Earlier this year, PlayStation revamped its subscription service. One of the great things about getting the most out of this service is that it provides access to game demos. In theory, this helps players assess the value of a game before buying it. It also helps developers get people interested in their new games. A win-win, right? Well, kind of.
Of course the demo works for some people. I am not one of them. The engaging story and actionable difficulty levels are what draws me to the game. The same goes for the ability to hold my attention for 5 to 10 hours. It was never possible to determine these things from demos alone. Plus, they’re often released weeks or months before the full game, and during that time, those precious few minutes that the demo lets you play with are floating around. So they rarely get me excited to play the full game.
Thirsty suitors changed all of this. Set in a South Asian community, this is an incredible game about family dynamics, in which protagonist Jala must confront her family (and their heavy expectations) and come to terms with her past relationship. It’s colorful, thoughtful, smart, funny, and has a very purposeful cultural angle. This is for me. This is for my community. We’re not just an afterthought here. I want to play it the moment the trailer ends.
Of course, I can’t. The game doesn’t even have a release date yet. However, it has a (drums please)
demo on Steam. With some trepidation — and quick prayers to Ganesha, the obstacle remover, it’s compatible with my Steam deck — I downloaded and installed it. Thankfully, it worked out of the box without any tweaking.
Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much. I’ve been burned too many times before. But Thirsty Seeker is different, and it made me rethink every cranky thing I’ve ever said about demos.
What impresses me is how great the length of the presentation is. This is basically the first 30 minutes of Thirsty Suitors . Enough to understand the protagonist and story, art style, how choices affect the game’s narrative, and how you fight your ex (you can insult and make fun of them or flirt in turn-based combat!).
but it’s not
just the length of ; it’s about thirsty suitors is how it is constructed. Thirty minutes is not enough to understand a lot of games. During this time, I was barely able to complete the opening cutscenes of some longer games. This is not a dig at other games, but a compliment to the thirsty suitor’s compact writing. Speaking of the point, a 30-minute demo is enough to give you exactly how everything works.
It was this combination that made the demo work for me. After I won my first battle and conquered the demo, I wasn’t disappointed, but excited about what’s coming next. Even if I forget something, or if my progress in the game is lost before I get the full title, that’s fine. I am happy to start over. We’re not talking about a few hours of my life that I have to replay — just a cool, brisk half hour.
Maybe I should give more demos.