13 Demo Impressions From The Summer Showcases To Check Out

Phew, what a week it’s been. Kicking off with the Summer Games Fest, followed by a host of superb showcases, there’s been a lot of games shown. For all the Xbox’s and PlayStation’s of the world however, it was the indie showpieces that really dazzled. Every genre imaginable represented, to even the far niches of houses building relationships in… Building Relationships. What an industry.

If you’re interested in our reactions to the showcases themselves and all of the hype (of which there’s plenty), you can catch episode 255 of our podcast, breaking down all of our favourite and less favourite moments. In the fallout of some downright superb demonstrations and a bazillion trailers, there’s been an influx of incredible games to try via demos.

This is by no means a complete list (trust me, there’s probably hundreds in total), but I thought it might be worth sharing some brief impressions of the following 13 titles. That’s right, I’ve played 13 demos and I’m here to report to you on all of them. A couple weren’t from this week but were included in Steam’s Next Fest, so I’ve thrown them in for good measure. All the indie games, all the love.

If you spot any you like the look of, you can support the developers by wishlisting their title on Steam. It makes a whole lot of difference to the traction their games can get and it’s so easy to do. I’d also heartily recommend you to check out Steam Next Fest yourself, as I’m as certain as can be you’ll find something to love on there. Enough yabbering, onto the games!

Copycat

A lovely little game where you play as Dawn, a recently rehomed cat who’s not exactly keen on their new housing arrangement. At least at first. Allowing you to roam the house, knock over bottles, scratch at toilet paper and bap feathered cat toys to your feline heart’s content. Unlike Stray, Copycat is a more grounded tale about the relationship between our treasured pets and their owners.

Truth be told, it’s likely to be emotional, if the demo narrative beats are anything to go off of. Most importantly, you’ll be able to roam different locations, hunt butterflies and overcome the shadowy copycat that takes your place in your new home. Copycat was a fun and initially cozy time in my 45 minutes with the demo, but I fear there’s something more sinister lurking under the fur of this cat.

Copycat is slated for release in September 2024 on Steam, as well as PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and Mac. It’s developed by a team of three – Spoonful of Wonder – and published by Neverland Entertainment. If you’re looking to scratch that Stray itch, this is one to keep an eye on.

Debtors’ Club

Ah, the tax man, everyone’s favourite person, amirite? In Debtors’ Club, you are that exact taxman, ringing up businesses to persuade, threaten or bluff your way into getting some major dollar. You’re going to need it too – you have a target to hit each day and if you don’t meet it, you’re fired! It’s a bit like Papers Please, only with a cartoon art style, but with the same pressures coming from all directions.

I finished one week as a tax collector successfully (there are so many expired licences out there!), but surviving a full month promises to be challenging. As challenging as completing an actual tax return? Probably not. Either way, Debtors’ Club is an enjoyable and easy-to-play management game that also has branching routes to completion. Well worth checking out if you’re into decision-making clickers and fine details.

Debtors’ Club is planned for release in 2024 via Steam. It’s developed by Mecagames and published by indie.io.

Dystopika

One look at the trailer and just under 10 minutes with the demo was all it took for me to fall in love with Dystopika. No objectives, no markers, no dialogue. Nothing to do but build your very own cyberpunk dystopias using a sandbox of building options. Adorn your fledging metropolis with massive projected advertisements, neon signs and lashings of moody atmosphere. It’s nice to create an oppressive city without timers or tasks to worry about.

The demo provides access to a decent amount of the suite that’ll be available in Dystopika, and I was impressed with the couple of sprawling cities I’ve already managed to erect. With time of day, weather and photo mode filters included in the package, there’s sure to be a Dystopika city of your imagination waiting to be realised.

Dystopika is right around the corner, with a scheduled launch on June 21st on Steam. It’s also made by a single developer (Voids Within) and published by UNIKAT Label.

Tactical Breach Wizards

Is there anything cooler than breaching rooms and masterfully eliminating every target in said room in one fell swoop? Didn’t think so. Tactical Breach Wizards is a series of turn-based tactical puzzles rooms, whereby you systematically breach rooms and use your zany cast of wizard’s abilities to eradicate everyone. AK-47 Jackie Brown quote and all that.

