Earlier this year, Activision made an announcement that the Guitar Hero series would be shelved due to low sales numbers. The last piece of DLC was released in April, and the Guitar Hero world has been dormant since. Though Rock Band is still doing quite well, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the music game genre as we know it is on its way out. While I love the Rock Band series (Devin Townsend DLC in the Rock Band Network is the greatest thing that any music game has ever had song-wise), there have been little to no truly groundbreaking innovations. This is why so far, the greatest music games released this year are the ones that stray from the given formula.
Chime is a strange but fun hybrid of Tetris and Lumines, set to music. Very addicting and fun, but you can't add your own tunes, which is missed potential there.
Available on: XBLA, PSN, PC (Steam)
A top-down shmup in the vein of Geometry Wars with a dash of bullet-hells on LSD, Beat Hazard is not only a really fun and challenging (on the harder difficulties) game, but it is also a developmental miracle. Created by Cold Beam Games, which consists of one person (That's right, ONE PERSON), Beat Hazard is amazing in terms of not only fun factor, but content as well. There's online multiplayer, multiple gametypes, many different types of enemies, each with their own strategy, boss fights, and a fully-featured perks and leveling system. You can choose any mp3/aac/flac music file, and the on-screen action (amount of enemies, speed of projectiles, even the power of your own weapons) is linked to the frequencies of the song. It's simply brilliant, and amazing in the bang-for-your-buck sense.
Available on: XBIG (the original, highly outdated and as such, barebones release), PSN, PC, Mac OSX, Steam
More to come