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Backlog: The Embiggening – July, 2021

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By Nelson Schneider - 07/04/21 at 02:36 PM CT

Welcome back to another look into the near future! As America celebrates its independence from hereditary monarchy and The Church exerting undue influence on its political affairs *ahem*… It’s time to blow stuff up! And by “stuff” I mean gunpowder invented by, packaged by, and sold by China, America’s biggest, most dangerous rival on the world stage…

Ehh… let’s forget the patriotism and talk about some upcoming game releases! There are a whopping 30 titles on the docket, showing that 2021 is indeed the year when the Summer Game Drought didn’t manifest… instead we got a regular-old-drought that is threatening to turn the Western half of the country into a desert… except it already is a desert… Man, you can’t grab a Negro by the toe these days without running into political bullshit.

Onward to the games!

We’re really light on the shovelware for July, with only two titles. We can’t even populate the three major shovelware categories like that! Anyway, there’s a super-casual Party thing called “The Sisters – Party of the Year” and an annual release in a Racing series, “F1 2021.”

Unfortunately, the flood of ports remains unabated, with a terrifying 15 titles getting shopped around to new platforms. Once again, the Nintendo Switch is the main culprit/victim in this port-dumping, with “Spiritfarer,” “Akiba’s Trip,” “The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword,” “Ys 9,” “Curved Space,” a trilogy of old ‘Terra’ SHMUPS, a compilation of ‘Ace Attorney’ DS games, a reboot of the ‘Cotton!’ SHMUP series (shared with the PS4), a compilation of ‘Hotline Miami’ games (also shared with PS4), “Blasphemous,” and “Worms Rumble” (the latter two shared with all the other consoles). The only ports coming in July that aren’t targeting the Switch are “Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles” and “Evergate” coming to PS5 (they’re already on the Switch), “Microsoft Flight Simulator” hitting the Series X, and a remake of “Observer” hitting all the platforms except Nintendo’s.

Everything else coming in July is a multi-platform release of some sort – Not even a single exclusive is seeing the light of day, unless you want to count the previously-mentioned portage of “Microsoft Flight Simulator.” And, as usual, Sturgeon’s Law is in full effect, and 90% of them look like crap. We’ve got two Visual Novels in “Bustafellows” and “The Silver Case 2425.” We’ve got lame Beat ‘em Ups in “The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors” and “Samurai Warriors 5.” We’ve got a terrible Square-Enix sequel in “NEO: The World Ends With You.” We’ve got a new SHMUP in the hoary and aged ‘Darus’ series. We’ve got an out-of-season Halloween-themed ‘Harvest Moon’ clone in “Monster Harvest.” We’ve got another ‘Sniper’ game. We’ve got a second turn-based spinoff of ‘Monster Hunter’ in “Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin”… but it’s still ‘Monster Hunter.’ We’ve already come to the release of “Tribes of Midgard,” which was teased at E3 this year, and I still have no idea if it’ll be good or not… but after seeing some more information about it post-E3, I’m leaning toward ‘not.’ “Hoa” looks to be one of those gorgeous, eye-catching Indie platformers… that don’t end up being much fun. “Battle Axe” is a modern spiritual successor to the ‘Gauntlet’ series that also doesn’t look particularly fun, but it does have local coop! Lastly, we come to the lone title this month that I’ve been awaiting with ‘bated breath: “Cris Tales.” To reiterate, it is NOT a game about Chris, but an RPG with the novel twist of presenting the player with views into multiple timestreams simultaneously.

Yikes! July may not be a drought this year, but the stuff falling from the sky sure doesn’t taste like rain! The only title I plan to pick up from this month’s offerings is “Cris Tales.” However, it does come from a completely untested Indie development team – from South America, no less – so it could end up being a massive disappointment.

Backlog Embiggened: +1

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