There hasn't been a single review of a 2D game in 7 months.



  • Hello Allies,

    I understand you have a ton on their plate already but it seems like a strangely large omission to suggest that in the last year there hasn't been a single 2d game worth reviewing apart from Hyper Light Drifter. Independent developers sadly lack the resources to create HYPE! moments through E3 showcases and have to instead rely on word of mouth to help get the word out about their games. Instead, the majority of these games feel as if they get side-eyed, or used as an opportunity for a bathroom break by the Allies, as was the case during the PC gaming showcase at E3. I apologize earnestly if this an unfair, or frustrating, representation of what goes on behind the scenes at Easly Allies.

    To focus on the positive, with Snipperclips, Night in the Woods, Shover Knight: Treasure Trove, Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight, Blaster Master Zero, Hollow Knight, and the Stardew Valley Switch port, and many other new smaller independent games coming out in the following months, I feel like there's a great opportunity for the Allies in their new year of business to cover additional smaller independent games. Independent games tend to be smaller investments of time than other big publisher open world games, they can often use the additional coverage to get the word out about themselves and give novel and unique experiences that you might not have otherwise known you'd wanted.

    From a purely business perspective, Hyper Light Drifter received as many clicks as your Sniper Elite 4 and Dead Rising 4 reviews, while being a better-reviewed game by Easy Allies (4 stars for Hyper Light Drifter, 3 stars for both Sniper Elite 4 and Dead Rising 4), and requiring much less time to complete (Hyper Light Drifter sits around 11 hours long, Sniper Elite 4 around 20 hours long and Dead Rising 4 is 20 as well). You can double-check the math yourself, but three additional independent game reviews could potentially have garnered you 2x as many clicks as what you've received for Sniper Elite 4 and Dead Rising 4 for the same time investment.

    Ultimately, I have zero expectations with this post. However, I am hopeful that in the new year the Allies will make an attempt to expand their coverage outside of the big publishers. The little guys could definitely use your help.

    Love and respect.



  • I know you're specifically asking for official rated reviews, but they stream smaller/indie games fairly regularly, Damiani, Bloodworth and Ben all separately streamed Owlboy, Ian had a 3 hour indie stream a few months ago, Jones streamed Superhot and The Final Station... there is plenty of 2D/indie coverage on EZA, if not official reviews.

    Also, since Hyper Light Drifter, they've reviewed Banner Saga II, an indie - and also Mighty No 9, which along with Song of the Deep are 2D games. So it's only actually been 7 months since they reviewed a 2D game. :)

    That all being said: I wouldn't mind seeing some smaller games reviewed, covered, or highlighted. maybe there could be an Ian Patreon goal for an indie spotlight show like how Ben and Brad are doing an Anime show. Just an idea...


  • Global Moderator

    I was just going to point out what TokyoSlim mentioned, they've reviewed a few 2D games. I don't think it's much of a surprise that the majority of games they've reviewed are 3D ones.

    Unfortunately they don't have the staff/time to cover everything.

    The other thing I'd say is the only high profile 2D game I can think of that they didn't review (but had plenty of coverage of) is Owlboy.



  • @tokeeffe9 Still, couldn't there be more of a priority put on independent games?

    If the argument is that the Allies should only review high profile games, the argument then suggests that the Allies won't review your game unless you have a large marketing campaign. I'm not sure how comfortable I feel about that.

    Easy Allies itself is trying to grow bigger as a small indie gaming company. Thus, as part of the indie gaming community, I feel the argument that Easy Allies will only review high profile games ostracizes smaller developers that are putting out really good video games that the Allies could put a spotlight on, but the lack the budget of putting on an E3 show.

    I mean if the lack of marketing budget is going to get a game disqualified from getting a review at Easy Allies, I'm happy to accept that. But I feel this community would be a more robust and dynamic place if things weren't that way. I've already mentioned things like Stardew Valley, Night in the Woods, Shover Knight: Specter of Torment, Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight, and Hollow Knight that have come out over the past year. There will be even more coming out over the next year.

