Negative Critical Reception

Indie Game Mag Rocket SantaThis week i’ve been stripping my next game back to its core mechanics. I’m really evolving the core gameplay into something that I hope is easy to pick up and instantly enjoyable. Currently the core mechanic revolves around exploration and an element of risk vs reward.

As part of the evolved gameplay, the visuals are also changing on a daily basis. I’m still not happy with the basic style and thats something i’m working on.

In other news, and completely out of nowhere, Rocket Santa has received its first professional review from Indie Game Mag. This in itself is interesting since Christmas has been and gone and we’re over 2 months into the new year. Anyway, its also unfortunately a largely negative review. In fact the only positives quote is “…The game is technically sound, and the visuals are nice …”. This is the first time i’ve had to deal with negative comments from a professional source and I can tell you its not the nicest thing to read that someone doesn’t like your game, especially when they feel compelled to write about it.

I’ve read the review a few times to try and extract as much feedback as possible and learn from the comments. It seems in this instance the reviewer found that the game lacked challenge and also really disliked the lack of music and poor sound design.

As much as I hate to admit it, these are both fair comments. The game isn’t much of a challenge for hardcore gamers and the sounds were added at the last minute. The game had a very short development cycle and was rushed to get it into the store in time for Christmas.

Its interesting that the game doesn’t represent a challenge for the reviewer whereas others have found it perfectly adequate. I suppose it boils down to your target demographic and ensuring its advertised appropriately. Should I have made more of an effort to encompass both types of player (casual and hardcore)? – i’m not sure.

At the end of the day, its nice to have some coverage even if it is negative. Developing games, like most things, is a constant learning experience and, like most things, making mistakes is all part of the experience.

Until next time…

One Comment

  1. Elliot Richards says:

    Don’t take it badly; reviews are subjective no matter how professional. If one person disliked it, I’m sure there’s another who liked it for what it is. Sadly you can’t please all of the people all of the time, so you do your best.

    It’s either going to be a game for the hardcore, which will alienate players at the other end of the spectrum, or it’s a casual game for light players, that the hardcore hate. In between, the sweet spot, is hard work to get right.

    At the end of the day try to create fun games, things that you personally enjoy; get people to try them out, take on board any concerns, then finish it and get it out there. Then move onto the next project.

    It’s great that you’re continuing and remaining upbeat. Remember, you’ve got a lot of supporters out there. :-)

    It gets better the more you do it! :D

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