9 Steam Next Fest game demos to check out

Take time to jump into these game demos as the latest Steam Next Fest continues.
on your tail steam next fest game demo screenshot

Steam Next Fest has kicked off for another season, bringing keen players hundreds of game demos for new and upcoming titles. While it’s easy to download a bunch of demos, and then forget them until they’re no longer available, the latest lot of Next Fest games really is dazzling – and you should make time to check them out.

Between great looks at Australian-made games like Conscript and Crab God, to tantalising tasters of The Rise of the Golden Idol, The Crush House, Sumerian Six, and more, there’s plenty of great demos to peruse in your downtime.

Here’s all the highlights from Steam Next Fest, handpicked by GamesHub.

On Your Tail

Image: Memorable Games

On Your Tail is a unique mystery-adventure game set in a sun-washed village populated by anthropomorphic creatures of all kinds. You are Diana, a young fawn looking for escape and relaxation, who instead finds strange cases, as Borgo Marina is a town of secrets and crimes. In your journey, you’ll get to know Diana and her wishes, as well as those of her fellow townsfolk. You’ll also deploy your detective skills to crack mysteries, using a unique board game-like system.

In the On Your Tail demo, you’ll get a taster of this journey, as you attempt to solve a theft in a local Borgo Marina restaurant. You’ll collect clues using a magnifying glass-like object that can see through time, and then play those clues as cards on a board game, playing them in the right order to determine a solution. While only short, the Steam Next Fest On Your Tail demo is a great introduction to the mystery and adventure of the game, and we can’t wait to see more.

Check out On Your Tail on Steam.


Image: Catchweight Studio / Jordan Mochi

Conscript is an Australian-made WW1 survival-horror game that focuses on the terrifying, psychological aspects of war. Where many war games lean into the “fantasy” or “brotherhood” aspects of wartime, Conscript is keen to evoke darker, more realistic themes, as you experience war from the perspective of a lone French soldier navigating a maze of surprise-filled trenches, with limited supplies.

Due to the game’s darker themes, it won’t be appropriate for everyone – but it’s these themes that make the game so layered and interesting. In your journey of survival, you’ll need to make tough choices about how to move forward, with each of your actions defining your eventual ending. Like other titles on this list, Conscript has a relatively short Steam Next Fest demo – but it’s enough to give insight into the darkness and horror of this upcoming game.

Check out Conscript on Steam.

Lost and Found Co.

Image: Bit Egg Inc.

Up next from Steam Next Fest, Lost and Found Co. might be a nice game to play after Conscript, with its warm and cosy vibes. In this point-and-click hidden object game, you’ll search through a range of colourful cartoon landscapes to find a variety of items lost amongst the scenery. While there’s plenty of hidden object games available on Steam, and they all scratch a particular kind of itch, Lost and Found Co. stands out for its bright vibes and sense of humour.

For a brief clue of what to expect – the game’s protagonist is Ducky, a “duck-turned-human intern” working at a magical startup that works to find lot items. That’s a wonderfully quirky guiding narrative, and one that means Lost and Found Co. brims with a real sense of charm. The demo will leave you wanting more in future, which is exactly what a good demo does.

Check out Lost and Found Co. on Steam.

Sumerian Six

Image: Artificer

In Sumerian Six, you lead a team of super-powered and tech-powered individuals into fights against Nazis in WW2, with real-time stealth tactics required to take down these armies. There’s light touches of XCOM in this game, with battles talking place on an isometric battlefield where strategy is key. You’ll need to tread carefully, watch for opportunities, and then take down your opponents using any means necessary.

Beyond its neat combat, what stands out most about Sumerian Six is its mix of magic and history. While there are elements of the real world here, you’ll spend much of your time in this game uncovering magical and scientific mysteries that aid your future attacks. Also – you’ll have a werebear on your team – which is just absolutely fantastic.

Check out Sumerian Six on Steam.

