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Here are the games you absolutely need to look out for in July

July has something for basically everyone.

new games coming in july 2021
Image: Nintendo

We’re officially past the halfway point of the year. There are less than 200 days left before Santa empties his sack down everyone’s chimneys.

Moving into July means the Northern Hemisphere will start cooling off a little soon (and my balls will stop sticking to my thigh), but more importantly, the games coming out are pretty damn exciting. I could go on about plenty of titles this month, but I’ve managed to whittle it down to just 10 that are worth your time.

Here’s our pick for the games coming out in July 2021.

Remaster Sword

Step back into the Hero of the Skies’ tunics when The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD releases for Switch on July 16. Usually known as the unwanted stepchild of Nintendo’s 35-year-old franchise, forced motion controls meant it was met with disappointed faces when it originally released on Wii in 2011.

Luckily, the controls have been fixed, and the charming visuals are retained, so you’ll be able to dive in and enjoy some of the cleverest dungeons the series has ever had.

Continuing the re-release theme is Akiba’s Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed (which took me entirely too long to realize is shortened to Akiba’s Trip: HD.) This sketchy incomparable series involves you exploring the streets of Akihabara in an effort to find and defeat what’s know as Shadow Souls. So far, so normal.

It’s a third-person adventure with mostly basic fighting mechanics. However, when you fight well enough, you will eventually strip your opponents down to their underwear. Because what’s the point in uncovering Shadow Souls if you can’t uncover their underwear, too? Originally released in 2011, the remaster is coming out on PS4 and Switch on July 23.

Play your life away

Listen, I’m ginger and we’re in the middle of summer. All I really want is an excuse to stay indoors and avoid the sun as much as possible. I’m basically a vampire. Except paler.

With that in mind, there are a couple of timesinks that are worthy of… sinking… your time into… July 27 sees Neo: The Word Ends With You gracing PS4 and Switch with its presence. A sequel to 2007’s criminally-ignored Square Enix JRPG, it reportedly has more than 100 hours of gameplay to keep you sunburn-free until the fall months.

If that’s too late in the month though, maybe Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin will keep you occupied from July 9. Provided you’re a Switch or PC player, at least. Unlike the main series, this single-player epic has a storyline that’s never been seen before. In any JRPG ever. Honest.

You’re fated with preventing the world from falling into ruin.  Unlike the main series, you don’t need to worry about carrying a team of idiots. And because imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, it’s said to take inspiration from Breath of the Wild.

Amer-Orc-an Airlines

Ok, that’s a tenuous joke at best, but I had nowhere else these would fit and I didn’t think it was fair to leave the next two titles off just because my brain was lazy. Take to the skies when Microsoft Flight Simulator leaves the departure lounge of PCs and makes an arrival on Xbox Series X from the 27th.

It’s the first time the series has ever been seen outside the power-hungry world of PC, so it’s going to be a big thing to see how it runs if nothing else. Like all MS first-party titles, Flight Simulator is free if you sub to Game Pass.

Orcs Must Die! 3 will bring tower-defense fun to PC, PS4, and Xbox One on July 23. It already released back for Stadia back in July 2020, but let’s face it, Stadia is already going the way of Ouya. Anyway, mean jabs aside, the latest installment in this series has 18 story levels to play through, along with an Endless mode and Weekly Challenges to increase longevity.

Supernatural specials

While there’s a lot to be said about guaranteed sellers like Zelda and MS Flight Simulator, those who prefer indie titles are also catered for. Last Stop is coming out on almost everything except that dusty old Vectrex stuck in the attic (so PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, and Switch.)

This single-player, third-person adventure is set in modern-day London and sees the worlds of main characters John, Donna, and Meena colliding. Supernatural themes run throughout, and it has a cool focus on secret lives and discovering magic in the mundanity of life.

While the exact release date is still not available, Last Stop comes from an outstanding indie pedigree, as the team who developed this were also the creators of the award-winning Virginia, so there’s good reason to be excited.

Little Devil Inside is an incredibly distinctive title releasing for all the usual suspects (PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Switch) at some point in July (again, the exact release date is still TBC). You’ll take control of Billy, a 19th Century swordsman who has been enlisted to hunt down supernatural and other weird incidents.

A minimalist visual style lends it a wonderfully surreal appeal that’s sure to drag you into its world, while the blend of elements – everything from an ARPG skeleton to survival aspects and open-world exploration – promises plenty of variance in the gameplay.

Old-school sensibilities

Let’s go on a journey. All the way back to March 1997. Spice Girls were telling us they really, really, really wanted a ‘zig-a-zig-ah’, Tekken 3 was giving the opportunity to beat friends to a pulp without a felony charge, and Space Jam was hitting the silver screen. Now, here in 2021, Space Jam: A New Legacy is releasing in cinemas, and so is the tie-in game for Xbox One and PC on July 1.

Normally I’d never suggest a licensed game, but look at the damn trailer above. It looks like someone teleported Lebron into Turtles in Time! If you’re a Game Pass Ultimate subscriber, you’ll be able to try Space Jam: A New Legacy – The Game out for free on July 1 as part of the service, so it’s worth giving it a go no matter what!

You might have to bear with me on this one, but Labyrinth City: Pierre the Maze Detective looks so delightfully relaxing I just can’t help putting it in here. Releasing for Switch on July 15, the title takes inspiration from the children’s books of the same name and has you exploring a series of beautifully drawn locations.

Your task is to figure out the correct way to progress through each map while also solving little mysteries in each one. Think Where’s Waldo crossed with a point and click game and you’re somewhere close to what’s here.

The verdict

Once again, there aren’t too many games hitting the newest consoles, but for once that doesn’t seem to matter. Even without Series X and PS5, though, the summer months are normally a drought for interesting stuff, anyway. Things like MS Flight Simulator and Skyward Sword, however, make it an incredibly strong month, while the smaller stuff gives us the opportunity to experience a wide range of genres.

We’re not quite into the blockbuster season yet, but the tides are definitely turning. Now if anyone has some tips for unsticking my balls from my leg, I’m all ears!

Editors’ Recommendations:

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