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Nine essential Steam Next Fest demos to play before they’re gone

With hundreds of Steam Next Fest demos to try, ranging from RPGs to strategy games, we can help you pick which ones to download and play.

A handsome dark-haired vampire and an armored shooter on the backdrop of a large manor, combining three of the best Steam Next Fest demos in June 2024.

Steam Next Fest is upon us once again, and a delectable candy shop bursting with game demos is now open. As always, there are myriad demos to taste and not enough time to try them all, so I got a bit of a head start to help you choose only the most promising picks.

I’ve enjoyed many more Steam Next Fest demos than are on this list, and there are countless incredible upcoming games to try out that I haven’t included. However, I had to narrow it down, so these are some tops picks across a range of genres. I’ve got roguelikes and puzzle games, first-person shooters, horror games, and more, so grab your scoop and fill up your bag with a bit of everything. Why I went for the candy analogy I don’t know, just go with it.

The best demos in Steam Next Fest June 2024 are:

Mount Holly, the large, 46-room manor in the Blue Prince demo.

Blue Prince

As I expand upon in my slightly longer Blue Prince preview, this is a game that just needs to be played. It’s hard to do justice to what is so magical about Blue Prince in a few words, so I strongly recommend you take the opportunity to try out the the demo while you can. In the meantime, I’ll do my best here.

Blue Prince is a randomly generated puzzle game in which you work your way through a 45-room house in an effort to unlock the secret 46th room. For every door you open, you are given a choice of three rooms to place behind it – what that room contains and how many doors it has are crucial components to your decision. The house itself is a puzzle and you need to find keys and other items, complete puzzles, and keep an eye on the limited number of steps you have to complete your task. When you run out of steps – or ways to progress – you must rest and start a new in-game day. Some features from the day before remain, others change, but your blueprint is completely cleared with each new day.

The Steam Next Fest demo gives you four in-game days to see as much as possible. It’s just enough to give you a taste of what to expect from the full game, plus a desperate need to return later to figure it all out. This is a game you won’t stop thinking about.

A small pixelated character with a shark head stands before a large explosion in the side-scrolling 2D platformer Iron Meat demo.

Iron Meat

Have you always dreamed of a mash-up between Doom and Sonic the Hedgehog? No, me neither. But that’s exactly what Iron Meat is, and now I’ve played it I feel foolish for not thinking it up myself. Equal parts bloody boomer shooter and classic platform game, Iron Meat is a hell of a lot of stupid fun.

The platformer elements, movement, enemy generation, bosses, and even those cute little 16-bit sound effects are all straight out of classic Sonic games. Reskin them in a gory boomer-shooter aesthetic and slap on a more gritty, fast-paced electronic soundtrack, though, and you instantly have Iron Meat. Play in one or two-player mode, even in the demo, shoot your way through hoards of campy pixelated foes, and even pick from a wide array of mix-and-match heads, torsos, and legs to customize your player character.

The relationship level with an NPC increases in Dungeons of Hinterberg, one of the best Steam Next Fest demos June 2024.

Dungeons of Hinterberg

We at PCGamesN already love Dungeons of Hinterberg since our own Ken went hands-on with the first ten hours of the indie RPG, about which you can read more in his full Dungeons of Hinterberg preview. In short, though, Ken summarizes Dungeons of Hinterland as a Zelda-style adventure with the sprawling open world and dungeons of a FromSoftware game, but which mostly resembles Capcom’s Okami.

As Luisa, you move to the magical Hinterberg, where combat-filled dungeons and companion-filled bars await. During the day, wield a satisfying range of weapons and magic in varied battle environments. In the evening, relax in an almost dating-sim style setting as you meet people, make friends, and improve relationships with Hinterberg’s cast of colorful characters. If you’re as eager for the Dungeons of Hinterberg release date as we are, this Steam Next Fest demo is a great chance to get a taste of the adventure to come.

The player shoots two guns towards an onslaught of foes as firey projectiles fly all around in the Kill Knight demo.

Kill Knight

Kill Knight is a fast and frenetic bullet hell arcade game with a gothic red and black aesthetic and a dark industrial metal soundtrack. Yes, it’s both as exhausting and as fun as it sounds. Luckily, there’s an easy-to-follow tutorial that’s practically forced on you at the start of the demo. I strongly recommend completing it as there are a lot of mechanics here to get used to. Once you’re done with the tutorial, though, it’s much easier to jump into your first room and fight.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with Kill Knight so far, even if I’m terrible at it and wasn’t able to see the demo through to its end. It does seem that you can keep trying as much as you want and work towards a higher slot on the leaderboard. It’s also clear that there are multiple unlockables, including loadouts and difficulty levels, but how much of this is reserved for the full game, I’m not sure. For all my skill issues, though, this isn’t a game you’re supposed to be good at right away, the overwhelming challenge is part of the fun, and even the first ‘boss’ can one-hit kill you, so it’s gonna take some practice.

Vampire Sam talks to bartender Crimson in the Vampire Therapist demo.

Vampire Therapist

A moment of honesty between you and I: I’m currently in therapy. I’ve been here a few times before, and this time it seems to be sinking in. Great, right? This has given me extra appreciation for the level of care in visual novel Vampire Therapist. As you learn more about your character, Sam, and settle in to talk to Andromachos, a vampire therapist of thousands of years, you start to learn real CBT terminologies, how to recognize behaviors, and how they impact us – humans and vampires alike.

