The Dome Keeper demo is our favourite from Steam Next Fest

The latest Steam Next Fest is here bringing with it hundreds of demos for the public to play, and, while we can’t claim to have played all of them, our favourite from the ones we did play is Dome Keeper.

“Mine for resources, choose from powerful upgrade paths and fend off waves of alien attackers in this innovative roguelike mining action game. There’s just enough time to mine a little deeper, find a little more and get back to defend before the next wave attacks your dome,” reads the official game description.

As you may have gathered from that description Dome Keeper is divided into several sections that all feed into each other: mine to get resources, upgrade things with those resources and then hope you survive the onslaught of the alien life.

What makes Dome Keeper so fun to play is the extremely short amount of time you have to do everything. The aliens will be here soon and it’s a continual fight against trying to mine for just a few moments longer or racing back to the surface to jump into a gunner seat.

The player character is painfully slow, and weak, in the beginning making mining even more stressful. Should you happen to finally find and dig into a deposit of resources the fight isn’t over as each unit you pick up slows your movement speed way down.

Of course the player can be upgraded to go faster and carry more, but this has to be carefully managed against saving up for dome upgrades. It doesn’t matter if you’re mining well and have riches to spare, only for your dome to crumble from damage or your weaponry remaining underpowered.

The balancing act here creates a superb sense of tension which is really helped by the fantastic art style. It’s a beautiful minimalist aesthetic that works in the favour of the atmosphere on offer, with the aliens taking the form of amorphous and malicious black blobs.

Their designs help sell their other worldly nature and how badly you want to keep them on the outside.

The music also helps in this department with a sombre backing track.

As this is a roguelike there are random elements which may upset some who hate anything uncertain in their games, but it helps here with making each run different and egging you on to try again when you eventually lose.

If all of this sounds interesting – or you’re not entirely convinced – that’s what the demo is for. Find it here and play it for free to see for yourself. 

Dome Keeper doesn’t have a release date but is listed as launching in 2022. We recommend adding it to your Steam wishlist to get an alert when it’s out.

We also want to say that this really got us pining for for a Neon Genesis Evangelion game where you spend your time preparing as best you can for the arrival of Angels and then fight them off using an upgraded Eva and the other defences of Tokyo‐3.

Come to think of it that would make a great roguelike as defeated Angels could reward random alien artefacts that can be used for research.


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