Dungeon Clawler

Image: Stray Fawn Studio

Dungeon Clawler is an adorable “roguelike claw machine deckbuillder” that allows you to take on battles by wielding items that you grab from a claw machine. The back story here is: you’re a young rabbit whose foot is chopped off (because a rabbit’s foot is good luck) and replaced with a big claw. That leads to all sorts of shenanigans as you wield that claw in battle, grabbing knives, shields, and swords from claw machines to defeat waves of enemies.

Of all the games shown off during the Summer Game Fest wave, Dungeon Clawler was most intriguing for its novelty value. When was the last time you played a combat-adventure with literal gacha claw machine mechanics? It’s a very cool idea, and feels great to play around with. You can get a taste of this in the game’s Steam Next Fest demo.

Check out Dungeon Clawler on Steam.

The Rise of the Golden Idol

Image: Color Gray Games

The Rise of the Golden Idol, successor to the excellent mystery-puzzler The Case of the Golden Idol, is an essential game to try during Steam Next Fest. This is a sequel that adapts and expands the complex word-based puzzle system of its predecessor, refreshing it with new mysteries, and a new art style that keeps the puzzling process fresh.

This go around, there’s also more elements of the mysterious and bizarre in the game’s main plot, with 20 “strange cases of crime, death, and depravity in the 1970s” being the focus here. As you analyse each clue, you’ll meet an eclectic cast, work your way through their odd proclivities, and eventually unravel their weird, wonderful, horrifying lives. This is a game for anyone who loves a good mystery, regardless of experience with The Case of the Golden Idol.

Check out The Rise of the Golden Idol on Steam.

The Crush House

Image: Nerial

In The Crush House, you are a TV producer looking to craft the hottest, most exciting reality TV show of the 1990s. On your Malibu set, a dozen actors are smooshed together in scripted tales of romance and drama, and it’s up to you to make the most of this mix. You’ll orchestrate plots, film the spiciest moments between actors, and ensure you meet the demands of your loyal audience.

At night, The Crush House has even bigger dramas – as there’s also something creepy going on beneath the surface of your home set. You’ll need to discover what this mystery is, all while keeping multiple show plot lines running, and ensuring you keep your ratings consistently high. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it. The first steps of your journey can taken in the Crush House Steam Next Fest demo.

Check out The Crush House on Steam.

Crab God

Image: Chaos Theory Games

Crab God is an ocean management sim where you take charge of a flock of tiny “crablings” on their quest to protect the egg of the Crab God, and migrate to new locations rich with resources. In each new location, you’ll assign your crablings a job, and they’ll set about their day, building up their resources to survive new threats as they arrive.

Read: Crab God preview – I will protect these crablings with my life

Not only is Crab God a wholesome, cutesy sim game with opportunity to deploy strategy and clever thinking, it’s also a game designed to benefit the environment. Through education, it teaches about migration and ecology, and through a dots.eco partnership, developer Chaos Theory Games is also working to translate player engagement into real-world environment benefit. In a word, it’s lovely.

Check out Crab God on Steam.

Big Boy Boxing

Image: Soupmasters

Big Boy Boxing is a stylish re-imagining of the classic Punch-Out!! games with a few very cool tweaks to spice up the boxing action. There’s a neat pixel art style for one thing, but it’s the array of fantastic, interestingly-designed bosses that make Big Boy Boxing most compelling. In each round of fist-first gameplay, you’ll face off against one particular boss.

They all have their own personalities and fighting styles, so you’ll need to learn to monitor their movements, dodge, and weave – and even watch out for some sneaky special attacks. Many of the bosses also have transformations that force you to think wiser, and deploy new mechanics for putting them down. While the Steam Next Fest demo is only a small taster of Big Boy Boxing, it leaves plenty of excitement for what’s next.

Check out Big Boy Boxing on Steam.

Steam Next Fest is now on, until 10am PT on 17 June 2024. You can browse the full range of available Steam Next Fest demos on Steam.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.