PlayStation Universe

Indie dev expresses concern over unfair reviews - Do gaming journalists care about indie games, or is it all about AAA titles?

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on 20 October 2013

Multiplayer action platformer Atomic Ninjas has recently been released on PSN yet there were hardly any reviews online around launch date, that’s despite indie developer Grip Games contacting all and sundry to try and promote the game and give away review codes to gaming websites across the globe.

In an exclusive interview with PSU, we asked Jakub Mikyska why he thought that many videogame websites don't review indie games and the reply he came back with surprised us.

“Getting attention of press, and through them the players, is incredibly difficult. It is about establishing relationships with every single journalist out there, every blogger, and every active forum member. You can’t just send out a press release and sit back & relax. It’s a constant struggle,” said Mikyska.

“As for the reviews, they started appearing [for Atomic Ninjas] quite a lot in the past few days. I guess it is like a chain reaction. But that brings another set of problems. When reviewing an AAA game, the journalists never dare to do a sloppy job. But with an indie game struggling for its place under the sun, that’s not always the case. We have seen more than enough of reviews where the reviewer obviously didn’t even play the game for more than a few minutes, didn’t spend the time exploring, or simply didn’t care to understand it. So, the reviews are all over the place, from as low as 3/10 to high 8’s and 9’s.”

So,what Jakub is suggesting is that there are plenty of reviewers out there that simply don’t spend enough time with the game and therefore aren’t giving non-AAA titles a fair hearing but will gladly spend time with major titles to ensure they get the score they deserve. Surely, this shouldn’t be the case?

It's impossible to tell how widespread the issue is but it's clear that indie developers like Grip Games face a tough route to gain exposure for their titles and even when they do they risk the possibility of receiving a review that is completely unfair. Surely, as ambassadors of the gaming industry, websites owe it to the indie studios who pour their heart and souls into their games to at least give their titles a fair trial?