The 5 best demos from Summer Game Fest you need to try right now

Steam Next Fest has seen hundreds of demos available to try out—a daunting prospect for players due to the wealth of options available. But we’re here to help with our tip on five titles you should download immediately.

From creature-collectors to racing games, everything is covered in Steam Next Fest’s abundant list of demos. We’ve picked out five in particular that have quickly struck a chord with players around the globe.

Creatures of Ava

A screenshot from Creatures of Ava.
Sheer beauty. Image via 11 Bit Studios

This creature-collecting game is the complete opposite of Palworld, where you exploit the Pals you encounter for your benefit; the premise of Creatures of Ava is to save the animals you meet on your travels and help cure the planet of a life-consuming infection.

This action-adventure provides gorgeous environments, puzzles to solve, and adorable creatures while teaching a lesson on empathy that we should all take to heart to solve environmental issues on our own planet.

Tiny Glade

A diorama in Tiny Glade.
Castle on the hill. Image via Pounce Light

Tiny Glade has no objectivess—nothing to manage, no enemies to defeat, no tasks to complete, and no direction. Instead, it’s a cozy game where you doodle buildings and castles, watching how the pieces you place interact with each other—and it’s addictive.

I’ve played my fair share of city-builders where you’re left juggling sanitation, education, traffic, and everything else, and there’s no such stress with Tiny Glade. Instead, there’s freedom to explore, experiment, and cherish the cute creations that will come to life in front of you.

First Dwarf

Gameplay screenshot from First Dwarf.
Build away. Image via Star Drifters

I was sold the minute I realized I could play as a mech-riding Dwarf and a Dragon, but there’s a lot more to offer in First Dwarf than just those two fantasy creatures. It immediately scratched my itch for gathering resources and expanding my base, with a nice bit of combat thrown in too.

The demo gives a great taste of what you can expect during early access, which is due to be released on June 19, so I highly recommend testing it out before then to see if it floats your boat.

Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown

A screenshot of a Ferrari dealership in Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown.
Up to speed. Image via KT Racing

If you’re looking for something different to the Forza Horizon series, look no further than Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown. After a 13-year hiatus, the franchise returns for a full launch on Sept. 12 and you can enjoy a chunky taste of what’s on offer in the Steam Next Fest demo.

Car-collecting, finding bonuses, setting records at speed traps and, of course, racing will be familiar to those who enjoy games like Forza Horizon and The Crew. But the big difference is Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown isn’t just about the cars; there’s plenty of player customization, and, when you do get behind the wheel, you have the option of a leisurely Sunday drive using indicators and obeying traffic laws.


An image from gameplay in StarVader.
Deck it out. Image via StarVaders Studio

I’m sad I have to wait until 2025 for this rogue-like, deckbuilding, turn-based strategy game. It scratches several itches in my brain thanks to its mash-up of different games and styles, so I found myself wishlisting it within just a few rounds.

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