comment_box_33-1-2I recently got into an interesting discussion with friends of mine regarding the purpose of game reviews and how they come into play both before and after the purchase of an actual game. Sites like TouchArcade serve an important role in the whole economy of video games, allowing readers to both potentially discover games they've never heard of, as well as helping people make informed purchases for games that they do know about. What was interesting to discover is that almost none of my friends use reviews the same way.

Some friends specifically follow certain critics, religiously purchasing the things they recommend while similarly avoiding the games that they don't. Others were far more concerned with the aggregate score of games, with a mental metacritic score threshold that they won't often dip below. Most read as many reviews as they can, even for games they're not interested in, just to be aware of what's going on in the general gaming world. In fact, the answers that came out when asked what purpose reviews serve for the people I know were as varied as everyone's idea of the proper way to eat Oreos.

Personally, reviews are all about discovery. iOS stuff is obviously an exception for me, as it's kind of my job to know everything that's happening and what every game is about, but in the console world I approach things totally differently. I'll only read things that pertain to gaming to reach whatever tipping point finally makes me think, "Alright, I need to try this game!" as anything more than that can tarnish my experience.

Not that I'm particularly sensitive to spoilers or anything, but there's something that makes games so much better for me when I'm experiencing them totally fresh, without having that lingering thought in the back of my head that a game might "drag in the second half" or any other potential complaint that the gamut of journalists might've had with their pre-release copy.

332904-2504-4Sure, I've been burnt badly by this methodology in the past, as my library of Xbox 360 and PS3 games is practically a monument to games I've bought and ended up not digging. But, if I buy ten games and only one of them ends up blowing me away, and I was able to get the purest experience of not knowing any of the twists or events that transpire in the game... I'll gladly accept the cost of the nine other games I don't really enjoy.

This thought process can make the way I handle reviews of some games on TouchArcade really tricky. Recently, Simogo's Device 6 [$3.99] was released, and I wholly believe that's a game that you should buy totally blind. Much like Sword & Sworcery [$2.99 / $3.99], so much of the experience of Device 6 comes down to simple things like how the game is even played. But, just throwing up a five star review with the review text being, "It's the new Simogo game, trust me, download it" would be the worst review ever in the eyes of many.

So, throwing it back to you guys, what's your main motivation behind reading game reviews? Will you only buy games that receive certain scores? Are you not as concerned with scores, or even what someone thinks of it, as much as you are just the discovery of a game? Do you just like consuming every review you can find to just be aware of games you'd never have the time (or potentially desire) to play? Does what someone says in a review impact how you feel about a game? Have you ever wished you didn't read a review?

  • Jean-Denis Haas

    I'm not that concerned about scores but it still raises a red flag when a lot of outlets give a game a low score. Most of the time I superficially scan them because of spoilers but certain sites are pretty good about warnings. The most important thing to me is a video showing gameplay (not a game trailer with cutscenes) or playthroughs.

    • zombierevolver

      I just read reviews to see what to buy and what not to buy but torrent, games with lots of hard work deserve to be bought, but ones that either is terrible or over priced are torrented.

      • Jean-Denis Haas

        So if something is (subjectively) overpriced you steal? Come on.

      • Holcman

        Torrenting is out there, and it' sim possible to hide. If a developer doesn't spend time to make a quality game, then they don't deserve money for it. Of course, there are people who torrent everything, but based on what he commented, he's not one of those people.

      • chrisjenno

        I didn't like the look of the jacket I seen in the shop, so I just shoplifted it instead.

        Makes total sense, right? Nope. If a game is bad and you don't think the developers deserve your money, then don't buy it. That's fair enough, but it sure as hell doesn't justify theft.

      • zombierevolver

        Now now, don't get physical theft and digital theft mixed up. Digital theft only results in the loss of potential profit, while stealing a coat results in an actual loss. When I a developer doesn't get enough money it either means the game is costly or the game is too rubbish. Thats where people like me step in.

      • chrisjenno

        A loss is a loss. At the end of the day, people are spending their lives making something which you're taking (and presumably redistributing) without paying anything.

        If you think something is too expensive, fine, don't buy it. If you think something is rubbish, fine! Don't buy it. But that doesn't give you any right to just steal it.

