Review Standards and Policy
ISKMogul will at times review games and/or products for the purpose of distributing the information to our readers. We strive for fairness and balance in our reviews, but we acknowledge that at times the context of a given game and its review could be misunderstood. So if you as a reader or developer of a reviewed product have questions, please ask us.
The 10 point system gives an overall rating between 0 and 10, with half points between to allow some leeway and better examination of the game in particular. Assigned reviews will work on a graded scale that measures the given product in five areas. Design, Execution, Functionality, Value and Enjoyment. Below readers can find an explanation of each of these categories as well as primers for what a given score could mean. The examples given are by no means absolute, and reviews will strive for clarity when explaining what issues are encountered with a given product.
It cannot be stressed enough that context will be taken into account in all reviews. In practice, no one should expect a budget or mobile title to posses the same level of graphical fidelity or mechanical polish as a AAA title from a major studio; We don’t have that expectation either, and attempt to take into account those subtle and not-so-subtle differences at all times.
This is simply put the vision a developer had when creating their product. This criteria is scored on factors such as how clearly designed and illustrated mechanics are from both a theoretical and practical level; the other major impacts are things like practical use of common design mechanics, effective writing, intuitive UI and level design, etc. A low score in this area might indicate mechanics that were not well explained or an overly difficult to use UI or control scheme.
The execution for a title is a continuation of its design, but deals solely with practical elements. The reason for the separation is to allow for further clarification and granularity. For example, a review might wish to emphasize failures in the writing of a game without penalizing it for an effective UI design.
Functionality deals with the technical elements of a given product. Things such as sound, graphics, effects, practical controls and the overall performance of a title will all effect the functionality score. A low score here might indicate that the game had solid design and intent, but the performance was plagued by framerate stutters or other issues. Graphical design and implementation will not have a massive effect on this score, as all games are different and will have vastly different art styles.
Value scores will act as a simplified metric illustrating whether a reviewer felt as if the price paid for a product was “worth it”. Reviewers will strive to measure this in the least subjective way possible. A measure of how many hours of enjoyable play were had with the product is our goal with this score. A low score here might indicate a game that was higher in price, but overall lacking in terms of entertainment.
This is the truly subjective element to a review. Enjoyment will act as the catch-all for personal taste in a review. Elements that don’t fit into other categories in terms of negative impact may end up here. This section will act as the final summation of the reviewers feelings about that product on a personal level.
We’ll be including a Pros vs. Cons section to highlight the most obvious strengths and weaknesses of a game as well.
We’re also working on revamping our reviews to give a final overall grade for each game in addition to the number score. This is being done to give readers an easy way to look at our review and make snap judgments. More on this once the policy has been developed a bit more internally, keep an eye on this page.
Below you will find an explanation of our score ranges and the various elements of a review that might warrant said score.
0-0.9 – Atrocious – These games should not exist, plain and simple. They are insult to gaming and gamers. Playing these if you can even get them to work will be torture. These should be avoided at all costs.
1-1.9 – Awful – While not benchmark hall of fame, running-away-with-it-bad like 0’s, Games in this range are so horrendously broken or badly done that they have a reputation for it. These aren’t games that you can laugh at for being bad or “house rule” fixes, as it just isn’t worth the effort.
2-2.9 – Terrible – Terrible games mix bad mechanics, poor rules, broken systems, broken visuals, and bugs in some combination. No one should play these messes that barely qualify as games. The overall impression from one of these titles can only be described as offensive.
3-3.9 – Bad – A Bad game manages to avoid the depths of Awful and Terrible but makes a lot of bad choices in design, implementation, or severe, but non-game destroying bugs. Everything about this game is bad, but not soul crushing. Extreme fans of the genre would even have issues liking these titles.
4-4.9 – Mediocre – Mediocre games are uninspired with a lack of vision and poor execution. The game overall leaves the player feeling unsatisfied. There is nothing redeeming about this game other than it works on some level. Titles in this range may also have significant technical flaws.
5-5.9 – Average – These games fail to stand out meaningfully from the rest. These titles are standard fodder in every sense. These are games that belong in the bargain bin after a couple of plays.
6-6.9 – Good – A Good game is a solid and above average. Utilizing a mixture of solid mechanics, design, graphics, and audio, it manages to stand out as something fans of the genre or style should pick up. These tend to be, but aren’t always, less innovative but well-executed titles. If you don’t like the genre, however, it is likely that this game won’t do enough to elevate it for you. These titles might also have technical issues that drag them down.
7-7.9 – Very Good – These are very good games that stand out of the field and are must-plays for those who are fans of the genre or theme. Typically it features stand out qualities in at least one region and is passable enough elsewhere, possibly with some innovative mechanics. Generally these games have several shortcomings that keep them from being considered great.
8-8.9 – Great – Great games are known for being some of the best to come out in their year, and may influence future game design. They mesh design, mechanics, visuals, writing and theme in fun and interesting ways. They may not win a ton of awards, but they will almost always be in the running.
9-9.9 – Amazing – Amazing games are ones you’d recommend to almost anyone – even people who are not typically fans of the genre. These games mix outstanding qualities in several areas along with innovation and solid implementation. Many games in this region get long shelf lives due to their quality and will often be given house rules or modded by fans.
10 – Classic – There is no such thing as a perfect game, but these titles come pretty close. Even with minor flaws these games manage to become benchmarks for others to aspire to. 10s will almost never be given unless the title is worthy.
* Extra editorial review will take place on extremely low or high scoring reviews to ensure quality.