Suggest a game review template

Hi all!

I’d love to see some game reviews (1/2 A4 text) in next Pokitto mag.

@Vampirics rightly pointed out that the points / reviews should follow some kind of a format.

He is, of course, completely right.

Suggestions please!


I would suggest what I call the TARGET system for each parts to review

( T ) Theme
( A ) Aesthetics
( R ) Replayability
( G ) Game Length
( E ) Ease of play
( T ) Tactics and Strategy

Text could cover those things and at the bottom of the game review page you could have 6 boxes with a percentage for each?


I just checked out some old ones from finnish Pelit magazine, that had pretty consistent reviews

They had just 4 criteria:

  • Graphics
  • Sounds
  • Gameplay
  • “Pull”

This seems like it might be a bit much for the types of games this device is capable of.

Theme: Not sure how much benefit this part would get since it’s an inherently biased category. People that like RPG’s are going to rate them high here but might rate racing games lower.
Aesthetics: A game using 220x176x16 color is naturally going to have better aesthetics
Replayability: This one requires balancing the former with the latter to make the game challenging and entertaining but still fun to play more then once or twice (similar to older 8-bit and 16-bit games).
Game Length: Even with full SD card support a 220x176x16 color game is naturally going to require more space for resources leaving less space for content. So balancing this with Aesthetics is quite a challenge and it would be good to rate games on these categories especially, giving some good insight into how well balanced they are.
Ease of play: This part also reflects the balancing with replayability because a game that’s easy to play from start to finish will usually have less replayability, but if it’s too hard to even get started it would definitely suffer here. A good balance of a game that’s easy to start playing but gets progressively more challenging (like Celeste) would score good points here.
Tactics and Strategy: Can’t really think of how this might relate to games outside the RPG/Strategy genre.

Maybe take a combo of the two and end up with aesthetics split into graphics and sound, then gameplay would be split into ease of play and replayability. So you would have something like this:

  • Length
  • Aesthetics
  • Sound
  • Ease of Play
  • Replayability

that makes it a LASER score instead of a TARGET score which is simpler because it’s one less category and cooler because it’s lasers instead of targets.


@tuxinator2009 , are you on twitter?

I can disagree on this strongly. The resolution doesn’t mean it would look better at all.


@chame has kindly explained Famitsu review system on Twitter

And the small “reviewer Mii characters” are so cute that my brains short-circuited and now I want these for the next mag


Definitely need little avatars for the reviews. It adds so much


Sort of. I do have a twitter account under the same username, but I’ve never really used it. I only have a facebook for friends and family and check it like checking my e-mail.

I wasn’t implying that resolution alone makes a game more aesthetically pleasing, probably improper word usage. What I mean is that it’s always harder to make an aesthetically pleasing game with fewer color options available, or size for details for that matter. This is where an Aesthetics category comes in handy, as hi-res games are often going to have more focus put on the graphics, due to the larger size, but might suffer in terms of length. Also just because you have 16-colors doesn’t mean your game will look better, it just means you have more options available when designing the graphics.

Here’s an example: (this was taken off a google image search, scaled down quite a bit, then converted to 4-color and 16-color respectively, note there’s several that are pixel-for-pixel identical but claim copyright by different companies, near as I can tell all claim free for non-comercial use).
poo_4color poo_16color
On the left we have a 4-color graphic whereas the right uses 16 different colors. While the 16-color version seems more aesthetically pleasing, with some additional work the 4-color version could potentially look better then the 16-color one by making the key features pop out more rather then being blended together. However, all other categories would agree that whether it’s 4-color, 16-color, 256-color, or even 16bit color, it’s still poo.

These are nice, would it be possible to have Pokitto Mii characters, with different outfits, poses, and expressions? I’m not much of an artist so I can’t really draw up an example.

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When you say ‘theme’, do you mean ‘genre’ or ‘literary themes’?

Usually when ‘theme’ is used in the context of games it’s in the context of literary themes or theme tunes rather than being used as a synonym for genre.

You can’t prevent that - that’s human nature.

Though even if someone likes a particular genre,
they’re not guaranteed to like all games of that genre.

For example, I know certain RPG fans can be very critical of how a battle system works,
and if it’s not to their tastes they’ll be very vocal about it.

(I.e. the video game equivalent of art snobbery. :P)

I second this.

Some 110x88x256 games might well look better than some 220x176x16 games.

Ultimately aesthetics is as much about shape and style as it is colour,
and beauty is always in the eye of the beholder anyway - people will disagree about what looks good and what doesn’t.

Just look at the recent game Gato Roboto,
pretty much the entire game is just black, white and grey,
and yet it’s very charming and capable of competing with full colour games.

Sometimes less colour and smaller graphics gives a game character.

I think these things make good headings for paragraphs and they’re worth discussing,
but I’m not sure they’re all the kind of thing you can quantify,
some of them are qualitative (e.g. theme/genre) and some aren’t really pertinent enough to be ‘scored’ (e.g. game length).

(I can’t suggest an alternative at the moment,
but I’ll have a think about some categories.)


I sometimes design characters this way:


It will be called

Pokitsu Score

And goes from 0 to 40, with 40 being nigh impossible to reach (actually, that will be up to the reviewers)

Now we just need the guidance criteria and 4 first reviewers for mag #2

Or perhaps the first 4 will create the criteria among themselves

Edit: or something


I had 5 minutes, so just for the hell of it:


Obviously you’ll get better results from a proper artist, which I’m clearly not.


I vote for Pharap for making the portrait!


The game has started! Who will make best reviewer avatars for the mag? :wink:

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Only if you can tell me who the portrait is actually supposed to be.

If it doesn’t resemble the person it’s supposed to resemble then it’s not much good. :P

I just finished a flat shaded version,
(which took far longer than expected because I’m not well-practised at this kind of thing,)
but I’ll hold off on posting it for a bit until someone’s had a guess.

I welcome the prospect of someone outdoing my sorry attempt.

If we let me win then it means poor quality art in the magazine,
not to mention my hand aching. :P

For the record, the little dot on the cheek is actually just a spec of dust or something, not a pencil line.

My guess is that it’s Jonne.

And just so everyone knows, I am not interested in doing any art creations for the next issue. Not even sure I will have time to do anything for the next issue at all.

But I could squeeze some time for reviewing a couple games. As long as their are not games I worked on lol


That is a bit unfortunate as you had the major impact on the layout etc. of the first issue, but we try to manage without you :slight_smile:


Here are the reviewer portraits used in ZZap!64

…but I find the manga style more fun :slight_smile:


Aha, I knew there was an alterior motive for nominating me. :P

I concede defeat, you have guessed correctly.
(Jonne was the only person for whom I had sufficient reference material.)

Here’s the flat-shaded version:

The jacket and shirt is from the Galaxy Fighters video,
the hair is from an earlier Pokitto publicity video.

The hair colour is probably a bit off,
and some of the details are different for stylistic reasons,
(it’s typical to give chibi characters abnormally large eyes and a very small nose, if any at all,)
and the chibi style naturally makes everyone look a lot younger.
(Maybe I should have added some wrinkles or stubble? :P)

I really hope there’s someone out there that can do better than my attempt.

Here’s some pixel portraits used in the Pokitto kickstarter:

Aye. I think it certainly fits the Pokitto’s slightly more ‘kawaii’ image.


My main goal for the first issue was to at least make a good template so that future issues would be easier to create.