Our favorite Steam Next fest demos of 2023 characters from Skald Times Galaxy

Our favorite Steam Next Fest demos of 2023

Is it that time of the year already? We can sit back and try a bunch of demos, while hurrying before the Next Fest is over? Indeed it is, our fellow readers, but now that the hubbub is over, sit down along with us and we’ll tell you all about our favorite Steam next fest demos of 2023.

This year there were strong showings of classic adventures, along with a couple of strange indie titles, because that’s what we love to go for.

Let’s not waste any more time and dive with us in our favorite Steam next fest demos of 2023.

A Guidebook of Babel

Taking inspiration from the classic Scribblenauts series, A Guidebook of Babel presents us with a classic time-rewinding gameplay idea. First we assist a series of events then, via the butterfly effect, we come in and interact as to “rewrite” (literally) history. While the premise might not sound very new, the gameplay is incredibly detailed and rich with possibilities. The simple marionette-like sprites add to the charm and the afterworld of Babel is one that invites exploration. A Guidebook of Babel is being developed by StarryStarry.

Back to the Dawn

Cast in prison only because you wanted to tell the truth, what cruel faith. But this is not Stallone’s Lock-up, instead this prison trip is one populated with humanoid animals. This adventure RPG, with some farming sim-influences, will take our protagonist on a journey through the many stories of the prison inmates and their backstories. Who will we befriend? Will we be able to discover the truth of what happened to the corrupt mayor? I also absolutely loved that you can get a game over just by choosing to NOT fight for the truth. Back to the Dawn is being developed by Metal Head Games.


Easily our favorite among the Steam Next Fest demos of 2023. While Viewfinder might seem at first to be a “classic” first-person puzzle adventure, it soon takes us on a surreal journey through photographs, drawings and different artistic styles. Reminding us of beautiful little experiences such as The Unfinished Swan, Viewfinder asks us to use black and white polaroids in order to find the way through the game, rotating them and aligning them correctly. Then you can also take your own pictures via Polaroid machine, and the possibilities really seem to become limitless. Lovely, we can’t wait to see more. Viewfinder is being developed by Sad Owl Studios.

Times & Galaxy

Another journalist in search of the truth? Yes, but this one is the first robo journalist and the truth, well, possibly it can wait while we work on our careers. Times & Galaxy is a little charming adventure where we’ll encounter and investigate stories and decide how to present them to our readers. Do we want to rely on our witnesses? Should we twist the truth for a clickbait-y article? Or should we go for a boring, but realistic, exposé? Written, among others, by Ben Gelinas of Speed Dating with Ghosts (and, well, Control), this promises to be one of the most unique games of the year. Times & Galaxy is being developed by Copychaser Games.

SKALD: Against the Black Priory

We will come clean: we love those old classic SSI Rpgs. Buck Rogers: Countdown to Doomsday or the classic Pools of Radiance. Finally, we have a game that brings us back exactly to that vibe, CRT filter included. SKALD: Against the Black Priory promises to bring that vibe to our modern screens, a classic early 90s RPG, with turn-based combat and real-time movement. Despite a few modern bells and whistles, this could easily pass for a revamped RPG from the time, but with a narrative that feels tightly written and a horrific vibe throughout, this is one that nostalgics and modern RPG fans alike won’t want to pass on. SKALD: Against the Black Priory is being developed by High North Studios.

Let’s School

This one, we just loved for how cozy and simple it felt. I mean, simple at first glance, because managing (and building) a school is anything but. Indeed, this is a classic real-time management sim, in the vein of Bullfrog’s Theme Hospital, but with a Japanese vibe. As the headmaster, your task is getting those butts in the seats, making them study and pass the exams, along with keeping the school decent and having every service they might need. The Japanese vibe brings a whole new interesting layer to a tried and true genre and Let’s School feels appropriately cozy, the perfect game for those long winter nights. Let’s School is being developed by Pathea Games.

We are pretty sure you will find something to your liking in this list, but if you didn’t you can definitely also check our previous Steam Next Fest list.

Damiano Gerli

Damiano Gerli was born with a faithful Commodore 64 by his side. It taught him how to program basic adventure games and introduced him to new genres. Then, he fell in love with Sega -- while the Master System wasn't as powerful as the Genesis, it was where he played Sonic and Outrun. Years later, he got the idea that he was the most Sega-knowledgeable person in the world, so he opened a website in 1997, The Genesis Temple. Damiano is a gaming industry professional and historian, loves adventure and indie titles, but he never shies away from action and triple-A RPGs. Basically, Damiano is been writing about videogames for 20 years, with no plans to stop. Say hi to him on X at @damgentemp.