It's hard for me to mask my excitement about Guitar Hero Live, because in my opinion, there's nothing more exciting than a developer who's capable of outsmarting an entire genre's fanbase. Guitar Hero Live isn't just well-executed; it's clever and innovative in ways that no one other than FreeStyleGames ever imagined. My fears that Guitar Hero Live would be wringing blood out of the franchise's stone were unfounded; at some point, FreeStyleGames found itself a newer, better stone altogether.
Rock Band 4 is stripped down to the essentials, but despite its leanness, it's pulled off something encouraging: It's made me want to play Rock Band again, even after the dozens of hours and countless parties I've spent with the series. It isn't Harmonix's boldest or biggest game. But Rock Band 4 lays a foundation for Harmonix to move forward.
Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime can occasionally feel a little too stressful for its own good, but there's something undeniably lovely about its core design. It is, ultimately, an object lesson in dealing with hardships — that even when they grow to be far too much to handle, they can be softened with the support of a patient and cooperative friend.
Where other publishers might release a making-of documentary of their golden era, Super Mario Maker does the unthinkable: It lets you do the making of. I have had a tremendous amount of fun playing Super Mario Maker, but the way it developed that newfound appreciation for something I've known my whole life was the game's biggest accomplishment. Sure, there's touches of fan service here and there, like a startling number of references to Mario Paint, but that's not how it won me over. Super Mario Maker wooed me because it's a hands-on history lesson.
The occasional technical hiccup aside, Galak-Z is a brilliant take on so many different genres, but it's the game's roguelike innovations that make it soar. Some lesser entries in the genre use permadeath as a blunt tool, wielded to tack some artificial length onto a repetitive slog. Galak-Z is going to kill you back to a season premiere constantly, but not for lack of content — it's part of a laser-focused intent to make Galak-Z as tense and thrilling a game as can possibly be.