        You can keep telling yourself all of these nonsense justifications if it makes you feel any better, but physical or digital makes no difference, if you take things without paying for them, you're still just a thief.

      • zombierevolver

        I wouldn't call it stealing, i would call it piracy. Because legally you can get arrested for for stealing, whereas you don't get arrested for piracy. Anything physical is stealing. Btw why can I download something? Which part of the constitution does it say I can't? When i buy something like clothing and I ain't satisfied I cam get a refund, but something digital? Tough luck, no refunds. Why? Because its digital? This is exactly why piracy is here.

      • bilboa

        If you like the game enough to torrent it and spend time playing it, then it obviously can't be so terrible that it wouldn't be worth a buck or two, the usual cost of iOS games. It sounds like you're just rationalizing your stealing by paying for a few of the best games. It would be like me buying a shirt and shoplifting two more, and justifying it by saying the shirts I stole weren't good enough for the store to deserve to be paid for them, but I'm still a good guy because I paid for one shirt.

      • zombierevolver

        Stealing and piracy is different. How old are you? 2? Do you even know the different between digital and physical?

  • SumoSplash

    People read TA reviews?

    Just KIDDING Eli! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • rewyan


      Nice one.

    • Kyle

      I don't think I read many of the TA reviews (or any games review site). The TA front page is best for previews and upcoming stuff.

      What I think makes TA stand above the rest is the way the app shows scores from TA, the App Store, and most importantly the forum. And even better is the hot games list that pulls out what's trending on the forum.

      A lot of the gems that come and go on the hot games list are never even mentioned on the TA front page or rank in the App Store.

      I have friends who still think that mobile gaming sucks because they only ever look at the top sellers on the App Store, which is a very stale and often dire list of games. If it wasn't for the TA community I'd probably think the same and would probably only own cheaper Android devices.

      • Geertyy

        So true!

      • rewyan

        Candy Crush IS NOT stale!!!!

    • IMNS

      I haven't read a single review on TA in years. Too lazy to read up walls of text for something that costs a couple of bucks on average. TA plays videos are a much easier way to find new games and see if anything is worth trying out.

  • themostunclean

    I read them to inform my decision whether or not to purchase/play them. I would think that's why most people do.

    Although I know many people seem to read reviews just so they can disagree with the scoring system.

  • diaskeaus

    Bad reviews will usually always sway me away from purchasing a game, especially if it costs money.

    Good reviews will sway me 85% towards buying that game, but if the price is high, then I'll wait until I feel better about it. The 50% cut in X-COM prices allowed me to justify my purchase, even though I knew it had high reviews. However, were no review written about it or a bad review written, I probably never would have even gone that far to spend the money.

  • ODMay

    When there's a game I want, I'll read the game reviews to find out what kind of bugs(or see if someone's having the same problem I'm having) that game has before I download it.

  • Samurix16

    Read reviews all the time.

  • Echoen

    The score is more of a TL;DR for me so I grind at the content of a review. Proper footage of actual gameplay is loads of help too. If a game comes out and the description looks interesting, I'll look for a review and check out the pros and cons and more importantly, if the reviewer is describing a kind of game I'd like to play. It could be a top-notcher I never really knew about with 'innovative' mechanics and eye-shattering graphics as the app description would say but a reviewer may totally shoot that claim down saying it's not quite so and so as it says on the box. Of course credibility would play a role there for the reviewer, thus community input also often helps back up a review.

  • dragonstale

    I'll read a review if it pertains to a game I'm really fond of like 10000000. Usually I tend to base my purchasing on what the reviewer says. If he says good, decent things I'll buy it regardless the score. It all depends on what game and what reviewer/website I'm reading the review on.

  • timmis6010

    I read reviews because I just don't have the time to look for games on my own. Being able to bookmark games that I find interesting through the TA app so those reviews come to me helps a lot too.
    And the best way to eat Oreos is to take two apart and join the two cream sided parts to make a double stuff. Or if you have double stuffs, a quadruple stuff.

    • xx99

      And what of the new Mega Stufs?

      • timmis6010

        Better still!

  • pauldavidmerritt

    Honestly? To avoid games that fall way, way short of its potential it was advertised with.

    Also, of course, to avoid IAP-ridden games. I hate Freemiums. I don't want them taking space in my App Store catalogue of games. I only buy/download games I see having honest gameplay direction and development.

