Our Reviews

Battered Joystick is a new kid on the game-blog block. We’ve been tinkering with ideas on how we can grow and improve as we go, and this year we’re experimenting with adding a unified scoring system to our reviews. Until now, the decision to add a score or not was left up to the reviewer, and although we still value giving as much freedom to our editors as possible in reviewing a game, we felt that having a cohesive system that outlines what the awarded scores mean would limit confusion for both our readers and reviewers.

For the record, our office went back and forth on this decision for months – and although we’re implementing this new scoring system for now, we’re very open to your feedback, and want to work with you to create the best reviews we can.

Battered Joystick’s Review Philosophy:

With reviews, our main goal is to try to be as truthful, helpful and informative to as many of our readers as possible. We want to help gamers of all kinds out there make smart buying decisions, so if we love a game, we’ll get excited, and if we hate a game, we won’t pull any punches – but in both cases we try to be as respectful to those who may disagree as we can. Are we “objective”? No. The goal of the purely objective review is hard enough, arguably impossible, for a single critic to strive for let alone a ragtag group of young go-getters like ours.

See, our editors are unique and beautiful snowflakes, each with their own tastes, experiences, gaming backgrounds, and most importantly, opinions about games – and we love them for that. Those opinions are what fuel this site, and as such we fully support them to tell us exactly what they think about the games they’re playing. We don’t expect that you’ll always agree with the score we award, in most cases you can bet there will be disagreements within our author pool, but these are just honest opinions, we’ll stick by them, and we hope you’ll join in the discussion with us.

It’s important to not to lump all our editors together either. These are snowflakes, remember, so if one reviewer scores Game X higher than a different reviewer scores Game Y, it doesn’t necessarily mean that Game X is an objectively better game, just that our first reviewer liked that particular game more than our second reviewer liked the game they played.

All that being said, this is how Battered Joystick’s Review Scale works:

We use a five-joystick, ten-point system, which increase in increments of half-joystick. Each of the ten joystick values are matched with a one-word summary of what that score means at a glance. A more in-depth description of what said score represents can always be found below. Our reviewers, in their expert opinion, choose the score they feel best matches their experience with the game and how they would describe/recommend it to you, our lovely readers. The scale is as follows… (high to low)


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5.0 Joysticks: “Knockout”

There are no perfect games… but this is our perfect score. A “Knockout” offers the quality of game every game in that genre should strive for. It is the best kind of game available at that moment in time through impeccable execution, or is ground-breaking in pushing the boundaries of gaming ahead. A must-play, truly special game – plain and simple.

Mike Tyson's Punch Out


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4.5 Joysticks: “Incredible”

“Incredible” games excel in most every way, but are just that one step below the absolute top class of games at the time. They impress, but may not revolutionize – or perhaps are a bold new idea that doesn’t work out perfectly – either way, its flaws are largely negligible and “Incredible” games can be heartily recommended to all gamers.

Knights Of The Old Republic Screenshot


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4.0 Joysticks: “Great”

The sturdy backbone of a solid gaming library, “Great” games may not blow everyone away, but offer excellent and memorable experiences. Though they may suffer from a handful of issues that keep them below some of their contemporaries,“Great” games are well worth most gamers’ attention, and are easy to recommend despite whatever problems they may have.

Bushido Blade 2


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3.5 Joysticks: “Good”

“Good” games are your solid, fun experiences. They have flaws, maybe even some serious problems, but the overall experience is enjoyable, and gamers who take the time to play “Good” games won’t regret it. Maybe we’ve seen these games before, but there’s nothing especially wrong with that. “Good” games can be recommended to pretty much everyone with a few words of caution.

Shadowrun Online Screenshot


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3.0 Joysticks: “Okay”

Games that are “Okay” might offer up a great idea but be lacking in execution, or might be fun despite themselves, but are overall an uneven experience. “Okay” games will certainly find an audience, but aren’t for everyone. They can be recommended to fans of that particular type of game, or with a few “ifs” and “buts”.

No More Heroes Screenshot


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2.5 Joysticks: “Forgettable”

“Forgettable” games aren’t really good, but aren’t really bad either – which can at times make them difficult to review because they foster no strong responses one way or the other. There is certainly still fun to be had in a “Forgettable” game, maybe a good idea that doesn’t pan out, but the end product is an inoffensive experience that you forget immediately after playing. “Forgettable” games skirt the line between recommendation and condemnation, but might find a niche audience.

Tony Hawk's Project 8


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2.0 Joysticks: “Subpar”

A “Subpar” game is below average and comes up short in a multitude of ways. At worst, an underwhelming, uninspired, or otherwise insignificant experience; At best, a diamond in the rough – you can see there may have been a good idea buried in there somewhere – but unfortunately, for most gamers that diamond isn’t worth the dig. By and large, these games are best to be avoided.

TMNT Screenshot


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1.5 Joysticks: “Bad”

Fundamentally speaking a “Bad” game is a waste of your money, and more importantly your time. These games offer up next to no redeeming features, and those good ideas and fun moments are so rare that they simply tease us about the better game that could have been. Unsurprisingly, we do not recommend you play a “Bad” game.

Final Fantasy All The Bravest Screenshot


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1.0 Joystick: “Awful”

Simply put, “Awful” games barely function, contain no interesting ideas, or are otherwise no way worthwhile. “Awful” games aren’t only impossible to recommend, we actually strongly suggest that they be avoided at all costs.

Ride To Hell Screenshot


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0.5 Joystick: “Broken”

“Broken” is the lowest score we can give. The game is a failure in every conceivable way, offensive to the senses, is simply not a functioning product, and should never have been made available to any consumer, ever. The fact that they are taking people’s money and time is a straight-up insult to gamers everywhere. Look, don’t play them – okay?

E.T. Screenshot