Marketplace Delights

Fortnightly, the Hawk gives you the good, the bad and the ugly of the whole Xbox Live Marketplace content. This week, we delve into the overall behavior of Arcade titles released in 2011.

As we approach E3 and start rolling our wish lists, ideas and hype meters for what every company is going to announce during the event, it’s a good idea to check on how the current state of arcade title offerings for this year have been doing.

Before we take a close look at the games, I would like to remind all readers that this is just a general picture. I know a lot of people that love Fancy Pants, but I have not been able to dig it. There are a lot of Tim Shaffer detractors, but I do love all the games he releases. And for every person talking trash about every new Sonic title, you will find a fan who has all the games, consoles and comics, plus posters, key rings, figures and anime titles.

Overall, the Arcade titles are doing well. We don’t have a huge amount of games on the 1200MSP mark, so you will have a great return on spending those space bucks. The last title extravaganza did great in regards to how many players downloaded the games released (beginning with Beyond Good & Evil and ending with Ghostbusters), and the community overall vote has not set a game under 3 stars. We have such great games as Full House Poker, Torchlight (could we call 2011 the year of the RPGs?), and the new Dishwasher is as enjoyable as the first one (it’s the only arcade title on the 60 best rated titles in XBLA). Also, the Arcade version of Section 8 (a great game who had the bad luck of being overshadowed by the games that got released on the same date) is magnificent.

But developers could do even better. We’re still waiting for the game that gets in the top ratings (5 stars!), no game has entered the top sellers, and only 11 titles have attracted a fan base of more than 10000 gamers (yeah, it’s low, but we do know that people are sometimes lazy to rate for a good product).

Also, the critics are not being so kind with the games available. The current average score for the whole arcade marketplace in 2011 sits at 62 (average). Most of the titles are under the 75 mark. Fortunately, only 2 games are on the red level (Battle LA and Ghostbusters).

Which games should get your attention then?

Ilomilo gets the award for the cutesy game of 2011, as the old Roogoo. Don’t let the childish environment fool you, you will have to really think some of the puzzles as the game progress. Plus, you will get some content enabled if you have A World for Keflings (way to go, Ninja Bee!).

Stacking. No words needed (of course, only for the Psychonauts fans around).

Beyond Good and Evil HD. Need I say something about this great game? If you didn’t test the original Xbox version, do yourself a favor and play the demo. You’ll fall in love with it.

Torchlight. That’s how we like it: a good RPG PC game gets a great translation on XBLA. A must!

Full House Poker. Finally a great card game that joins the ranks with Magic the Gathering and Yugioh. The online experience share details from the famous 1vs100.

The Dishwasher VS. As great as the first one. If you like gory games, it’s a great title.

Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes. Descendant of the old PC game series, but simplicity and good graphics makes it another wonderful RPG.

Section 8: Prejudice. As Battlefield 1943 did it years ago, Section 8 sets a new level for an arcade FPS shooter with online capabilities.

I have high hopes for the rest of the year. Up to now, we have enjoyed some great games, and with the pending releases for 2011, including the new Star Raiders (based on the classic Atari 800 and VCS game from the 80’s), Sega Rally Online and the incredible Street Fighter 3: 3rd Strike, the future of the Arcade marketplace looks promising. It’s possible we will get more surprises during the upcoming announcements on E3.

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