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New puzzle game is unlike any other, and the Steam demo is live now

This Next Fest, you must play Blue Prince, a mysterious puzzle game that will have you intrigued, frustrated, and desperate to see more.

A young boy, the Blue Prince, on a backdrop of a large, opulent corridor, both in a cel-shaded style.

Blue Prince is a masterpiece. I could just leave it there and this could be a very short preview. After all, it’s hard to pin down exactly why Blue Prince is so wonderful. It’s hard to pin down what Blue Prince even is, but I can guarantee it’s unlike anything you’ve ever played and you won’t want to put it down. You’ve read about it? Cool. Watched the trailer? Good for you. Forget everything you think you know. Blue Prince needs to be played.

The evening before I got to try the extensive puzzle game for myself, I still wasn’t sure I was sold on what I’d seen so far. I’d read about it and yep, I’d watched the trailer. Little did I realize Blue Prince was going to be on my mind for days.

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I’ll do my best to tell you as much as I can. Blue Prince is a unique puzzler in which you are bequeathed a 45-room manor. As it turns out, though, there’s a secret 46th room at Mount Holly, and the home only becomes yours if you can find it. While you progress through the vast building room by room, you must carefully select which rooms flesh out your blueprints (geddit?!) – is the dark room or the pantry behind that door? You decide, but choose wrong and you could find yourself unable to complete the layout. Spoiler alert, you won’t get far on the first try. Not even close.

Each in-game day, you start in the entrance hall, with three unlocked doors in front of you. You are also granted 45 steps to begin with, one of which is taken from you each time you enter a room. This means you must carefully consider your route and get about the house in the fewest steps possible.

A part-completed blueprint and inventory screen from Blue Prince.

On top of that pressure, each of the rooms in the house – including closets, bedrooms, and even a security room – have a different number of doors. Some have set or randomly generated items inside, and many have special requirements or trigger effects upon drawing them into your blueprint. A good example is the bedroom, which grants ten bonus steps upon entry but has no other doors, so you create a dead end and have to turn back. Choosing to place a bedroom at the wrong time could leave you stuck, but other times those ten extra steps might be essential to moving on.

I’ve played the four in-game days of the Steam Next Fest demo about seven times now and I’m still lost – but in a good way. Every time I play I learn something new, solve a new puzzle, or discover a new room I’ve never seen before – each playthrough is entirely unique. You won’t discover the final room in the four days, but the full game gives you an unlimited number of days to uncover the secrets of the manor. Nevertheless, the demo is a great way to get a head start on figuring out just what you need to do when the Blue Prince release date arrives.

The blue and green, atmospheric scenery around the house can be seen from the Terrace, one of the rooms in Blue Prince.

The premise and gameplay of Blue Prince are remarkable. But it’s all further complemented by the game’s style and atmosphere. One of the first things I notice outside of the stunning, cel-shaded, hand-drawn art style are the echoing footsteps of your character as you make your way through the Entrance Room and the reflection of the walls on the polished floor. Not only does this game feel great, but is looks and sounds great, too.

The Blue Prince Steam Next Fest Demo is live from Monday June 10 to Monday June 17, 2024. It’s short (until you want to keep replaying), it’s free, and there’s no downside to trying it out – aside from perhaps the painful wait for the full game.

Blue Prince is without a doubt one of my most anticipated upcoming games, and perhaps even my game of the year. If you’re after more lesser-known treasures, check out our favorite indie games, and of course don’t miss our recommendations for the best Steam Next Fest demos to try alongside Blue Prince.

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