It's the end of the year, a time of reflection, so today we're going to look back over the last 12 months of reviews across Nintendo Life. Reviews are our "bread and butter" so to speak, but have become quite a challenge for us as a team. The sheer amount of games currently being released means it's almost impossible to review everything; therefore, we have to pick and choose games we think our audience is most interested in hearing about.
This year we reviewed a total of 603 games - now that is a lot of games. How many of those reviews do you think you read? All of them? Good answer. Across those 603 reviews you generated nearly 25,000 comments, we'll forgive you if you didn't read all of those.
In terms of spread, 472 of the games reviewed were for Switch eShop, then 118 Switch retail games, 10 retail 3DS games, only 2 Nintendo 3DS eShop games, and finally 1 mobile game.
Top Rated Games 2018
It's been a solid, if not amazing, second year for Nintendo Switch which saw us dish out only three 10/10 - Outstanding scores. Can you guess which they were?
The first was back in January when we awarded the amazing adventure/platformer Celeste the top score. Second was Bithell Games' text-em-up Subsurface Circular in March. Finally, unsurprisingly, was just a couple of weeks ago with a small release called Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Some other high scoring games were: Firewatch, Hyper Light Drifter: Special Edition, Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom, Just Shapes & Beats, Dragon Blaze, Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna - The Golden Country, WarioWare Gold, Pokémon Crystal Version, Hollow Knight, and Iconoclasts.
Outside of that, we awarded a total of 82 games with 9/10, 181 games with 8/10, 153 games with 7/10 and 97 games 6/10.
Worst Rated Games
Whenever we review a game we have to give it a fair shake - without this integrity the voice of the site is meaningless. Now, when we're picking games to review we'll avoid the games that obviously look poor; you don't need us to tell you about every single release, right? That said, we still reviewed some clangers this year, dishing out 54 scores of 5/10, 21 scores of 4/10, 9 scores of 3/10, 2 for 2/10 and incredibly one 1/10. Ouch.
Most Viewed Reviews
As mentioned above, whenever we're sifting through the release list every week we have to make decisions on which reviews are going to be useful to the majority of our readers. This task isn't as simple as it sounds; we don't simply go after the most popular games, as often really popular games are expected to be good enough for an impulse purchase. In lots of ways we focus our attention on the games that look like they have the potential to be great, but also have the potential to fall flat, hence requiring a review.
To us, a successful review is one that helps inform as many people as possible and help their purchasing decision, good or bad. The main metric we have to measure this is views, so which did you read most this year?
Most views scoring 10-6
- Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!
- Starlink: Battle For Atlas
- South Park: The Fractured But Whole
- Octopath Traveler
- Shining Resonance Refrain
- Hollow Knight
- Saturday Morning RPG
- Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana
- Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Most views scoring 5-1
- Gal*Gun 2
- Ark: Survival Evolved
- Cities: Skylines
- Scribblenauts: Showdown
- R.B.I. Baseball 18
- Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion
- Senran Kagura Reflexions
- Fantasy Hero ~unsigned legacy~
Least views (any score)
- Toast Time: Smash Up!
- Super Hyperactive Ninja
- Nidhogg 2
- Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP
- 6180 the moon
- Professional Farmer: Nintendo Switch Edition
- NAIRI: Tower Of Shirin
- Rock Boshers DX: Director's Cut
Another metric we can look at is social media, and how often our reviews are shared. This indicates that someone found it useful and wanted to share it.
Most shared (any score)
- Everspace - Stellar Edition
- Starlink: Battle For Atlas
- Horizon Chase Turbo
- Mega Man 11
- The Alliance Alive
- South Park: The Fractured But Whole
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
- Friday the 13th: Killer Puzzle
- Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!
- Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
As you can see, it's extremely difficult for us to predict how many views or shares a review will get and often the results are surprising. Alas, we will keep trying to perfect our formula in 2019.
If you read, liked, shared or commented on any of our reviews this year, thank you! Were there any games we didn't review that you wanted to see in 2018? Let us know in the comments below.
Keep up the good work!! =)
Great work and great site
That's a lot of reviews!
Let’s not forget all those people who said the review scores were all wrong, yet kept coming back for more.... 😄
Another great year in the bag guys. Hope you (and we all) have an amazing 2019!
Starlink is still my surprise for how badly it did in the stores. I enjoyed it, and it’s thoroughly worth the £20 you can get it for now — even for the Arwing model alone.
Wandersong!!! Where's the review?
Besides of that, I've read every single review, you can believe it. Because you're so much lovely
I may not always agree with you guys and gals, but nevertheless, you're my #1 source of written reviews of Nintendo games. Thank you for your hard work.
Superola and the Lost Burgers sounds like a great game! Is there a physical version?
Thanks for this year, NL! Even if I sometimes can be a little harsh against some of your content, I really enjoy this place (minus the trolls) and I often find your reviews to be good. I’m here every day, checking news and participating in discussions.
