Feels, Felines and Finding Yourself – Steam Next Fest February 2024

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Steam again got into the Valentine’s spirit this month with their thrice-yearly spreading of indie game love. Vals, gals or pals, it was the perfect pre-holiday experience. The first Steam Next Fest of 2024 ran from 5th – 12th February, boasting a vast array of upcoming indie demos from both new and known developers. Many also hosted devstreams and live Q&As to further whet players’ appetites for what awaits on the indie horizon. Spicy Souls-likes, artful adventures, pixel art platformers, quirky crafters – whatever your taste, everyone could easily come away with some favourites. Us included.

So here are five memorable demos that captured my heart and made eyes at me long after ending:



Developer: Moonloop Games
Publisher: Firestoke
Planned Release Date: Q2 2024
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

Hand-drawn animation and the afterlife makes a dynamite combo; never more so than in the debut game from Moonloop Games. Hauntii is a hand-drawn isometric tale that blends adventure, twin-stick shooter gameplay and atmospheric feels by the bucket-load. Little ghost Hauntii is lost and alone with no memory of their life before. After being guided to a mysterious tower and denied ascension to on high, all that remains is questions. And they’ll be damned (almost literally) if they don’t seek out the answers. 

Gameplay primarily involves guiding Hauntii through the realm of the dead, possessing different items and wielding them to progress. Through shooting projectiles and filling up the possession bar, countless objects can be used to solve different puzzles. Even the environment itself can be called to your will and there’s no end to the creative approaches you can take. Along the way, you’ll also collect and complete constellations that form Hauntii’s lost memories. And naturally you’ll meet a cavalcade of quirky characters to interact with and gain insight from on your journey.

Adopting a two-tone palette, the 2D visuals are both dazzling and distinctive, blending various line art styles with fingerprint aesthetics and a sprinkling of pointillism. It’s both familiar and unique simultaneously. And backing it all is a soundtrack to die for, no pun intended. Soothing and ethereal but also swelling and orchestral, it gives movie scores a run for their money and then some!


Wishlist it on Steam HERE.


Crypt Custodian

Developer: Kyle Thompson
Planned Release Date: 2024
Platforms: PC

Another exploration of the world beyond for the second highlight. It’s bad enough being dead, but having to clean the underworld’s garbage for eternity? That really stinks! Islets developer Kyle Thompson returns with 2D top-down metroidvania Crypt Custodian, a cat’s unlucky journey in the afterlife. Unassuming (but aptly named) cat Pluto isn’t having the best day. He’s found out he’s dead and can’t remember exactly how this came about. And to top it off, a misunderstanding has seen him sentenced to be a janitor for the rest of his afterlife. But there are answers to be found when cleaning up ectoplasmic waste…

Channelling Death’s Door and classic Zelda, you guide Pluto through different areas of the afterworld, using your trusty broom as both a tool and weapon. Battling feisty creatures and epic bosses opens up new areas and abilities for Pluto to go above and beyond in his janitorial duties. These abilities can be mixed and matched for different results and also give Pluto an edge solving brain-teasing puzzles. Meeting fellow doomed ghosts and uncovering their stories also sheds light on past afterlife events; plenty to discuss even more over a tipple at The Sinner’s Inn.

Echoing ambient tracks and punchy, fast-paced numbers make up a satisfyingly fitting soundtrack as more areas are discovered. Matched with a nice mix of hand-drawn character animations and painted scenes, it sets a charming scene for an adventure of underworldly proportions.


Wishlist it on Steam HERE.


Terra Memoria

Developer: La Moutarde
Publisher: Dear Villagers
Planned Release Date: TBA
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch

When an RPG combines many different elements and visual styles and does it well, it instantly gets my attention. Thus it is with La Moutarde’s cosy yet grand party-based RPG Terra Memoria. Set in the world of Terra, a crystal shortage is limiting power and bringing town infrastructures to a halt. Ancient machines have also suddenly and mysteriously awoken, attacking various settlements. Six heroes are brought together in these uncertain times and their exploits will shape the future of Terra.