    I think it's important to get a conversation going as to the direction of Easy Allies regarding what we, as a community, would like to see covered over the next year. Personally, I hope that independent games have more of a space in that next year.


  • Global Moderator

    @zen

    @tokeeffe9 Still, couldn't there be more of a priority put on independent games?
    If the argument is that the Allies should only review high profile games, the argument then suggests that the Allies won't review your game unless you have a large marketing campaign. I'm not sure how comfortable I feel about that.

    No one has made an argument to only review high profile games. I even think their current reviews proved that. If that was the case, we wouldn't see reviews for Banner Saga 2, Valkyria Chronicles remastered, Zero Time Dilemma, Star Ocean, Song of the Deep, Attack On Titans etc. You can argue how high profile these games are but you can't argue that these games are very much niche in terms of the big hitters like your Call Of Duty's & Battlefields. What you'll notice from the list of games, is that they're games that the allies are interested in and feel compelled to review.

    Easy Allies itself is trying to grow bigger as a small indie gaming company. Thus, as part of the indie gaming community, I feel the argument that Easy Allies will only review high profile games ostracizes smaller developers that are putting out really good video games that the Allies could put a spotlight on, but the lack the budget of putting on an E3 show.

    Again, No one is making this argument to only review high profile games.

    I've already mentioned things like Stardew Valley, Night in the Woods, Shover Knight: Specter of Torment, Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight, and Hollow Knight that have come out over the past year. There will be even more coming out over the next year.

    I've particular issue with the games you've given as examples and here is why.

    • Stardew Valley - Release - February 26th 2016 - Pre EZA existence
    • Night in the Woods - Release - February 21st 2017 (from what I can see) - Less than 2 weeks ago
    • Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment - Release - March 3rd 2017 (Switch only) - Literally came out yesterday
    • Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight - Release - March 4th 2016 - Pre EZA existence
    • Hollow Knight - Release - February 24st 2017 (from what I can see) - 1 Week ago

    So as you can see, your topic title asks about 2D games in the last 11 months yet the ones you've deemed should be reviewed either came out before EZA was even formed or came out within the last 2 weeks. On top of that, we're talking about one of the most insanely busy 2 week periods of the year where Horizion came out, Zelda came out and a brand new console (unsurprisingly the allies were interested in these things like many gamers). So I think it's a bit unfair to expect them to have the time to review three additional games in that time period.

    Considering that both Zelda and Horizon are two of their most viewed reviews (plus in the top 11 of all their videos), I think they made the correct decision on what should take priority in their workload.

    Just curious, what games in particular in the last seven months do you think they missed?

    I think it's important to get a conversation going as to the direction of Easy Allies regarding what we, as a community, would like to see covered over the next year. Personally, I hope that independent games have more of a space in that next year.

    If you don't care too much about reviews, I'd recommend listening to Frame Trap more and watching the streams as they cover a lot of indies in those videos.



  • @zen said in There hasn't been a single review of a 2d game in 11 months. Will we go a year?:

    If the argument is that the Allies should only review high profile games

    I don't think anybody is making this argument, and in fact, I presented evidence that it's not even actually the case. EZA reviews all kinds of games. As far as I know the main qualification of getting something reviewed at EZA are the following:

    • They think it's a review the community wants to see or they themselves are interested in reviewing. If there's something you want to see reviewed that's coming out soon, that you don't see anyone talking about - let them know you'd like to see a review on it. Create hype for the game in the community. Be proactive and tweet the makers of the game to get a review copy into EZA's hands. Which brings me to my second qualification:
    • They have a review copy. If you're a dev and want to see a review of your game - reach out to Jones/Bloodworth and make it happen!
    • They aren't a sponsor. I know it's been mentioned that SCORN (An atmospheric first-person horror adventure game set in a nightmarish universe of odd forms and somber tapestry) will not be getting an official review because of conflict of interest with sponsorship.

