E3 2021 is over, but Steam Next Fest has just begun. It’s a giant dump of over 700 free game demos, which is way too many for one person to play. We recently picked out 16 of our favorites, but plenty more are worth some temporary SSD space, so here’s another way to filter the list: just the demos for games that appeared at E3 2021.
Even if you try to play only the demos for E3 games, you’ll likely have a hard time fitting it all in—we’ve collected 52 demos here and most are only available until June 22—but we hope this list helps you find a few trial versions of games you’re looking forward to from the show.
You can download all of these demos on Steam: In the Steam store, find the game you want to try and look for the green demo bar under the trailers and screenshots.
A Tale of Paper
A side-scrolling adventure where you play a little paper person who uses origami to get around their maker’s workshop.
An area bullet hell shooter featuring cute pixelated animals that can be enjoyed in multiplayer. It’s weird but lots of fun, and made our list of the best demos of Steam Next Fest.
As the name suggests, this is a bee farming simulator, featuring a cute pixel art style and some seriously chill music.
Arietta of Spirits
A story-focused adventure with reaction-based battles about a girl who starts to see ghosts after her grandmother’s death.
Blooming Business: Casino
In this management sim, the animals are getting in on casino management. Makes sense they’d need you to help them. What do animals know about casinos?
The Button City demo isn’t exclusive to Steam Next Fest, but it’s still worth mentioning for all friends of bright colors and low-poly animals—this is a chill story about making animal friends where you play a number of minigames.
Bear and Breakfast
Animals running various establishments seems to be a theme of this E3, but Bear and Breakfast looks particularly good, as there is a lot of detail to this cozy hotel sim.
Another previously announced game, Black Book is a card game/RPG hybrid where you summon demons as a young sorceress who has sold her soul.
One of our most highly anticipated games, Death Trash is a stunning real-time action RPG where you play a heavily-armed punk exploring a post-apocalyptic world full of appealing creatures like the… flesh kraken.
This demo, too, isn’t only available for Steam Next Fest—Despot’s Game is a roguelike tactics game with screens full of both allies and enemies to handle, which sounds interesting, and the animations are gorgeous.
Eye-catching turn-based RPG about a boy who wants to become the top player at—you guessed it—Dodgeball Academy. Looks like fun for sports anime fans.
The slick action RPG that tosses you onto an alien planet is one of the first games to come out of Koch Media’s new publishing label Prime Matter.
Cute factory builder in the style of Factorio about making donuts.
2D adventure about a frog trying to make the world a better place.
This stealth horror FPS packs some serious atmosphere, and is one of Morgan’s highlights of E3.
A surreal metroidvania where you wield mutated weapons.
Happy’s Humble Burger Farm
Survival horror set in a fast food restaurant, featuring mascots reminiscent of Five Nights at Freddy’s, only… worse. I’m decidedly unhappy with this.
FPS set both in Cold War Berlin and a spooky parallel world.
A cute co-op puzzler about two Kiwi birds becoming postal workers.
A platformer inspired by Super Mario World and Japanese folklore that lets you control a little foxtailed lady.
This game describes itself as a “colourful fever dream”, and seeing as you both manage everyday school life while working together with kraken to uncover a supervillain via a time loop, that’s… fair, honestly.
This beautiful game about a woman returning to her hometown during a holiday to deliver mail made our list of unmissable Steam Next Fest demos, thanks to some seriously good writing.
Stylish turn-based squad RPG with a dark cyberpunk atmosphere.
My Lovely Wife
A mix of dating, management, and alchemy sim that tells the story of a man grieving his late wife. (Note: This game contains sexual content.)
This 60-player battle royale game with ranged and melee weapons drops this August.
No Longer Home
Story-driven adventure with a magical realism touch that feels strongly like Kentucky Route Zero.
Point and click adventure that “explores the industrial swamplands and decaying suburbs of South Louisiana”. A safe bet for all fans of Southern Gothic.
Puzzler with a fun sense of movement where you play a small pilgrim who zips across the land and floats across the sky.
Please Be Happy
A “comfy, slice-of-life” visual novel about a fox who turns into a girl and has to learn about human emotions.
This demo is around permanently, which is great, because you shouldn’t miss it. Potion Craft is exactly what it says on the tin, potion crafting and selling. Fraser loved it and can give you a better idea of why it rules in his preview.
Adorable symbol matching-meets-farming game.
Rainbow Billy: Curse of the Leviathan
Colourful exploration game with visuals in the style of old Fleischer cartoons, similar to Cuphead.
Narrative road trip adventure where situations are procedurally generated. Comes highly recommended by Rachel.
Rubi: The Wayward Mira
Lush pixel metroidvania about a girl out to save her planet.
It’s a game about making tasty snacks in a pot, what’s not to like?
Tamarindo’s Freaking Dinner
A first-person horror adventure. The horror really comes through in the trailer, but more in a “I’m not sure what just happened” sort of way.
Now here’s a unique idea: Terra Nil is a reverse city builder, where the goal is to leave earth as you found it and save the environment by getting rid of the traces of erstwhile cities.
The Big Con
An adventure game heavily influenced by ’90s cartoons and general ’90s nostalgia. I feel ancient.
The Legend of Tianding
An action side-scroller with great animations and a really interesting art style that includes comic book panels.
A “poetic puzzle platforming adventure” about ridding the world of demons with the help of your sister’s ghost.
They Always Run
2D platformer where you play a mutant bounty hunter out to catch rogue robots. They always run, but you’ll always get them in the end.
Toodee and Topdee
While the name takes a bit of getting used to, Toodee and Topdee is an inventive game reminiscent of Fez, exactly because it isn’t only… toodee, but allows you to switch into 3D to alter your perspective in order to solve puzzles.
This hand-drawn multilayer sailing adventure made its debut last year at the PC Gaming Show and had another short outing at E3 this year. It’s a bit like Overcooked on a raft, with the same chaotic energy, just that this time you’re, er, fighting for your life instead of a meal.
Animals wielding semi-automatic weapons is definitely a thing now—this time it’s a fox. Playing either an engineer, warrior or mage class, you’ll send him at waves of enemies in this twin-stick action adventure.
A satirical 2D stealth game that freely riffs on Metal Gear Solid.
Unbelievably soothing “unpacking sim” about taking stuff out of moving boxes and getting settled into a new place.
Surf through a Venice threatened by climate change on your hoverboard to chill tunes and hang on with the city’s residents.
Warhammer 40k: Battlesector
Withe the Sisters of Battle confirmed for Warhammer 40k: Battlesector, now’s a good time to give the game a gander before its release in July.
Tactical, turn-based RPG set during the Middle Ages.
Another game that dropped in on a showcase after officially being announced last year, White Shadows is a striking puzzle platformer that will probably remind you of Limbo quite a bit.
The last game on our list is also in black and white, and comes with a striking anime look, and Rachel really enjoyed the mech combat, too.