The demo allowed me to play the first four levels, including optional objectives to test mastery, plenty of amusing, slap-stick dialogue and plenty of skills on show. For the hour I played, I had a massive grin on my face, both for the wacky dialogue and the awesome set of abilities you can use. Each room is a little cartoon Rubix cube to solve, only the cube has guns… and wizards. It’s weird and wonderful.

Tactical Breach Wizards is coming to Steam on August 22nd. Developed and published by Suspicious Developments, it’s planning to have 8-10 hours worth of breaching goodness to devour. August can’t come soon enough.

Parcel Corps

I’ll be honest, I played about 20 minutes of Parcel Corps, which was when my in-game timer ran out and I realised… I suck at games like this. No fault of Parcel Corps whatsoever – it’s colourful, vibrant, entertaining and has a real depth to its BMX style cycling. Most of all, I appreciated how my character would immediately pull out a new bike from their backpack whenever I stacked it into a double-decker bus. Which was far too often.

Delivering packages has never been so stylish, with means to grind on rails, bunnyhop off of cars and wall… run? Cycle? Slide? One of those. Timers and skill counters galore, this could very easily be one that will take up dozens of hours of people’s lives who are into the skating type genre. Alas, probably more for Josh or Greg, who actually know how to play these games well. Nevertheless, I had a swell time, while it lasted.

Parcel Corps is releasing on September 3rd on Steam, as well as PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S. It’s being developed by Billy Goat Entertainment (great name) and published by Secret Mode.

I Am Your Beast

If John Wick was in a first-person video game, he’d probably play a lot like how your character Harding does. An FPS that’s all about speed, movement and precise action, I Am Your Beast is a high speed, rip-roaring affair. You can fire your last round, throw the pistol into a soldier’s face, catch his own weapon and stomp his head into a bloody pulp in 0.5 seconds.

It’s Hotline Miami and Ghostrunner mixed into a turbo-charged shooter. A boomer shooter in every conceivable way, I Am Your Beast will have challenges to master on each level, a scoring system to best and I can already foresee some absolutely crazy plays that’ll be crafted from those more talented than myself. If you like yourself a fast-paced death simulator, this is one to wishlist.

I Am Your Beast is coming soon – August 15th to be exact, via Steam. It’s being developed by Strange Scaffold and joint published with Frosty Pop.

CONSCRIPT

An atmospheric pixel art Resident Evil-esque World War 1 survival horror game? That’s CONSCRIPT. Having spent an hour surviving the ordeal that is the French trenches in the demo, I can confirm that it’s not only intense, it evokes that special brand of old-school tension and uneasiness. Soldiers will prowl around the trenches you need to backtrack to and from to find your allies.

CONSCRIPT mixes stamina management and tank controls for combat (static for aiming now feels refreshing, who’d have thought?). Moreover, it’s the classic Resident Evil formula of finding X item to unlock Y locked thing, to move on to the next and so on. It works supremely well within the choking atmosphere of mustard gas, trench shovels and despair.

CONSCRIPT launches July 23rd on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC (Steam). It’s being developed by Jordan Mochi through Catchweight Studio and published by Team17.

Arctic Awakening

Firewatch, but in the snowy icecaps of Alaska. Boom, sold, aren’t you? Arctic Awakening has a similar art style and walking simulator type gameplay we adored in Campo Santo’s excellent outing. Only this time around, it’s an old rival turned semi-friend on the radio, you’ve crash landed into the icy wilderness and there’s a lot of manmade structures around that don’t seem to fit quite right.

The 30 minutes of the demo covers the opening and introduces you to the world and characters, which look promising in terms of interesting backstory. Your accompanying robot drone is both sarcastic and sometimes helpful, and there’s a lot of atmosphere hiding amidst the snow and the trees. If you’re into walking sims and story-rich games, this is one to keep in mind.

Arctic Awakening is coming to Steam in 2024, and is planned for PlayStation 4/5, Xbox Series S/X and Xbox One. It’s being developed and published by GoldFire Studios.

Moon Mystery

From the snowy peaks of Alaska, we’re now headed to space. Moon Mystery is a sci-fi adventure game where you can dogfight amongst asteroids, engage in frantic shootouts against robots on Mars, and drive around to explore the vast open expanse of the moon. All in one game. The demo openly takes pride in how Moon Mystery is a mash-up of lots of different genres, providing a variety of experiences.