    I hope I'm not speaking out of line, I'm not in any way affiliated with EZA other than being a patron. I'm sure Bloodworth or someone will pop in here and give an official word. I'm pretty sure they're not specifically ignoring any indie games that have been coming out. It's more likely that they just don't have the same types of relationships built up with indie devs as they do with major publishers. EZA has relationships with people at publishers and get review copies to games from them, which they then review. It seems to me to be pretty straightforward as to how stuff generally works.

    They don't review every new AAA release either, which is where the limited time/reviewers thing comes into play. A review takes a significant chunk of time. They're still more or less still operating out of Jones' garage with a 'lovable, but rag-tag team of part timers'. I think they've been pretty console/major release heavy on the reviews -but that's honestly just a factor of what many people in the community want to see from them.



  • I'd like a review of Pyre when it comes out. I'm not sure who'd be best to review it though - maybe Ben or Huber?


  • admin

    I think one mistake people make is that if we haven't done a review, we haven't covered a game. There are a lot of games that we cover on Frame Trap, Easy Update, through streaming, etc.

    But for the sake of perspective, here's how review assignments work. I go through several listings and put together a release schedule for the upcoming month - 3 months. A few of the most important games that I think we should cover, I'll put in bold. Then the other Allies go through the list and tell me what they want to sign up for. As I said, in many of those cases, they don't necessarily have to review the game, just cover it some significant way. After that, I request the games and send them back to the people who requested them. Very rarely am I unable to get in contact with the right person, and I often get codes for a lot of unsolicited games that we either can't cover or that nobody's really interested in.

    So really the only thing that governs whether or not we do a review is our own interest / sense of importance of a game. Sometimes we aren't even aware of certain indie games. Sometimes, we're unfortunately just swamped with projects we deem to be more important.



  • But Blood, there's a difference between discussing a game in passing and actually telling people: This is worth playing. That's what the review is for. Reviews matter, after all.

    Moreover... perhaps if you'll consider this observation further, you'll find that the current format of selecting games might be biased towards big publishers who can afford large marketing campaigns. How many of the games that EZA has reviewed, or are is in the process of reviewing, are projects that likely have budgets of over a million dollars? I'm honestly not asking you to justify this to me as much as I'm suggesting it simply be reflected upon internally.

    I'd wager there's something like a 90% chance that if your game didn't have a budget of over two million dollars, EZA as a publication will not give you time of day in the form of a review. I felt that observation deserved to be pointed out.

    Anyway, I've said my piece on the matter and you've shared the internal process for how reviews are determined. All I hope is that in the following three months, perhaps the review selection process can be tweaked and balanced towards indie games just a tiny bit more. Thank you for listening and responding.

    Love and respect.



  • This whole thing is nonsense, why shouldn't they review what they like/want? I would say playing a game for a good chunk of time on stream and giving their opinion on said game is just as informative as a review sometimes. They have covered quite a few games that weren't AAA, they may not all have been 2D, but why should that matter? An indie game is an indie game. Ian did a full playthrough of an indie game called Obduction I believe was the name, and he did it because he wanted to. Watching that whole thing was just as good as a review if not better, depending on who you asked.

    They have 9 people, 6 people who do reviews (7 if you include the occasional review by Ian) and shouldn't feel forced to do a review. Reviews take time, and they already do enough work. I want them to want to review a game, not try and fill a quota.



  • @NCartwright15

    I never said they shouldn't review what they want. All I suggested was that the review selection process could be tweaked to include games that don't have million dollar marketing budgets. I assume this is what this Comments & Feedback forum is for, but I apologize if I've broken any rules.



  • @zen said in There hasn't been a single review of a 2d game in 11 months. Will we go a year?:

    I never said they shouldn't review what they want. All I suggested was that the review selection process could be tweaked

    You are implying that instead of selecting games they want to review and cover off a list of upcoming releases (which presumably also includes at least some of. if not most of the indie games you're talking about), that they should instead select more of the things you'd like them to review and cover. I'm not sure how else to read this. It sounds like that's exactly what you're asking for?



