Keeping things brief, here are three more games that players may have missed from this week's Steam Next Fest that everyone should try out. If you missed our coverage yesterday, be sure to check it out here
Developer: Memento Games
Publisher: BD Games
RINA RhythmERROR is the newest rhythm game soon to see a release on Steam, developed by the newly formed Memento Games. While there were many rhythm games I’ve covered in the past, there is a lot of modern arcade influences that I’ve noticed with RINA RhythmERROR, specifically the way it’s structured. Players control RINA, an anti-virus program tasked to stop the corruption of her former allies. In some rhythm games, there are “boss songs,” where players “fight” against a boss but as a representation of a song with many gimmicks.
Games like Beatmania IIDX, Sound Voltex, and several others feature “bosses” like this, but this is the first game in which this is played straight as a main game mechanic. In the demo, there are two bosses, Error χ “chi” and Error η “eta,” each with a warm-up song following their own theme song. RINA RhythmERROR is a three-button rhythm game where the RB/R1 button is the right lane, LB/L! Is the left land, and X/A is the middle lane. Simply hit the notes as they appear to the beat and make it to the end of the song.
However, boss songs are a bit different. Occasionally the Errors will talk and interact with the player mid-song, altering it with special effects. The screen image becomes distorted, notes are affected, and each part of the song is split into phases. In phases where the boss “attacks,” several special notes will replace the regular notes, and deflecting them back will damage the boss.
Error Eta will throw shuriken at the player, however, they disappear from sight, meaning the player will need to time the beat accordingly to determine when to strike back. While the demo only has six songs, there are bonus charts hidden in the Recycle Bin menu, where attempting to delete the Errors will unlock a secret difficulty that’s far more difficult than the original story chart. This leads to one of my few complaints with RINA RhythmERROR—Hold notes.
In almost every rhythm game I’ve played, hold notes require the player to press and hold a button and then release the button as the note reaches the end. The problem with RINA RhythmERROR is that releasing the note prematurely will not only drop the note but drop the combo. In this game, you have to hold the note until the very end when it releases automatically. I understand it’s easy to hold the note than hold and release, but the latter is a huge source of muscle memory. If every single rhythm game follows one formula, I can imagine this change tripping up many players.
Despite how short the demo is, there’s a lot of personality and potential with RINA RhythmERROR. I get Black Rock Shooter vibes along with every successful indie rhythm game that’s currently available. RINA RhythmERROR releases in March 2023 and players can wishlist the game here.
Developer: BitCake Studio
Publisher: BitCake Studio
Ever planned a picnic yet a last-minute sunshower happened to douse your plans and left your hopes for a riverside lunch drenched? At least that’s not as bad as planning a picnic and several creepy crawly alien mutants spawn from portals in an attempt to kill you and your friends. This is the premise for Atomic Picnic, where instead of feasting on ham sandwiches, you and your friends dine on alien guts. That sounds a lot less pleasing than this pre-alpha demo ultimately was, however.
I mention the state of the game as this is very much a “demo build” to show players Atomic Picnic’s core gameplay. There are four load-outs to choose from—an Assault Rifle, Sniper, Shotgun, and Grenade Launcher. There’s only one map to choose from but the goal is to survive for 10 minutes with endless spawning waves of enemies. If Call of Duty Zombies had an affair with Fortnite, this would be what I envision Atomic Picnic would be.
While I won’t go harsh on a game that’s pre-alpha, I will say that dual-button prompts are a must. By default, the prompts are via keyboard despite playing on a gamepad, which meant I had to guess which button was used to interact with objects. Atomic Picnic’s roguelike elements include leveling up and gaining one of three buffs, which certainly helps even the tides.
It also seems that the game will use a Peer 2 Peer model instead of a dedicated server as the only way to find rooms is to make them your own and give your friends the code. Regardless, despite its early stages, Atomic Picnic seems like a game to spend mindless hours fighting alien hordes and surviving in time to have that chili dog for a picnic. Wishlist it here.
Mahou Senshi Cosplay Club
Developer: Behold Studios
Publisher: Behold Studios
I may have saved the best for last or at the very least the most interesting of the seven games I’ve featured for this week’s Steam Next Fest. Mahou Senshi Cosplay Club is one of the most unique experiences I’ve had in a video game and all I could think while playing this was that I’m glad someone else had the same idea I had. I’ve always been a firm believer that anime conventions and gaming go hand in hand. My most recent event that I covered, Anime NYC, was a prime example of this as many cosplayers who attended also cosplayed just as many video game characters.
But what if a cosplayer took their cosplaying skills to the next level? Anime masquerades? Cosplay contests? How about creating your costume and entering LARP battles in which the victor goes the spoils? The more you win, the better materials and pins you unlock to improve your cosplay or give yourself a confidence boost. Mahou Senshi Cosplay Club may not be the first game to take a LARP and make it into a turn-based combat game, but it’s the first game I played that made it its focal point.
The demo allows the player to create their ultimate magic girl costume, which is surprisingly in-depth as layering wigs, clothing articles, and color choices ensure each player can create their favorite mahou shoujo or even their OCs if they wish. The alarm clock being in the shape of Usagi from Sailor Moon is also a nice touch. While there’s only one battle, combat is reminiscent of a D&D battle. Each player can move as it’s a free action, followed by any attack should they have the resources available. Comboing attacks into each other sets off a “teamwork” proc, dealing double damage.
Although the demo is roughly 10 minutes if sped through, there are potential hours of enjoyment to be had in creating costumes alone. It reminds me of the very early WWE titles where “create-a-wrestler” mode was something I spent more hours in than the actual gameplay itself. Right now, as with everything on this list, Mahou Senshi Cosplay Club can be wishlisted here.
This concludes my two-part top 6 list for February’s Steam Next Fest! I tried to go for titles I’d never played before and switch up the genres on occasion. I didn’t want to make all racing games or all rhythm games, but this is a healthy list of various genres that’s sure to have something for everyone.