I am amateur game developer, and even more amateur reviewer, currently in and out of college.

I am currently developing a game called Eternity: The Black Star along with Solitayre, which is nearing its first release.

I have extremely high standards, so please don't be offended if you believe that I have reviewed your game unfairly. My focus is on improving the body of a work primarily by pointing out what I think are its flaws, but feel free to ignore me if I am wrong (and I will be).



Starseed: Blood Machine Review

Chaos has a good start there. Aside from that certain stats need to be defined (still no idea what Control is) either through a description in the intro (make it optional so that players can skip it if they've played before) and/or including a game manual. This is pretty standard stuff when you're using non standard statistic names and isn't a bad idea to include in any game if you expect to have players that are not familiar with RPGs.

DE: Ignoring the fact that you've already played this game and obviously know those things to be true (really who looks at Control and immediately thinks speed? When you start the game you don't even know how many stats there are! You don't know if there's a speed stat at all!) the fact is that confusion on the part of 'any' player is a bad thing even if you happen to somehow know exactly what the creator means from a vague description.

As for Megidolaon, in SMT can you can press a button to see a detailed description of every skill from the status menu or during combat. Esoteric terms need explicit descriptions.

Starseed: Blood Machine Review

Which brings up the final point I will make: I don't think any of the reviewers for this game (Fallen-Griever included) really got how to play it to advance successfully.

Both Sol and Karsu finished the game, so I'm not really sure what you're talking about here. (I did too but I didn't feel like reviewing it). There were other issues present besides difficulty (and personally I found this game mind numbingly easy which didn't help keep things interesting).

I didn't figure to be as famous as I have become here. Unlike what you expect of many of the game players here, just because I had no knowledge of the gibberish, doesn't mean I would be able to figure it out on my own.

"Omega Configuration grants the best battery management and Control out of all Celestial Configurations. Omegas can use their innate pyrokinetic abilities on a vehicular scale from a Jackhammer."

Please tell me how when you read this statement you knew exactly what the class description meant despite the fact that these terms are not introduced during the intro. If you're saying that you figured out what the stats meant after you played for a while that's another matter but the problem remains that someone playing for the first time has become stuck in a class they don't understand.

Unlike Fallen-Griever who was willing to listen to reason and reconsider what he had written, these two are examples of what not to do when writing a review, IMHO. That's why I restrict myself to writing reviews to those I feel merit it.

Reviews do not exist for the sole benefit of the developer.

Starseed: Blood Machine Review

You stamp on creators for submitting their best work in earnest good faith, and then tear their efforts apart to teach them a lesson. All that is encouraged by the way these reviews are written is that I should give up.

Since so much of this game is focused on the combat I cannot give this project in its current form a very good score. But that does not mean I think it is unsalvageable, not by any means. With a little more work on combat, such as making use of the customization options, this project could be a lot more fun one day, and I would very much like to see it developed further.

You seem to block out some important parts when you read a review. Really the part that saddens me the most is you don't see negative reviews as an opportunity to improve even when the flaws are described in great detail. It's possible that a negative review would be completely useless but this is certainly not one of them, there are some very obvious changes you could make to vastly improve the game based on his feedback.

Starseed: Blood Machine Review

But why would anyone play the game if it was as bad as Solitayre said. Oh. Wait.

Probably since he was doing you a favor and it takes roughly 20 minutes to play through the game (probably a lot less if you mash through text, which I imagine he did on subsequent playthroughs). It's not inconceivable that he liked the game (I like to reference Twilight that not only do there exist people that will like anything, but there are large numbers of them), just for the love of god don't use the fact that some people actually like the things you make as an excuse to ignore criticism and stop improving your work. Your attitude regarding your past works frankly horrifies me and I'd hate to see this become the plateau of your abilities.

Contrary to popular belief I will read and consider just about anyone's opinion. Except yours. After that "review", it's laughable you expect me to believe anything you say has any motivation other than spite or any purpose other than douchebaggery. Well, there is one thing...

This too, is a terrible attitude. No matter how you feel about Karsuman he's taken the time to describe flaws in your game in detail. It's absolutely fine to not agree with them but to close your eyes and pretend they don't exist just because of who's saying them is just depressing.

Take what you can use, throw away the rest. That's all i can say here.

Starseed: Blood Machine Review

Because this = "the protagonist in their ordinary world"?

I was not addressing that part, just the comparison to Starseed's intro. That brief moment of character introduction makes all the difference. Anyway even Sol stated that you didn't have to adhere to some specific structure, but I agree that paragraph probably should have been describing problems with character development in the game rather than describing a specific method which probably wouldn't work for this type of story.


I'd argue that the player's initial confusiuon mirrors the confusion the main character is feeling and, as such, it should be quite easy to empathise with them - if not sympathise. Then again, I'm a shoddy writer, so... :)

The main issue is the player is never given any reason to care about Claudia to begin with so her confusion becomes annoying for the player (at least to me). Doesn't really help that her personality is inconsistent and she's pretty unlikeable.

Also for the record your own writing is quite competent, you were able to make me care about your cast within the first few minutes. Probably shouldn't discuss that too much here though :P.

