10 Demos I Recently Played
It’s that time of the year to play a bunch of demos!
Well, February has been a busy month so far! First with the Storyteller Festival bringing in a bunch of demos and now Steam Next Fest bringing in a whole slew of demos! I haven’t played all the demos I wanted to yet, but there have been a good bunch that I enjoyed and wanted to share my thoughts about. If any of these fall into your interests, I would for sure recommend checking them out (and hopefully most of these will keep their demos up).
Honestly, I mainly picked this one up because it looked really cute. In Minami Lane, you basically build up a street and manage it. There are various buildings you can build as long as you can satisfy the requirements (which usually is having enough money, a certain amount of people living there, and sometimes a certain satisfaction level). You’ll also only be able to build one building per day, which will expand the street as well. The buildings vary in what they bring forth. There are buildings that add residents due to them being apartments, some are restaurants or shops that you need to tweak until you get their recipes perfect so you can bring in money, and just buildings that bring in some beauty to the street. Each building can also be upgraded once (aside from at least one exception) to either increase the street’s beauty or increase their star rating or how many people can live there.
Once you’re done tweaking the shops (if needed), upgrading, and building that one building, you can then start the day. This is basically when you watch the residents walk, talk, and spend their money. You can click them to look at their thoughts, which can be really helpful to get perfect recipes. You can also find a tanuki disguised as an item, trash that pops up as the day progresses (they want a beautiful street but still litter??), and even pet some stray cats that pop in. At the end of the day you’ll then be able to see an overview of all of the stats.
However, you’re not exactly just going to be placing buildings all willy nilly. It looks like there are going to be five missions (two of which were in this demo) which act a bit like a puzzle. In missions, the street is already has a few buildings, but there are a few objectives you need to meet. You’ll build a street to accommodate the needs the street needs and some are easier than others. I may have given up on the second mission because I couldn’t get the street population to 2 old to 3 young residents. There is also an optional objective if you want to go for it. I’m not sure if it’ll give anything other than probably an achievement, but it does give a bit more challenge to the mission.
There is going to be an sandbox mode, which I’m guessing will give you every building and an empty street for you to build your own custom street.
Overall, pretty cute and I do see myself playing this once it fully releases. Though that second mission is going to be a small challenge…
Antipaint is pretty simple to learn and get the hang of. At the start of a run, you’ll be able to pick the color palatte, the little character you want to play as, and a weapon (or brush) to use. The character determines your starting items and stats while the weapon determines how you’ll be fighting. Once you get in, you’ll basically be fighting waves of enemies, which are basically paint droplets, with only your painting tool as a way to defend yourself. Let them touch you, and you’ll get damaged, but killing them will have them drop money or energy. Energy will let you use items that need activated. As you get further, more enemies will spawn in as well as different enemy types. There also seems to be a mechanic called Paint Surge which activates if you kill a lot of enemies in a short time and will make you faster for the short time it’s activated. Between levels, you’ll be met with either a shop to buy items or a room with three items for you to pick (there’s also an option to get another item here if you previously bought what was missing from it, like a brick for an almost finished brick wall).
I would say Antipaint is pretty average gameplay-wise. It’s pretty in line with other games in the same vein and you’d probably be like “Oh it’s like ___” (for me it was Binding of Isaac since I used to play it a lot). However, there is an aspect that makes Antipaint unique. Every battle room is on a canvas and since your enemies are paint drops, and your weapons are tools used for painting, you’re painting with the blood of your enemies. It looks like how the paint is left depends on the enemy and the weapon you’re using, but at the end of your runs you’ll be able to see the end result of all of the canvases. It’s a pretty cool idea. Plus, the bosses are famous works of art like the Mona Lisa and the Screaming Man (which honestly was what got me interested in playing the demo).
The name drew me in, the premise hooked me, and the game officially captured me after seeing a demo was available. It definitely helps that “Z” makes me immediately think of zombies due to all the zombie movies, games, and comics. Date Z’s premise is that an infected rat is going to jumpstart a zombie apocalypse in less than a week and the main character is going to die. That is, unless you get a date. Don’t worry though, cause this game’s protagonist has you to control what he does…and a mysterious person rewinds time. It turns out that the protagonist, which remains unnamed, is a new transfer student to a school that used to be a military base (perfect Ground Zero for a zombie virus). After fighting off hitting the snooze button or giving into it, you’re first day of school is waiting for you. And, if you want to look at the big picture, your first week of school. Though, if you were expecting a normal school you’ll be in for a surprise. Date Z plays like you’d expect from a visual novel, but there are branching paths you can take. The choices you take that determines which two girls you talk to and start a connection with seems to also override the main path in the flowchart. There is also a free period. This is where you’ll be able to visit a couple places marked on the map, but it’s timed so you might want to go visit the spots the girls are at.
