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Backlog: The Embiggening – June, 2019

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By Nelson Schneider - 06/02/19 at 01:52 PM CT

Welcome back to another look into the near future! June is here, and the dreaded Summer Game Drought is at our doorstep. Will entire crops of gamers wither in the fields beneath the blistering Summer heat? Or will game publishers and Indies finally get their doo-doo together and space out their releases more? Only one way to find out!

Devourers of shovel-ready excrement may find themselves disappointed in June, as there are only 3 pieces of licensed schlock coming, and all of them belong to the same genre: Driving. There’s “Monster Jam Steel Titans” accompanied by two annual releases in annual Racing titles: “F1” and “MotoGP.”

There are many fewer ports, remasters, remakes, reboots, and rehashes coming in June than there have been for a loooong time. Even better, I get to take a break from calling out the Nintendo Switch as the literal port toilet it has become, as it’s not really getting any more ports in June than anyone else. The Switch is getting a port of “Battle Worlds: Kronos,” the PS4 is getting a port of “Death’s Gambit,” and the XBONE (shockingly) is getting a remaster of “Samurai Shodown.” Then there’s the PS4 and XBONE sharing ports of two JoyMasher games, “Oniken” and “Odallus: The Dark Call” (which both came to Switch earlier this year after launching on PC 4-5 years ago), as well as “Car Mechanic Simulator.” Lastly, VR is getting in on the porting, with former PCVR exclusive, “Quar” being ported to PlayStation VR.

Legit, multi-platform releases aren’t outnumbered by old stuff masquerading as new stuff for the first time in many months as well. Unfortunately, most of these multi-plats are anything but inspiring (in fact, several were in contention for the shovelware category). Starting off with the weeaboo chow, there’s a new ‘NepNep’ game (WHY?!) with the least creative title yet, “Super Neptunia RPG.” Then there’s a Visual Novel, “Kotodama: The 7 Mysteries of Fujisawa,” which – say it with me now – TAKES PLACE IN A JAPANESE SCHOOL. Next up, there’s yet another low-budget Lovecraft Mythos game by third-rate Euro-trash publisher BigBen, “The Sinking City,” as well as a new tabletop-to-computer conversion in the ‘Warhammer Fantasy’ universe (also published by BigBen), “Warhammer: Chaosbane.” The last two multi-plats might actually get some people excited, as they are a long-time-coming sequel in the ‘Crash Bandicoot’ ‘Mario Kart’ rip-off, “Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled,” and the long-time-coming Kickstarter-backed ‘Castlevania’ spiritual successor (because Konami sucks now), “Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night.”

Exclusives are looking fairly sparse and dismal, as one would expect at the outset of the Drought. Xbox fans are, naturally, screwed, while PlayStation fans get the privilege of an exclusive Idea Factory RPG (read: trash), “Dragon Star Varnir,” as well as a private detective-themed spinoff of Sega’s ‘Yakuza’ series, “Judgment.” The most fanatical and insane of Nintendo’s fanboys will likely start setting up shrines and worshipping the Atlus-developed spinoff, “Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth,” which will be hitting the 3DS instead of the Switch for reasons only Atlus knows, while the more temperate Nintendo fanboys will start throwing $20 bills at the company in order to keep their Nintendo Network subs live for the release of “Super Mario Maker 2,” which will live and die by the amount of kaizo user-generated stages it gets (though, for my purposes, I’m glad is has an offline campaign mode).

The start of Summer isn’t looking quite as Drought-plagued as it has in the past. I’m very much looking forward to playing “Bloodstained” (on Steam, natch) while I’ll probably also pick-up “Super Mario Maker 2” if I have an extra $60 that I’d otherwise just set on fire, even though I’m not wholly convinced that it will be much different/better than the original “Super Mario Maker.”

Backlog Embiggened: +2

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