@Nanaki I think the game would have done better if they skipped the toys and put out the game at a lower price. I think the whole thing was a bit confusing and the original asking price too high. It’s not a bad game.
Great to see that NL started to thrive again in the second half of this year. The Dom months were incredibly worrying. The staff shake up has paid off big time and everyone seems to be working within their strongest skill areas (Ryan - news, Mitch - reviews, etc.). Nice to have news in the small hours and at the weekends too.
2018 was definitely a mixed bag. The first ten months of the year were kind of slow and sad, but it sure finished with quite a bang. 2019 is shaping up to be quite a marked improvement.
Keep up the great work!
@Nanaki Just got it for Christmas and im loving it. I think that people just reject any toys to life game these days sadly...
Keep up the great work! This site is my primary news source for anything Nintendo (though Serebii is still king of my Pokemon castle ). I don't really get the complaints about some of the reviews; I agree that the scores of a few are a bit over/under what I feel they should be, but I feel there are more hits than misses here. I suppose everyone reacts differently to what does and does not bother them about a game.
Good to see you're still working on perfecting your formula! Reviews are by far the biggest reason why I come to this site, so anything you can do to get more reviews out there (or at least more reviews of worthwhile but under-the-radar games) is much appreciated.
Keep up the good work. Please, reconstruct your comments section to reflect to modern times (that is, I comment and I can read a reply for my comment directly below my comment).
Love this website. Keep up the great work. With so many great games on the horizon 2019 is going to be a busy year!
@Cosats threaded comments coming next year
@antdickens providing you get your coding for dummies book ordered
@Nanaki you could just lend me yours.
@antdickens thanks for keeping a great site great. Congrats on another successful year, you've been a fun resource for reviews and news as well as a great community.
Here to stay, enjoy it a lot. All the best wishes for another great year guys!
@erv you’re welcome, thanks for the kind words!
I look at the score and if it's predictable or below seven, a game I'm not interested in or a download, I mostly give it a miss.
But hand on heart NL reviewers, how many of these games get played in full? And how many get just a couple of hours or a couple of levels of play before pen meets paper?
@antdickens I’m afraid I swapped it for Morphies Law based on @Visor ‘s recommendation
Nidhogg 2 needs more love... brilliantly simple 1v1 gameplay and a perfect fit for Switch.
I hope it sold better than the NLife traffic indicates...
The amount of clickbait/fanboy fueling articles sure has gone up this year, definitely not a good thing for those of us that don't enjoy sifting through them to find feature pieces that @Damo and others seem to put a decent amount of time and effort into.
Interesting stats thanks for sharing!
@antdickens - cheers for that, I love a good set of statistics.
And I really rather enjoy this site. The you're doing it wrong-ers may be the loudest rattle, but I've always found it a genuinely warm place to ask questions and discuss games - there are some really good people here who are happy to talk and exchange information and opinion. It's a good place. It's also the first place I come to for reviews.
So a happy new year to you and yours, and to all who are open on here to chat and discuss the games.
And the ones who moan about something being clickbait but read anyway, to those who say a review or review score is wrong without having played the game - may your mirror reflect back how others see you.
As the folks here said, keep up the good work!
Though I do think the review for Touhou Genso Wanderer Reloaded was too harsh. Admittedly the game isn't "amazing" by any means, but I did manage to enjoy it and most of its frustrating parts were on me than the game itself. Then again, it's my favorite "Mystery Dungeon" game by far, so...
Keep up the good work, you lovely people.
Thanks for your great work! I read most of the reviews and found that my opinion often equals yours.
It’d be interesting to see which of us reads Nintendolife most often. Or maybe that’s a bad idea. 😊
As you can see from the data, a random game chosen out of those reviewed on the site only has a 3.5% chance of receiving a 10/10, whereas 7/10 is the most probable outcome of all the scores, at nearly 30%. Both 6/10 and 8/10 are just under 1 in 4, and 9/10 is only awarded to 1 in 9 reviewed games.
It’s remarkable how closely this resembles the normal distribution. I haven’t run a normality test but, assuming it is, we can make some predictions for 2019 based off the data. The mean score awarded in 2018 was 7/10, and the standard deviation is 1 and change (think of this statistic as the average distance away each score fell from the mean, though technically it’s the square root of the average squared distance from the mean... they do this to get around negative distances which would cancel out) but we’ll round down to 1. According to the central limit theorem, 2 in 3 scores awarded should fall between 6/10 and 8/10. And 19 out of 20 scores should fall between 5/10 and 9/10. Only 1 in 40 scores should be awarded a 10/10.
After checking several game sites over the years, Nintendolife is the best for information, reviews and fun. Thanks for the good work!
