With so many games on Xbox Live Marketplace (XBLM), how can I identify the better games or more popular games from the market?
There are two mechanisms the Xbox provides for you to do this.
- It lists the most downloaded games
- It lists the highest rated games
Now you have to take both of these metrics with a grain of salt. People will rate games high they have only played once, or download games they hear about a lot. So keep that in mind.
As for the actual steps to do this.
- Open your 360 dashboard
- Scroll up to game marketplace
- Once inside scroll right to see highest rated and most downloaded
If you're looking for good games I might suggest:
- Castle Crashers
- Shadow Complex
- Trials HD
- Puzzle Quest 2
Every game on Xbox Live Arcade has a trial mode. I suggest you take advantage of this excellent feature.
Don't bother looking through what games are most popular or most highly rated. The best possible advice I can give you is to download as many games as you can in the genres you're interested in, and play through their trials.
If you can't trust your own opinion of the game after having played the trial version, there is little help to be found elsewhere.
Metacritic tags Xbox Live Arcade games. Try this search. It's not perfect - it misses Braid! - but seems to cover most the good ones I know.
The dashboard also supports community-based star rating of games.
There is a new Destination Arcade coming soon. Looks interesting.
Check out Major Nelson's blog, particularly the "LIVE Activity" reports that he publishes weekly to find out what XBL Arcade games people are actively playing. It changes from week to week, but gems like Trials HD will hang around in the top ten for quite some time.
I've been looking through http://www.xblaratings.com lately. It has user submitted ratings and reviews for XBLA games. Granted since it requires and account there isn't MUCH info there sometimes, but it's one resource available.