As the game tells you at the start, Vampire Therapist should not be used as a replacement for real therapy. However, developer Little Bat Games has worked with psychological professionals to make sure the content is legitimate, and it shows. But this is no emotional slog. In fact, Vampire Therapist is surprisingly funny and sexy, too, so there’s plenty to take your mind off the more serious stuff as you aim to help other vampires and mortals through their own issues while also addressing your own.

If you’re wondering how the idea of a vampire therapist even came about, we spoke with solo dev Cyrus Nemati about the recurring obsession with vampires, Edward Cullen’s piano playing in Twilight, and just how Nemati came up with this brilliant idea for a game.

Arlo, a rat, fights a Dark Wings boss in the Tails of Iron 2 Whiskers of Winter Steam Next Fest demo.

Tails of Iron 2: Whiskers of Winter

If you haven’t played the first Tails of Iron, this one’s a story-driven RPG adventure where you play as a young rat in a medieval kingdom – sorry, “ratdom.” Following a period of peace, Tails of Iron 2 finds the ratdom in grave danger of being attacked by the neighboring bat army, The Dark Wings, and their other animal allies as they seek revenge for the first game’s events.

This story-rich, side-scrolling adventure is utterly adorable and hugely engaging thanks to its hand-drawn art style, cute characters, and the captivating narration by Doug Cockle, who returns from the first game, and whom you may recognize as the voice of Geralt in the Witcher series. The Tails of Iron 2 demo shows off the game’s intro and new protagonist Arlo while settling you into its souls-inspired combat. Returning players will be familiar with the basics, but new foes, improved settlement mechanics, and four new elemental weapon effects significantly overhaul the moment-to-moment action.

A series of cards are laid out in a grid in the Pyrene Steam Next Fest demo.


Thanks to the likes of Slay the Spire and Balatro, PC card games and deck builders are getting some well-deserved time in the spotlight. Pyrene is another one to watch, as this clever dungeon crawler turns your (digital) table into a battlefield. You’ll physically move cards around the board, consuming items and buffs and attacking foes as you do so.

Based on Basque mythology, Pyrene also explores a rarely seen series of characters, gods, and demons, and its hand-drawn art style captures your imagination while character dialogue carries the story along. While unique in the way battles play out, this is Hades meets Slay the Spire, and we can’t think of many better mash-ups. There isn’t too long to wait until the full Pyrene release date, as it’s set for September 2024, but I highly recommend jumping into the Pyrene Steam demo to get some practice in early.

A team of three characters band up against two creatures in the turn-based combat of the Beyond Galaxyland Steam Next Fest demo.

Beyond Galaxyland

There aren’t nearly enough games like Pokemon on PC, but Beyond Galaxyland is one that we’ll almost certainly be adding to our list of Pokemonlikes when it arrives. This 2D side-scrolling space game might not look like a Pokemon-style game at first. You begin in a pixelated sci-fi environment where you get a vague idea that something bad is unfolding and that you used to belong to the mysterious enemy organization before you defected after realizing they were up to no good. Next, a brief turn-based combat section gives you a handle on the battle mechanics and controls.

The Steam Next Fest demo then swiftly carries you ahead, skipping a section of the game to give you a better idea of its mechanics. There’s a map of various planets, each of which you can explore and complete in any order and at your own leisure. The demo takes me to an Earth-like planet, and my spaceship lands at a desert swamp location. Here, rather than fighting robots or humans, I come into contact with a range of monsters, critters, and dinosaurs. In a nod to games like No Man’s Sky and Starfield, I can capture images of and scan these creatures. Like Pokemon, though, get too close and an automatic fight will begin. It took me a few battles and completely killing off a handful of these foes to spot my main character’s ‘Capture’ ability that – you guessed it – allows me to try and catch the monster in front of me.

Beyond Galaxyland, which I’m sure you’ll notice also gives a hint of Guardians of the Galaxy, is a unique amalgamation of all of these IPs and genres, which is something we’re starting to see more of in indie games. It can be hard to find games that manage to nail the balance between so many styles, but Beyond Galaxyland seems to do just that from what I’ve seen of it so far.

A mannequin with glowing eyes attacks someone behind the camera and blood sprays in the Devil is in the Details Steam Next Fest demo.

The Devil is in the Details

The Devil is in the Details is a simple premise, but I can’t think of anything else quite like it. This is a straightforward yet terrifying memory game.

Horror and puzzles have always gone hand-in-hand in gaming, but here the puzzle element takes center stage. You’re tasked with remembering items around a room and then recalling which have changed in progressively harder levels and larger areas. The premise of the story is that this is purgatory, and you must complete the devil’s puzzle to leave. Fail, and you are brutally killed. Again. And again. As you explore this gratuitously gory environment, mysterious figures appear and disappear, things move and change, and there are some genuine jump scares here. Plus, there’s something quite alluring about The Arbiter, your guide through this test.

Much like Blue Prince at the top of this list, The Devil is in the Details kind of infuriated me enough that I needed to keep playing, though in a much more uncomfortable way. I want to challenge myself and see how much worse things could get, even if repetition could eventually become an issue. That said, we’re talking demos here, and it’s a decent little indie game to try if you want some gratifying spooks.

Those should keep you pretty busy over the next week, but if you still run out, there are thousands more demos available during Steam Next Fest. The great thing about these demos is that there’s no downside to just giving them a go. For more consequence-free gaming, we’ve also compiled a list of the best free PC games right now, while our most hotly anticipated upcoming games will give you a taste of all the great new releases still to come.