My First Review Device
When I first started this blog, I reviewed games using my Android phone. It was an LG V20.
But the phone became older and less supported. I no longer use the device as my main phone anymore. I was using the phone as a game-testing tablet. But the phone overheated too much, and it became too slow.
My Current Review Device
A family of mine wanted to get a new iPhone, and they gave me their old iPhone XR in a trade. So in a move that surly betrayed all the diehard Android fans out there, I decided to switch to this iPhone. I now use it as my main device.
I play and write reviews and content by playing mobile games on my iPhone XR.
90% of Android-iOS crossgames are literally the same. You won’t know the screenshots in my reviews and guides are on an iOS device unless I tell you.
I decided to say something to be transparent. But it doesn’t really matter.
If a game has quite different Android and iOS versions, I will focus on the Android version (or just not write about that game.)
I won’t write reviews of iOS only games as that goes against my blog being about Android gaming.
Anyway, I still keep up with Android news and updates. I am thinking of getting another Android device in the future. I am not quite sure.
I eventually plan on getting an Android tablet to have a dedicated device for playing and testing Android games.
I do have an Android tablet I use. But it is too weak to be used for testing most games, and it is a bit too slow. But I do use the device to take Android specific screenshots for things. Like the prices of removing ads and things like that.
Yes. I care that much about being correct in information that I will download a game just to check the prices of things on Android.
How Long Do I Play Games for Reviews?
When I started my blog, I was more consistent with review times. I tried to play games for at least two days.
But I am no longer that consistent. Some games don’t need a lot of time to see what they are about.
The broadest statement I can make is the better the game, the longer I am willing to play it for a review. I will stop testing bad games sooner than a game I think is good.
I feel this is fair.
Would you want to spend days playing a game you think is bad?
I am not shy about playing a game I think is bad and then stopping to write a review after about 15 minutes or so. I try not to do this often. But some games don’t need any more time than that.
The main thing to remember is that I am the only content writer for this website.
I try to be fair and give games a good amount of time before writing a review. But there are endless mobile games. Sometimes a day or two (or less) of testing is all a game is getting for a review.
Android Game Review Criteria
I review mobile games based on seven key points.
- How Does This Game Get You to Spend Money
- How Does This Game Annoy You?
- Overall Score
- Do I recommend the game?
- Will I keep on playing the game?
For gameplay, I go over how fun the game is to play and other related things. I consider factors such as how good the controls of the game are.
I consider If the game feels good and if the game works. Games that have a lot of bugs or crash often will be heavily penalized.
Presentation is about how good the game looks and sounds. I know these things are subjective.
For me, a game doesn’t have to look photo-realistic to look good. The game needs to have an art style that is used well.
I also rate games based on sound and music quality. I tend to be more critical of music as most games have forgettable music.
I Explain Ways You Can Spend Money in Games
Often mobile games are free to play games with many ways to spend money. In this review section, I explain the ways you can spend money on a game and how this game gets you to spend more money.
Is This Game Fair for People Who Don’t Spend Money?
I write this from the viewpoint of somebody who plays a lot of free games and tends to spend very little money. This is how I often play free to play games.
I consider how fair the game is for people who rather save their money. If I feel a game is considerably easier or feels much better for people who frequently spend money, I make sure to mention this in this section.
How Does This Game Annoy You?
Unfortunately, mobile games tend to have many things in them that are annoying for players.
As repetitive and tiring it is, I make sure to point out every annoyance a game possibly might have.
These are some of the things I consider in this section. There may be other things I consider.
- Does the game have ads? How many? When do they show? How often do they show?
- Does the game annoy you with constant popups and message spam often?
- Does the game make you wait for things? How long does the game make you wait?
- Do you need to spend in game currency often for things? Can you easily get more of it?
The Overall Score
What Is the Overall Score?
While I do score games on a system from 1 to 5, don’t put too much thought about the final number. It is more of a final statement on how I personally enjoyed a game compared to a strict review.
I also will change my scores if my mind on a game changes with time, or a big update drastically changes a game.
How I Score Games
What the Stars Mean
I will now explain what each score means to me. Please keep in mind my system may be different when compared to other reviewers or websites. This is the way I personally review games.
A five star score means I enjoy this game a lot. It does not mean a perfect game or a perfect review, though.
Some five star games will still have flaws. But overall, I enjoy the game so much I can look past these flaws. Or there are not enough issues to stop me from enjoying the game.
These games are my favorite and the games I enjoy playing the most. These are the games I want to recommend to everybody.
A four star game is a good game. It does a lot of things right, and I probably enjoy playing the game often.
But there are enough flaws or things I don’t like about the game to stop it from being five stars. Or might this not the kind of game I personally like that much.
I tend to give games four stars if I like the game, and I can see it is a good game. But it not a favorite game of mine. I still can appreciate a good game, though, even if I did not like it a lot.
A three star score often means my overall thoughts about the game can be explained with this sentence. “That game was OK, I suppose.”
This is how I feel about most games by default. In my mind, most Android games start here.
There are nearly endless amounts of mobile games to play and to consider. So if a game does nothing to stand out or do something particularly well, then three stars it will be.
This means the game is not too bad. But the game is not too good either. The game does “just” enough right to be OK and somewhat fun and not enough bad for me to heavily dislike something about it.
I may play this game semi-often, but frequently a three star score means I am done playing the game after the review.
Two Star games are the flawed and unfortunate side of mobile gaming. These games may be fun or even have good gameplay. They may even be popular games.
But there are so many bad things about these games that I simply can not give them a better score. There are multiple reasons why I will give a game a score this low.
It is possible, of course, that this game is OK and just needs some work. But rarely will I score a game this low if this is the case.
Often these are the games that heavily annoy players or feel too unfair for free players. I may think the developers are using shady dark patterns to get players to spend money often.
These games, in a way, are insidious and dangerous. I often dislike these games even more than one star games. Why?
Often these games do well and make good money. They do enough things right to get people to like them and to play them. But they also are heavily flawed and have terrible systems for the players.
These are the games some people love to play but also get some people to say mobile games are not “real” games.
To me, these games are the greatest tragedy. This is a worse situation than any broken game or laughably bad game.
Either way, I don’t like these games. No matter how fun they are, I call them out for the things I think they are doing wrong.
If a game I used to play has sunk to this level, then I will quit playing it.
This is where things get interesting. These games are the games that don’t work as games or just don’t work at all!
You know how some movies are so bad they become funny experiences? That is a one star review for me most of the time.
They might also be frustratingly bad in that I want to play the game, but it just doesn’t work! These are the games that I quit and delete and try pretend I did not just waste my time even looking at it.
There maybe be a tiny sliver of gameplay present. There is that tiny bit of hope the game will be fun. But it is not fun. This is not a game anybody should want to play.
I suppose somebody might enjoy one of these games? I sure as don’t. The most fun I will get will be preparing my review of this game.
I don’t particularly download and play games that look bad, to begin with. You have to go deep into Google Play to find these games. As they are hidden and out of sight in the store.
The Game Recommendation Section
At the end of every review, I voice my thoughts on if I think people will like a game and if I think you should play it. This is pretty straightforward.
I also acknowledge if I think a game is bad, but people still might enjoy it anyway. It happens.
Will I Keep on Playing the Game?
This the final part of all reviews. I put this section last as I think my personal thoughts should be considered second compared to if I recommend the game or not.
This is where I decide if I want to play a game anymore after reviewing it.
The fact is I review a lot games. So often I don’t feel like playing games anymore after reviewing them. This alone is not a sign of a bad game. Take this at face value. I just don’t want to play this game anymore.