  • @zen said in There hasn't been a single review of a 2d game in 11 months. Will we go a year?:

    From a purely business perspective, Hyper Light Drifter received as many clicks as your Sniper Elite 4 and Dead Rising 4 reviews, while being a better-reviewed game by Easy Allies (4 stars for Hyper Light Drifter, 3 stars for both Sniper Elite 4 and Dead Rising 4), and requiring much less time to complete (Hyper Light Drifter sits around 11 hours long, Sniper Elite 4 around 20 hours long and Dead Rising 4 is 20 as well). You can double-check the math yourself, but three additional independent game reviews could potentially have garnered you 2x as many clicks as what you've received for Sniper Elite 4 and Dead Rising 4 for the same time investment.

    The problem with the comparison you're making is that the review for Hyper Light Drifter came out in April of last year, Dead Rising 4 came out in January of this year, and Sniper Elite 4's review came out this February. So let's look at that comparison:

    Hyper Light Drifter: ~30,000 views in 11 months
    Dead Rising 4: ~22,000 views in 2 months
    Sniper Elite 4: ~30,000 views in 1 month

    That comparison is extremely skewed due to how much longer the review has been out for Hyper Light Drifter. Instead, let's look at the other reviews in April.

    Dark Souls III: ~74,000 views
    Quantum Break: ~51,000 views
    Star Fox Zero: ~37,000 views
    Ratchet & Clank: ~34,000 views

    All big budget games sure, but from a strictly business standpoint, reviewing more indie games doesn't garner more clicks. I share in the sentiment that the 9 should play what they want to play and personally, I feel like they've done an admirable job of this. Hope you don't feel we're coming off as too defensive though, as we should all be able to freely share ideas for improvement here on this forum.

    L&R



  • @TokyoSlim said in There hasn't been a single review of a 2d game in 11 months. Will we go a year?:

    @zen said in There hasn't been a single review of a 2d game in 11 months. Will we go a year?:

    I never said they shouldn't review what they want. All I suggested was that the review selection process could be tweaked

    You are implying that instead of selecting games they want to review and cover off a list of upcoming releases (which presumably also includes at least some of. if not most of the indie games you're talking about), that they should instead select more of the things you'd like them to review and cover. I'm not sure how else to read this. It sounds like that's exactly what you're asking for?

    Not quite. A number of indie games simply aren't on the radar even three months in advance only to launch and actually be pretty damn good. Such shockers can occur even happen in the AAA space, the most recent example being Doom. My suggestion is that EZA could be sensitive to indie games as it comes to word of mouth. That is how the aforementioned games came to my attention. Alternatively, we as a community can make an indie gem thread to get EZA started down that road.

    Additionally, I don't think there is anything wrong with requesting a specific type of coverage. That is again why this forum exists. EZA has long presented itself as welcoming of criticisms and feedback as long as those criticisms are constructive. Suggesting that making use of this platform to share my thoughts is somehow a bad thing kind of flies in the face of that. I have done my best to be constructive. If I've failed in that attempt, I apologize.

    I personally don't care if the specific games I mentioned are covered as much as I am hopeful this spurs at least a small effort from EZA to slight expand their coverage to be more inclusive of smaller games.



  • @SabotageTheTruth said in There hasn't been a single review of a 2d game in 11 months. Will we go a year?:

    @zen said in There hasn't been a single review of a 2d game in 11 months. Will we go a year?:

    From a purely business perspective, Hyper Light Drifter received as many clicks as your Sniper Elite 4 and Dead Rising 4 reviews, while being a better-reviewed game by Easy Allies (4 stars for Hyper Light Drifter, 3 stars for both Sniper Elite 4 and Dead Rising 4), and requiring much less time to complete (Hyper Light Drifter sits around 11 hours long, Sniper Elite 4 around 20 hours long and Dead Rising 4 is 20 as well). You can double-check the math yourself, but three additional independent game reviews could potentially have garnered you 2x as many clicks as what you've received for Sniper Elite 4 and Dead Rising 4 for the same time investment.

