[GameSetWatch contributor Ryan Langley examines October 2011's Xbox Live Arcade debuts and continuing successes, with charts and Leaderboard data showing the performance of titles like Orcs Must Die! And NBA Jam: On Fire Edition.
While not as extraordinary as the 17 releases from last month, October Xbox Live Arcade lineup brought us one of the best mixes of brand new, unique titles and heavily requested classics we've seen in some time.
We have Orcs Must Die, Dungeon Defenders
and Guardian Heroes
completely filling the medieval quotient for the year, and Sega's Daytona USA
and EA's NBA Jam
helping us relive our favorite mid-'90s memories. Using pieced together leaderboard statistics and Metacritic ratings, we've determined what went right or wrong for the newest games, older titles, and downloadable content.
Bass Must Die!
Week one of October was a busy one with four new titles were released - two Sega "classics", NBA Jam
and Orcs Must Die!
Sega Bass Fishing
and Space Channel 5
had actually been released months earlier as part of a retail disc compilations alongside Crazy Taxi
and Sonic Adventure
, so the first week download figures here are largely skewed by previous retail sales. Subsequent weeks are likely comprised more heavily of downloadable sales. Regardless, neither title did well at all in the marketplace, with Sega Bass
being the one title to get a Metacritic score below 50 for the month.
NBA Jam On Fire Edition
was also released this week and has been very well received, though we're unable to bring any real data to the table. It was still the 6th most downloaded game two weeks after its release, according to the Major Nelson Top 20
Orcs Must Die!
was one of the best sellers for October, adding 16,748 players in its first week for a total of 36,238 players for the month, and is still doing reasonably well into November.
Heroes On Fire
The second week of a Sega-filled October saw the XBLA release of Guardian Heroes
, a classic Sega Saturn action RPG by Treasure. The game ended up being one of the best reviewed XBLA titles of the month with a Metacritic rating of 83. While the Leaderboards show 13,992 players in the month, we're not exactly sure how the game is tracking them, so we believe sales might be a fair bit higher than the leaderboards indicate. Guardian Heroes
was the 5th most downloaded game of the week for its second week
, and dropped to 12th on its third week
, showing reasonably good staying power.
was the second release for this week, and despite almost zero press discussion for the game prior to release, it ended up doing quite well. Like Guardian Heroes
, we believe these leaderboard numbers are much lower than the actual sales, as Major Nelson's lists have shown the game up in the Top 10 for several weeks. Even into the November listings, it was still the fifth most downloaded title for the week
-- this despite generally negative reviews. Whether this is because of the marketing tie-in with the movie itself, or just because people really wanted a boxing game on the cheap, is unclear.
The next two releases for October were Dungeon Defender
, a multiplayer-centric action tower defense title, and Bejeweled 3
, Popcap's latest match-3 puzzler. Dungeon Defender
was the big winner this month, adding 35,946 players in just two weeks on its way to 250,000 copies sold across multiple platforms
Bejeweled 3 didn't do as well, only adding 13,247 in the same timeframe, but with two Bejeweled
titles already on XBLA and a 1200MSP price point, that performance isn't too surprising.
War Of The Zombies, Rolling Start!
The final week of October saw three more releases -- War Of The Worlds, Daytona USA
and Zombie Apocalypse: Never Die Alone
. Unfortunately it appears most did not make a significant mark on the sales charts.
Zombie Apocalypse: NDA
added only 7,295 players in its first week, despite the original being a big hit. The sequel only hit 6th in the Top 20 list
. War Of The Worlds fared worse with only 1,854 players for the week, perhaps reflecting its status as one of the worst reviewed titles for the month. The game hit 16th place on the Top 20 in its opening week.
seems to have done well for Sega. While the Leaderboards only show 5,354 players, those boards only show players taking part in the Time Trial mode and not the more popular Arcade race. The game was the 2nd most downloaded in its opening week, and was still in 7th place by its second week of availability.
Sorcery And The Paranormal
Two new pieces of downloadable content appeared for the Pinball FX 2
store over the month - the Sorcerer's Lair table and the Paranormal table, both originally PSN exclusives via Zen Pinball.
The Sorcerer's Lair initially started off pretty slowly, reflecting a slow drop off trend we've seen in DLC sales for the game.
The Paranormal table, on the other hand, was offered free for a week, allowing players to try out a sample as incentive to purchase some other content across the store. Looks like the plan worked, as sales for all tables went up a fair amount that week.
Back At The Stats
Looking back to some older releases, Fruit Ninja Kinect
is still powering along very well for an Xbox Live Arcade game, and especially for a Kinect title. Crimson Alliance
has begun to slow, but not before hitting 100,000 players, and Full House Poker
also broke through the 400,000 players barrier.
Things are going to get a bit rocky throughout November -- we already know of three releases -- Burgertime: World Tour, Fusion: Genesis
, but they're all going against big retail titles like Modern Warfare 3, Assassin's Creed
. As of writing we know very little about the next few weeks of releases. Good luck to all, as we'll be following the new releases and deals of the week throughout the month.