Narrative game festival LudoNarraCon 2023 has come absolutely stacked with game demos for highly-anticipated upcoming titles – like the musical adventure game, Stray Gods, high school farewell tale, Goodbye Volcano High, and even quirky indie gems like MythWrecked: Ambrosia Island, and wrestling-dating simulator, Wrestling With Emotions.
Whether you’re looking for romance or a gripping crime story, the spotlight of LudoNarraCon is shining brightly on the future of narrative games. Over 30 game demos are available to download and play during the event, though you may not get time to check out every game.
If you’re looking for some highlights to start with, read on. There are eight game demos we think you should definitely try.
Read: LudoNarraCon 2023: Full schedule and panelists revealed
Our Top Picks
Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical
Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical from the Melbourne-based Summerfall Studios, joins LudoNarraCon 2023 with its first-ever public demo. Whether you’re a fan of roleplaying, musicals, gods, or basically the entire cast of Critical Role, you should make time for this playable teaser.
In the game, you play as Grace, a young woman who winds up wrapped in a conspiracy after the death of a Greek god leaves her with the inherited powers of the Muse. The newly-launched demo for the game reveals a slice of Grace’s journey, and how the game’s musical action sequences will play out.
Check out Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical on Steam.
Read: Stray Gods wouldn’t exist without Buffy, and the Australian Government
MythWrecked: Ambrosia Island
In a similar vein to Stray Gods, Polygon Treehouse’s MythWrecked: Ambrosia Island stars a cast of reimagined Greek deities, all of whom occupy a strange and uncanny island. As backpacker Alex, you will meet and greet these gods, and discover the secret of their stolen identities.
In what’s described as a ‘friend em up’ adventure, you’ll journey through an idyllic land, find each forgotten god, really get to know them, and use collectible mementos to restore them to their former glory.
Check out MythWrecked: Ambrosia Island on Steam.
Slay the Princess
If you’re tired of rescuing princesses from gilded cages, maybe you’d like to flip the script. In Slay the Princess, you’ll do just that. After all, if you don’t kill the princess, the world will end. This dark visual novel is a modern twist on classic fairytales, and features a unique hand-drawn aesthetic that adds to the creepiness of the romp.
According to the game’s developers, there are boundless ways your encounter with the mysterious princess will go – and your choices will have major consequences on your realm. Beyond a unique aesthetic, Slay the Princess looks to feature a special horror twist on the ‘damsel in distress’ trope.
Check out Slay the Princess on Steam.
Wrestling With Emotions: New Kid on the Block
For something a bit more lighthearted, you’ll want to check out Wrestling With Emotions: New Kid on the Block, a wrestling-themed dating simulator starring a colourful and eclectic cast of characters. In this tongue-in-cheek adventure, you’ll enter the wild world of wrestling in the 1990s – a time populated by bombastic characters and over-the-top drama.
To survive your life as an up-and-coming ‘jobber’ – a beginner wrestler who often gets defeated to make more popular wrestlers look good – and avoid the criticisms of your boss, Manny McMan (a clear reference to former WWE head honcho, Vince McMahon) you’ll need to ‘befriend, seduce, enrage and bodyslam’ a diverse cast of ‘adorable muscle cuties’ and make a claim on your territory.
Check out Wrestling With Emotions: New Kid on the Block on Steam.
Back in the horror realm, LudoNarraCon 2023 provides a unique demo glimpse into the world of Demonschool, a tactical RPG where you’re required to ‘defeat big weirdos’ as you flit between the demon and human worlds. In the adventure, you play as a cast of university students, trying to navigate life on a mysterious island littered with dangers.
To keep your head and heart in place, you’ll tackle a variety of tactical RPG-style monster battles where you can attack head-on, or think strategically with rewind and planning phases to achieve the best outcome. As you fight your way through these battles, you’ll unfold a quirky ‘light horror’ narrative starring odd beasts, and the terrors of university living.
Check out Demonschool on Steam.
In the mood for a mystery? Loco Motive is where you should head next. In this train-bound action adventure, you are a passenger on the Reuss Express enjoying a quiet evening of leisure. But, as in all dramas, your reverie is soon interrupted by a cold-blooded murder. In the footsteps of Agatha Christie, you’ll play as one of three main characters, all working to unravel the killer’s plans before they strike again.
What is perhaps most intriguing about Loco Motive is its gorgeous pixel art style, which combines neat character portraits with smooth motion, and a bobbing sense of rhythm. Loco Motive is a stunner, and its classic mystery should keep you guessing as the action unfolds.
Check out Loco Motive on Steam.
Harmony: The Fall of Reverie
Harmony: The Fall of Reverie is the latest title from Life is Strange studio, Don’t Nod, and features a very intriguing premise that promises a unique narrative adventure. In the game, you play as Polly, who returns to her childhood home to discover it’s now ruled by a despotic mega-corporation. In her anguish, she discovers an ability to enter a new realm, known as Reverie, where she can use her gift of clairvoyance to parse the aspirations of humanity: glory, bliss, power, chaos, bond, and truth.
With this unique power at her fingertips, she’s about to reshape the world, with each decision spawning a new narrative path that you, the player, can explore in great detail. As each branch forms, you’ll meet newly godly deities, understand more about the world, and help to restore balance.
Check out Harmony: The Fall of Reverie on Steam.
Goodbye Volcano High
In this cartoon adventure described as a ‘hybrid cinematic narrative/rhythm game/coming of age interactive movie’, you play as Fang, a non-binary dragon creature trying to discover themselves right as the world’s about to end. In your journey, you’ll need to decide how to spend your last days, and how to become the person you want to be, on the cusp of a major explosion that likely serves as a metaphor for the end of youth.
Beyond the game’s colourful art style, Goodbye Volcano High looks to feature a high-tension narrative that will walk the line between comedy and heartfelt moments, as the game’s main cast looks for meaning and purpose at the world’s end.
Check out Goodbye Volcano High on Steam.
LudoNarraCon 2023 runs from now until 8 May 2023. While some demos will remain live after the show, many are timed exclusives – so you’ll want to be quick about jumping into your most anticipated games.