I honestly really liked Date Z. The art is well done, I really like the character sprites, and the girls are all cute. Not to mention that I did like the writing and the characterizations of the dateable girls. I can’t wait to see where their individual plots will lead and to have the mystery revealed. I, for one, am eying a possible plot twist.
I only hope the full release has a log so you can see past dialogue and the settings doesn’t have “skip unseen” checked by default. A part of me also wishes the free periods got labeled or at least the buildings, but I do see the merit in having it a secret (or having the players learn the buildings).
Monster girls? Say no more! You play as a young man named Gabriel, or Gabe, and the game starts with a little incident that happened at his public school. One day, he noticed a cute bunny girl (Sophia) being harassed and, after seeing that nobody was going to help her, he stepped in instead. Sophia was able to get away and get a teacher, but one of the bullies stayed behind to beat him and he defended himself. Of course, the teacher only saw the last hit…that was from him. Gabe ended up getting detention, but it was the start of a friendship between him and Sophia. Sadly, Gabe is being transfered to a new school, a private Catholic school, so they won’t be able to interact as much as before. As we move past this prologue, we do get a bit of a background on Gabe, how monster people were found, and the conversations that happened that led to how it is now. Once we see Gabe’s new school, it’s actually pretty nice. The population is basically half humans half monster people and everyone that Gabe interacts with are really friendly.
Since you’ll be romancing them, and I’m guessing each of them will have their own route, the game does really well in not only giving them a good first impression, but also does well in letting you get to know them before you would have to pick your path.
I really enjoyed the demo for this visual novel. So much that I stopped in the middle as I want to wait for the full game. All the girls are so cute and I like all the characters so far (apart from the two bullies in the beginning of course). I’m not religious, but I also didn’t mind it being in the game…though I might have zoned out a bit whenever it came into the picture. I do hope Sophie makes an appearance later in the story as well! Sophia was cute and I did like the short interaction we had with her.
It probably isn’t surprising that I checked out yet another visual novel dating sim. This time, it’s Kiss/OFF! You play as a young man named Vic and it starts as normally as you would think. He wakes up, does his usual morning routine, and gets ready for his friend, and crush, to come over for a study session. He does want to study with her, but he’s also hoping to ask her out. However, everything is turned upside down when Vic gets a strange call. Someone named X tells Vic he’s in an audition and all he needs to do is to ask his friend out within a hour. However, he can’t tell her about it or else. You can go along with X, but you can also tell her about it and see what happens. If you don’t tell her, you’ll get to see their study sessions and you’ll see an affection meter that fills up based on your choices. If you tell her, well, it ends prematurely. Either way, once it reaches the end the day seemingly resets and you’re visited by another character you need to ask out within the hour and then another.
At the end, you get told what was happening. It turns out that everything was part of your audition for a dating reality tv show being hosted by a heart shaped octopus named Xargazorg. The show would be taking place over three days and everyone are different alien species. It turns out you were competing to take up the last spot and it’s been a tie. This is where the affection levels come into play as it determines what ending you got. The good ending is what continues the story and since you and the other contender (which Xargazorg calls your rival) tied again he decides to just throw both of you into the show.
Kiss/OFF is interesting so far. I did get the bad and good ending for the prologue and man was I not expecting the rival to be a character in play. Granted, I probably should have guessed since the premise is a reality dating show and viewers would love the drama that comes from a rival. I do wish I was playing a female character, but otherwise I’m not sure who’s my favorite yet. It’s a tie between Steffi and Risq. It’ll also be interesting to see how the unknown factor (Ket) will play into everything.
A detective game where you play as a duck?!? I never imagined that I would be playing a game where you’re a duck that’s a detective. So, when I heard that a demo was released, I had to check it out. Duck Detectives starts out with said character in his apartment ruminating on his life as he is newly divorced. This section serves as a tutorial where you’ll be introduced to the mechanics as you’ll be solving where all of Duck Detective’s money went towards. Once you solve that mystery, Duck Detective gets a call and, after answering it in the most embarrassing way, gets hired for his first job. There is another mystery you need to solve to actually get into the area you need to be, which is slightly more difficult and introduces another mechanic, but it’s easy enough and you’ll make someone’s day. Though, the demo ends after the cutscene plays and before you’ll investigate. You can’t just tease me like this!
Duck Detective’s demo was great and I can already tell the full game is going to be fun. The voice acting is great (man I did not expect Duck Detective to have that voice), I love the art style, and I love the way Duck Detective gathers evidence and how you put together the deduction. I can’t wait to play the full game.
