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From Strange Scaffold,  the developers of El Paso Elsewhere and Life Eater, comes I Am Your Beast hot off the presses of Steam Next Fest. It’s a game that mixes a lot of genres and fits a lot of adjectives such as: first-person shooter, speed running, and neon white-styled fast-paced combat puzzles. There’s a lot going on with I Am Beast, but just to distill it down to those buzzwords is to do a disservice to what stands out about it. It’s a full-package presentation of ideas that meld together into something really interesting. 

Right from the jump, we get a cool as hell opening tutorial with spot-on narration from Agent Harding. A former COI (Covert Operations Initiative) agent who just wants to be left alone. Unfortunately for him, the COI needs him for another mission, and instead of coming back like many action movies would have you believe, Harding has done this dance 4-5 times before so he’s officially done. That’s where his General doesn’t agree and continues to send troops to apprehend him. 

The story is told through voiceover and between missions audio tapes, where we get Harding talking to both the General and others regarding his opinions on those trying to get him back into the assassination game. These are for me the standout, each time I was left grinning from ear to ear as the voice actor playing Harding gave a perfect performance of an exhausted man who just wants to be left alone, but with a hint of lethality. He’s tired, but killing, that comes easy for him. It’s just so enthralling. I’ve relistened to them a couple of times and want this as an audio drama. 

The gameplay is a quick first-person shooter where you’re expected to shoot, dodge, duck, slide, and throw everything at the enemies to knock them out fast and escape the map. The combos rack up so quickly too. When you can throw a tree branch at someone, then catch their gun, shoot two more, then grab a knife and headshot a sniper with it, it’s just so satisfying. There’s also a really generous magnetism to headshots, so you really just want to be aiming close to that area to get it. You’re also doing this against a timer that grades you, plus new goals to complete when you replay the level.

So with a top-tier voice acting cast, snappy gameplay, and immense replayability, I Am Your Beast stands out games of Steam Next Fest. While Strange Scaffold has a tendency to choose one thing and do it well, this one does a lot of things that are sticking with me, long after I’m done with it. Even just writing this is making me want to get back into the demo and keep improving my scores. All I need is a tree branch.

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