The Best Of Steam Next Fest February 2023

We're all a little older, but no more maturer. Forget the boring stuff and play games - here are some of the best titles from Steam Next Fest February 2023.

Steam Next Fest February 2023 now leaves us. What have we learned? I need to buy a time management course in an Udemy sale.

Always with the best intentions, it’s impossible to cover everything during the Steam Next Fest. In fact, it’s been a challenge to even write much in the way of previews anyway, as the quality has been so good.

So, in no particular order, here’s a round-up of some of the best titles during Steam Next Fest February 2023.

The Best Of Steam Next Fest February 2023

Fall of Porcupine

Fall of Porcupine
Source: Steam

Fall of Porcupine has come up before as I played the Prologue a little while ago. You play Finley, an intern at St Ursula’s Hospital. 

In this beautiful platformer (on the inside too, Fin is lovely towards his patients), you have to do your rounds and take part in QTE diagnosis’ of poorly people. Like Night In The Woods, but not as heavy… so far, it’ll be out later this year and is worth adding to your wishlist.

Planet of Lana

Planet Of Lana - Stealth tactics
Source: Thunderful Games

One of the major highlights of the Steam Next Fest, Planet of Lana from Thunderful is as beautiful as it has looked in the trailers. Somewhat like Studio Ghibli, only because it’s easy to compare, this game’s artwork and overall mood are gorgeous.

It’s a platform game where you run and jump, solving puzzles in a living watercolour. Writing about Planet of Lana is a no-brainer, as this is one of the top titles I’m keen to play in 2023. Not on your wishlist yet? Sort it out.

Dust & Neon

Dust and Neon demo
Source: Steam

One of the few games I managed to write aboutDust & Neon is a twin-stick shooter rogue-lite set in the Wild West; only the difference here to the norm are the robots and bright lights.

You play a cowboy taking down the riff-raff in this stylish topdown shooter, serving up plenty of guns for lootin’ but no baked beans for tootin’. What’s up with that? Still good though – looking forward to this.

Splittown

Splittown Demo - Rats!
Rats! Source: Screen capture

A few titles down and no mention of a point and click? Here it is! This one is called Splittown, and I’d never heard of it until the Steam Next Fest.

As Leonard Nimby, you must trace a shrink ray that’s gone missing from your lab – the culprit being the mayor electorate. A throwback to 90s LucasArts and the like. It’s funny, too.

Gourdlets

Gourdlets demo
Source: Steam

Within the first two minutes, I knew that Gourdlets was a game I’d enjoy. Without a tutorial, long-winded story, or faffing about, I was building as fast as in The Block; only the world here is much bigger and more animated.

You essentially build a place for your civilisation without any objectives. That’s right, AuntyGames have given us a super cute sandbox with no commitments. Yay!

My Dream Setup

My Dream Setup
Source: Steam

Like the recent Hipster Cafe, I could get lost in the customisation. It came out of nowhere, but the thumbnails and write-ups were spot-on in terms of expectations.

Take a room with four walls and kit it out with a tidy desktop environment. Change the colour of the walls, type of flooring, add a killer PC, books (remember those?), bed for sleeping on… yeah, sleeping on. If you spend this much time on your setup, you won’t have time for relationships. 

Bike Mechanic Simulator 2023

Bike Mechanic Simulator 2023
Source: Steam

There just wasn’t the time to play this properly, but Bike Mechanic Simulator 2023 has jumped the list for most-wanted on Steam. 

Unsurprisingly, this is a bike sim (bicycles) similar to every other sim where you get an email and are asked to do menial tasks until the difficulty improves and you get better jobs.

As a bike fan who frequently works on bikes, this was a lot of fun, even if undoing components means holding down the left mouse button to complete. If there’s any licensing in this game, it’ll be great. Is anyone else a Specialized fan?

Unscripted

Unscripted
Source: Steam

Familiar with UnderGrad Studios’ other titles College Kings and House PartyUnscripted follows the path of some 20-somethings, 30-somethings? Hipsters…? in Hollywood. In the demo, it’s four friends at a dive bar, one of those being you.

A hottie is at the bar, and you pluck up the courage/pick up your balls and approach her. Hey, the name’s… There’s a brief interaction, and you’ll get a second date if you’re a stud like me. It was a quick demo, but it had me interested. And no, there wasn’t any nudity in it. I was in this for the character development.

Nocturnal

nocturnal
Source: Steam

Excellent. That’s how we begin Nocturnal. Sort of like Prince of Persia in that you have arms and legs and run around with a sword. This game from Sunnyside Games and Dear Villagers is special.

Returning to your hometown, an island in… I’m not sure – it doesn’t matter, you find that it’s covered in a black fog and everybody seems to have been killed or left. Lighting the way with your sword ignited in flame, you take on the remnants of an army and battle out the fog without any pirates or John Carpenter in sight.

Cavern of Dreams

Cavern of Dreams
Source: Steam

I’d love to take the credit here and say I was able to sniff out this awesome N64-like title from Bynine Studio. Alas, credit goes to the developer for bringing it to my attention. Someone needs to tell them that they’ve managed to do the N64 aesthetic a little better than Nintendo, however.

Screaming Banjo & Kazooie, plus many other classic 3D platformers, Cavern of Dreams tells the tale of a young dragon on a quest to find their lost siblings. This indie very much feels like a port of a classic game, and I almost booted up the N64 simulator on the Switch to see if this already exists. Great stuff – do check it out.

The Other Stuff

Off the back of Unscripted, which doesn’t feature any sexy scenes, I downloaded two similar titles, Lust Academy and the other was Monstrous Love. Both had to be played half at the PC and half by the door to make sure nobody saw what I was playing – how rude! The first was similar to College Kings but in the style of Harry Potter. The wands in this visual novel being dicks. Monstrous Love is an acquired taste – monsters licking the nips off equally pervy characters sunbathing in the forest. But it has to be said the artwork in that demo was brilliant. No, I wasn’t commenting on the boobs, but the foliage. 

Troublemaker was another one of those chance downloads, as it mentioned martial arts. I didn’t get into this one due to lack of time, but it was a mixture of Shenmue and the Persona series at face value. One to watch?

Gripper Preview - Neon
Neon. Source: Steam

Another title is Gripper. I didn’t play it this time, but I recall the last time I covered it. It’s super hard yet super stylish and offers a brutal challenge. At least for my digits. Bunker Builder Simulator was on the list but also didn’t get the airtime… nor Fabledom, which is a shame as I’m keen to play this one.

So, another Steam Next Fest is done and dusted. What next? Send me some recommendations if you have any. Did I miss anything? Are you developing a game you’d like a shout-out for? Look at the kind of games I cover, though, as if it’s mobile or visual novels, it’s not likely to be my thing.

Cheers!