Lost in space, with a black hole looming large and only a robot companion for company? Sounds very Interstellar, only with more guns and space lasers. It’s a cool demonstration of what the full game hopes to offer, and the combat itself is fast-paced and engaging.

No word on a release date yet, but Moon Mystery is coming to Steam. It’s developed by Cosmoscouts and published by Indie.io.

Massacre At The Mirage

Evoking old school slasher movies, Massacre At The Mirage is a dark and bloody time. You take on the roles of various people involved with the Mirage, a theatre playing horror movies at midnight right through October. Definitely no bad omens or anything to worry about there. Serve the customers, dish out the popcorn and look out for Art The Clown imitator driving a gory, creepy truck…

The couple of jump scares and the voice acting left a little to be desired, but the setting, aura and killer clown are unnervingly great. The Mirage itself is a retro throwback in style, and this game is filled with more shadows than a cave underground. I enjoyed the 30 minutes with the demo a lot, and if you’re into slasher type movies, this’ll be right up your street.

Massacre At The Mirage is coming to Steam in 2024. It’s being developed by Tainted Pact and published by Assemble Entertainment.

Hollowbody

One of our indie highlights during the Guerilla Collective, Hollowbody should provide a fix for those hankering for some PS2 Silent Hill vibes. The demo sees our protagonist crash landing into a desolate, inhospitable city, needing to reach the top of a high rise building to call for aid. Cue a number of locked doors, passages to uncover, items to find to progress and tank-control combat to overcome.

While we loved the trailer shown in the showcase, actually playing Hollowbody was even better. The haunting musical score compliments the dour building complex incredibly well. The story has hints of something more sinister going on, and the combat is satisfying and chunky, with an emphasis on resource management to survive. My only gripe was that it was finished so soon.

Hollowbody is aiming to release this year on Steam and is yet another impressive solo-dev effort. It’s being developed and published by Headware Games.

KILL KNIGHT

Myself and Josh have often lamented how we’ll never see Ruiner 2. Thankfully, KILL KNIGHT heard our sorrow and has come soaring in, guns toting and sword cleaving to lift our spirits right back up. Enter a domain and slay hundreds upon hundreds of creatures until you run out of life. They hit hard, but you can hit harder.

Combining a basic pistols flurry, special weapon attack, dashes, swords, combos, parries and fluid movement, KILL KNIGHT is electric. The demo provides access to the first layer and a couple of variations on weapons you can unlock through accrued currency or by completing challenges (a nice touch). Diversity in builds is going to be big in this one, but the core gameplay is just so rapid and satisfying, it’ll be a joyous slaughter for a good while.

KILL KNIGHT is coming to Steam, Xbox, PlayStation, and Switch in 2024, though no fixed date just yet. It’s being developed and published by PlaySide.

The Alters

If you’ve ever wondered how you may have turned out if you’d made different choices in your life, you’ll find a lot to ruminate over in The Alters. I spent 70 minutes with the game, expanding the mobile base, exploring sci-fi worlds for materials and then… creating my first alternate version of the character. Progressing means acquiring more alters, but be warned, they’re tricky customers.

Each alter has their own personality, memories and traits, based on their life histories you can track through the quantum computer. Did I mention you’ll all be eviscerated by the sun if you don’t escape the planet within seven days. Yeah, there’s that too. With awesome graphical presentation and a compellingly unique concept, The Alters is shaping up very nicely indeed.

The Alters is due to arrive on Steam, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S/X in 2024. It’s being developed and published by 11 Bit Studios.


There ya have it. 13 games, from impersonating a cat to fending off a black-and-white clown serial killer, to blasting soldiers out of windows as a wizard commando, I hope there’s been something in this list to catch your eye. The indie scene is overflowing with creativity and passion projects, so please do give the dev teams some love if you happen to take a fancy to one of their titles. They’ll surely appreciate it, and the industry could do with more good news.

Otherwise, I hope you enjoyed the summer showcase events and you’re enjoying the future of some fantastic looking games. Seriously, get stuck into Steam Next Fest, there’s too many games there, it’d be impossible not to find something to love!


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