Every game site reviews differently. This guide is intended to give you a clear picture of how we review games here at Indie Ranger. This way, if you decide to send us strongly worded emails about how we score our games, we can kindly send you a link to this page.
Our guidelines are a bit of a Frankenstein’s monster, taking inspiration from other major gaming sites. Without any further ado, let’s get into it.
The most important takeaway is that this guide is pretty new. Any review made before Sept. 20, 2017, most likely does not follow these guidelines. Those scores will be updated soon. However, you should always read reviews in full to get a better idea about the contents of the game.
Reviews are meant to be a combination of objective critical thought as well as the opinion of the writer. We try to give writers games that fit their genre preferences. The goal is that, if a writer is reviewing a genre that they like, they will be more balanced towards it instead of loathing the game based on genre alone.
We rate games based on a five-point scale in increments of 0.5. A majority of sites make 7/10 (or 3.5) their “average” marking. Here, our average is 2.5. Meaning that if a game receives a 2.5, it still has merit. This applies to subcategories and the overall score.
We score games based on six subcategories: Gameplay, Art Style, Soundtrack, “Developer’s Dedication” and Replay Value. Here’s a quick breakdown:
- Gameplay: This is a broad topic that covers a variety of in-game components. Gunplay, physics, story, dialogue and more all contribute to the “gameplay” rating.
- Art Style: This category ranks the graphics of the game. How pretty it looks, basically.
- Soundtrack: Is the music catchy or does it make us want to rip out our eardrums? Music doesn’t always get covered in the writing, but it always gets a rating.
- Developer’s Dedication: This topic is geared towards how much time the developer spends on the game post-launch. If the developer is constantly updating the game with updates, patches and actually listen to their community, a high rating will be given. If the game hasn’t been updated in a month, then the rating will be lower.
- Replay Value: Some games aren’t always worth coming back to. That doesn’t mean that they’re bad. However, if the replay is low, the rating for this topic will be low.
Why 2.5 instead of 3.5? If a well-polished game hasn’t been updated in a while, it might get a lower “Developer’s Dedication” score. Just one of these scores being low can easily plummet the overall score. The 2.5 average helps keep good games from getting low scores due to technical purposes.
We will always put the necessary disclaimers at the bottom of the reviews so you, the reader, are aware of the important information surrounding the review. There will be disclaimers if the game was given to us for free or if the game is in early access.
We believe it to be ethical to review early access games. You usually pay for early access games so you might as well know how good the product is. That being said, early access games are constantly being updated with new features. As the games update, our reviews will follow suit as closely as possible.
Sometimes we will pay for games out of pocket. Other times we will receive review codes from game developers. If this happens, we want to make it abundantly clear that we did receive the title for free. This doesn’t affect the overall quality or opinion of the game. We find it ethically responsible to inform the reader if we received a free review copy of a game.
As mentioned before, games are reviewed on a five-point scale in increments of 0.5. Here is how the rating works:
Even masterpieces aren’t perfect, but these come close.
They were close, but a few extremely minuscule flaws keep it from being a masterpiece.
These games have a lot to offer and make for a fun experience with a few hiccups here and there.
A few glaring flaws, but enjoyable.
Most likely a fun time, but with a ton of flaws, glitches or general errors.
Not good or bad. The pros balance out the cons.
2.0: Below Average
There are some redeemable factors, but the bad outweighs the good.
Great idea, extremely poor execution. These games can’t be recommended in good conscience.
Who knows where these went wrong. There is definitely at least one thing good in here, but it will be extremely hard to find.
There might be one good thing deep down, but it’s all overshadowed by flaws and bad quality in general.
0.0: Raging Dumpster Fire
Irredeemably bad. No hope for improvement.
Our Steam Curator page, which can be found here, includes abridged versions of our web reviews as well as reviews that didn’t make it to the website. Referring to the rating scale, our Curator score is as follows:
0.5 – 1.5: Not Recommended
2.0 – 3.0: Informational
3.5 – 5.0: Recommended