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).



How many hours should an 80 MB game be?

I also do not care about size in any capacity. I would rather a game use high quality resources and take a few extra minutes to download than play through several hours of a game that could look or sound better.

That said there are people who care about this sort of thing, and more importantly there are people still using ancient network connections. Consider using oggs instead of mp3s if you are using RPG Maker XP or VX, and if you're really concerned you can throw up an alternate midi version for people who have issues with file size. As far as image formats go use png whenever possible and that's about all the advice I have regarding this.

Grave Spirit Review

Whoops, didn't see this comment for a few months. I ended up submitting this review 2 hours before Sol however!

Take Down : Lambs of Destiny Review

I just ran through the game, granted I set myself up at lv 99 to do it, and I honestly have to say that I've got no strong feelings about this game one way or the other.

I had to extend my cheating an extra step to fight Samus, I mean, Nara, since my char was at 999 HP, and she was dealing over 900 per hit, which led me to believe that it was an intentional loss. This belief was demolished when the game over screen reared its ugly head.

You made a pretty big error here, namely you are not supposed to be able to reach level 99 at all. I did most of the sidequests (I think) and ended up at level 26 and all of my characters had several thousand hp which made the final boss a breeze.

What do people care about?

I've seen many people use N/A before in their reviews (for example in the gameplay area for a demo), and I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. It gives the review a sense of honesty and I'm more willing to trust the writer.

This basically has the exact opposite effect on me. Personally I feel if you're not going to bother completing the game you probably shouldn't write a review about it. Naturally there are certain circumstances (such as an early demo, requests, or the game being broken) where a N/A rating is applicable, but generally I feel that type of review serves better as a comment on a game page or a private message. On a side note, I don't think that early demos should be subjected to reviews at all.

I realize that this site does have a mountain of games and no one person is going to be able to give everything a fair review, but if you're not going to take the effort to play a game through to completion your review is almost certainly going to be missing information relevant to both the players and the developer. Especially considering that DFalcon's point about games improving as they ago around here is definitely true, and the longer a game is the more likely you are to miss out on things if you call it quits after the first few hours. You should not feel obligated to play a bad game through to the end, but you should also not feel obligated to blast the first 20 minutes of a game when you don't feel like seeing the rest.

Culture of crass, apathy and cynicism

One thing I forgot to mention that's very important regarding that: the status of the project. A cursory glance will usually tell you if the project is actively being worked on, is abandoned, on hiatus, or is a complete project that is never going to be touched again.

Unless the project is actively being developed then you really should inform people that it is basically unplayable. A review is a great way to do this (and if you're lucky the creator may stop by someday and care enough about their game to fix it).

Culture of crass, apathy and cynicism

I definitely agree that is it better to play the entire game to completion when giving a review. This applies both to positive and negative reviews. Mindless praise without going into the specifics of the game is just as annoying as someone bashing a game for no reason.

In those examples I listed the Quintessence review probably could have used a more detailed look, since it was in fact a very long game (though personally I thought Brick was spot on with his review of those 2 hours). The Forlorn Manor one was a lot more understandable since the game issues physically prevented him from playing it any further. The thing about Brick's reviews is that he tells you exactly how long he played, so both the author and the players know exactly what kind of feedback they're getting.

In any case, I'd definitely agree you should try to finish the game whenever physically possible. And if for some reason you can't pull that off you should mention it in your review, preferably up front.

It is worth noting that some people do request reviews, sometimes not realizing their game is broken at some stage. That kind of thing is responsible for a few of those types of reviews you see on the site (not to mention the staff do get assignments from time to time).

Culture of crass, apathy and cynicism

Humor is probably the single most important aspect of making a review interesting to read. It's definitely something you have to be careful with, push it too far and you sound like a jerk. Personally I think subtle humor is the best (won't cause you to fall out of your chair but you'll still enjoy reading), it is of course important to direct it at the game instead of the creator.

Droning on and on about the mechanics of a game with no attempts to make the content interesting means you're probably not going to get a lot of people to read to the end, or if they do they're going to be doing a lot of skimming.

If someone would please point me in the direction of one that really IS funny, and not at the expense of the creator, it would be much appreciated.

Just my opinion of course, but I enjoyed all three of these reviews immensely due to the humor. I'd like to note that despite the fact that these reviews were blisteringly negative all of the creators responded favorably.

A good portion of the feelings of animosity on this site come from misinterpretation of the content in the reviews.

I think you're blowing this out of proportion a bit. Personally I have written 35 reviews for this site, most of which are comprised almost entirely of criticism (even for the games I loved!), and I've only ever had 2 of the creators respond negatively. And one of those people doesn't even hang around this site. I don't know the exact number for Solitayre's reviews but he has had similar experiences with the site's member base.

It's true that when a person does take offense they can get pretty vocal about it, and that's pretty understandable and something any reviewer should expect when they deliver a low score. I hardly think that's an accurate representation of the site as a whole, though. Really that's the reason I enjoy writing reviews for RMN so much, people are generally extremely receptive to critique and are eager to improve their technique.


Reviews should be constructive. We're not supposed to be actively warding people away from playing these games, we're supposed to be helping each other to improve.

It's true that reviews should be written with the intent of offering useful feedback to the creator. However, they are also meant for prospective players. You've said yourself you sat through plenty of bad RM games, if you'd been able to read about possible reasons to avoid a game you might have saved yourself some time. If you write 'only' to help the game's creator improve, maybe you should send your information through a comment on their gamepage or through a private message? Reviews are there for the entire site to read through.

That said, when you do plan to give an extremely negative review you really need to be detailed. Just saying you hated the game doesn't cut it, and if you describe the game's features in detail it is possible that someone reading your review might actually notice that something you described as extremely annoying is actually something they love in a game.