  • Schpank

    I look at the score before I read the review. If it's a game I'm interested in and it gets a good score, I'll read enough to ascertain why. Same for bad scores. I also do the aggregate thing if I'm on the fence or it's a substantial purchase.

  • Mitch Harris

    I like reading reviews and shopping for games so much I often spend more time doing both than actually playing the myriad games I already own. I collect them like Pez dispenser.

  • bigjack66

    I like to read reviews just to get an idea of what the game is like. But not everybody has the same taste so it's interesting to see the differences. I don't just buy a game because it's highly recommended infinity blade lll is a prime example because I'd played the first two and got seriously fed up with the battle style.

  • shawnsavage

    I read reviews because I have an iOS gaming channel. Therefore I like to keep up to date on the latest games, and even upcoming games so I know when they come out to get a video out for them as soon as possible. And still do it with professional quality of course.

    If you guys want to take a look at my channel, it's name is shawnthesavage and it's pretty legit. I do comedy gameplays for iOS games. With great audio, video, facecam, and some interesting games

  • saehild

    They make a great difference for me as a consumer to find out about amazing features of a game or debilitating IAPs without having to experiment. Plus I just look forward to TA reviews, it's primarily how I find out about new IOS games!

  • Eseres

    To me, a review sometimes is the "make or breake" on if im going to get a product or not. A review can sometimes be a spoiler, but i think its the reviewers responsibility to not spoile the game and rather give others his/her impressions of the game. In my case, i like games in general, but if a game is bad/good, i'd like to know before i go ahead and get it. Without the game reviewers, i think alot of games would not even be heard of. In a way, the game reviewers actually "sells" you the game by promoting it through communities such as TouchArcade.

    In my opinion, the gaming industry would die without the game reviewers. Why? Because the reviewers are the voice of the games out there. It won't help how great a game is, if no one try it and spreads the word. And the more people talk about a game, the more people jumps on and try it.

  • nao

    I don't read reviews often. I jump straight to the gameplay trailer and decide within 10 seconds of gameplay footage.

  • Dave Metzener

    I read reviews not for the scores, but for the author's perspective on the game content. I'm interested in how the content is perceived. I'm not saying that every review author enjoys games like I do. I'm just looking to see if the author feels the game is worth other people's time.

  • CalebHall1


  • heresandypandy

    I read individual reviews mainly out of interest, often after I've actually played the game to see if a particular reviewer agreed.

    When it comes to buying games I tend to look and see how the game is being received en masse though rather than just taking the opinion of one or two journalists.

  • rewyan

    I don't like reviews very much, particularly ones written by some guys named Eli Hodapp and Jared Nelson.

    • rewyan

      I didn't know you could "thumbs down" a comment. How do you do that?

      • xx99

        I think you have to be using a browser instead of the app... but maybe it's more complicated than that.

  • rewyan

    I will only buy games that receive 4.5 to 5 stars. Luckily, this is TA, so there's a ton of those.

    • SumoSplash

      Then you will miss out on titles like Minigore 2 and Limbo. You should lower your standards to compensate for such inaccuracies.

  • PortableGamingRegion

    "Sure, I've been burnt badly by this methodology in the past, as my library of Xbox 360 and PS3 games is practically a monument to games I've bought and ended up not digging." - I hope you never discover Steam :p

  • squabs

    To get angry; I buy a game, then if a few days later it gets a bad review then I bombard as many forums as possible with my justifications of why its the best game ever and the reviewer is wrong. (Kidding, kidding). I rarely read reviews, I like to make my own judgement based on prerelease information, maybe because ios is so cheap it doesn't matter so much, back in the 90s when games were NZ$100 on psx and pc, before Internet ease of information then reading magazine reviews was more of a necessity

  • toxiccheese

    Uh, for the opinion put forward. What kind of question is this?

  • genuinelawl

    I lose interest in most games far too quickly so it's worth it for me to check the reviews and see it's it's even worth my time and money to purchase them.

  • Jake7905

    Why do I read game reviews? Well, I do need something to read while sitting on the toilet.

    • Gregorioe

      I read this while on the toilet.

