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The Steam Next Fest started last week, and there have been so many amazing games to check out! While I was at Summer Game Fest and missed the beginning of the event, I have been checking out demos left and right to see which ones stand out to me and run well on the Steam Deck, and I definitely have some thoughts!

So here is some of the best demos I could find during the Steam Next Fest to play on the Steam Deck. This is by no means a finished list either, there are tons of other amazing demos to play, but these ones really stood out.

Also, the fest ends tomorrow, so make sure to try these demos ASAP!

Bearnard (8/12 / Developed by Michał Wikliński)

Bearnard Steam Next Fest June 2024

Bearnard is a 2D action platformer with a turn-based combat system that I adored. You run around the world as a bear and use a bow and arrow to attack enemies, solve puzzles, and hit random objects to get exp to level up! I love the way you have to aim your bow so precisely for attacks, while using cards you pick up to augment or give you new abilities that are all linked to the bow and arrow. It's a ton of fun, and I definitely look forward to playing the full release.

Bearnard also runs exceptionally well on the Steam Deck. It hits 90 FPS easily with under 8W battery drain. I am not really surprised at this, given the art style of the game, but I love seeing it regardless!

Bō: Path of the Teal Lotus (7/17) (Developed by Squid Shock Studios)


Bō: Path of the Teal Lotus is a 2.5D action platformer that truly amazed me with its gorgeous art style. I am a sucker for vibrant colors and stylized artwork, and this game has both. On top of that, it's a very well-made platformer that got me hooked with its combat and jumping mechanics, which I really liked. Hopefully, I will get to unravel the mysteries of our origin and what ancient prophecy we need to fulfill.

And doing it all on the Steam Deck is going to be a breeze thanks to how well it runs! 90 FPS with less than 12W battery drain is what I am expecting thanks to the demo, and I can't wait to see if the full game continues this trend.

Edge of Sanity (Coming Soon / Developed by Vixa Games)


Full disclosure, I played Edge of Sanity at PAX East 3 months ago and it was one of my favorites to play there. So, when I saw a demo available for Next Fest, I knew I had to try it out on the Steam Deck. This is a survivor horror game where you have to lead a group of survivors to scavenge and make it out of the Alaskan wastelands together against creepy eldritch horrors. It's a gorgeous game to say the least, and it does an incredible job of bringing out a horrific atmosphere that could creep anybody out.

As for playing on the Steam Deck, it is flawless. At a stable 90 FPS, I never saw a battery drain above 10.5W, making it wonderful to play on the go. Controls worked great, and I feel this will be a wonderful Steam Deck title on release.

Galaxy Burger (8/23 / Developed by Galactic Workshop)


There's something about Galaxy Burger that spoke to me. I am not sure exactly what, but when I saw the art work for it, I was tantalized and felt like I needed to try it, and I ended up enjoying it! At its core, it's a cooking simulator where you will take orders and make burgers for people. As you play, it evolves into deep frying and more. It's a lot of fun, and it is designed to be co-op, so you can cater to your customers and try to work together.

The game runs flawlessly on the Steam Deck and has some interesting controller support. You move the camera around with the left joystick but will move the cursor around with the right one. It took a little getting used to, but it worked out overall, and I ended up really enjoying it.

Go-Go Town (6/18 / Developed by Prideful Sloth)


Go-Go Town is a simulator where you need to rebuild a town up from scratch! You will go around crafting materials to build shops and utilities to keep tourists coming in, bring in more money, and expand the town further. You'll assign different residents to man these stores, help with crafting, and take care of the town, all of which will feed right back into your bank account. It's an addicting gameplay loop mixed with an adorable and colorful aesthetic that all mesh together very well.

And on the Steam Deck, it performs admirably! I was able to stick to 90 FPS the entire time, with some minor drops to 88 FPS. It was on the higher end of battery drain, but since this is a demo that isn't indicative of the full release, I walked away very pleased.

I Am Your Beast (8/15 / Developed by Strange Scaffold)


Have you ever wanted to become John Wick and take down enemies as fast as you can? However, you can? Well, I Am Your Beast is that game! As an operative of the COI, you are tasked to take down the enemies in each level as fast as you can. The gameplay feels extremely fluid, and it's addicting enough to keep going back into levels and try to get a quicker time. It feels like SUPERHOT, but without the slow-mo, which makes it even more exhilarating when you get a sick combo that includes headshots with your guns, throwing them, and then picking up a knife to stab someone behind you and then throwing it at another person to kill them.

As for playing on the Steam Deck, the demo holds up quite well. I decided to play at 50 FPS since the game does have a couple of areas where they drop, but overall, it was stable and a fantastic feeling. The gamepad controls feel great too, and I desperately want this game to release already!

Kill Knight (2024 / Developed by PlaySide)


Kill Knight made me think of Vampire Survivors at first with how it's structured, but after playing it, i can happily say it has some intriguing differences. The game has you running around the stage, choosing a direction to shoot enemies while trying to dodge them. You have heavy weapons, a sword to recharge ammo, pistols that you can reload with unlimited ammo, and a way to absorb exp that you can use to either level up or power up a different gun to get more health. And it is all so addicting.

On top of that, it is running wonderfully on the Steam Deck. At 14W - 17W battery drain, it stuck to 60 FPS and felt incredible to play overall with the controller. This is a must-play on Deck.