    The problem with the comparison you're making is that the review for Hyper Light Drifter came out in April of last year, Dead Rising 4 came out in January of this year, and Sniper Elite 4's review came out this February. So let's look at that comparison:

    Hyper Light Drifter: ~30,000 views in 11 months
    Dead Rising 4: ~22,000 views in 2 months
    Sniper Elite 4: ~30,000 views in 1 month

    That comparison is extremely skewed due to how much longer the review has been out for Hyper Light Drifter. Instead, let's look at the other reviews in April.

    Dark Souls III: ~74,000 views
    Quantum Break: ~51,000 views
    Star Fox Zero: ~37,000 views
    Ratchet & Clank: ~34,000 views

    All big budget games sure, but from a strictly business standpoint, reviewing more indie games doesn't garner more clicks. I share in the sentiment that the 9 should play what they want to play and personally, I feel like they've done an admirable job of this. Hope you don't feel we're coming off as too defensive though, as we should all be able to freely share ideas for improvement here on this forum.

    L&R

    The general idea was that there were plenty of reviews of AAA games that didn't perform significantly better than the Hyper Light Drifter Review. Overwatch did only 5,000 more clicks. The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine did 1,000 more clicks. Battleborn did only 2,000 more clicks. All of those games required significantly more of a time investment to complete, however.

    If the difference in clicks is that negligible (pennies on the dollars), and the time investment to actually complete the game is 50% less, then what difference does it make to throw a bone to a six-hour game that is really good and could really use the coverage if it's still going to generate nearly as many clicks?



  • @zen said in There hasn't been a single review of a 2d game in 11 months. Will we go a year?:

    Not quite. A number of indie games simply aren't on the radar even three months in advance only to launch and actually be pretty damn good. Such shockers can occur even happen in the AAA space, the most recent example being Doom. My suggestion is that EZA could be sensitive to indie games as it comes to word of mouth. That is how the aforementioned games came to my attention. Alternatively, we as a community can make an indie gem thread to get EZA started down that road.

    Again though, EZA doesn't need to be "started" down any road, they aren't ignoring indies. You seem to feel like they're only reviewing, talking about, and playing AAA games. This is not the case, and what I'm taking umbrage to is the notion that since they aren't doing as many full reviews for indie games as they are for bigger games - that they are not covering or supporting indie games. This is patently false.

    Can they have different/more specific/better kinds of indie-centric content than they currently do? Sure. In that, we can agree, and I've already given some constructive ideas in this thread to that effect. :)

    Also, the whole "youtube clicks" argument is a red herring. from everything Jones has said on the subject, in the grand scheme of things, YT clicks are not a priority. In my experience with YT monetization, you're probably talking about a whole dozens of dollars of difference between their videos.



  • @TokyoSlim said in There hasn't been a single review of a 2d game in 11 months. Will we go a year?:

    @zen said in There hasn't been a single review of a 2d game in 11 months. Will we go a year?:

    Not quite. A number of indie games simply aren't on the radar even three months in advance only to launch and actually be pretty damn good. Such shockers can occur even happen in the AAA space, the most recent example being Doom. My suggestion is that EZA could be sensitive to indie games as it comes to word of mouth. That is how the aforementioned games came to my attention. Alternatively, we as a community can make an indie gem thread to get EZA started down that road.

    Again though, EZA doesn't need to be "started" down any road, they aren't ignoring indies. You seem to feel like they're only reviewing, talking about, and playing AAA games. This is not the case, and what I'm taking umbrage to is the notion that since they aren't doing as many full reviews for indie games as they are for bigger games - that they are not covering or supporting indie games. This is patently false.

    Can they have different/more specific/better kinds of indie-centric content than they currently do? Sure. In that, we can agree, and I've already given some constructive ideas in this thread to that effect. :)

    I feel the tone of my thoughts is somewhat alarmist, and in retrospect, exaggerated, which is what I think our biggest areas of difference arise from. I agree with you that they can have different/more specific/better kinds of indie-centric content than what EZA currently offers. I think our difference of opinion comes from my perspective whether this better kind of indie-centric content should be reflected in EZA reviews.