      • Odulin

        Me too. ๐Ÿ˜€

  • anabolicMike

    I enjoy reading them simply for the distraction from life. I read reviews of games I couldn't even care less about. When deciding if I want a game I do use the review to an extent. I never listen to the star rating or the percentage. I pick up on certain words, paywall and timers for example. This is gonna be sad but on review sites, and I really only religiously read this one now, I actually get more out of people's comments to the articles. If the majority call it utter garbage then it's utter garbage.

    I've read reviews here that made me decide to get the game right away. For example that zombie game, WOTZ, I read the review and before there were even any comments I bought n downloaded the game. Big mistake, I hated it. Haven't played it since the first time. I went back a couple days later and read the comments. Yeah, I should to have got it either. Ah wells ๐Ÿ˜‰

    So to recap.... I read em cause I have to have something to do on the toilet.

  • wigzisonfire

    Why do I read reviews for a restaurant before I eat there? Why do I check imdb before I go to the cinema?! Because life is too short and my wallet is even shorter. Although I may not always agree with a review, that opinion will be formed on the back of an informed decision.

  • climardo

    I read reviews because I waste less time than it would take for me to play a game and not like it. I'm kind of a sheep and usually end up liking the more popular games. I like polished games so big names stick out. But basically I read reviews because it saves me from wasting time and money. Suggestion: more gameplay videos

  • 2GMGRudy

    This is my opinion from a developer's point-of-view...

    I think reviews are very helpful by informing users if a game is worth their time and investment. A lot of games come out every day, and just because they are "new," does not mean they are better than a game that was released months or perhaps even years ago. Not everyone just wants to play a game for 10-15 minutes and then move onto the next. There are a lot of gamers that want to invest a substantial amount of time into a game that they are interested in. If they can relate to a review, then they will be more willing to take that jump into a bigger more deep game. One of the worst things is to play a game for a while and then find out that it is not what you thought it was going to be. I think a well-written review and accurate score are important to helping someone make a decision.
    The more outlets that carry roughly the same review score, the better it is for the gamer as it will reflect a more accurate average.

    From a developer's benefit, having a game that is reviewed highly, helps with exposure, and exposure is the most important thing for a developer, especially if they are an "unknown" - like us ๐Ÿ™‚ Now, getting reviewed is no easy feat at all either, as you have to battle the hundreds of other games that came out for a reviewer's time.

    Getting reviewed is a very big deal, especially if you are lucky enough to make it to one of Touch Arcade's reviewer's desks.


    Creator of Blaster X HD
    Co-Founder of 2GMG (2 Guys Making Games)

  • xx99

    It's primarily app discovery for me. I also like having a game's content summed up by somebody besides somebody who worked on the game in a 1โ€“3-paragraph nutshell. I appreciate a human's ability to pull out features that are particularly problematic, excellent, or innovative.

    Finally, I review games for a few other sites so reading other reviews helps improve the quality of my work.

  • DemoEvolved

    Avoid stinkers
    Discovery of innovative mechanics or originality
    Check if my guess of a games quality was right without personally investing in the game

  • lot49a

    I read reviews for games I am on the fence about to see if it sounds worth trying. This is the function that your site provides.

    I also read critical/cultural reviews of games that get into the meanings/implications of games. I don't come here for this but I love the sites that do that.

    I watch Zero Punctuation because it is funny.

  • Jay

    Practically, I read game reviews so that I don't waste money. With all the savvy marketing out there obfuscating what the game actually IS, it can be hard to find information on whether you'll actually like the game.

    However, searching for the information is also kind of an addiction. It's the anticipation that builds over time for me. The game that made me a 'gamer' is Final Fantasy 7. I still remember exactly where I was the first time I discovered the game - I remember reading the preview in a magazine on a particularly beautiful day, then reading it again, and again, and when the demo came out I played through it like 30 times. When the full game was released I could have cried I was so happy. Thinking back, I was going through a rough patch in my life at the time, so the escapism that games provided helped me through it.

    I've kind of been obsessed with reading and watching game reviews/ previews ever since. Now with the help of RSS feeds I can monitor the state of gaming as a whole.

    • Goggles789

      I feel you on that one. I am feeling that way for Dark Souls 2. Oh boy, will I be a happy camper when that gets in my hands!

  • Derrythe

    I read them to simply make informed buying decisions, if the descriptions of the game sound good and a reviewer I tend to agree with recommends it, cool, if not, pass.

