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Backlog: The Embiggening – May, 2019

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By Nelson Schneider - 04/28/19 at 02:53 PM CT

Welcome back to another look into the near future! April showers (of watery fecal matter) bring May flowers (turd blossoms), so as the Spring quarter begins to wind down, let’s take a look at what the Industry is leaving for us to squabble over as the Summer Game Drought looms on the horizon.

Shovel-ready doo-doo is light on the ground in May. We’ve got one super-casual non-game, in the form of “Little Friends: Dogs & Cats,” which is clearly trying to take up slack in the absence of a new ‘NintendDogs’ title. Then we’ve got two licensed trash fires, one based on the stoner comedy by Cartoon Network’s ‘Rick & Morty’ team, “Trover Saves the Universe;” then we’ve got a compilation port of other licensed drek from Cartoon Network. Nothing I love (read: hate) more than ports of shovelware.

And, boy, do we have ports coming in May! 17, all told… and unsurprisingly, the Switch is still leading the way, as desperate rats try to save themselves by bailing on the 8th Gen consoles and jumping on the Dreamcast-early 9th Gen hotness. The Switch alone is getting ports of “Among the Sleep,” “Our World is Ended,” “Battle Worlds: Kronos,” “TT Isle of Man,” “This War of Mine,” “Broken Sword 5,” the crusty old “Assassin’s Creed 3,” and “Saint’s Row: The Third,” along with compilations of ‘OPUS’ and ‘Resident Evil’ games. The Switch will also be sharing ports with some of the other consoles, including miserable Roguelike “For the King,” uninspired Sandbox “PixARK,” and 2019 Adventure “My Time at Portia” (which has ‘port’ right there in the title, ironically). The old King of Ports isn’t quite done yet, though, as the PlayStation 4 will be getting a ‘Killing Floor’ compilation (with some VR stuff bundled in), a port of the second chapter of the mind-numbing Falcom RPG series, ‘Trails of Cold Steel,' as well as port of 2012’s “Sniper Elite V2” (which it is sharing with the XBONE). Finally, in a shocking turn of events, PC is getting a port of a digital Switch game: “Diggerman,” which should NOT be confused with the name of H.P. Lovecraft’s black cat.

With all those ports, there’s hardly any room in the schedule for new, legit multi-platform releases. There are only 6… but among them are the only titles that interest me in May! Starting off, things are pretty grim, as the PS4 and Switch are sharing some RPGs by the some of the worst RPG developers, “Lapis x Labyrinth” by NIS and another friggin’ ‘Atelier’ game by Tecmo-Koei. On top of those, the butt-buddies are also sharing an Indie mashup title by Nicalis (one of the first noteworthy Indie devs of the early 21st Century), “Crystal Crisis,” which sounds like a ‘Puzzle Fighter’ knock-off. The usual suspects (read: PC/PlayStation/Xbox, but not Nintendo) are receiving the dubious honor of “A Plague Tale: Innocence” from barrel-bottom-scrapings-tier publisher, Focus Home. Finally, after that horrible lack of build-up, we’ve got two wildly different sequels that redeem the entire month: “Team Sonic Racing” is a sequel in Sega’s mascot-driven Kart racing series with a true focus on cooperative play for the first time ever in a Kart racer, while Avalance/Bethesda are bringing “RAGE 2,” a sequel to the only id Software FPS I’ve ever enjoyed. Based on the footage we’ve seen of “RAGE 2,” it looks like a lot of fun.

Unfortunately for everyone who isn’t a PlayStation fanboy, Sony’s got a complete lock on exclusives for May. PlayStation 4 is getting a miserable Compile Heart/Idea Factory game, “Dragon Star Varnir,” a miserable Horror thing by SODESCO, “Dollhouse,” and the cherry-on-top by Accolade, a new ‘Bubsy’ game! (The Switch, however, will be subjected to said ‘Bubsy’ game in June.) VR fans could get excited about two new games as well, but they’re both published by Sony, so only PlayStation VR fans need apply: “Blood & Truth” and “Everybody’s Golf VR.” You know… I actually feel bad for Sony fanboys at this point. No exclusives would be better than… that.

I’m just shocked that someone at Accolade decided to dust-off the ‘Bubsy’ IP as more than just a one-off joke or troll game. But, hey, apparently kuso-ge and kaizo games are more popular than ever, so it only follows logically.

As for games I actually care about, “Team Sonic Racing” should scratch the Kart racing itch I’ve had since Nintendo decided to make the Switch ‘Mario Kart’ a port, while the true cooperative team racing will mesh perfectly with the MJ Crew’s modus operandi. I’m also looking forward to “RAGE 2,” since I liked “RAGE” well enough. Both games will be purchased in their PC incarnations on Steam.

Backlog Embiggened: +2

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