So glad to see Everspace #1 on most shared. I'm anxiously awaiting for the physical release, which according to the publisher, will cost they same as the digital release and won't have some limited stock shenanigans.
But yeah, I like reading NL reviews or the quick eShop round-ups.
Thanks to everyone at Nintendo Life for providing all the great content you do, including Alex's awesome Youtube vids, this site is by far my favourite gaming site and i just love how you can feel the buzz of excitement on here during E3 or when a Nintendo Direct is taking place, long live Nintendo Life !
Worst score of the Year is here too - Cities: Skylines is so underrated, it's a most awesome sim on the platform to date.
Had an amazing year reading NL articles, it feels like so long ago when Tom left the Editing position.
So far the only review I disliked was the Senran Kagura one
Everything else was fantastic as always be it the Smash review, or the speed of how the news went out, everything.
Here's to another fun year with the Switch and NLife!
@JaxonH Can you explain that graph to me? Is it suggesting the review scores follow a random distribution?
I remember being told once that in statistics the only thing worse than one pie chart, is two pie charts 😉
Not random at all. It’s close to approximating the normal distribution (technically we’re dealing with integers, but it still approximates the normal distribution), but it’s bounded by the limit of 10 on the right, which scrunches it up a bit near the limit, and tends to skew left a bit as a result. I still think it would pass a normality test. Let it be said: we could more accurately model our data with a more complex distribution, like the Weibull Distribition, which would more closely model the negative skew, but it’s just gaming site data for a website, and I don’t really feel like going that deep into it. But it should be noted that technically the scores at the far left end (1, 2 and 3) should probably not be considered outliers, though our Normal Distribution model will characterize them as such.
The great thing about the normal distribution though, is you can make predictions based on the probability of an event occurring within 1, 2 and 3 standard deviations away from the mean.
The mean score is basically a score of 7/10 (7.06 to be precise), and the standard deviation is a bit over 1, but we can round it down to 1. Given the central limit theorem, we can predict that 2 out of 3 scores (68%) awarded on NintendoLife will lie between 6/10 and 8/10. 19 out of 20 scores (95.4%) should lie between 5/10 and 9/10. And aside from outliers, all scores (99.73%) should lie between 4/10 and 10/10. So any scores of 1, 2 or 3 can be statistically categorized as outliers.
And our current model of a normal distribution with a mean at 7 and st dev of 1 predicts about a 2.5% chance of a 10/10, and in the graph we see the actual percentage is 3.5%. So VERY close to what our model predicts. Within 1% which is well within margin of error. Not to mention the fact the more scores they award the more closely it should resemble the model. We only had 600 scores in this data set but if we had 6000 I’m willing to bet it would be much closer to 2.5%
That top chart is called a histogram. I’d try to remember that because it’s one of the most important graphs in statistics and it’s one that’s used in practically every field of work in the real world. The pie chart is just for percentages.
I started coming here because I found it was the only place I could find reviews of many games that looked interesting to me on the eshop. It’s now one of three sites I check on a daily (+) basis.
The star ratings on the reviews matter far less to me than the content in the articles. Regardless of whether you rate it a 6 or a 9, I always get a good feel of whether or not a game would appeal to me personally.
You folks have made being a Switch owner that much more fun and satisfying. It’s very appreciated.
@JaxonH Interesting, thanks.
NintendoLife I love you guys and am happy to visit your site daily.
But I still hold that the Cities Skylines review you did was a disgusting, inaccurate, unjustified pile of fiction and easily the single least accurate thing you've ever posted.
Aside from that one review, I have generally found your site highly reliable, user friendly and generally pleasant. For a few weeks the comments sections were getting kinda toxic, but things have calmed down (honestly I think largely because I blocked a few specific individuals personally).
Keep up the good work, and here's to another year of my pointless comments on this site! Happy 2019!
I just started visiting this site again since I picked up a switch for myself and one for my daughter. So I promise to read all of next year's reviews. Keep up the awesome job.
That score distribution is all you need to know the scoring system is broken.
There are no 82 90% games in a complete console generation, let alone in one year.
263 games in the three highest rankings vs 12 games in the three lowest rankings?
Not very lifelike.
Also not my experience on the eShop, the biggest garbage can since Steam.
I don't know if you respect the companies that give you those free games to review, too much, or you really think the eShop is the gods' gift to gamers but either way, your scoring system is painfully broken...
Thanks a lot.
"This year we reviewed a total of 603 games"
I tend to click on EVERY review that comes up in your feed, skip to the summary, and then if it sounds like something I might be interested in, go back and read the whole thing. Considering how many games you reviewed that scored in the 8~10 region... I sure spend a lot of time reading your reviews, it seems. At any rate, Nintendo Life is the ONLY game website that I feel like deserves my precious time, and I think you're doing a great job, so I will continue reading your reviews on games that I probably won't buy and then thinking "I could have used that time to play a game I own".
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