  • ImJPaul

    Something that comes to mind is Shadows of the Damned. I couldn't find one site that enjoyed that game nearly as much as I did. People are gonna be widely different depending on personal tastes and what not. So to me reviews are a basic guideline never to be taken too seriously. Most are fairly accurate but you'll find a few here and there that are just appalling.

  • gmattergames

    I find TA user reviews, unlike the AppStore reviews, to be the unfiltered, and trustworthy feedback that collectively help me make decisions. The TA Staff reviews are the icing on the cake, and often the final word when user reviews are either too vague or contradicting. While not related to iOS, Steam is poised to be an extremely powerful force in gaming (more than they already are), but they are missing a key lesson that the mobile scene has demonstrated, user reviews sell games. Their forums offer some valuable insight, but without presenting those reviews as an integrated part of the storefront, they are losing sales, at least from this user.

    • Goggles789

      I always wished that Steam had user reviews. There were a couple of times that I got games that I regretted later, even on the cheap. Here's hoping they grab that idea eventually.

  • RR1981

    I sometimes wonder how many reviewers read comments to their own reviews and if those comments have different perspectives if it wouldve changed their prior rating.

    On a console, I generally know about a game then just decide on buying it without any reviews. I never buy games on reviews alone for a console. I will however read a couple reviews after I've played through some of the game, avoiding spoilers, to see how different people think the game is. I enjoy 90% of what I purchase. If I enjoy the game and the reviews are good then I am satisfied completely. If they are bad reviews I end up rationalizing my purchase and overseeing the games shortcomings. Either way the review had little effect.

    As for iOS gaming I will give every free game that is in my style of games a chance. Action, strategy, rpg, racing, sports, etc. This is for games I know about or just see on the app store but we all know iOS gaming doesn't get as much hype that console gaming does so the window may be a bit closed.

    TouchArcade is the only review app i use for iOS gaming. I have probably 15+ games on my watch list that have gotten great ratings that are games I need to pay to download. iOS has made me a more frugal gamer. I will only download and pay money with certainty 5 star games. All other paid downloads are dependent on 75% on gameplay footage, and then would need a 4 star rating at the very least.

    All in all I think the iOS platform is flooded with nonsense 75% of the time so it makes taking time to read reviews more relevant.

    Spending $60 for 50+ hours of gameplay with a game that ends up having even mediocre reviews somehow rationalizes itself over spending even $5 for games that will take only a few hours to finish and has a 4 star review.

    Even replayability doesn't really save it for me. Then again, I still play candy crush when dropping a deuce.

    • rewyan

      I'm on level 256.

      Bet you aren't even close.

      • RR1981

        305 =/

  • rewyan

    You know Kraft and Nabisco and such got sued because double stuf Oreos actually have 1.9 times the amount of cream, not double?

    • Goggles789

      They are still delicious.

  • funny_man_vanya

    I tend to be constantly purchasing iOS games anyways, but I like to read the reviews to kind of stay on top. I don't however hold the reviewers opinion above my own judgement, although the review does affect my judgement.

  • Scot Damn

    I read reviews because sometimes the sheep die in the back and why not, the cows aren't around. So on I go reading away until the chickens fly through the moon and the geese chase traffic in the upside backwards tread flow.

    But I'm sure it varies from person to person.

  • Tulai Paul

    It is necessary to read the game reviews that become immensely beneficial to the millions of users as most of the users love to play games. Even appnext, admob, revmob, chartboost should become alert as their games will also be come under the purview of microscopic lenses of the game experts

  • Goggles789

    I read the reviews because I can get more insight into how the game actually works before buying it. It's the closest thing to a demo one can get. I love when a reviewer goes into detail about gameplay quirks and such. Usually, and especially in the app store, there isn't enough information given about the game that I just jump and buy it. I prefer the "wait and see" approach on nearly every game I buy. Although, for Dark Souls 2 I am confident that I will be quite happy when it is released.

  • MonkeyChunks

    I read reviews primarily for two reasons, in two possible scenarios. First reason I read them is when I am actually debating whether to buy a just released $60 Xbox360 or a PS3 game since that value is kind if high for me so I want to make it count. I will usually try to read the reviews from main sites and only glance over them if they're too long. I try to only read what is positive since I have a lower standard for games than gaming site critics and often will enjoy a poorly received game.

