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Try these 6 excellent, free PC game demos during Steam Next Fest

Summer Gaming Marathon Feature Image
This story is part of our Summer Gaming Marathon series.

Every couple of months, Valve holds a Steam Next Fest event on Steam. During that time, lots of indie developers briefly release demos of their upcoming titles to gain more in-development feedback on their games and build some prelaunch hype for the titles. We love trying out some of these games and rounding up our favorites each time a Steam Next Fest rolls around. This year, we’ve already talked about how two climbing game demos really stuck out to us, but that’s not all that’s worth checking out.

There were six more indie game demos that we tried and fell in love with during the June 2023 Steam Next Fest. From a sci-fi hospital sim that’s full of character to a game about cleaning up trash and gunk underwater, these are six of our favorite Steam Next Fest games that you should check out before the event ends at 10 a.m. PT on June 26.

Saltsea Chronicles

A conversation in Saltsea Chronicles.
Die Gute Fabrik

The latest game from Mutazione and Sportsfriends developer Die Gute Fabrik, Saltsea Chronicles is an adventure game about the motley crew of a ship looking for their captain throughout a flooded world. Digital Trends actually had the chance to try the demo early at Summer Game Fest Play Days this year. We came away impressed with its witty writing and gorgeous art, and we were even surprisingly good at its optional card game called Spoils. If you’re a fan of adventure games, definitely give this demo a shot.

Saltsea Chronicles is in development for Nintendo Switch, PC, and PlayStation 5. It will be released sometime later this year. 

Loddlenaut

The player cleans gunk in Loddlenaut
Secret Mode

If you enjoy the satisfaction of cleaning a place up in Powerwash Simulator, then you’ll want to keep an eye on Loddlenaut. Developed by some New York University grads at Moon Lagoon, Loddlenaut is a game allow about cleaning up the trash and gunk that has gathered in the ocean of an alien planet. This demo has players cleaning up an area called Flotsam Falts, getting accustomed to cleaning things up with a bubble gun, exchanging trash for upgrades, and even befriending one of the titular alien Loddles. There’s something intrinsically satisfying about cleaning, and Loddlenaut successfully taps into that while sporting a crisp retro-3D aesthetic.

Loddlenaut is in development for PC and is expected to launch in 2023.

Galacticare

A hospital in Galacticare.
CULT Games

Yet another Steam Next Fest demo we got an early look at during Summer Game Fest Play Days, Galacticare is a sci-fi hospital sim that’s full of humor and character. The demo will have you treating the attendees of Burning Moon Festival, a massive space concert where a moon is blown up at the end. While its genre peers, like Two Point Hospital, can also be pretty comedic, none have as much dialogue or in-depth character interplay as Galacticare did during our time playing the game. That really makes this otherwise fairly standard hospital sim stand out, so fans of the genre should definitely check out the demo we played during Steam Next Fest.

Galacticare will be released for PC in late 2023. 

Station to Station

A train passes a windmill in Station to Station
Prismatika

If you’re someone who really likes trains, then you’ll want to try the demo for Station to Station. Sporting a gorgeous voxel art style, Station to Station is a building sim all about connecting buildings to resources with trains. Station to Station hits all the right notes that it needs to within its own genre, but this is also a building game where it’s as fun to look at what you make as it is to build it. You’re rewarded visually for connecting things as some more color, flora, and fauna get added back to the world with each connection. This is simply a pleasant game to look at and play.

Station to Station is expected to come out on PC this year. 

Wargroove 2

The conquest map in Wargroove 2
Chucklefish

The original Wargroove served as an Advance Wars substitute during the lengthy period of time when that Nintendo series was dormant. Now that Advance Wars has returned, a follow-up to Wargroove risked feeling like an unnecessary retread. Thankfully, Wargroove 2 manages to feel distinct thanks to not only more detailed, gorgeous pixel art, but a new roguelike mode as well. Called Conquest, this mode has a Slay the Spire-like setup and smartly focused on commonalities between strategy games and roguelikes, like permadeath and character progression. While the full game will include three campaigns and multiplayer, it’ll be easy to lose a lot of time during Conquest mode alone when Wargroove 2’s Steam Next Fest demo is available.

Wargroove 2 is in development for PC and Nintendo Switch. 

Super Space Club

Gameplay from Super Space Club
GrahamOfLegend

At its core, Super Space Club isn’t much more complicated than Asteroids: you fly around and shoot asteroids and enemies as a little triangle-shaped ship. This indie game brings that simple concept into 2023 with colorful backgrounds, multiple playable characters with special abilities, and a lo-fi soundtrack by Fat Bard that makes Super Space Club a game you want to play with headphones. No matter what your skill level with games is, this is a Steam Next Fest demo that pretty much anyone can pick up and enjoy.

Super Space Club will be released for PC and Xbox One on August 4. 

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Tomas Franzese
Tomas Franzese is a Staff Writer at Digital Trends, where he reports on and reviews the latest releases and exciting…
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