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Backlog: The Embiggening – December, 2021

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By Nelson Schneider - 11/28/21 at 01:45 AM CT

December is nearly upon us, and as the end of 2021 draws near, we can all take comfort in the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic is still raging on, with increasingly worse mutant variants that will likely render our vaccines irrelevant before too long. We can also revel in the fact that the microchip shortage hasn’t lessened up, and the supply-chain backlogs that make the MJ Crew’s gaming backlogs look miniscule, are still clogged as hard as a cancerous colon. But in the world of the Games Industry, somehow the poop factory just keeps chugging away, churning out another month’s worth of trash to sift through, in the vain hope that something good might be buried in there.

There’s plenty of shovel-ready junk created solely to make a quick buck, but not all three categories are represented. We do have licensed shovelware, mostly based on kid’s TV and movies, with a new ‘Smurfs’ game (which was supposed to come out last month), a compilation of old Disney games from the distant past, an enhanced port of “Disney Magical World 2,” a PS5 version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” (if only it had Jimmy Kimmel in it), and the umpteenth adaptation of “Monopoly” into a videogame.

The rest of the December shovelware is in the 2Cazual2Live category, with Trivia games like “World Quiz” and Nintendo’s latest entry in the ‘Big Brain Academy’ series, which has been dormant for a while. There’s also a new entry in the ‘My Universe’ role-modeling series, this one subtitled “Doctors & Nurses,” to encourage little girls to go into the healthcare professions. Lastly, there are console ports of one of 2020’s meme games, “Among Us,” which actually first launched in 2018. Nothing like striking while the iron is hot!

And speaking of striking way, way, way after the iron has reached Absolute Zero, we’ve got a metric ass-load (which is larger than an Imperial ass-load) of ports, remasters, remakes, compilations, and other old just masquerading as new junk hitting the market in December. And, of course, for the umpteenth month in a row, the Nintendo Switch is the primary victim/culprit, receiving ports of “Life is Strange: True Colors,” “Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire,” “XIII,” “Carrion,” “Gang Beasts,” a compilation of all the ‘Danganronpa’ games, “Buildings Have Feelings Too!,” “Bounty Battle,” a remake of “The Binding of Isaac,” “Ever Forward,” and a remake trilogy of ‘Grand Theft Auto’ games (the latter five of which are also appearing on other platforms for the first time in December as well).

Not to be left out, Sony’s got a THICC lineup of ports as well, for the PlayStation 4… wait… FOUR? No, not a typo, nearly all of the Sony portage in December is primarily targeting a dead platform. The last-gen PlayStation is getting “The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors” from the Switch, “Street Outlaws 2: Winner Takes All” from the Switch, “Zengeon” from the Switch (and PC), “G-Darius HD” from the Switch, “A Hat in Time” from… everyone else, and a remaster of “Spellforce 3,” which it’s sharing with other platforms (but not Switch). “Gear.Club Unlimited 2” will also be hitting the PS4, but also the PS5, and some other platforms . New-gen consoles will also finally get native versions of “Borderlands 3” and a remake of ‘90s FPS, “Descent.”

There are only 5 non-shovelware, non-port new multi-platform releases slated for December. There’s the oft-delayed mail-room simulator, “KeyWe,” which might finally launch. Or not. Nobody cares. “The Wild at Heart” looks like a watered-down Indie ‘Pikmin’ clone, which could be decent for a few bucks during a Steam sale. “The Eternal Cylinder,” which I thought looked interesting when I discussed it last month got delayed. I haven’t watched anymore footage or heard any hype about it, so my low-grade anticipation hasn’t changed. “RICO London” is some sort of retro-ish corridor FPS with procedural generation… NOPE! Lastly, “Chorus” is some sort of new-style space SHMUP that… really doesn’t do anything for me.

Finally, we come to exclusives. And, ho and be lol’ed, each of the three major consoles has an exclusive for X-MAS to call their own! Of course, not all exclusives are created equal. Let’s see, readers, if you can spot the difference! Microsoft is releasing “Halo Infinite,” the huge, long-awaited sequel in its flagship series. Sony is getting the exclusive release of a game by Lion Castle Entertainment, a 2D Platformer called “Mickey Storm and the Cursed Mask.” Lastly, the Nintendo Switch is getting a Visual Novel from Aksys called “Dairoku: Agents of Sakuratani.” Suffice to say I don’t want to play any of those, but there’s one that I don’t want to play a lot less.

I’m still planning to grab “The Eternal Cylinder” once its Epic Exclusivity runs out and it comes to Steam and/or GOG. But I already figured on picking up that one last month. The only new, out-of-the-blue thing coming in December I’m interested in is “The Wild at Heart.” Honestly, I’ve gotten more enjoyment out of ‘Pikmin’ knock-offs than the actual Nintendo IP – games like “Overlord” and “Little King’s Story,” so another take on the concept is okay with me.

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