    Other reason I may read reviews is when I have bought a game that was released at least 6 months ago when it went down in price a lot. Before playing I have no incentive to read the review, but after I've played enough to be familiar with the game I read a few reviews to see whether I agree with the reviewer or not.

    Prime example of a game whose reviews I couldn't actually read before it was released and didn't read after I received the game is Resident Evil 6. The game got average of 60s out of 100. The thing is I actually enjoy the game very much to this day. When I realize that I am not agreeing with the average metacritic average I start reading why on earth they didn't like it.

  • Dr.Pat

    Its awesome


    Nerdy answer alert:
    I read review because I like to read them

  • Arnaud_B

    I love to discover games. On iOS there is so much titles every week I don't have time and money for all of them. Reading review (and video review) do the stuff for all the titles I won't play. And for the one I want to play : you reviewer don't have the time to spoil; I'm already playing them from the kiwi side of the world !

  • Cheuk Seto

    I read reviews because there are always some gems that are easily missed and overshadowed by other AAA titles with their enormous marketing hype/campaigns.

  • HelperMonkey

    Same reason I watch Fox News... I need someone to tell me what my opinion should be.

    • gmattergames

      Then watch CNN, that's the sheeple's news source, never critical of the administration, and buries the burning issues under entertainment drivel.

  • Nick

    Silly Eli, everyone knows there's only one way to eat an Oreo.

  • toofinedog

    For console games, I usually go to Metacritic, and read the best and worst reviews with a grain of salt. If the flaws of a game are not too glaring, I will like pick it up. For iOS games, I turn to TA, since 148apps one-paragraph reviews are useless. If it's a dubious review, I'll wait for the game to go free. If I really want it, I'll pay the dollar.

  • heresandypandy

    I find videos like TA Plays far more useful than a written review by the way. Actually seeing the game operate and hearing opinions about its controls and whatnot at the same time is far more valuable than most of what is written by reviewers.

  • Earth Vs. Me

    I just enjoy reading them. Reviews of awful games can be really funny, and ones that are really well worded and descriptive can make me feel as if I've played the game myself.

    They're a great way to keep up with current games, especially when you don't have time and money to play them all.

  • iLLcAtTiViSsiMo

    I read reviews for one reason only, to hear what critics DISLIKE about a game, not what they like. I long for the dislikes that I myself am no fond of and ignore the dislikes that don't bother me.

    Actually, maybe there's one more reason. Technically, I follow development teams, not just games. I'm a fan of the team behind the game and following particular games is a branch off from that. (Naturally this makes me a huge Indie scene follower because of the small, personal teams behind them) That being said, I always feel a small bit of anxiety for devs when the games they work so hard on land in the hands of the many critics. Naturally, I want the talented teams to receive high scores so the masses/casuals will be able to identify them with positivity.

    Reviews are useless for the most part because of the "standards" set by juggernaut triple A studios. Too many critics (not all) use "successful" big name games as a blue print for particular genres, making it very difficult for true gaming enthusiasts, such as myself, to really take in the final score/rating dished out and use effectively.

  • Gamer_Kev

    I read reviews to get some idea of what the game is like, but in the end I make my own judgement on whether the game is right for me. I never let others tell me what to buy or not buy. Since reviews are really just the opinion of the writer, I might not share that opinion. Some of my most enjoyable game experiences have been with games that were not well liked in the reviews I read. People should never let reviews dictate their purchases. While it's nice when you find a reviewer that has similar tastes to you, often that's not going to happen. On the other hand there are some things in reviews that can lead me to decide not to purchase a game I'm interested in and these are things like bad controls or being very buggy.

  • wildfactor

    Well I read review, I like when the review point me to a game that no one else speak off (this is my stupid edgy side) and to have some quick look to block busters.
    I also read review to know if the type of game fit me.
    For example Simogo games are fantastically made, but I get bored quickly with them (action is too slow for me).

  • quinndom

    I read the review usually after I've played a bit of the game, so I have and idea what other people thought of it. The forums are the most important part of my decision process though. I read the reviews to find the forums and comments.

  • Ha Dong

    I just need some information about the game before playing it !