To be honest, this year's Next Fest was underwhelming. Maybe it's just me, but I saw few I was interested in playing, and the games I did download and play were mostly pre-alpha and won't be ready for years. It's a shame; originally the purpose of Next Fest was to showcase games coming out within the next 6 months (as a marketing thing), but presumably now they've opened it up to anything, which means lots more low quality demos that are nowhere near ready for feedback or release. Here's the list of games I played that were even worth writing a sentence about
Published by Paradox (but not made by), Foundry is a factory game in a voxel/minecraft world. I spent several hours on this as I LOVE factory games. Sounds like it'll be coming out in Early Access within the next few months, but don't expect full release for at least 2 years. I really enjoyed it, although they have some work to do with streamlining the building. It's basically a 3D Factorio (with identical research and building loading mechanics), which basically just means it takes longer to build things. At the moment it doesn't really do anything unique, but I hope eventually they'll add lots of things to explore in the world like rare resource caves, underwater biomes, animals etc. In either case there's only about 3 games in the factory building genre so anything new is worth hanging on to.
Looks like it should be a better version of Valheim, but my only feedback right now is that it runs like ass.
Crime Scene Cleaner
Just like all the other knockoff crappy simulator games. Has that janky movement thing going on, holding two hands out in front of you like a zombie and the Q quick-select tool wheel to choose whether to pick up trash or smash things.
Time To Morp
Actually an interesting idea - you breed little creatures by putting them in pens and feeding them things. Well optimised, controlled perfectly well.
It's an Anno clone set in Japan.
A promising colony sim set on the moon with some good voice acting and cutscenes, but won't be out for another few years.
From the developers of Hardspace Shipbreaker. It's a deckbuilding roguelike set in space, with battles a little like Into the breach, where you get cards to define what your ship can do on a grid-based map. Yeah, it's fine... but I'm just really disappointed they aren't expanding on the Shipbreaker IP. They had something so unique, and now they've just cashed into to the over-saturated deckbuilding market.
Another Crab's Treasure
It's a 3D platformer / brawler that will get compared to Dark Souls because you collect currency and lose it when you die. It's sadly one of the only really functional demos I played, but didn't really hold my attention. There's a cool mechanic where you can switch shells (you're a hermit crab), but otherwise the level design was unclear, and the combat and movement were pretty basic.