A little note about our alpha reviews


Today, we’re publishing the first (hello Kerbal Space Program) in what will become a regular series of reviews of games that aren’t finished. 

That sounds a bit weird, so I wanted to explain a little bit about how we got to where we are.

We all understand that over the last couple of years, how many PC games are made, funded and profit has changed dramatically. Games are released early, well before they’re finished, as alphas and betas, to gather feedback and criticism from players and fans. Some of those games ask you to pay to access them. This is undoubtedly creating more and better games, but it’s also leaving a hole.

Traditionally, reviewers have only covered games that reach a finished, 1.0, release. But the gap between the initial and 1.0 release can take years. As a basic example, Minecraft entered alpha in 2010. It reached 1.0 nearly two years later. In that time, players could buy access for a small fee, but most games sites and magazines wouldn’t touch the game.

That’s distressing.

For a start, talking about great games is why we’re here. Saying why they’re good or not, and giving you recommendations is what makes this job fun. Some games, though, just aren’t good or fun, or worth your money. We’d like to be able to tell you to stay away, but acknowledge that the game might get better.

But slapping a 3 or 4 out of 10 on a game that could, should and probably will get better, isn’t fair.

Here are the principles that will guide us from now on.

If a game is available and it costs money to access, we believe it is fair game to review. If the game is unfinished, we don’t believe we should score that game. For games that are unfinished but available to purchase, we’ll review those games and give a binary verdict: either “Buy”, or “Wait”. When that game is completed, we’ll offer a score.

When we give a score, we do not expect to change that score unless a major expansion or revamp is undertaken by the developers.

We hope that our reviews will help guide your game purchases – whether they’re of finished and complete games, or alphas, or betas, or anything in between. If you’ve any feedback, let us know in the comments or via email.

Thanks for reading