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The third Steam Game Festival has come to an end and what a journey it has been for the past few summer days! This week-long digital event featured gameplay, live streams and chats, and AMAs with developers from across the world. From 40 odd demos in their Spring Edition, Steam has upped their roster to over 900 games! And since it was a limited-time event and it’s nigh-impossible to try out every one of them, our crew took the task to heart. Through a series of short articles, each of our writers will be reporting on the top 3 demos they found to be the most fascinating. So without further ado, here are my Steam Game Festival Takeaways.


Developer: KING Art
Publisher: Deep Silver
Release Date: 1 Sep, 2020
Available on: Windows

Iron Harvest is a spiritual reimagining of the old ‘modern RTS’ games that brought out some of the best mechanics a strategy fan could imagine. In Iron Harvest, units are reimagined to be a living part of the battlefield rather than disposable objects that can be procured at any time by spending some resources. The game also builds upon the concept of tactical cover on the battlefield, where exposure means an instant and vicious death for any soldier foolish enough. The game’s siege weapons – instead of tanks and other vehicles – are robotic walkers. Walkers are much slower than your average tank, but they pack a vicious punch. Of course, certain unit types beat other types in a rock-paper-scissors fashion, even though the element of cover plays a big role in deciding the victor of a battle.

The demo came with four maps with only the ‘Skirmish’ (or ‘offline multiplayer’) mode. I packed myself immediately into the 3v3, set AI difficulty to the maximum, and set about pushing to capture points and boost resource generation. Despite being heavily inspired by Company of Heroes, I found that Iron Harvest is much easier to get into for beginners, and not nearly as punishing. Resources are accumulated much faster, so you can train a cohort of infantry or walkers to reinforce your troops from the frontlines. The AI plays rather reactively at higher difficulties to whatever you play, and that’s definitely something I felt I missed in Company of Heroes. Walkers are rather unique, and getting anti-infantry walkers early can help gain the tide in your favor. This is one strategy game that enthusiasts should definitely look forward to.


Developer: Firefly Studios
Publisher: Firefly Studios
Release Date: 29 Sep, 2020
Available on: Windows

Stronghold is a franchise that I always connected with as a child, even though Age of Empires was my personal favorite. Stronghold mixes the genres of simulation and strategy in the best manner possible, and that is exactly what I liked so much about the game. Stronghold: Warlords brings back the iconic formula of city-building combined with a touch of strategy in the form of resource and unit management. The game takes place during the unification of Japan, pitting the best warlords of Japan against one another for territory and riches. You get to use muskets, rockets, and other gunpowder-based weapons as a new age dawns on the country. Warlords take the formula a bit more towards the strategic side as the game takes place during an era of political turmoil, with unit training and base construction being inspired by Seven Kingdoms.

The demo is a bit inconsistent, as it only allows you to play a single scenario against enemy warlords, introducing the concept of independent ‘daimyos’ wielding their own armies who can be allied with or forcefully subjugated into the empire against the enemy. In the demo, once you subjugate the Dragon warlord (yep, I went in katanas blazing), you get access to rockets periodically, which can be used to destroy the enemy’s walls before laying waste to their forces. The new gunpowder-based siege weapons (for the demo, only the rockets), are really unique, and look terribly cool when they are launched towards the enemy walls, which crumble with two direct hits. This game is something people, especially fans of the simulation and strategy genres, should definitely try out – it’s a bit more laid back than your average strategy game.


Developer: Holy Cow Productions, The Cirqus, Hobo Interactive
Publisher: Bot Rods
Release Date: Coming Soon!
Available on: Windows, PlayStation, Xbox, Switch

This is a game that has been on my radar for quite some time, but I couldn’t play it because it was more or less a console exclusive. It’s finally coming to PC, even though an exact release date isn’t available at the moment. It’s basically an arcade racing game inspired by the likes of Mario Kart and Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing. You have occasional boosts set on the ground that can be picked up to get ahead of your opponents and can even use power-ups to throw your opponents haywire or just blast them to oblivion. The main difference from other racing games is that instead of commanding a car with wheels, you’re commanding a walker here, which actually ‘walks’ through the race track (which obviously is slower than having wheels).

The demo comes with only two race tracks and two walkers to choose from. Sadly, neither of these walkers are strong enough to take the smallest hit from your opponents, most of whom are stronger and faster. The AI actually tries to knock you off your path if you walk close to them, and while I like the reactionary measures taken by the AI to ensure its dominance, it’s not fun when I have to maintain a lead from the start of the race and continue doing that till I win (if I want to win, that is).

The graphics are quirky, and the mixed tone of the realism of the racetrack and the cartoonish background blends really well. This is something arcade fans can definitely watch out for – it’s no ‘ordinary’ racing game.

Check out some of our other writers’ favorite demos here:
Sushir’s picks, Sailesh’s picks, and Niranjan’s picks.

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