If you loved Life is Strange or A Space For the Unbound, you need to play this visual novel's Steam Next Fest demo

 Until Then.
Until Then.

The demo for this upcoming visual novel is super interactive and reminds me of Life is Strange, so you should definitely play it before Steam Next Fest is over.

I've had an eye on the 2D atmospheric indie Until Then for a good few months now, mostly because it reminds me a lot of my favorite indie of 2023 - A Space for the Unbound. Both games have a nostalgic art style, relatable teenage characters, and feature a sense of impending doom. The main tagline for Until Then is literally: "The world hasn't ended yet."

In Until Then, you play as high school student and slacker Mark, who at the start of the game's demo is expecting to get an earful from his friend for forgetting to make a slideshow for a group presentation. As Mark, you'll get ready for school, walk to the train station, meet your other pal on the way, and try to cram all of the work you should have done weeks ago into the 10-minute window before class.

As you'd expect, the gameplay sees you move about the world and interact with the people and objects around you. This sounds relatively simple, but almost immediately after booting up the demo, I was amazed by how interactive it was. The first thing you have to do is hit the 'Start' button repeatedly to trigger Mark's alarm clock and wake him up - something that takes more than 10 attempts to do.

It doesn't end there: once Mark is up and about, you've got to help him get ready for school by doing up each of the buttons on his shirt and purchasing a train ticket. It's not as easy as approaching the machine and hitting a button though - you'll have to follow the instructions on the machine, choose your station, and pick the exact amount of change to put into the ticket machine.

Once on the train, you can then scroll through social media and even interact with the posts - giving your friends updates a like or comment on your way to school. Even when you communicate through text messages, you're asked to repeatedly tap to make the words appear on the screen. I just loved being able to actively participate in Mark's story, instead of just hitting a single button and watching everything play out in front of me.

There's a lot more for me to learn about Until Then's characters and the catastrophe that's seemingly taken place before the events of the game. I'm already so curious about where the story is going to go and what else I'll have the opportunity to do as the game continues past the demo. You can keep track of this game by wishlisting it on Steam and following its developers on Twitter.

Looking for something to play in the meantime? Find out why you should play A Space for the Unbound with our indie spotlight series.