to creative director Andika Pradana. If you’re looking for something a little more magical, we also put together a list of magical Xbox games to help tide you over in the wait for Hogwarts Legacy.
Cult of the Lamb
Now for something maybe a little less wholesome than the first two: Cult of the Lamb, a roguelike action-adventure game that meshes together dungeon-crawling and base-building, and which looks absolutely fantastic. Cult of the Lamb starts off, a little unexpectedly, with your own sacrifice — except you’re saved just in time by an ominous stranger, and must work to repay them by building a cult. We’ll be busy collecting and recruiting new followers, looking for resources, exploring dungeons, defeating rival cults and enemies, building up our base, giving sermons and rituals, and more. If this looks like your kind of thing, the demo is available now — you can also check out what the TrueAchievements news team thought of it in our Cult of the Lamb first impressions and find out more about the game in our Cult of the Lamb interview where we spoke to art director James Pearmain.
Apologies for the tonal whiplash, but we’re back with another cosy wholesome game with Spirittea: a rural-life RPG which mixes together life sim and management elements, and which counts Stardew Valley, Animal Crossing, and Spirited Away amongst its inspirations. In Spirittea, as you might guess, we accidentally drink a tea which lets us see into the spirit world, and see the spirits who, angry that the town’s inhabitants have started to forget them, are causing mischief around the town. When we get the key to an old, decrepit bathhouse, we can start upgrading it and making it into a lovely place for the spirits to use; we’ll be doing everything from chopping wood and keeping the towels clean to making sure spirits sit next to their friends (and away from their enemies) and scavenging for ingredients or keeping food coming from the kitchen. It looks to be a lovely, laid-back experience, and you can try the demo now — and check out our Spirittea interview where we spoke to sole developer Dan Beckerton, for more info!
The Lonesome Village
The Lonesome Village offers an interesting mashup of ideas, with puzzle-solving, life sim elements, and adventure and social simulation too. We play as Wes the coyote, working to rebuild a town that has been mysteriously wiped out. We need to focus on puzzle solving inside a strange tower to rescue villagers, and on social simulation; making friends with those villagers after you rescue them. We’ll also customise our home, fish, craft, decorate, mine, and a whole lot more. If this sounds like your kind of thing, check out our Lonesome Village interview where we spoke to developer Ogre Pixel’s Steve Duran and Sarah Farga. The Lonesome Village definitely looks like one for us — what do you think?
Paradise Marsh caught our eye recently when it featured in the latest Wholesome Direct event. It’s a lovely adventure game in which every star has fallen into the marsh, which is described as “a perfect endless wetland crawling with wildlife.” Armed with a bug net, we’ll be exploring this marsh, catching small creatures to write about in our journal, picking flowers, helping the characters we meet, and looking to put the fallen stars back into the night sky. Paradise Marsh looks as though it’ll be a calming, relaxing game, and you can try the demo now.
Did I already apologise for tonal whiplash? We are diving now into the more horror-filled portion of our demo list. I have mentioned before that horror games are not really my strong point, so I’ve padded this portion on either side with more comforting/less stressful demos. That being said, hold your nose, take a deep breath, and let’s dive in. Sker Ritual is a survival horror game and a spiritual successor to Maid of Sker, featuring many enemies from that first game (such as the Quiet Ones) along with new creatures to kill, and sees us heading back to that tormented Sker Island to uncover a new story. Sound like your kind of thing? The demo is available now.
Signalis is another survival horror game with a suitably horrifying description: “Awaken from slumber and explore a surreal retrotech world as Elster, a technician Replika searching for her lost partner and her lost dreams. Discover terrifying secrets, challenging puzzles, and nightmarish creatures in a tense and melancholic experience of cosmic dread and classic psychological survival horror.” If this one sounds like it’s up your street, you might be pleased to know that it will launch straight into Xbox Game Pass in October. In the meantime, we can give the demo a go!
Ripout is an action horror game inspired by the likes of The Fly and The Thing. We’re sent to 2084 to find out what wiped out mankind, and will battle all sorts of “nightmarish creatures” on our way — to make things even more difficult, those creatures can adapt to us and change themselves to become even more of a fierce opponent. We won’t be empty-handed, however, and our arsenal apparently even includes a PetGun, so it seems we won’t be entirely alone either.