Starseed: Blood Machine Review

Actually Zone of the Enders begins with a scene of the main character being pushed around by some soldiers and abandoning his friends in order to save his own life. You've got a glimpse of his past and personality before he even gets into the mech. That game didn't exactly have a great storyline anyway though so...

Anyway there's obviously not some basic format that's going to work for every story, but I have to agree it's hard to sympathize with someone you never see who only talks about past events you never experience concerning people you care nothing about in a world you're not familiar with while some random AI orders you to do things you don't understand.

Starseed: Blood Machine Review

I just don't understand...did Edchuy play a different version of the game than you?

I mean he didn't give effusive praise or anything but he at least managed to grok the strengths/weaknesses/unique abilities of the seven available classes and four available weapon types.

I think I can clear this part up for you. Let me quote one of your class descriptions as written in the game itself.

"Omega Configuration grants the best battery management and Control out of all Celestial Configurations. Omegas can use their innate pyrokinetic abilities on a vehicular scale from a Jackhammer."

Now when I first read this, I had absolutely no idea what any of this meant. We do not see the status screen and never see combat before this choice is given. A person who's never seen this before has no idea that battery power equals mp and even after playing I still have no idea what Control is. Even the term Jackhammer is only stated a single time and it's attached to a long model type so it's easy to miss entirely. I'm sure it all made sense to you when you were writing it but class selection is literally the first thing the player does after the info dump of an intro. As far as Edchuy goes, he played the game 7 times so obviously he's going to be able to understand the difference between the classes.

They effect skills as well. This is why I was so mystified by parts of his review. It almost seems like he played a broken build of the game that was not the one I meant to release. Also if you played ANY game with seven classes how could you unequivocally say the ENTIRE GAME'S balance was broken without trying any of the other six classes?

The version I played only had a single piece of equipment that effected skills. Specifically a shoulder cannon that was just 'hit harder' and had no effect on the flow of combat. I should also note it's very easy to miss this item. It's never really clear what you can interact with and I'm sure I missed some gear myself. Throughout the short demo the only choice I had was which weapon to equip and even this didn't effect combat in any significant way. I don't think it's unreasonable for a reviewer to just play a single class. For the record I played Omega and I found the combat equally boring. The main issue with it is that you have a single character with a very limited list of commands fighting enemies that all fight in the exact same way (attack, heal, attack, heal). No class selection is going to make that engaging. On a side note I found it odd that a giant machine of destruction basically not only had to recover between every single skirmish but frequently had to heal several times during battle. That alone makes combat extremely tedious.

AUXILIARY BACKPACK (you get a choice of several during the tutorial)

Maybe you did upload the wrong version. I sure didn't get any backpacks in the tutorial nor did I find them anywhere else. I did play this a few days ago so ignore this if you've updated recently. The other things you listed did work as intended though having that didn't really feel like any significant customization at all. Nearly every slot was just utilized to bump up attack or defensive values which probably could have been done with 1/3 of the slots with the exact same effect.

I agree with this review for the most part, although I thought the level design was a bit worse (the save point mechanics, walk speed, and lack of interactivity were big issues for me). Anyway I don't think this game is a complete loss but it needs some serious work before it will be playable.

Basically, DE thanks for the encouragement. Your basic message, that BloodMachine should kick more ass...I hear. And I approve.

Sol suggested this in his review if you missed it. You might find more useful information contained within if you read it carefully before exploding.

Why does dying have to suck?

Personally I'm not a fan of a retry system. Not penalizing the player for losing basically removes all tension from the combat. I need that sense of impending loss to keep me on my toes and at my best, and there's always that palpable sense of relief after fighting your way through a perilous dungeon to reach the next save point. I'm not necessarily saying that I need to see a game over screen (DQ takes away half of your gold when you die, for example), but the player should always be doing everything they possibly can to avoid dying. I've played a few games where death was completely meaningless (late entries in the Wild ARMs series and Bioshock to name a few), and for me it seriously detracted from the experience.

A lot of the frustration inherent in game overs is simply a case of bad design. Games should not have unskippable 10 minute cutscenes before bosses and save points should be strategically placed so that hours of progress are never lost. Games should not have cheap attacks in normal encounters that can end a game instantly (I'm looking at you SMT). There's probably a lot of other things I'm forgetting but the bottom line is that game over does not have to feel insanely frustrating or unfair.

But still talking generally one approach I would like is to have losing a battle not cause a game over. Just cause a different outcome than winning. Let's say you fought the big bad and lost. Now you missed out on some cool stuff perhaps and you wake up somewhere else in the story than the place you would have gone to if you had won.

I really like this approach and I try to do it whenever possible, but in an RPG that might have hundreds of battles it isn't really viable except during major events, and even just in that case it is really quite a lot of extra work. I am in favor of alternative approaches in some games though, such as DQ's method of stealing half of your gold or being sent to the beginning of a dungeon or some other manner of punishment that's not just a game over screen.

Don't make the mistake of thinking a retry system is a simple fix to remove all frustration from RPGs either. When people aren't scared of dying in every fight they're going to be saving a lot less often, and if they find themselves in a fight they cannot possibly win (maybe they were in poor shape when the fight began, were ill prepared for something, or just took on some vicious optional boss), they will be stuck in a perpetual cycle of death that is going to force a reload.

In summary, dying needs to suck. But not too much.