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Backlog: The Embiggening – October, 2021

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By Nelson Schneider - 09/26/21 at 03:50 PM CT

Welcome back to another look into the near future! The deluge of the Autumn Games Flood is showing no signs of letting up, and has, in fact, gotten worse. The gaming community is now analogous to those doughty hurricane survivors of the Gulf Coast who refuse to abandon their land, even though it has been reduced to an inundated, toxic cesspit. Let’s start seining through those turds, again, to see if there’s anything worth salvaging.

The shovelware count from last month has nearly doubled, with a whopping 17 titles falling into one of the three major categories of ‘Crap.’” First, we’ve got a plethora of licensed games, including “PJ Masks: Heroes of the Night” and “My Friend Peppa Pig” for the pre-school crowd, “Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl,” “Blaze and the Monster Machines: Axle City Racers,” “Star Wars: Jedi Knight Collection,” “LEGO Marvel Superheroes,” “Guardians of the Galaxy,” and “Jumanji: The Videogame” for the juvenile crowd, “Nerf Legends” and “Poker Club” for the older crowd, and “Agatha Christie – Hercule Poirot: The First Cases” for the geriatric crowd. In the 2Cazual2Live category, there’s “L.O.L. Surprise! Movie Night,” “Time Management Game Collection,” and “Mario Party Superstars.” Lastly, in the ‘We Make One Every Year, and You People Are Dumb Enough to Keep Buying Them’ category, there’s “NHL,” “FIFA,” and “NASCAR.”

Old stuff masquerading as new stuff couldn’t quite outnumber the blatant cash grabs for October, but it’s pretty close, with 14 ports, compilations, remasters, remakes, or other forms of rehash coming out next month. And, say it with me, once again, the Nintendo Switch is the largest dumping ground for these things. At this point, it would be quicker to list the number of games NOT being ported to the Switch. Anyway, Nintendo’s aging hybrid device is getting “Dollhouse,” “GRIS,” “RiMS Racing,” a compilation of ‘Ori’ games, “Road 96,” “Spacebase Startopia,” a compilation of ‘Super Monkey Ball’ games, “Real Farm Sim,” “Huntdown,” and a compilation of old ‘Ty the Tasmanian Tiger’ platformers, the latter four of which are also being ported to other, non-Switch platforms at the same time. These other platforms are also getting “Song of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town” (a port of the ‘Harvest Moon’ game with the same subtitle, but with a different main title thanks to the trademark and copyright war going on between Natsume and the original development team), the creatively titled “Truck Driver,” and “G-Darius HD,” all of which the Switch already has. The only ports going around that aren’t on the Switch (yet) are “Phoenix Point” and “A Plague Tale: Innocence.” Whoop-dee-doo!

There are, at least, a sizeable number of new multi-platform releases coming in October, clocking in at a none-too-shabby 13 titles, across a broad swatch of genres. There’s “Far Cry 6,” which I might be interested in if I were a Cuban-American and the story elements hit closer to home. There’s a geriatric mayhem simulator (by the “Goat Simulator” team) in “Just Die Already,” which, based solely on the title, I expected to be another effing Soulslike. “Tails of Iron” IS another effing Soulslike, with an art style that looks like a rip-off of both “Darkest Dungeon” and “Redwall.” “Undernauts: Labyrinth of Yomi” is another one of Aksys’ flavor of Dungeon Crawler, which tend to be simultaneously too weird and too ‘blah.’ “Riders Republic” is Ubisoft’s latest Racing title, which appears to cater a bit too hard to Gen-Z Zoomers. Supermassive Games has another entry in their ‘Dark Pictures Anthology’ Survival Horror series, called “House of Ashes.” “The Caligula Effect” is getting a sequel. “Angry Alligator” appears to be an attempt at cashing in on the… dubious… uh ‘popularity’ of Deep Silver’s “Maneater.” “Demon Slayer: The Hinokami Chronicles” didn’t impress me at E3, and that hasn’t changed. “The Riftbreaker” is a base-building RTS with mechs… they had me at mechs, but lost me at RTS. Softstar is releasing the 7th entry in Taiwan’s (alleged) equivalent to ‘Dragon Quest,’ “Xuan-Yuan Sword 7,” which, I believe I mentioned last time – since it was delayed – I was interested in at one point, but then I played the spinoff “The Gate of Firmament.” Now ‘Xuan-Yuan Sword’ is effectively dead to me until Softstar can prove they can do better. “Back 4 Blood” is yet another terrible Team Shooter inspired by the likes of “Left 4 Dead” and “Vermintide.” Lastly, “Disciples: Liberation” is some sort of Dark Fantasy TRPG.

After all that, is there any room for system-selling exclusives?! Yeah, a little! Sony’s PlayStation 4 – yes F.O.U.R. – is getting both another terrible ‘Nep Nep’ game, only this time crossed-over with the busty kunoichi of ‘Senran Kagura’ in “Neptunia x Senran Kagura: Ninja Wars,” as well as “AWAY: The Survival Series,” which appear to be some sort of Nature Simulator. Nintendo, on the other hand, is finally bringing out “Metroid 5!” Officially titled “Metroid Dread,” it looks to reuse some of the more questionable mechanics that ruined “Metroid 4” a.k.a., “Metroid Fusion.” I’m not 100% sold.

I’m going to go ahead and add “Metroid Dread” to my Amazon wishlist for the time being. Maybe by the time it goes on sale for $45 – Such a miserable discount! – the Nintendo fanboys will have beta-tested it enough for me to determine whether I actually want to play it or not. But that’s as far as my October interests extend.

Backlog Embiggened: +1 (maybe)

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