In case you’ve been living under a rock, we’re in the middle of summer (except summer doesn’t officially start until June 21st and it makes absolutely 0 sense why cant seasons be easy oh yea it’s because we’re following the system of some crazy Mayan society that though the world was going to end 7 years ago man we’re a really developed society). And as per usual, there are very few triple A titles being released over the next few months. So, what is actually coming out this summer? Fear not, young grasshopper: The Unfiltered Nerd is here to save the day. Oh, and in case nothing on this list peaks your interest, you should read my guide to the summer drought. Between both articles I guarantee you will find something to play for the next few months.

Here’s the games I think will be worth playing this summer (June through August release dates):

Cadence of Hyrule – June 13th (Switch)

Already released last week, this indie has brought a fresh spin to the classic franchise. At first look, the game looks like a new entry in the A Link to the Past/A Link Between Worlds timeline. And it is, except mashed up with a Guitar Hero/DDR beat system added to the combat. That’s right, they finally made a Zelda DDR game. Light the beacons, scream it in the streets: our prayers have been answered. On a serious note, this game looks like a ton of fun and has been very well received by critics and fans alike. Some players have said that the music gets old after a few hours of play, which I can completely see happening. I mean, you can only hear the Zelda theme so many times (at least that’s what my girlfriend says when I use it to pump us up for sexy time). But it’s probably worth your time, and I know in the next week or so I will be bopping along with Cadence of Hyrule.

My Friend Pedro – June 20th (PC, Switch)

Devolver Digital is one of the weirdest funniest and best indie developers of our generation. I mean just watch their E3 press conference. Who does that? And who goes on a mass murder spree at the behest of a banana? You can, with My Friend Pedro. Yes it’s another platform shooter, but imagine if they took parkour, Matrix slow mo, and a wacky insane premise and mashed it all up into a game. That’s what this looks like. And if you’re still skeptical, know that Devolver Digital has an excellent track record. Expect to have a violent bloody journey. Just don’t eat bananas while you play; that’s offensive.

Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled – June 21st (Consoles only)

Ok let’s be honest: nothing will ever touch Mario Kart. We’ve seen so many attempts from different developers to leech off of its success by creating their own “kart racers”, and none of them have come close. Hell, even the racing simulation games like Forza and Gran Turismo lose every year at game awards when a new Mario Kart installment is released. So why am I even talking about Crash Team Racing? Well, for those of us who don’t own a Nintendo Switch, this is probably your best alternative. Team Sonic Racing actually received decent reviews as well, but this remastered collection of the Crash Team Racing series is the perfect title for all your summer slumber parties.

The Sinking City – June 27th (All platforms except Switch)

I talked about this title a bit earlier in the year before it was delayed, but I’m still just as interested. The game is set in universe inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft (creator of Cthulhu), and follows a detective investigating the flooding and terrifying visions that draw people to the town of Oakmont. Sounds like every vanilla horror game right? Well, you’re probably right, but something keeps drawing me back to this game. Maybe its because we haven’t had many horror games this year, maybe I’m starting to develop a tentacle fetish. Either way, I am hoping this game is actually kinda good. I am not a fan of the fact that they’re trying to sell it as a $60 title; this seems like a game that should be in the $40 range. But if it ends up getting good reviews, I might pick it up during the end of summer game sale.

Super Mario Maker 2 – June 28th (Switch)

Have you ever tried to create a Mario level? I have, and let me tell ya, it wasn’t pretty. I had zero fun creating it, and even less fun playing it. But there are some freaks out there have game design aspirations that made some awesome stuff in Super Mario Maker, and I can’t wait to see what they do in Super Mario Maker 2. Also, you know someone out there is gonna remake every 2D Mario game and post it online. So you not only get every single Mario game ever made, you also get brand new creations from around the world. And to top it all off, you can play them all online with your friends. Well…eventually. I still have no fucking clue why in the world Nintendo wouldn’t make that top priority. “Oh yea, we need to have multiplayer, but no one will be able to play with their friends. Just randos.” “OK, sounds fine with me.” – dumbasses. Regardless, take a nostalgia trip this summer with Super Mario Maker 2.