Legends of Astravia (Q1 2025 / Developed by Studio Alemni)


Legends of Astravia is an RPG where you will need to uncover the truth behind your past and figure out a mysterious plan to bring forth an age of ruin. While it could be seen as another JRPG-esque title, I am quite intrigued after playing through it. It's meant to be an approachable game without padded content, which is fantastic, has an interesting story, and a modular skill system that is intriguing to play with. But what won me over was the dynamic battle system

On top of that, the game is perfect for the Steam Deck. You can expect a 6W battery drain with a solid 60 FPS, which is just wonderful.

Metal Slug Tactics (Q4 2024 / Developed by Leikir Studio)


I would have never thought about turning Metal Slug into a tactical strategy game, yet here we are, and it works surprisingly well! Like other tactical RPGs, you will choose your units and move them across a field, using skills to set up and take down the enemy. You will gain experience to earn new weapons to maximize combos and set up sync attacks with the other operatives on the field, all in the classic Metal Slug art style.

As for Steam Deck performance, it runs really well. I never saw it go past 10W battery drain at 90 FPS, and it feels like the perfect game for the platform. There isn't controller support, so you do need to change the controller configuration to Keyboard + Mouse, but it works very well otherwise!

Sacre Bleu (2024 / Developed by Hildring Studio Inc.)


This was actually the first demo I tried out of the bunch, and I love the gameplay loop. Sacre Bleu has you as the captain of the Musketeers and has been sent to prison. Now, you have to break out using your trusty sword, blunderbuss, and pistol and blast your way to freedom. While the game has a gorgeous cartoony art style, it's the fact that each weapon you get has bullet time attached, making it possible to plan out your attack and create chains of awesome moves to take down all the foes around.

On top of that, it plays extremely well on the Steam Deck so far. It was draining around 14W at the highest and stuck to a cool 60 FPS, which was awesome. I usually expect demos to not be optimized very well for the Deck, but Sacre Bleu was playing wonderfully.

SCHiM (7/18 / Developed by Ewoud van der Werf and Nils Slijkerman)


In SCHiM, you are a little shadow being that has been detached from your human, and now you have to go find them. You will have to jump from shadow to shadow to chase beat the level and chase after your person. It's so interesting and a lot of fun having to time jumps into shadows and rotating the world so you can find different shadows to jump to. The aesthetic really stood out to me as well, making it so cool to just jump around the world and see what objects cast specific shadows.

SCHiM also runs near flawlessly on the Steam Deck! At 90 FPS, we can get under 10W of battery drain, and controls feel wonderful. There's no complaints here, and I can't wait for the full release to play it on the go.

Stars in the Trash (Coming Soon / Developed by Valhalla Cats)


The Stars in the Trash demo is really short, but it showcases a gorgeously animated and artistic narrative-driven experience that I am all here for. When the demo started, I genuinely thought it was an animated cutscene, but nope, the entire game is just wonderfully gorgeous. In the demo, you will only get a short teaser for what the full game will be, only taking place over 2 days inside the house, whereas the rest of the game will see you on an adventure after finally escaping!

And it is wonderful on the Steam Deck. 90 FPS with a 9W battery drain is fantastic, and I didn't see Stars in the Trash dip below the framerate or above the battery drain once.

World's Worst Handyman (September 2024 / Developed by Baby Lumberjack)


World's Worst Handyman is a puzzle game at its core, but it's a hilarious one that I can't get enough of. You are a new handyman that has decided to take on jobs to help save an Animal Shelter, and you are very bad at your job. Regardless, you will head to people's houses, farms, and other locations to try fixing their issues, and it's a blast. There's so much humor injected into it with some great references, like when you find lost animals, and figuring out which keys to use where to unlock specific rooms so you can "fix" the toilets or whatever you need to feels extremely rewarding.

On top of that, it runs wonderfully on the Steam Deck! It runs at a cool 60 FPS with under 15W drain generally, though there are some areas that tend to use a bit more power. But it stays at 60 the entire time, and it feels fantastic with the controller. It even recognizes the HDR screen, and although the main menu looks way too saturated, the rest of the game looks wonderful.

Yars Rising (2024 / Developed by WayForward)


I played Yars Rising over at Summer Game Fest and my full thoughts will be out on it soon, but I didn't get a chance to play it on the Steam Deck yet, and I am so glad I took the time to try it. The Metroidvania remake of the original Yars game is helmed by WayForward, the developers of Shantae and River City Girls, and you can definitely tell the game has a lot of love and ATARI lore packed into it.

It is also amazing to play on the Steam Deck. 90 FPS with some minor spikes up to 15W. Playing at 60 FPS will lower these even more, so not only is this a really well optimized game, it will be perfect to play on the go!

And those are some of our favorite demos so far! There are so many more that we have played that we really enjoy, and I highly recommend checking out all of them. Some others I would recommend include CONSCRIPT, SWORN, The Spell Brigade, Prickle, and LEILA, but there are a lot of great options to pick from.

If you have any other favorite demos we should check out, let us know in the comments!

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Noah Kupetsky
A lover of gaming since 4, Noah has grown up with a love and passion for the industry. From there, he started to travel a lot and develop a joy for handheld and PC gaming. When the Steam Deck released, it just all clicked.
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