Next, we have Mothmen 1966: a visual novel and the first of LCB Game Studio’s “Pixel Pulps,” that sees a strange conspiracy unfold during the 1966 Leonid meteor shower. Mothmen 1966 features a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ style of gameplay along with “brain-tickling puzzles,” and features an art style inspired by 80s home computer graphics. It looks to be an entirely novel experience, and is only the first game of the first volume of LCB Game Studio’s Pixel Pulps: it’ll be followed by Varney Lake and Bahnsen Knights. Mothmen 1966 is set to launch in July, but you can check out the demo now — as well as our Mothmen 1966 interview where we spoke to developer LCB Game Studio co-founders Fernando Martínez Ruppel and Nico Saraintaris.
There Is No Light
Then there’s There Is No Light, an action-adventure RPG in which humanity was almost wiped out. The last survivors built a “religious society” in the Underground world and worship a god known as The Great Hand. This god occasionally reaches down and takes away the children of this society — we play as The Hero, who sets out to recover his child. We’ll fight hundreds of monsters and bosses in a game which offers a “deep and touching” 30-hour storyline, and you can try a bit of that story out now that the demo is live.
Midnight Fight Express
The Summer Game Fest livestream brought us confirmation that Midnight Fight Express will launch into Xbox Game Pass in August — it’s an action/fighting game where we play as Babyface and have to fight across the city to “prevent a citywide criminal takeover”, taking down waves and waves of enemies in a “brawling ballet.” It looks like pure chaos, and it’s only a few months away!
This is another one that’s coming to Xbox Game Pass, and soon — this month in fact! It’s a single-player and co-op virtual escape room game, but expect some danger and challenge: according to the devs, they can “endanger the player character greatly.” Escape Academy ties together puzzles and real-world authenticity with an overarching narrative set in Escape Academy: a school. If you’ve been looking for more escape room fun, this might be the one for you.
Alaskan Truck Simulator
If you’re not in the mood to be confined to an escape room, maybe heading out into the Alaskan wilderness will be more your thing. Alaskan Truck Simulator launches in Q4 of this year, and sees you in charge of maintaining your truck and taking it through no small amount of challenge as you explore Alaska. And, you know, it’s probably a good idea to make sure your character eats and sleeps too before you set off into the wild.
The Last Worker
Back to something a little more puzzling: The Last Worker is a first-person narrative adventure game “centered around our struggle in an increasingly automated world.” Part of what’s puzzling about this one is that it only seems more cryptic the more we hear of it — a perfect game to have a demo, then!
Now for something that is pretty up-front about what it is: The Courier is an open-world adventure game where we’re in charge of a mail delivery business. There is something of a mystery in The Courier, however, as we’re told that “the more letters you deliver, the more you uncover the island’s secrets.” We’ll use a number of vehicles to traverse the island while following the story, and will be faced with mini-games and environmental puzzles galore.
Lost Eidolons is a turn-based tactical RPG set in the land of Benerio, where the empire is torn apart by civil war. We play as mercenary captain Eden, who joins the fight after his village was plunged into the war. He leads a band of allies against the monsters, the army, and all other manner of enemies, but it’s not just about the combat: Eden has to build and manage his camp and recruit more allies as well.
Now for something with a little less pressure: Sail Forth is an atmospheric sailing adventure set just a little ahead in the future, where you roam across the Deepblue. Sail Forth is full of mystery, and sees you sailing your way across the world to learn more about a corrupting entity called Deadrock. Sail Forth aims to keep the most seahardy players interested, while also being accessible to those who are newer to the sailing world. There is a fair amount of combat scattered through too as you fight everything from sea monsters to pirates. We’ve got our Sail Forth interview with developer David Evans with more info, if you’re interested!
Rythm-shooter Metal: Hellsinger isn’t too far off on the horizon, and comes with a September release date. Its demo is also available on Xbox, too, which is handy. We play as The Unknown, an entity that’s part human and part demon. Naturally, we’ll set out on a mission to destroy demons and a being known as The Red Judge. “The more in sync you are with the rhythm, the more intense the music will become and the more destruction you will cause.” This does actually sound pretty cool. I might have to take a break from wholesome games to give this a go.
Aha, I’m on more familiar territory with this one, and if you like the demo, it’s not too far off either, with a July release date. Wayward Strand is an interactive story and adventure game where we play as teenage journalist Casey Beaumaris. Casey’s mum has asked her to help out at the airborne hospital, and Casey agrees, thinking she’ll also write about the experience for her school paper. Prepare your emotions accordingly: we’re told that the patients of the hospital will “react to grief, or deal with active trauma.” They’ll also continue their lives and routines if you’re not there, so you’ll have to pick and choose what parts of the story to follow on each playthrough.
