From horror gardening sims to RPG puzzlers, here's 15 Steam Next Fest demos you have to play this June

Best demos of Steam Next Fest - Nirvana Noir
(Image credit: Fellow Traveller)

It's time for another Steam Next Fest folks, which means it’s time to play a bunch of demos and stuff your calendar with a bumper crop of upcoming PC games. Try not to get overwhelmed by the hundreds of demos to choose from, as we’re here with 15 of the best Steam Next Fest demos in 2024.

Valve's event gives us a week to play as many free demos as our sleep schedule allows. Next Fest starts on Monday, June 10th and will end on Monday, June 17th, so we need to be picky with which games we give our attention to. Alongside the demos are dozens of live streams, so you can tune in to learn all about your favorite upcoming games straight from the developers themselves. 

That brings us to our curated list! Below you'll find our recommendations with (hopefully) something for everyone. Each entry has a short description, the game's release date – if it has one – and a handy link taking you straight to the game's demo page. If you take a shine to a certain demo, make sure to wishlist it as it supports the developers. Have a scroll and let us know which demos are your favorites.

15. Thank Goodness You're Here!

Thank Goodness You're Here!

(Image credit: Panic)

Developer: Coal Supper
Release Date: August 1, 2024

I'm calling it now. Thank Goodness You're Here is going to be the best comedy game of 2024, and this Next Fest demo only solidifies that prediction. Developers Coal Supper have taken the oddities and weirdos found in small-town life and have used them as inspiration to create an absurdist and cheeky adventure. Playing as a tiny salesman complete with receding hairline and red tie, you've got some time on your hands before your big meeting with the Mayor – so set off into town to help the locals with their odd problems. If you need a vibe check, you begin the demo by jumping out the window of a ten-story skyscraper and slamming face-first into a London bus. From there you'll be slapping old ladies, slathering yourself in butter from Mother Meg's Buttery Goods, and helping a dapper fellow who's got his arm stuck down a drain (don’t ask). It only gets more bizarre and off-the-wall from there. Just be careful not to spill your supper, as this demo will have you in stitches.

Try the demo here

14. Nirvana Noir

Nirvana Noir

(Image credit: Fellow Traveller)

Developer: Feral Cat Den
Release Date: TBA

You'll want a whiskey neat and a trad jazz record for this next demo. Nirvana Noir is the ultra-stylish sequel to Feral Cat Den's award-winning first game, and from the look of this demo, the game is going to follow very closely in its predecessor's cosmic noir footsteps. From the moment you see that title menu, this demo is incredibly slick, featuring animation that seamlessly sweeps you from one scene to the next. I love how creative the demo is, playing with text, color, and perspective in unexpected ways. A highlight of the demo is when protagonist No Man is interviewing a suspect for a case. The interviewee is a butcher whose text dialog gets shoved into a meat grinder and you need to solve a string of Scrabble-inspired puzzles with the sausages the grinder produces. It's bonkers.

Try the demo here

13. SCHiM


(Image credit: ExtraNice)

Developer: Ewoud van der Werf, Nils Slijkerman
Release Date: July 18, 2024

The most striking-looking demo on this list, SCHiM is a puzzle-platformer with a wonderful twist. You play as a little frog-like shadow creature that can jump from shadow to shadow like they are pools of water. The set-up is that you've been separated from your human and need to make your way through different scenes to return to them. The puzzle element of this platformer is that the environment around you is in constant motion – cars, joggers, bicycles, ducks swimming in a pond – so leaping from one shadow to the next makes for some quick platforming as well as experimenting with different routes. This twist on a 3D puzzle platformer is so creative and refreshing, and together with its abstract two-tone color palette, it had to have a place on this list.  

Try the demo here 

12. Arranger: A Role-Puzzling Adventure

Arranger: A Role-Playing Puzzle Game

(Image credit: Furniture and Mattress LLC)

Developer:  Furniture & Mattress LLC
Release Date: July 25, 2024

Another puzzle game on this list with a novel idea, Arranger is a mind-bending adventure game where the entire world is placed on a looping grid. As you move protagonist Jemma around, the entire row and collum she’s in will move in the same direction, and anything on those tiles gets moved too. Not only that but when you reach the edge of the map, Jemma (and any items and characters) loop around to the other side. This is the core of some excellent puzzles, all of which task you with moving and looping yourself and objects around the grid. It also boasts some wonderful art (you might recognise the artists from his work on Braid) and its story of a young girl wanting to leave home and explore the world will touch your heart.  By the end of the demo, you’ll feel like a sliding puzzle master. 

