Game Reviews

Thumbs up or down

Steam(Valve) allows users to give a review score based on two main factors: “Like” or “Dislike”. Some review sites allow users to give the reviewed items a score between 1-5, or 1-10. Steam realized people are more likely to give a game a 1 star rating if they disliked it, rather than give a fair rating. So, Valve did a smart thing here. It forces users to put games in one of two boxes rather than a rainbow of options. It makes it easier, but does it also make it fair?

The main thing I miss is a “neutral” option. Some games are just bad, or annoy you up to a point where you don’t want to bother anymore. Those get a negative review. Some games are “ok”, but not necessarily terrible enough to warrant a negative review. Not bad enough for a low score, not great enough to give a positive review. Do you bother posting a review at all, or give it a negative review simply because it didn’t “wow” you?

Not all games need to be great

When reviewing a game it’s not always an easy task. Do you post your honest opinion, or are you swayed by the masses of other reviews? If everyone else likes a game, then there must be something wrong with your game skills perhaps? Or even your computer/controller,.

No. Simply put, everyone has different tastes. You may enjoy fifa and play the exact same game with a different number every year. Or you may enjoy first person shooters, while someone else gets motion sickness from playing those. I like dark themed games, while someone else wants bright rainbows in their hack and slash action game.

And that is fine. What matters in the end is the average score among multiple users. Your opinion is valid for you as an individual. But let’s cut the positive go getter reading right here and look at some games. That’s why you’re reading this bit after all? Bring on the pitchforks!

Neutral would have been better

Hellblade. Beautiful game, wonderfully voice acted. Terrible timed events/combat that just pulled the rug from under me.

Book of Demons. Stable, well made game. Made in honor of Diablo 1 by Blizzard. Not terrible but just turned repetitive and frustrating after a while.

The elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim. The game that everyone loves. Graphically sound and millions of mods and memes were inspired by it. But the base game is bland, buggy, lacks direction and feels empty. Yes, you can change that with mods – but we’re reviewing the base game here, not what the community made with it.

Kerbal Space Program. A pretty unique simulation game that is highly HIGHLY rated, but simply fell flat for me. The tutorial was basically: “Go RTFM”. What, but,. no? A game needs some level of intuitivity to play right. KSP did not have that.

The Purring Quest. A cutesy cat platformer that feels thrown together. The control theme in a platformer is important, very important even. On most levels that’s “ok” and you can get around it. But once you get to the skyscraper level everything just falls apart and turns frustrating.

A Bird Story. The prequel to the amazing tearjerker: Finding Paradise. Felt empty, predictable and hastily thrown together. It wasn’t terrible, but it felt like it should have been free rather than have a price tag.

Wings of Vi. A difficult platformer that gives you terrible controls just so it is even harder to play. Nope. The only redeeming factor are the well done 16 bit graphics.

Cultist Simulator. If any game needs a good tutorial, this one would. The game plays ok, but winning without a guide is just not an option.

Some games are just bad

Automachef. The game could have been good. A nice direction/ai puzzle like some well known Zachlike titles. But when you’re spending 75% of your time clicking, setting orders, scrolling down lists and cursing at the terrible interface… Then you know a game deserves a negative review.

Inexistence. Clunky controls, simple graphics, buggy combat. There’s not just a huge lot to say about this one. If you’re looking for a good metroidvania style game – this is not it.

Reus. “Giant” when translated to Dutch. Crashes more than you can play it. Stability is important when you release a game.

Rapture Rejects. Everyone has heard of Cyanide and Happiness right? Amazing yet simple comic. Jumping onto the battle royale bandwagon was not a great idea. Nobody is playing this, and you can’t play a battle royale style game alone. I have no idea why this game is still being sold at full price.

Cook, serve, delicious. Basically a ripoff of the flash games “papa’s pizzeria”, freezeria, bakeria, scooperia, sushiria, etc etc,. too many – all the same concept with different graphics and mind numbingly awful.

Deleted from steam

You know your game is bad when even steam doesn’t want to have it in their store anymore. Usually these are oft reported and asset flipped games. Devs who put out 50.000+ copies of their game up for free and allow it to give cards. Then make money off the users when they sell their cards on the Steam market at 0.01$ per card. This business practice was eventually put to a halt by Valve, at least. But some of those games are still “around” on various trading forums. If you want to read more on that, look up Digital Homicide.

4 Comments

  1. Very interesting post. It gets a 👍🏻 from me.
    I try my best to be honest in my reviews and I try to write a small review for all the games that I play.
    I do agree that a neutral option would be nice. There are games that I didn’t like but think others might like, I do give those the ‘recommended’ tag. Or games that I see much potential in but aren’t good enough to give the ‘recommended’ tag.

  2. Agree with Book of Demons and Kerbal Space Program. They were both technically proficient games that just didn’t grab me in the end. I would give either one of those a neutral rating. Lacking that option, I don’t plan to review them at all.

    Emphatically disagree with Cultist Simulator though. Including more of a tutorial than there is already would ruin the whole point of the game. You need to know how to play cards (which the game tells you how to do), and after that it’s up to you. It’s about poking at things you don’t understand with often-disastrous consequences, and that is reflected in the gameplay as well as the theme. If you want more direction than what is provided, the game really isn’t a good match for you. (Or you could download the spoiler manual/tutorial available at the developer’s website for a gentler experience.)

    I honestly feel Cultist Simulator falls into a small category of games that shouldn’t be judged by a numerical value. You really need to read reviews, think about whether your tastes match the reviewers’, and interpret accordingly.

    But back to the main subject–yes, a neutral option would be a wonderful addition!

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