A lot of video games come out every single week. Even if you limit yourself to only big, retail releases (ignoring smaller independent games, which would be a mistake) the market is very crowded, and it can be hard to know what to spend your money on.

Here are some quick thoughts on some recent video game releases that you might want to pay attention to.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses (Nintendo Switch)

As I write this, I'm technically taking time off work. But I'm writing about Fire Emblem: Three Houses because it's one of the only ways to get me to stop playing it. It's the game I've spent the most time thinking about over the past few weeks, and there is more than enough packed into it that it can probably keep that streak going for weeks to come.

I could easily explain this latest Fire Emblem game in a way that makes it just sound like "Harry Potter but with swords and more war." At the start of the game your character (male or female -- up to you) is given the job of professor at a monastery that is training a new generation of fantasy war heroes. The kicker is that the school is made up of the kingdom's three house factions (not unlike the houses of Hogwarts, honestly), and your job is to lead one of them. Choose wisely, because while you can convince some students from other houses to join your cause, the story you experience can change drastically depending on which house's point of view you're experiencing it from -- especially as the lighthearted school years end and the realities of war start to sink in.

While a large chunk of this story-heavy game is spent interacting with students and developing their relationships and skills, the rest of the game is tried-and-true Fire Emblem: A thoughtful, tactical turn-based strategy game that's like chess on steroids.

Wolfenstein: Youngblood (PS4, Xbox One, PC)

This game is another excuse to play as a Mesquite-born Texan in an alternate-history story in which you kill a whole bunch of Nazis. For some, that's enough of a selling point right there.

In truth, Youngblood is not exactly the pinnacle of this reboot series based on the D-FW-developed Wolfenstein first-person shooters. While its story is certainly over-the-top, it doesn't reach the lofty heights achieved by 2017's Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

It's got one major thing going for it, though: Co-op. The game stars Jess and Soph Blaskowicz, the twin daughters of B.J. Blaskowicz who have brains, skill and, uhh, thick Texas accents. While you can play the game alone as the sister of your choosing (the AI plays as the other one), you can also play the entire game with a friend.

It's not Wolfenstein III, which will hopefully conclude the trilogy with an epic fight against Hitler, but it's a fine way to kill some time (and some fascists) until then.

Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot (PC VR, PS4 VR)

I finished Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot in a single, enjoyable sitting, after which I took off my virtual reality headset and thought, "That was fine."

And "fine" pretty much sums it up. It is far from either the worst or the best VR experience I've had in recent years, placing it firmly in Camp Average.

In Cyberpilot, a Wolfenstein side story exclusive to VR systems, you pilot three separate vehicles that have been commandeered by resistance fighters: A flame-breathing metal dog, a flying drone intended for stealth and a fully-loaded mech capable of a lot of destruction. Each of these vehicles is fun to use and controls well, but shortly after you've been shown the ropes in each of them their sections just... end. The entire game only lasts 2-3 hours, even if you're taking it slowly, which isn't enough time to feel like you're really getting much out of each gameplay element. But hey, at least it doesn't overstay its welcome?

Dragon Quest Builders 2 (PS4, Nintendo Switch)

Take the essence of Minecraft -- the endless possibilities of building with blocks -- and infuse it with Dragon Quest -- an epic, quest-driven fantasy RPG. You'll get Dragon Quest Builders 2, a game that is ridiculously charming and addictive.

It solves one of the biggest problems I personally have with Minecraft: It gives you actual things to do. There is an intriguing, lighthearted story that will guide you through a long lists of quests and tasks, teaching you how to build awesome stuff every step of the way. You'll fight monsters, explore dungeons, grow crops, cook recipes, build restaurants and maybe save the world, all with the help of a lot of charming friends.

Super Mario Maker 2 (Nintendo Switch)

One of the few problems with classic, 2D Super Mario games is that they, like all good things, eventually come to an end. Super Mario Maker 2 helps alleviate that problem by giving the tools of Mario creation to the masses, allowing fans to supply each other with a seemingly endless supply of new stages to play through.

The creation tools are amazingly easy to use, and the in-game tutorials actually serve as a stellar intro to game design. Even if you're scared of making your own creations, though, there is nothing (well, except an affordable Nintendo Switch Online subscription fee) stopping you from hopping on the internet and downloading levels from fellow Mario fans. 

Some will be great. Many will be good. Some, frankly, will only be decent. And a lot will range from fiendishly difficult to downright evil in their design. But if you're the type of person who can never get enough 2D Mario gameplay, this is well worth picking up.

Outer Wilds (PC, Xbox One)

Outer Wilds is an early contender for 2019's Game of the Year.

Set in a small-yet-huge solar system, it's a game all about exploration and discovery. While there is a mystery to solve and a story to experience, Outer Wilds begs you to simply hop into a space ship, take off, point in a direction and say, "What's that planet like?" Every planetary body you land on -- each of which is so small you can easily traverse its equator within a few minutes -- is a fascinating little world packed with things to discover, forcing you to ask, "How does that work?" once you've stopped marveling at the spectacle. It's not a game about fighting enemies or conquering worlds. You can calmly, peacefully explore it all at your own pace.

Oh, and it's all set against the backdrop of a Groundhog Day-esque time loop. Did you accidentally misjudge your trajectory and fly yourself straight into the sun? No problem. You'll wake up exactly where you started, and your next destination is only a short flight away.

Combining some of the best parts of games like Myst, No Man's Sky, Return of the Obra Dinn and even The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, Outer Wilds is a beautiful adventure that is going to stick with me for awhile.

Cadence of Hyrule (Nintendo Switch)

Nintendo allowed a small, independent developer take a crack at making a very different style of Zelda game, and the result is beautiful. The creators of the cult classic Crypt of the Necrodancer have taken that game's winning formula and blended it with beloved Zelda elements to make something unique and amazing.

Cadence of Hyrule has a lot of the trappings of a classic Zelda legend, a la A Link to the Past, with one major twist: It's a rhythm game. Both you and your enemies move along a grid in time with the beat, forcing you to think differently about how and when you're going to approach your enemies. Pattern recognition becomes important as different foes move in different directions with an almost chess-like variety. For instance, some enemies might attack you diagonally on the grid while others only make their move when you get right in front of them, meaning you're better of positioning yourself at their side.

Want to tap your foot alongside a friend? A second player can join you co-cooperatively at the touch of a couple buttons. Don't have a good sense of rhythm? You can actually turn off the requirement to move to the beat.

One of the only problems is that the game is very short by Zelda standards, clocking in at just a few hours long. Its randomized nature makes it replayable, but it's a shame there aren't more modes and secrets to encourage you to come back.

What's Happening on GuideLive