7 Potential Speedgames From Steam Next Fest June '23
Steam Next Fest June '23 is here! It's that time of the year when game developers shower us with demos of their upcoming releases. It's like a buffet of gaming goodness.
With so many demos to explore, it can feel like searching for hidden treasures in a sea of options. But fear not - I've taken on the challenge and handpicked six games from Next Fest that I believe have speedrunning potential.
So, without further delay (and in no particular order) let's dive into Next Fest and check out these promising speedgames.
(Also quick note, we aren’t sponsored by or currently in partnerships with any of these games as of the writing of this article)
Surreal Puzzle Platformer
I must admit, I'm fashionably late to the party on this one, as there’s already a speedrunning community that has popped up around this game! Picture this: a mind-bending journey through trippy puzzle designs reminiscent of Superliminal, wrapped in an atmosphere that balances relaxation and intrigue. The strategies and optimization that emerge in a speedrun when you know all the solutions to a puzzle game are always interesting. For instance, in the first level, you’re meant to fall when a bridge breaks at which point the game teaches you the rewind mechanic - but speedrunners discovered you can skip the tutorial by jumping over the bridge before it breaks. There’s lots of other cool stuff too, so I recommend you go check out a run!
Whether you're a puzzle aficionado seeking a mind-bending experience or simply looking for a comfy game to kill a few hours, Viewfinder is an absolute must-play.
Cartoony Spectacle Fighter
Link to game “En Garde!” is a charming Spectacle Fighter/Action game focused on sword combat. The combat mechanics are super satisfying, allowing for fluid and precise swordplay that keeps you engaged and on your toes. Additionally, the platforming elements sprinkled throughout the demo added a layer of variety, although I personally hope the developers will increase the frequency of these sections in the full release.
As soon as I’m wrapped up with this article, this is definitely a speedgame I want to throw a few run attempts at.
Echo Point Nova
Echo Point Nova’s demo feels like an open-world sandbox to explore the extremely satisfying movement and gunplay mechanics, which is by no means a bad thing. The movement starts off slow, introducing you first to the Double Jump Boots, then the Grappling Hook, and finally the pièce de résistance - the Hoverboard. The routes you can pull off by stringing these three systems together are gratifying as hell. The gunplay also feels like a massive improvement over developer MattWLA’s last title, Severed Steel with punchier effects and visuals.
It's worth noting Matt’s dedication to engaging with the community and actively seeking feedback, which further enhances the overall experience, fostering a collaborative environment where players' (including speedrunners) voices are valued and acknowledged.
Amphibian 3D Platformer
You play as a frog and you climb tall things (optionally very fast) - need I say more? Valley Peaks has a gorgeous art style and great controls for climbing - simply left-click to climb with your left hand and the opposite for the right. Some sections will still challenge you though, and I’m excited to see the possibilities in a speedrun route. In trying to go fast myself during the demo, I noticed that it’s incredibly satisfying trying to scale large things fast - but one mistake and you fall to the bottom.
I can’t wait to see some high-risk strats in runs or especially in a live setting like a marathon, I’ll be on the edge of my seat.
Skator Gator 3D
Reptile 3D Platformer
On the topic of cute animal 3D platformers - Skator Gator 3D! First of all, thanks @shovelclaws for sponsoring the gameplay for this one as I was having some controller issues - and its gameplay is far superior to mine anyway! SG3D has some speedtech in which you jump after a dash with a certain rhythm - this is called a Super Jump and was actually put in place on purpose by the developer! You can see it in use at the start of @shovelclaws gameplay below.
The developers have also gone through the game and listed baseline speedrun times on each level, as well as engaging with the speedrunning community by reacting to runs!
Lies of P
In this Bloodborne-esque Souls-Like, you play as Pinnochio (yes, that Pinnochio) on a quest to become a real boy - a quest in which you slay thousands of gruesome (and very aggressive) puppets. Lies of P introduces some unique mechanics, including a weapon crafting system where you can take parts from different weapons and combine them together to create something completely new.
Neon White gamers, get ready to grind once again. ALMOST is a fast-paced IL-Rush with a unique Dimension Switch mechanic in which you can go between two different dimensions which each contain its own platforms that aren’t in the other dimension. This mechanic adds another layer that will give speedrunners lots to chew on during the routing process! This is definitely the gameplay that took me the longest to record because the skill ceiling is ridiculously high in this game.
For context, this clip took me about an hour to get, and I just barely scratched the top ten on the leaderboard, with the world record being a whole 9 seconds faster than my run.
And that’s a wrap! Although I played a TON of demos over the past few days, I barely scratched the surface of the vast array of those released—there are hundreds more waiting to be explored. Have you stumbled upon a demo that holds great potential for speedrunning but wasn't mentioned in this roundup? Join me in the forum thread I've created so we can discuss!
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