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Backlog: The Embiggening – November, 2021

View Nelson Schneider's Profile

By Nelson Schneider - 10/31/21 at 02:25 AM CT

Welcome back to another look into the near future! Now that November is upon us, once again, it’s time to participate in the perpetual ritual of Games Industry Publishers pushing out gobs and gobs of licensed crap in the hopes of moving units as Holiday gifts, usually given by confused and bemused grandparents who might be vaguely familiar with the names of things Little Timmy and Little Susie like, and that the kiddos like videogames, so combining the two is a guaranteed successful gifting! Outside of that slat-splosion of watery effluent, we’ve got a ton of old stuff and late stuff that was supposed to come out a month or two (or three) ago, but didn’t. *SIGH* Let’s just get to the pre-mortem post-mortem.

We’ve got all three flavors of shovelware coming in November. First, there’s tons of licensed crap for the kiddies: Disney is bringing us “Disney Classic Games Collection” (I assume this’ll be ‘Vol. 1’), “Star Wars Racer & Commando Combo,” and “Star Wars Jedi Knight Collection” for the little ones. Universal is bringing us “Jurassic World 2” and a ‘Fast & Furious’ tie-in for the slightly older ones. Also, for some reason, ancient Franco-Belgian comics are experiencing a big comeback, with both ‘Smurfs’ and ‘Marsipulami’ getting new games – and I did not, in fact, know that ‘Marsupilami’ was originally a European comic book character instead of a crappy network cartoon character from the ‘90s, so thanks for that educational tid-bit, Terrible Games Industry! Lastly, “Nerf Legends” might finally be released after being delayed.

The 2Cazul2Live shovelware category is looking fairly diverse, with two ‘My Universe’ games targeting little girls – “Interior Designer” and “Puppies & Kittens” – one game targeting little boys in “Instant Sports Paradise,” and one game targeting non-binary freaks and other iPhone users in “My Singing Monsters Playground,” an adaptation of a mobile IP.

Lastly, we’ve got the Annual Releases that get shoveled-out every year. But this month it isn’t just Sports titles. Oh, no! We’ve got the terrible Ubisoft abomination known as ‘Just Dance’ getting a 2022 version. And I felt bad about passing over two series that made it into the list of Worst IPs with More Than Three Games, so both the newest ‘Battlefield’ and ‘Call of Duty’ are in this category too.

Old crap masquerading as new crap will always be with us at this point. Seriously, I don’t foresee a single month moving toward the end of Western Civilization in which we don’t have a release slate filled to the gills with re-re-re-re-re-releases. But this is November 2021, and… well what a sUrPrIsE! The Nintendo Switch is the biggest dumping ground for ports, remasters, compilations, and other forms of rehash, this month with Nintendo leading the charge themselves, with the release of “Pokemon Brilliant Diamond” and “Pokemon Shining Pearl,” which are, ironically, remakes of the last two real (non-mobile) ‘Pokemon’ games I played before my hiatus… and I have NO plans to rebuy and replay them on an end-of-life device like the Switch. Other Switch portage includes “Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion” (on my Steam wishlist already), “GRIS,” “Carrion,” “Monster Crown” – allegedly the ‘Pokemon’ game we want and deserve, instead of what Nintendo and Game Freak have been doing – a compilation of Indie Metroidvanias in “Alwa’s Collection” (one of them is in my Steam library already, while the other is on my Steam wishlist), the stupidly-overdue sequel to 1994’s “Beneath a Steel Sky” called “Beyond a Steel Sky,” dreadful Soulslike-meets-‘Redwall,’ “Tails of Iron” (which is on my Steam ignore list), and “Ty the Tasmanian Tiger HD.” (The latter four are also hitting other non-Switch platforms in November.) Outside the Switch, the PS4 is getting “A Hat in Time” and “Angry Alligator,” while the PS5 and Xbox SeX are getting “Human: Fall Flat” and “Mechwarrior 5: Mercenaries.”

How many new multi-platform releases managed to squeeze – Afghani airport style – through the throng of trash and old stuff to see the light of day? Seven. *SIGH* These blogs would take a lot less time if I only had to look at legitimate new releases… but it is what it is. Anyway, my business of agriculture seems to be front and center among multi-plats, with both “Farming Simulator 22” and “Real Farm Sim” hitting at nearly the same time. Then there’s my side-gig being represented in “Evil Genius 2.” There’s a sequel to a crappy high-school themed RPG, “Blue Reflection: Second Light,” and yet another abominable Roguelike trying to go mainstream in “The Last Stand: Aftermath.” And while the preceding titles range from bland and banal to predictably tropey, the last two games are… weird. First, there’s another ‘Oddworld’ sequel, “Soulstorm,” which really shouldn’t keep happening, as the series is a flop and should have just stayed dead. Lastly, there’s “The Eternal Cylinder” by Good Shepherd Entertainment. At first, I thought it was one of those trashy Evangelical Christian games, but it turns out that Good Shepherd doesn’t make those, but is responsible for a… wide variety of… questionable releases since 2018. But, damn, this game looks quirky and weird and unique in all the right ways… I just hope it isn’t secretly a Roguelike or something worse.

Holy crap! There are actually exclusives again in November! And holier crap! There’s at least one hitting each major console! Sony’s getting “Kena: Bridge of Spirits,” which appears to be a cinematic ‘Zelda’ knock-off.” Nintendo, on the other hand, is getting a Veterinary Sim in “Pups & Purrs Animal Hospital,” a weird Visual Novel about the gender-confused Godx of Love trying to find matches for Japan’s most undatable men in “Cupid Parasite,” and the 5th mainline entry in a previously-and-mercifully-only-in-Japan RPG series, “Shin Megami Tensei 5.” Even Microsoft has an exclusive… but it’s just “Forza Horizon 5.”

There was a point in time when I would have been excited about “Shin Megami Tensei 5” coming Westward… but that time was before I played “Persona” on the original PlayStation in 1997. Now I want NOTHING to do with the series, even though RPGs are my thing. Likewise, “Kena: Bridge of Spirits” looks… okay, but since it’s PlayStation exclusive and I have no plans to buy one of those again, I’ll pass and not feel any regret. Really, the only new game coming in November that sparked my interest at all is, “The Eternal Cylinder,” which gave me a mix of “Cubivore,” ‘Pikmin,’ and ‘SPORE’ vibes.

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