    I think we can both agree that in the very specific subject of reviews, such independent games have not been given a lion's share of coverage from EZA, especially in recent months. The reasons are clear being that in last few months have been hot fire when it comes to releases from the AAA spectrum, one great game after another. But that is why I made note of some games coming out in the future, including a couple that, as of this moment, are already downloaded to the EZA Switch.

    I love your idea of an indie-centric show. I'd definitely tune in for that, and if such a thing existed, I'd wager I'd feel less down regarding the review coverage of independent games in general on EZA.


  • Global Moderator

    @zen said in

    I love your idea of an indie-centric show. I'd definitely tune in for that, and if such a thing existed, I'd wager I'd feel less down regarding the review coverage of independent games in general on EZA.

    Realistically this is too much work right now I imagine. They are quite a small group (with the majority being part time)

    I really think Frame Trap is the answer to the issues you have however I do agree that they could go about improving the accessibility of it if they do have time.

    I think an excellent way to resolve this would be to look at how Game Informer do it.

    Youtube Video

    Basically, this would be an easier way to find the specific game you're looking for and it's also a good beginner learning session for editing. Obviously Jones/Ian/Don are already busy doing their own thing so it might give the others a chance to edit something if they have the time. Start off with the Frame Trap logo, discussion clip and end with a universal promotion bit on Frame Trap.

    It'd be a nice to have thing for sure but people should definitely understand the guys are clearly very busy.



  • @tokeeffe9

    But Frame Trap isn't a substitute for what is being discussed.

    The thread isn't here to discuss how Frame Trap should be cut and edited. It's to make note of the lack of coverage indie games have recently received and if there's something that can be done to deal with that, especially when it comes to review coverage. Please stay on topic and stop being so defeatist.

    Your suggestion is akin to a response to fans requesting an anime show, telling them that "Realistically this is too much work right now I imagine. They are quite a small group (with the majority being part time)... but people should definitely understand the guys are clearly very busy", and thus any anime discussion from EZA should be shoehorned it into Frame Trap. Lo and behold Ben and Brad made it happen even if it's only once a month.

    There will be a point where EZA grows its staff. If, and when, that happens, this thread is here to say hopefully EZA will review more indie games. It's crazy I have more faith in them that our words aren't falling on deaf ears.


  • Global Moderator

    @zen

    But Frame Trap isn't a substitute for what is being discussed.

    The thread isn't here to discuss how Frame Trap should be cut and edited. It's to make note of the lack of coverage indie games have recently received and if there's something that can be done to deal with that, especially when it comes to review coverage. Please stay on topic and stop being so defeatist.

    You're asking for more coverage of indie games (no longer 2D specific now for some reason) when there is already coverage of indie games.

    Also I'd suggest you look up the word defeatist as that really doesn't apply to this situation.

    Your suggestion is akin to a response to fans requesting an anime show, telling them that "Realistically this is too much work right now I imagine. They are quite a small group (with the majority being part time)... but people should definitely understand the guys are clearly very busy", and thus any anime discussion from EZA should be shoehorned it into Frame Trap. Lo and behold Ben and Brad made it happen even if it's only once a month.

    It's actually very different to that and interestingly shows you don't listen to Frame Trap as anime is indeed discussed there and it isn't forced on them to discuss that unlike what you're suggesting. Again what it does show is they talk about things they are interested in, whether that be an indie game, AAA games, anime, movie or whatever.

    There will be a point where EZA grows its staff. If, and when, that happens, this thread is here to say hopefully EZA will review more indie games. It's crazy I have more faith in them that our words aren't falling on deaf ears.

    In the end, what I'm saying will fall on deaf ears anyway because you clearly have no interest in listening. If all you want is them to review games that you like, tweet them and see if they have any interest in reviewing those games.

    Edit: Also I'll update the title since it is incorrect.