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  • Writer's pictureNate Hermanson

SGF 2024 x Steam Next Fest Mini-Preview: I Am Your Beast had me clapping my hands together like a seal

Updated: Jun 17

Follow along with our continuing coverage of Summer Game Fest 2024 as we play demos that are out now for SGF and Steam Next Fest, a weeklong celebration of games featuring tons of free demos from June 10-17.


Strange Scaffold continues to be one of the most exciting studios working today, for the simple fact that they continue to produce the most varied games, in the most tight packages, and doing it all while promoting healthier game development practices to show folks a new path forward.


They also just produce banger after banger. After spending some time with I Am Your Beast's Steam Next Fest demo... I can confirm the streak continues.


The I Am Your Beast key art. A fist comes from off screen to punch in the face of a red goggles wearing soldier. The force of the punch has knocked the goggles off and shattered one of the lenses. Text above the fist reads: "I AM YOUR BEAST".

Just the Facts

Developer: Strange Scaffold

Publisher: Strange Scaffold, Frosty Pop

Platform(s): PC

Release Date: August 15, 2024

Demo accessed via Steam Next Fest.

While technically this won't be the game that follows up their fantasy kidnapping simulator — the studio just announced they've got some secret game coming in between Life Eater and this one — I Am Your Beast takes the studio from an interface-driven horror game into a speedrun-focused revenge thriller FPS. Think John Wick or "Black Jason Bourne," as the studio describes it; a game about being as efficient a killing machine as possible against a government organization that's wronged you.


I Am Your Beast puts you in the well-worn boots of Alphonse Harding, a retired soldier whose time working for the Covert Operations Initiative has worn him down into the shell he's become by the time the game starts. When the COI tries to recruit him back for "one last mission," sending a squad of men into the forest he calls home, something within him snaps. And the killing machine they made, the knife they sharpened after years of training and missions, is turned back onto them.


Xalavier Nelson Jr. deliver[s] his lines with the quiet restraint of a man on the brink... or a man whose brink is so far behind him that he almost doesn't register the grunt whose face he's squishing underneath his boot at the moment.

Strange Scaffold retains some of that poetic writing from VGG GOTY nominee El Paso, Elsewhere, with an opening that reads aloud an entry from Harding's diary focused on the feeling of being in the forest while it tutorializes you through the game's core mechanics. Cutscenes are delivered via dynamic text animatics that overlay as the lines are read, a style the team confessed they adapted from a My Brother, My Brother, and Me animatic they'd seen and said, "that fits our tone, that fits our budget, why not this?"


Creative Director Xalavier Nelson Jr. makes his third appearance as a voice actor in Strange Scaffold works here with his starring role as Harding, delivering his lines with the quiet restraint of a man on the brink... or a man whose brink is so far behind him that he almost doesn't register the grunt whose face he's squishing underneath his boot at the moment. Making the most out of the sparing presentation, like a troupe occupying a black box theatre, Strange Scaffold continues to show, as they have all throughout their development career, that cinematic video game storytelling doesn't have to mean expensive motion capture studios or high-fidelity eyelash modeling.


Genuinely play this game's tutorial, and try to not be immediately invested in Harding's arc, I dare you.


An in-game screenshot of I Am Your Beast. In a forest at nighttime, a man shoots at two incoming soldiers from in between two separate stacks of military crates. The incoming soldiers have camo fatigues on and wear bright red goggles. The soldier shoots from a slightly askew angle. Bullets can be seen flying out of the firing pistol. A heart-rate monitor meant to represent the player's health can be seen in the bottom right.

I try not to write too much in these previews, because I know I'm going to be back in these worlds sooner rather than later, but... the way I Am Your Beast made me feel deserved a deeper dive. Because this game personally took hold of my beating heart and dictated the pace of my pulse for the hour I played its demo.


I Am Your Beast is a run-driven FPS that has you entering these small sandbox stages, stealthing around units before picking your moment to "go loud" to accomplish that mission's objectives. Sometimes it's as simple as wiping the stage of enemies. Sometimes it's accessing a few laptops and getting out or destroying satellites across the area. Either way, you start in stealth and have a few moments to scout the arena before beginning a round of murder and starting the game's internal timer.


You throw knives, kick guns out of people's hands, take snap headshots. Specific stylish moves bring your timer down and your goal is to meet certain timing milestones to reach different grade rankings. So it's all about finding your perfect stealth starting point, executing a series of kills that'd make John Wick Bourne Statham blush, and then finding your exit.


It's all about driving forward, never stopping. All about making them pay. And it feels so good.


This is the same studio that managed to make a stock market game exciting to me through RJ Lake's thumping soundtrack and through tiny design decisions to amplify game feel. And now they're employing those same tactics in a genre that already amps you up, within a game that asks you to execute at a high level — and that makes every single thing feel so satisfying as you do it.


This game personally took hold of my beating heart and dictated the pace of my pulse for the hour I played its demo.

An in-game screenshot of I Am Your Beast. From the first-person perspective, a man is kicking in a soldier's face. Their clothes are bloodied and a giant blood stain can be seen on the ground. The person kicking the other is wielding a knife.

I had to pull myself away from the demo before I lost more than an hour to it, as I found myself chasing S rankings and trying my damnedest to accomplish every stage's side objective. I Am Your Beast is rocking some addictive qualities.


My only real complaint about what's on display in this demo is that I wish the game had an instant reset button on the keyboard for each level instead of asking you to go into the game's pause menu to reset, interrupting the flow in even the tiniest of ways.


I'm not making any broad judgments about anything this early on, of course, but this demo might already be one of the more fun experiences I've had in gaming this year, and that's saying something. In writing this piece, all I can think of is hopping straight in the minute I'm done.


And I have to emphasize... Strange Scaffold is releasing another game before this one comes out somehow. What the hell's in the water over there?


An in-game screenshot of I Am Your Beast. Against a blurred background of a forest that has become monochrome, giant red text reads out: "Be careful what ya wish for."

Its comic book aesthetic, its aforementioned thumping RJ Lake soundtrack, its blend of vibes being Neon White meets Superhot if it never slowed down meets everything Strange Scaffold has made before this. All of it has us incredibly excited for this game's full release in August. Give the demo a try while it's up during Steam Next Fest.


 

Are we ever NOT writing about Strange Scaffold releases? No. And you can check out our thoughts on their other games, including Life Eater, Witch Strandings, Space Warlord Organ Trading Simulator, Sunshine Shuffle, and 2023 Game of the Year nominee El Paso, Elsewhere.

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