Here at Pocket Gamer we use a ten point scoring system when we're reviewing games.

We look at four key factors when we're reviewing a game, as well as searching for that certain almost indescribable something that sets the very best games apart from the pack. And then we describe it.

Let's take a good long, hard look at those four criteria first, then we'll break down the ten marks that make up our revolutionary scale.

  • Audio / Visual – How does it look? How does it sound? How well do all the parts that make up the sensory experience of the game gel together? Do we like the fonts? Is there anything jarring or confusing? Does it use a nice shade of blue? It’s not just about competence, but artistic vision, style, swagger, and individuality.
  • Gameplay – How does the game feel in your hand? Are the controls up to scratch? Do all of the elements make sense when you squish them together? Are there any difficulty spikes or enjoyment troughs? Does it have too many buttons?
  • Value – Is there enough here to warrant the price that you're paying? Are the IAPs reasonably priced? Does the game ever feel like it's trying to gouge you? Is there paid DLC? Does it steal your bank details and sell them to internet fraudsters?
  • Innovation – Does the game do anything new? Does it have any big ideas? Does it follow the pack, iterate, or run out in its own bonkers direction? Have we seen it all before, or are we calling our Mum to tell her how special it is?
Those final scores: What do they mean?

This isn't a game, it's an abomination crawling from the pits of hell. Don't touch it with a bargepole. It'll be broken, ugly, and probably install malware on your phone.

It's not as bad as a 1, but there's still so much fundamentally wrong with this game that it'll make you want to claw out your eyes. Expect poor controls, glitchy graphics, and a funky smell.

This one probably made us laugh, so it got one more than a 2. It's playable, but you're not going to enjoy your time with it. Despite occasional signs that it could have been better, it really isn't.

Rather than being a conflagration of problems, a 4 has just a couple of massive things wrong with it. It won't be completely hateful, but it'll make you angry and sad more often than not.

If a 5 was a noise it would be 'meh'. If it was a flavour it would be plain. A game that gets a 5 will be functional, fine, and you'll delete it after less than an hour.

A 6 is above average. It has something. It might not have a lot of that something, and it'll probably annoy you quite often, but it's still worth a shot. You might even enjoy yourself.

A Bronze Award shows you that a game is worth your time - especially if you're a fan of the genre or the developer. It'll be a little rough around the edges, but you'll mostly enjoy it.

We're getting close to must-buy territory now. A Silver Award winner does pretty much everything right. It's not perfect, but it's super fun, and you'll spend a good few hours exploring its bits.

Oh my word. A Gold Award is an instruction to buy. It'll offer something that other games in the genre don't, and showcase some great ideas that lesser developers will inevitably steal.

That rarest of things, a Platinum Award. Few have won them because few have deserved them. Any game emblazoned with one of these is unique, expertly put together, and utterly essential.

If you ever read a review on Pocket Gamer and feel we've failed to be consistent with these guidelines - or if you feel the guidelines themselves are wrong - then give us hell by emailing [email protected]