I actually played the demo for Peachleaf Valley back when the demo first dropped, but since I recently played the studio’s previous game, Love Spell, I thought I should replay the demo. So what’s Peachleaf Valley: Seeds of Love about? Here, we follow a woman named Seraphina when her life is being turned upside down. We jump in right as she’s being fired from her job as an artist and learning that the month she had to leave her current resident has been shortened to two days (three if you count that day). As her worries are increasing ans swirling around Seraphina, she spots a flyer for a Farmer’s Market. While she did arrive too late, coming was the best decision she could have made as she learns that multiple businesses at Peachleaf Town (where these guys came from) are looking for help. After having a talk with one of the residents, she decides to move to Peachleaf Town. Where she’ll be able to not only start out fresh, but also find some love.
It looks like Peachleaf Valley will be structured similarly to Love Spell. The demo is the prologue and ends right after you pick which LI route you want to go down (under the guise of what job you want to take).
This demo is just as I remembered back when I first played it. The art is absolutely beautiful, the voice acting is good (though I feel the partial voice acting was implemented weirdly), the writing is good and feels like a step up from Love Spell, the LIs are interesting, and I’m definitely looking forward to the mysteries this prologue teased. I also saw that some of the side characters already got their DLCs confirmed (unlike the maybe-it’s-coming DLCs for Love Spell) which I’m also definitely interested in.
We have a naughty cat here, don’t we? This game is basically just you cleaning up and piecing together all of your glass items that your cat (which I’m guessing is named Mizi) back together after she pushed it off. It first starts with the breaks being in big pieces, but as you complete more levels the amount of pieces it breaks into increases. As well as the design that was on the item becoming a bit more elaborate to help guide you and to make it a bit harder. Before doing the puzzle, you do get a short cutscene where you see Mizi pushing the item off of the platform it was on, but don’t worry if you miss it or don’t remember what it looked like! There is a handy button that you can click and see an image on what the item looked like before.
Mizi NO! is a simple game, but I did like it. This is a good contender for when you want to play an easy puzzle game. One that you won’t get stumped at and that you just need to fiddle around with the pieces.
I actually knew about Spilled when it was first being talked about and I meant to play the demo, but never really got around to it. When Steam Next Fest started, I was reminded about this game and its demo and I played it. Spilled is really simple. The ocean has been polluted with oil and trash. There has to be someone to clean it up and that someone is you. Throughout the whole game you’ll be piloting a ship equipped to clean the ocean. You just need to pass over the spills with the front of your ship, recycle it when your tank fills up, and repeat. You can buy upgrades for your ship so you can have a wider collector, a bigger tank, and more of a boost (and I feel like this becomes needed as your collector gets bigger). Once you clean the majority of the ocean, the next area will unlock where you’ll be introduced to a bigger area and a new mechanic and/or something new you need to do. In this demo, we were introduced to collecting bottles and spraying off oil that’s on the rocks surrounding the ocean. In addition, there are hidden oil-soaked animals you can clean and save.
I liked Spilled. It seems like it’ll be a good zen game and it was so satisfying when you get the area fully cleaned. The boat does handle a bit weirdly, but you’d get used to it by the time you’re out of the first area.
Wow. I actually saw a let’s play for Normal Fishing that I was procrastinating on and I didn’t know it was on Steam until I saw it participating in Next Fest. As someone that prefers playing the game over watching someone play it, I, of course, decided to play this demo. In Normal Fishing, you and your wife move to a small, tight-knit fishing town. It seems like your wife has some expensive taste as she doesn’t wait to push you out to work so she can still keep her lifestyle. Work here is, you guessed it, fishing. You start with the basics which you’ll be able to upgrade after the first day. Once you figure out rowing, all you need to do is row to a fish shadow and interact with it to get to this game’s fishing minigame. It’s pretty different than what other games have as this is like an arcade shooter (but horizontally). The fish is all the way to the right while your hook is to the left. You can extend the hook, but it doesn’t even reach halfway to the screen. Not to mention you have to dodge all the trash (lest you want to reel in trash) and the fish attacks so your line doesn’t break. Well, guess what, your hook as an attack and hitting the fish will bring it slightly closer until you can reach it. Once you do, there’s also a reeling minigame where you click when the marker is over a highlighted section of this circle. You are timed as the fish as a bar that drains and it will escape if your bar isn’t depleted first.
Aside from that, there are a couple added aspects. More areas and fishing spots are unlocked, there’s a radio you can listen to, there’s a change a treasure chest will spawn and you can reel it in instead, and you’ll be able to talk to some of the other residents in this town.
This is totally just a normal fishing game. You totally won’t notice things being off and have a creeping feeling that something is wrong.
I really enjoyed Normal Fishing. At first, the fishing annoyed me, but once I figured out that extending your line was like moving it up and down, rather than it being a button to project it out, I ended up enjoying it. Though, it is a bit annoying when it seems the trash was barely able to hit your hook or you were so close to reeling a tough fish in (though, if it’s your first fish of the day you can just…restart the day). I also can’t believe I got creeped out considering the visuals. I can’t wait to play the other three games the full game will have, how those games will have the terror creep in, and see what’s really going on.