Stranger Things 3: The Game – July 4th (All platforms)

I cannot express how excited I am for the new season of Stranger Things. All the kiddos have grown up, which means it’s time to tackle some more adult topics like sex, drugs, and why Steve Harrington looks like he’s 3 years younger than last season. And what better way to fully immerse yourself in the 80s than to release a companion game on the same day? Stranger Things 3: The Game will closely follow the season’s story, so much so that the developers haven’t even showcased any levels that will be in the final game. Also, they are drawing inspiration from other popular games from the 80’s like Streets of Rage and Contra. With a rumored roster of 12 playable characters and local co-op, it’s gonna be really hard to convince me to go outside on July 4th.

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order – July 19th (Switch)

I’ve already said a ton about this title in my Nintendo Direct recap, but I’ll repeat it all anyway. Its astonishing how much better this game looks than Marvel’s The Avengers. It is easier when you go for a more cartoony style I’ll admit but that’s not the only reason this title looks better than what we saw during Square Enix’s conference. There’s so many more characters from the Marvel universe in this title, and the large majority of them are playable. And talk about capitalizing on the hype from Avengers: Endgame by making Thanos, The Black Order, and the quest for the Infinity Stones central to the game’s campaign. And guess what? It’s exclusive to Switch. Huge fucking win for Nintendo this summer.

Wolfenstein: Youngblood – July 26th (All platforms)

I can see it now. Kotaku’s headline on July 26th: “Finally a game that empowers women to be the Nazi slaying badasses that they all knew they were”. Yea forget Lara Croft (Tomb Raider), ‘Female’ Commander Shepard (Mass Effect), Samus Aran (Metroid), Senua (Hellblade), Aloy (Horizon: Zero Dawn), Ellie (The Last of Us), and all the other badass females in gaming. You’re right, this is the first time. But you know what? I don’t really give a shit because I, a male gamer, am excited, to play this game. Let me say that again for the men haters in the back: I’m fucking excited to play this game in July. Whether it’s B.J, Soph, Jess, or any other character, the Wolfenstein games are a ton of fun regardless of the main character and I cannot wait to stream this co-op in a little over a month.

Madden NFL 20 – August 2nd (All platforms except Switch)

Oh look, sports. Cool. I’m not gonna say much about this title, because let’s face it, nothing really changes year after year. Oh except EA gets richer by doing virtually nothing but upgrading the engine and changing the player ratings. Oh and they add new modes that make you pay to win like their Ultimate Team mode. It’s so much fun playing online against some little shit who maxed out his mom’s credit card to get a 99 rated player in every position. So yea, buy Madden 20 if you’re a fan of all the above.

Rad – August 20th (All platforms)

I chose not to show a screenshot of the gameplay because I don’t think it does this game justice. At first glance, this looks like just another top down beat-em-up. But hear me out: this game looks like it has enough fresh twists to make it stand out. First, it’s made by Double Fine Studios, the creators of Psychonauts and Brutal Legend; both funny and engaging games. Second, all the mutations you can get look awesome. I mean just look at the character above! She’s got a creature growing out of her shoulder, a wooden limb, and a tail that lays eggs. If you’re still not sold, watch the gameplay trailer.

Control – August 27th (All platforms except Switch)

Are you one of the many that still hasn’t heard of Control? I don’t really understand how it’s flying under everyone’s radar. It looks badass. One of my favorite games of our current generation, and one of the few good Xbox exclusives, is Quantum Break. I already talked about it in my summer drought guide, but Remedy Entertainment has proven themselves over and over again. This is going to be a huge hit, and I cannot wait. It’s the first big triple A game heading into fall, and it should be a must buy if you enjoy any form of narrative driven game.

Astral Chain – August 30th (Switch)

Believe me, as someone who covers gaming and had to watch every single E3 press conference, I would understand if you had no clue which title was Astral Chain. I mean that whole event was a giant JRPG orgy. But this one looks like someone took the Resident Evil police and mashed them up with a Devil May Cry game. And it’s made by the same developer behind hack and slash series Bayonetta and the highly touted Nier: Automata. It has every reason to be a wildly successful Switch exclusive. I am a bit bummed that its a full price $60 title, but I guess it’ll be worth it if the game is at least 10 hours and keeps me engaged. Comes out August 30th though, which is only 2 weeks before Borderlands 3 so maybe being kinda short may be good for me, cause I’m dropping any game I’m playing then.