Unsure of what to do with your review? Read on!

As the current editor and review submission manager of RMN, pretty much every review that gets submitted to the site gets read by me before it is approved.* And though I don’t consider the standards for the site to be particularly high, I end up turning a lot of reviews away.

*Solitayre has since stepped down as RMN's review manager, and halibabica is now in charge of the queue.

I know kentona loves his stats, so I thought I’d share some with you guys. I generally reject around 33% of reviews submitted to the site at least once. In the last few months, however, I feel like it’s been closer to 50%. Mostly, however, I feel like the same kinds of mistakes are being made over and over. So I thought I’d shed some light on what exactly I’m looking for in reviews.

I wish I could say the site has an itemized list of exactly what is expected in reviews. We really don’t. The criteria for whether a review is acceptable can vary based on a lot of factors. So what determines if a review is acceptable or not? The simplest answer is that it’s acceptable if I say it is. But for a more thorough example of exactly how I evaluate reviews, read below.

-Remember your English lessons. I like to think I am at least as discerning as a fourth grade English teacher. Remember how you were taught how to write an essay? You needed an intro, a body, and a conclusion? Those three parts are pretty important in trying to make any kind of point. If your review is only one paragraph long, I’m probably going to send it back to you.

-Describe the game to us. One of the most important things a review does is to tell a prospective player whether they want to play the game or not. Reviews should explain a little bit about what the game is about, its genre, and how you play it. This doesn’t have to be detailed, but it should be enough to give a player an idea as to whether it will appeal to them or not.

-Reviews are not comments. One-liner reviews are not accepted on RMN. If you just want to tell us you love (or hate!) a game, use the comment section. Reviews are reserved for more informative breakdowns, analysis or thoughtful critiques on a game.

-Reviews are not for asking questions. Use comments for this.

-Use proper spelling and grammar. This should go without saying. If you are old enough to be on this site, you are old enough to know how to use a spellchecker. If there are one or two mistakes in your review, I’ll probably fix them for you. But if your piece is riddled with obvious mistakes, I’m going to tell you to proofread and resubmit.

-Support your points. It’s great to have opinions on a game, and I love reading them. But I expect at least some reasoning if you claim something. If you just declare that you love or hate something, I’m going to ask you for more details.

-Learn to format! I can’t tell you how many reviews I see that are just giant blocks of text. That’s hard to read! Do us all a favor and break it up for us. If you don’t do this, I’ll do it myself, and I might alter the flow of your review in ways you didn’t intend.

-Length isn’t as important as detail. If you can write a review that’s thoughtful and informative in only a few paragraphs, that’s great. I’m not expecting novels from amateur reviews of amateur games. I’m looking to see if you made your point effectively, not counting your words.

-Take context into account. If a game is only twenty minutes long, I’m not going to expect a review to be more than a few paragraphs.

-Avoid spoilers. Don’t ruin the game for people who haven’t played it yet. If you want to comment on an aspect of a story, use hide tags, or inform the reader that you’re going to include spoilers in the review.

Reviews must be written in good faith. Integrity, honesty, and the assumption of fair-mindedness are essential to RMN's review system. Don't write a bad review for a game because you don't like a creator, or to get revenge because they gave you a bad review, or as practical jokes. I reserve the right to deny reviews I believe were written in bad faith, and users who engage in such activity may be subject to moderator action.

You may not review your own game. The site is hard-coded to prevent users from writing a review for their own game. This is intentional. Even if you are not listed as a developer on the game page, if you helped develop a game, you may not review it. Beta testers are welcome and encouraged to review games they helped test.

-Don’t try to pad your friend’s rating. I see a quite a few reviews that were written by friends of a game’s author. It’s usually pretty easy to spot these. I don’t deny these out of hand; you are allowed to review your friend’s game! But I expect it to be an honest and genuine review. If I just feel like you’re trying to boost your friend’s rating, I’m not going to approve your review.

-Reviews are not a place for spite or malice. You are expected to maintain a neutral or professional tone in your review. This is not a place to rip on a game’s faults or make fun of the game or its author. If you’re essentially making fun of a game, I’m not going to accept it, so don’t bother submitting.

-Justify your rating. If you think a game deserves five stars, you’d better convince me that you really think it’s a great game.

Attempting to 'game' the review system is strictly prohibited. You may not use alternate accounts or other tricks to try to bolster your game's rating. (We have ways of telling if you did this.) Users who engage in such activity may be banned or subject to other moderator actions, including having your game removed from the site.

There are some helpful resources on the site for helping you write reviews.

halibabica’s “Reviewing for Dummies."
Avee’s “Guidelines for game reviewing.”
kentona’s “How To Be A Reviewer.”

Remember that if I send a review back to you, it's not because I think it sucks, just that there's something more I'd like you to do with it. I'll usually explain exactly what I want you to add.

Happy reviewing!

Your humble editor,


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So this article got posted like two days after i submit three reviews that all got rejected the first time around... ^^ I feel awkward!

Actually having reread this article i feel i didn't do too bad considering the comments i was given compared to some of the faults brought to question here! ^^
very well written, I’m glad I read this before submitting a review so thank you for the tips. :)
I'll be releasing a similar article for games at some point. Nice article: very clear and concise :)
okay, then....I know what to do next time i wanna review anything.

Thought I should leave this here as well. How to plump up your review word counts a bit.
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