Frank and Drake
Frank and Drake is a visual novel set in the city of Oriole, where two strangers become roommates and are brought together by a “conspiracy that threatens them both.” Frank is the apartment block’s super while Drake is apparently allergic to sunlight and only comes out at night, meaning their only method of communication is leaving sticky notes out for each other in the apartment. We’ll be exploring the city and looking for clues, playing as Frank during the day and Drake during the night.
Turbo Golf Racing
Let us dip our toes into the small golf-themed portion of this list, beginning with Turbo Golf Racing: an arcade-style racing game combined with the sport of golf. It’s coming to Xbox Game Pass later this year, so it’s one to keep an eye on if you enjoy the demo. Eight players will be unleashed onto the golf course with a ball each, which sounds promising for Rocket League-style chaos.
Cursed to Golf
Then we’ve got the “golf-like” adventure where we are The Cursed Golfer and need to golf our way out of Golf Purgatory to become a Golfing Legend. One more time: golf. We’ll be aided on our way by Legendary Caddies who guard each course, and you need to remain within the PAR count on each otherwise your curse will send you right back to the start. Sound like your kind of thing?
Koa and the Five Pirates of Mara
From golf we dive straight into the completely unrelated topic of pirates, with Koa and the Five Pirates of Mara. It’s an adventure platforming game, where Koa and Napopo travel through Mara, defeating pirates and unlocking new levels as they go. We’re told that “from newcomers to speedrunners, Koa and the Five Pirates is a buccaneering adventure for all” — will this be a demo you’ll be trying out?
Curse of the Sea Rats
Curse of the Sea Rats is described as a “ratoidvania” adventure/action-platforming game and is still lightly on that pirate theme, since it revolves around a crew who have been turned into rats by a pirate witch. It features hand-drawn animations, over 12 hours of content, plenty of bosses to face, and four playable characters: David Douglas, Buffalo Calf, Bussa, and Akane Yamakawa, who each have their own fighting style.
Could be coming to Xbox
Now we move into the realm of games which could come to Xbox in the future, with Above Snakes, which looks utterly fascinating. It’s a Western-inspired mishmash of base building and survival and sandbox elements, in a fictional world based on the Wild West, and which also features zombies. Meteors fall on Corpse Creek in 1883, and those who died as a result soon returned as zombies. You construct the world using isometric tiles belonging to different biomes, and will be in charge of survival elements such as crafting, cooking, farming, fishing, gardening, and hunting, to ensure that you keep an eye on your hunger, thirst, and tiredness. Those crafting elements extend into all aspects of gameplay — as you upgrade your cabin at your base, you can begin to think about leather working and more. This looks all kinds of awesome, and according to the Above Snakes Kickstarter, the game has already reached the stretch goal needed to come to consoles at some point in the future. The demo is available now.
This is one I’ve had my eye on since it was in the last Steam Next Fest back in February. Research Story is a pixel farming and life sim set in the charming town of Shimmerbrook, where you go to discover and record plants and creatures for The Violet Archive — you’ll also be growing crops and raising creatures who can accompany you on your exploration. According to the Research Story press kit, it could come to other platforms too.
Not coming to Xbox but still look awesome
This part of the list is for those Steam demos for games that seem to only be coming to PC — at least for now — and is also my wishlist for games which I would very much like to come to Xbox in the future. Terra Nil looks to be a beautiful game with a fascinating twist: it’s a reverse city builder where you rewild the wastelands of the earth — starting with the water system and restoring everything from there until you’ve got a beautiful, natural paradise, at which point you have to clean up after yourself, recycling all of the buildings or operations you used to get the land into that state so that it’s left utterly pristine. It looks to be calming and refreshing, and you can check out the demo now.
Critter Crops featured in the latest Wholesome Direct event and immediately caught our eye again — it’s a Halloween-themed farming sim with RPG and management elements where we play as Sylvie, who moves to the abandoned town of Mur Mur after being banished from her own home because of her magical abilities. We’ll be raising the critter crops themselves, which will accompany us on our adventures as we grow Sylvie’s powers, gather resources, upgrade and restore the town, and attract new settlers to it. On top of that, Sylvie was invited to the abandoned town through a mysterious note from a stranger, and we’ll need to find out why. So, what do you think? Anything in there catch your eye, or have you found any demos you want to recommend? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!