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Steam Next Fest – Strategy Games Galore

Many times I’ve had people ask me about the Steam Next Fest, and why demos are useful. If you are one of the pesky children who didn’t experience a world where demos weren’t just a means to test out new games, but also a viable way to keep entertained when your few existing games became stale. Steam Next Fest offers players a chance to see some of the most highly anticipated titles of the coming year. It also focuses on some indie games that are not well-known. SNF is a great opportunity for players to test out games and offer feedback. You can also connect to developers in the endless dev streams. The players will also be able to attend the developer panel, which allows them to get a glimpse of the development process and learn behind-the scenes secrets from game developers. Highlight of the event is the opportunity to try out hundreds of upcoming demos that would have otherwise gone unnoticed. The show is a celebration for all that gaming should be about: trying new, fun things!

tidewoken tactical 1024x555 1 - Steam Next Fest – Strategy Games Galore

Since I have been at work most of the time, the games listed below are only a tiny fraction of what is available. They are my personal favorites. There is still time to test them (and a lot more) on your own. Steam Next Fest has become my most anticipated Steam event. It’s even better than the Steam Summer Sales.

This is not a review, it’s merely a list of suggestions for you.

Broken Arrow

Broken Arrow Demo is an entertaining slice of the real-time game World in Conflict. For those that haven’t played it, it offers a taster into its immersive nature and the thrill it brought to the table when the original was released in 2007. Broken Arrow has you building your own army and managing it in a similar way to Eugen’s Wargame. The demo only has one single mission, whose objectives are to, at first, destroy all the anti-air missile batteries and… Well, it is better you experience that for yourself.

The game is still in alpha or beta state, but it plays great. state. Broken Arrow, unlike its older siblings, avoids many of the traps that plagued Wargame for years. It ditches the clicking-fest gameplay in favor of a slower-paced game where tactics are more important than the number of clicks. The infantry can be a real threat to vehicles, including tanks. They are not wiped out as soon as they step into the open. The units are equipped with a number of small abilities which allow for some flexibility. Infantry can sprint, helis will change altitude, and mortars offer varying barrages to tailor your tactical solution.

It has stunning graphics, and an environment that is very detailed. Broken Arrow has the potential to entertain both seasoned wargamer/strategy gamers and newcomers to this genre for hours. Although I can’t vouch to the rest of Broken Arrow, it is fair to say BA has taken all necessary measures to satisfy. The release date is still unknown, but we can expect it to arrive later this year.


Phantom Brigade

Phantom Brigade is a “novative” tactical role-playing game set in dystopian world filled with mechs. Oli, our resident master scratcher wrote last Friday that “The fact that Phantom Brigade existed for nearly four years, and flew completely under our radar is downright disturbing. What’s this? A turn-based and real-time tactical RPG with big mechs that play similarly to Frozen Synapse? We’ll see how it plays when Epic finally releases it on Steam later this month. Steam Next Fest will make the game available to everyone later today. It wasn’t too far away, I must say.

As they fight against powerful forces, players command a team of mechs that can be customized. They must uncover the secret behind their planet’s destruction. Phantom Brigade, with its challenging gameplay mechanics and immersive storyline and gorgeous graphics, is an absolute must-have for strategy and tactical game fans. Get it right now and lead your brigade into victory.


The Great War: Western Front

It is a real-time arcade strategy game set during World War I. Petroglyph have been asking me for weeks to get early access to this game. It’s a very long demo, which introduces the players to how the game will unfold while they are experiencing the Western Front battles like never before. The fact that no one has ever done what Petro is doing now by adapting familiar mechanics to reflect the reality of the First World War, is really curious.

As of now, the game is treading a thin line that straddles historical plausibility with fun gameplay. This was not what I expected going in. Since we are used to a dull and boring version of the War, that was what I imagined. The battles are won by preparing the defenses and launching attacks. You should position your cannons or mortars as well heavy weapons, machine guns nests, or trenches to maximize the effectiveness of your line of fire. As a commander, you must manage your limited resources to win. You can use these resources to order bombardments, rolling bars, bombings runs, or new units. Nearly every battle ends in the mud and dirt of trenches where soldiers club, kick, and stabbing each other. This is a bloody affair. The maps have been done very well, and the placement and location of the defenses are consistent throughout the campaign. Did I tell you that there is a fantastic campaign on the Western Front, with dozens and hexes of maps to choose from where players can play either as an Allied Power or Central Power?

Steam will release The Great War Western Front on March 30th, 2023.


Xenonauts 2,

Xenonauts 2: A thrilling, challenging strategy game is set on an alternate earth where the aliens fight with Cold War-era weaponry. In Xenonauts 2, players assume the role of a commander who leads a coalition of scientists, elite soldiers and other world leaders in the battle against an alien invasion. Xenonauts 2 isn’t revolutionary enough to differentiate it from its predecessor, but this is fine. This game ends up more feeling like a reworked Xenonauts version than anything that is particularly genre-changing. Xenonauts pays homage to XCOM by using a globe map and fighting the eponymous Xenos. The game features procedurally-generated missions with turn-based battles. It also includes complex research and developmental systems. It has a simple tutorial that is useful to anyone who’s not familiar with the genre. The demo was great and I even downloaded Xenonauts to my laptop so I could finally try it out, nearly a decade after the original release.

If you’re interested in games like XCOM, but aren’t sure where to begin, this is a good place to start.


USC: Counterforce

USC: Counterforce, another XCOM-like game, is a curious one I did not know about until the Steam Next Fest. (Hey, it works as it should!) The player assumes the role as a leader, who is tasked to lead another group of elite/ragtag troops against an alien threat. There’s nothing revolutionary about it, nor is there an overworld to help with the strategy battle. That could be a major turnoff for many. The tactical battles, however, are atmospheric. Character customization is also quite complex. Please give it a go and let me now what you thought of it!

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