The Video Game Awards aren’t really about video game awards anymore (especially since Hades got robbed). No, it’s basically a secondary E3 at this point, a vehicle for new game announcements and nothing else. For this purpose, consult the Game Awards Festival: a collection of demos available for a limited time after the show itself.
These demos are available from now through December 14, most on Steam and streaming on GeForce NOW, but a few are also on Xbox.
ANNO: Mutationem, Steam: A cyberpunk side-scrolling action game (no, not that Cyberpunk), with an intriguing mix of 2D and 3D pixelated graphics.
Am i, Steam, GeForce NOW: An atmospheric 2D platform game with images of Red Riding Hood and physics puzzles.
Disc room, Steam, GeForce NOW: A top-down 2D game to avoid turning the blades of death. This one is already out.
Echo generation, Steam, Xbox: A turn-based RPG with 3D graphics and lots of ’80s cinematic inspiration. It seems like a modern take on Earthbound.
Parkour for guinea pigs, Steam, GeForce NOW: A platform game with stunning hand-drawn animation, inspired by radical 80s pastels and cute 90s console mascot games.
Graven, Steam, GeForce NOW: A fast paced fantasy-based shooter reminiscent of Heretic. It is made by 3D Realms, the Duke Nukem people.
The story of a juggler, Steam, GeForce NOW: A 2D platform game where your character and enemies are controlled by chains of puppets, with some interesting attachments.
Little Nightmares II, Steam: A sleek side-scrolling platformer with horror elements. If you like LIMBO, you should check it out.
Olija, Steam, GeForce NOW: In this Metroidvania game, exploration and combat blend with pixel art inspired by Asian history and art styles. It’s from Devolver Digital, a publisher who’s never seen a violent pixelated game that he didn’t like.
Selfloss, Steam, GeForce NOW: A 3D adventure game with exploration and combat a la Zelda, featuring a world inspired by Slavic mythology.
Iron song, Steam, GeForce NOW, Xbox: A 2D Viking fighting game with stunning 3D graphics. You have your golden ax in my dark souls!
With the exception of Disc Room, all of these games are slated for release in 2021. Play these demos quickly: While some of them might stick around after the Game Awards promotion, they might not.