Try the demo here 

11. LOK Digital

LOk Digital

(Image credit: Dranek & Friends)

Developer: Letibus Design, Icedrop Games
Release Date: 2024

It may be a short demo, but LOK Digital will certainly kick your brain into gear. A digital adaptation of its puzzle book predecessor created by Blaž Urban Gracar, LOK is essentially a word search puzzle game but you'e using the language of inky alien creatures. The idea is to learn words in their language and find those words in a grid, but there’s also the extra task of turning every square of the grid from white to black. Here's how a turn might play out: finding the word LOK will grant you one LOK creature that can blacken a single square. Then, you might find the word TLAK and that will grant you two creatures to blacken two squares. Deciding what words to find in a certain order and choosing where to place your LOK creatures makes for some tasty brain teasers. The demo will also have three new puzzles each day of the fest, and trust me, once you’ve deciphered one LOK puzzle, you'll be coming back for more. 

Try the demo here 

10. Grunn


(Image credit: Skopop Collective)

Developer: Sokpop Collective
Release Date: 2024

At the beginning of Grunn's demo, you hop off a bus, cross a charming little bridge, and find yourself in a lovely (if slightly unkempt) garden, the very one you've been hired to spruce up. It's only when you discover that your tools are missing and begin finding some strange polaroids that things start to go amiss. The townsfolk speak in a language you don't understand, there's a written note warning not to go out after dark, and a garden gnome that has a habit of moving when you're not looking. In three words, Grunn is a horror gardening game, but it's not the kind of horror where horrible monsters attack you. It's more subtle, like the uncomfortable feeling of putting your shoe on the wrong foot. Together with its lo-fi visuals, Grunn is a brilliantly eerie demo and with multiple endings and hidden secrets you'll have more on your to-do list than gardening tasks.  

Try the demo here 

9. The Crush House

The Crush House

(Image credit: Devolver Digital)

Developer: Nerial
Release date: August 9, 2024

Aptly called a "thirst-person shooter", The Crush House demo puts you in the role of a reality TV producer who must film a cast of hotties and their drama in a pink Malibu mansion for a ravenous audience. You need to follow the talent throughout each day – catching their intimate conversations, trivial catfights, and steamy romances on camera – while also keeping track of what the fans think, which you can see by reading the comment bubbles that pop up via a live text chat. It's satire that pokes fun at the shallowness of reality TV, while also being fun and frantic. The different mechanics and systems at work here are like nothing I've seen before, making for a demo that feels refreshingly original.  It's a beasty demo, too, clocking in at just under 2 hours. There's definitely something darker going on underneath the pink pastel surface, and it looks like we won't have to wait too long to find out what that is as The Crush House is releasing on August 9.  

Try the demo here 

8. Dungeons of Hinterberg

Dungeons of Hinterberg

(Image credit: Curve Games)

Developer: Microbird Games
Release date: July 18, 2024

Who knew a hack-and-slack adventure where you slay hordes of monsters could be so utterly charming? Dungeons of Hinterberg is exactly that, an action-adventure set in the picturesque landscape of the Austrian Alps. You play as Luisa, an ex-lawyer turned monster slayer who sets out for the wholesome town of Hinterberg to become a Master Slayer. This demo is absolutely packed with activities. You'’ll be whacking monsters inspired by Alpine mythology, using ice beam magic to solve environmental puzzles, exploring snow-capped peaks, dungeon-delving to find loot, traversing an anti-gravity parallel world, and summoning a hoverboard to ride rails and glide through the snow. This demo packs a punch and is not to be missed. 

Try the demo here 

7. Parcel Corps 

Parcel Corps

(Image credit: Secret Mode)

Developer: Billy Goat Entertainment Ltd
Release date: September 3, 2024

If you were a fan of last year's Bomb Rush Cyberfunk, then you need to try the Parcel Corps demo, like, right now. In this bike racing adventure, you’ve thrown your 9-5 job straight in the bin and have started a new job as a freelance bicycle courier. The city is your playground as you race through back alleys, busy roads, and rooftops at top speeds. What's impressive are the tricks at your disposal, as your wheeling arsenal includes bunny hops, wall slides, rail grinding, sliding, and bouncing off the tops of cars. The goal of the game is to take on jobs and deliver packages against the clock in some high-octane peddling, but there's also fun found in just cycling through the city pulling off tricks as you go free of time pressure. Time to switch out that business briefcase for a helmet and spandex, I'm thinking. 

Try the demo here 

6. Demonschool


(Image credit: Ysbyrd)

Developer: Necrosoft Games
Release date: September 13, 2024

Everyone loves punching demons in the face, and my god, Demonschool somehow will make you love it even more. It's a Persona-inspired turn-based RPG where you play as Faye, the last demon hunter in the world, and together with her group of college misfits they’ve been tasked with beating up supernatural spooks while also trying to survive the throes of college. Demonschool's turn-based combat is full of fun and flair. You got your classic action points, party combos, buffs and debuffs, but everything feels so glossy. When attacks connect, there's a burst of arcane color, environments are bathed in a wonderful pinky-purple hue, and the combination of a church choir and synth in the soundtrack would pump up even the meekest slayer. You also need to balance these ghoulish brawls with the game's life sim elements, including hanging out with friends to strengthen your connection, planning your school schedule to enhance your skills, and completing side quests in the wider world. If you need more of a reason to check out the demo, it can be summed up briefly as Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Game. 