While games like Octopath Traveler use pixel art in 3D planes, Terra Memoria limits it to character animation and uses full 3D for both planes and environments. An unusual combo, but works surprisingly well! Controlling your choice of the six, you travel around the settlements, completing quests for the locals and party members. Each has a story and quests to complete, divulging more about the lore of Terra. Crafting also plays a part in rebuilding the world and solving puzzles; intuitive mechanics help you build and place various items. But, like any party-based RPG, combat plays a crucial role.

Taking an inspired approach to turn-based combat, three party members are primary attackers while the others serve as support to one of them. Each has a quick attack for less damage and a heavy attack that takes longer. The supports can change an attack element or provide healing and buffs. No need to worry about mana bars here – there are none! The tactics lie in using the right attack or support move and when to sacrifice speed for damage.

Oh and you fully heal after each battle. *swoons*


Wishlist/follow it here: STEAM | PS STORE | XBOX STORE.



Developer: Spoonful of Wonder
Publisher: Neverland Entertainment, Nuuvem Inc.
Planned Release Date: TBA
Platforms: PC, Mac, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

If there are two things gamers love, it’s relatable emotional stories and cats. Spoonful of Wonder combines both in Copycat, a feline adventure that will potentially have you both smiling and reaching for the tissues. After being adopted by the elderly Olive, rescue cat Dawn is determined to escape at first opportunity. She’s wild, not some cutesy domestic lap kitty. Olive’s place isn’t so bad though. And she’s not like other humans. Perhaps it’s worth staying for a little while. But in a strange twist of fate, an imposter appears and takes Dawn’s place in Olive’s life, leaving her out in the wild.

After choosing Dawn’s appearance, you begin navigating her through her daily life. Padding around the house, scratching furniture, knocking things off the table – all accurately portrayed through the eyes of a cat. Dawn’s thoughts on items and rooms appear in text and change as she spends more time with Olive. Loud sounds and bright lights also affect the screen to reflect fear and intensity and a dedicated meow button allows you to always let your thoughts be known.

From these effects and viewpoints come touching and poignant scenes. Slowly warming up to Olive from under a sofa reveals sad truths from both cat and owner. Dawn’s vivid and colourful dreams of being wild change and warp as she becomes accustomed to domestic life. And an alarming bathroom encounter puts things all in perspective. All come together to make a feline story I can’t wait to curl up with!


Wishlist it on Steam HERE.


Magical Delicacy

Developer: Skaule
Publisher: Whitethorn Games
Planned Release Date: 2024
Platforms: PC, Game Pass, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One

Kiki’s Delivery Service meets pixel art platforming in this magical mouthwatering caper. Magical Delicacy is a wholesome platformer/crafting adventure that has you channelling your inner kitchen witch. You are Flora, a fledgeling witch starting a new life and a magical cooking enterprise in the island town of Grat. Through cooking for the townsfolk and gathering ingredients, she will learn more about the town and its legacy. And the town’s two opposing covens have their own plans for Flora’s blossoming business.

As you’d expect, cooking is the bread of butter of this tasty affair. Flora can gather and prepare ingredients in her kitchen, making a slew of delectable dishes. Kitchen equipment can be purchased and upgraded as you earn more coin, allowing for mode advanced cooking methods and dishes. Flora can explore the town through slow-paced platforming which introduces her to not only potential customers, but also town artisans that she can trade with for supplies and upgrades. All will have their individual preferences and tastes. Exploring more of the island too can unearth more about its history and unusual exotic items. Additionally, a day and night cycle opens up opportunities and ingredients only available at certain times – sometimes it pays to be a night owl!

Pixel art is paired with a smooth and easy to understand UI that creates a very warm, homely vibe. Character animations also are charming and reminiscent of both anime and western animation. So if you’re all Ghibli and Disney-ed out and looking for something cosy for the virtual world too, Magical Delicacy looks like it may just fill that void!

Wishlist/follow it here:


Honourable Mentions

Kingsgrave – Egg or Chicken Games – 16th April 2024
Serum – Game Island – Q2 2024
The Posthumous Investigation – Mother Gaia Studio – TBA
Outcast: A New Beginning – Appeal Studios – 15th March 2024


If there’s anything we profess our love to this month, it’s indie games. And with demos like these, we’ll be swooning for months with lengthy wishlists. Until June, of course… when they’ll be even longer!

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