The Steam Summer Festival Top 10 (Part One)
The Steam Summer Festival is a weekly showcase of more than 800 video games across a wide range of indie developers. As someone who’s always up for a challenge, I tried to play as many of these games as I possibly could. I ended up trying out around 65 different titles. If you are wondering which ones to check out, look no further: in part one, I’m going to cover five of my favorite and most anticipated games. And then, in part two, I’ll showcase another five. Here we go.
1. Fights in Tight Spaces
Fights in Tight Spaces is the next game inspired by Slay the Spire to do its own thing in the roguelike market. Using a deck of moves, you control a superspy as they try to get out of situations with all manner of bad guys.
The variety of options is what sells the game for me — as you can kick people out of doors, dodge around enemies so they hit each other, and deliver brutal finishers to stop an attack.
This is a game where you could be surrounded by enemies and still be in complete control over the situation. My main concern is that I’m not sure how much variance there will be in the finished version. After playing the demo four times, I settled on a movement/push build that seems to be the best in terms of dealing and avoiding damage.
It seems like each year there is another deck-building roguelike for me to love, and Fights in Tight Spaces could easily be the next one.
The tower defense genre has been one of my favorites and I’m always looking for new takes on it. With Dwerve, we have a game that puts us in an action-adventure where towers are our weapons.
Instead of the tower defense focusing on defending a base or saving people, you have to save yourself from waves of enemies coming to kill you. As you explore the world, you’ll have to fight them off by placing towers down, given an upgradeable limit of total towers out. The game plays in real-time, and part of the challenge is being able to cycle through multiple tower types and set up killing fields.
The game has a charming look to it and hints at greater depth in terms of finding gear and upgrading your towers. If you are a fan of tower defense gameplay and are looking for something different, Dwerve may be perfect for you.
3. Pokey Poke
The most unassuming game for my list, Pokey Poke is a high-skill platformer that’s all about technical mastery. While you are armed with a spear, there is no killing in this game. Instead, the spear can be stabbed into any surface to vault over obstacles, bounced on for extra height, and other elements of movement that I am still discovering.
The game’s structure is like Celeste in that you are solving “obstacle puzzles” without any fear of dying or losing. While the game’s story and aesthetics aren’t as fleshed out, this is one of the best original takes on 2D platforming I’ve seen, and I can’t wait to learn more of the gameplay here.
4. Fae Tactics
Fae Tactics looks to be taking heavy cues from Tactics Ogre and Final Fantasy Tactics and could be an interesting spiritual follow up to the classic series. Developed by the same team that did Valdis Story, this has been a long time coming for the studio.
From the demo, a key element of the strategy is that every character has both an attack and an ability they can use with their teammates. This is important, as your team will frequently be outnumbered by the enemies.
The demo didn’t go too far in terms of party composition and character building, but it looks like they have the tactical layer down, alongside some amazing pixel art. I’m hoping that this is the breakout hit for the studio, and tactical strategy fans should be excited about this one.
5. The Last Spell
The Last Spell evokes great “last stand” situations such as the end of Army of Darkness. Your goal is to protect the last town from nightly waves of undead coming to take it out. The only thing standing in their way is any static defenses you build and the remaining heroes.
This is a game that’s all about tactics and planning, as you will be outnumbered 15 to 1, and that’s just on the first night. You need to balance resources used for building defenses, upgrading your heroes, and just keeping them alive after each night.
Of the games on the list, this is the hardest and I wasn’t able to get a win on the demo, but the amazing aesthetics and challenge have me wanting more.
So there you have it. That’s it for part one. The next part will include a further five games you should definitely check out.
Did you have a favorite demo from the Steam Summer Festival? If so, let me know in the comments!