Try the demo here 

5. Rise of the Golden Idol

A screenshot from The Rise of the Golden Idol.

(Image credit: Color Gray Games)

Developer: Color Gray Games
Release Date: TBC 2024

This is not a drill, folks. The sequel to The Case of the Golden Idol has a demo, and it’s utterly fantastic. If you haven’t played one of the best detective/puzzle/investigation games of the last decade, this demo will absolutely convince you to do exactly that. Rise of the Golden Idol continues to follow the titular idol’s bloody path, as history in the game’s strange alternative reality marches on into the 1970s. The core of the game’s fill-in-the-blank mysteries is the same but with some neat UI and graphics updates, but the biggest addition is that of an overarching fill-in-the-blank puzzle that you can fill out in between scenarios. If you're someone who often misses subtle story beats (guilty) this all-encompassing end-of-chapter puzzle acts as a great summary of the story up to that point. Who knew you could improve upon perfection? Essentially, Rise of the Golden Idol is The Case of the Golden Idol, but better. 

Try the demo here

4. Tiny Glade

Tiny Glade

(Image credit: Pounce Light)

Developer: Pounce Light
Release date: TBC 2024

If you're looking to kick back with a relaxing demo, Tiny Galde will massage your brain until it's completely smooth. Think along the lines of Summerhouse, but with lush natural landscapes instead of just the tinyhomes. In this whimsical sandbox, you’re given tools to make a quaint little glade complete with bursts of flowers, dirt pathways, and stone buildings. This demo is only a sneak-peak, so access to the game's full toolbox is currently limited, but there is more than enough here to get those creative juices flowing. Not only can you place pretty landscape pieces, you can terraform the surrounding land to your heart's content. The absolutely best things about this demo are the smaller details that appear as a result of your choices while building. Create a pathway on a rocky hill, and little stone steps will appear. Place several windows in a tower, and one will have a flower box and the other a white sheet hanging out to dry. This demo is a wonderful little thing, perfect for cottagecore girlies and fans of relaxing sandbox builders. 

Try the demo here 

3. The Alters

The Alters

(Image credit: 11 bit studios)

Developer: 11bit studios
Release date: TBC 2024

One of the most impressive demos on this list, in terms of narrative richness and conceptual ingenuity right off the bat, is without a doubt The Alters. You can read more about it in GR+'s hands-on The Alters preview, but this story-driven sci-fi base builder is one you should keep a keen eye on. The demo begins at the game’s prolog, kicking things off with a shocking discovery. Jan Dolski lands on a new planet to find that this entire crew (including the captain) did not survive the landing. Playing as Jan you need to explore the planet for resources, build new work stations on the ship, and  communicate with a strange static-like entity in order to survive. The twist here is that you can clone yourself with their own unique skillsets that are determined by revisiting simulated events from Jan’s life and making different choices - it’s kinda bonkers. Not only that but you can get to know each clone as they have their own personalities. There is so much more to The Alters than I can fit here, but in a nutshell, it’s a incredibly refreshing take on the survival base-builder, and if this demo is anything to go on, The Alters the potential to be one of the best sci-fi games of 2024.

Try the demo here 

2. Anger Foot

Anger Foot demo

(Image credit: Devolver Digital)

Developer: Free Lives
Release date: July 11, 2024

There are two ways to play the Anger Foot demo. One is to break down a door and pick enemies off one by one, and the other is to race through all guns blazing, furiously kicking and whirling around like a foot tornado. I opted for the second approach, which is how I feel developer Free Lives intended Anger Foot to be played. It's a high-octane action FPS where booting your enemies is often better than putting a bullet between their brows. Its garish visuals and pumping OST spur you on as you boot down doors and kick thuggish enemies in the face. If I had to make one change, it would be for its respawn time to be much quicker. Regardless of my personal preferences, this demo is relentless, dynamic, and stylish – a true Devolver Digital production to a T.

Try the demo here 

1. Dustborn


(Image credit: Quantic Dream)

Developer: Red Thread Games
Release Date: August 20, 2024

Dustborn feels like a mix of Road 96 and Life is Strange fused together and dropped into a near-future America of an alternate timeline. You play as Pax: an exile, con-artist, and bass player traveling with a motley crew as an undercover punk band hoping to deliver a package from one side of the US to the other. Don't let that fool you: Dustborn is a sci-fi game with a lot of variety. The demo sees you brawling with robot cops, rehearsing a new punk song, chatting with your bandmates, and saving someone from getting crushed underneath your tour bus. You know, the usual roadtrip antics. The demo feels a little disjointed with its string of story scenes from different points in the game, but they each successfully showcase what Dustforce is all about – and the picture I'm getting is more than enough to get excited about.

Try the demo here 

Freelance journalist

Rachel Watts is the former reviews editor for Rock Paper Shotgun, and in another life was a staff writer for Future publications like PC Gamer and Play magazine. She is now working as a freelance journalist, contributing features and reviews to GamesRadar+.