Assessing a game is an art, science, part intuition and part knowledge.Developing a critique of a game sends you on a journey to understand the various aspects of a game. The journey teaches you more about games than the end analysis about the game.
Here are some broad areas you can look at when assessing a game.
What is the Intent of the Game
The intent of the game can be making money or providing fun or just a passtime or a combination one or more of them.
If the motive is to provide fun, the definition of fun varies with the audience, age, education and so on. For example, for a racer’s game, the primary audience is casual gamers rather than hardcore gamers. Look at the primary audience of the game and see if it satisfies the primary audience. If it does, you can conclude that the game has fulfilled its intent.
Does the Game Engage the Audience
An engaging game puts the players in a state where they lose track of time, feel like playing nonstop, and want to return to the game at the next opportunity.
Engagement is a state of mind. Sometimes the engagement comes through a skill that the player has to master or the challenge to finish a particular level. If the audience returns to the game consistently, you can conclude that the game is indeed engaging. Often, the engagement is provided through unlocking higher levels of the game or providing a leader board where the player can compare herself with all those who are playing the same game. Social features, tasks and rewards, too contribute to higher engagement levels.
Also, check if the game is replayable. Replayability is the art of providing variation when a player returns to play a game. Variation increases engagement.
How is the Game Designed
If the game in question is for casual gamers, then the game should present the levels appropriate to such audience. In other words, the game should not be either too shallow or too difficult. Also, it should reveal appropriate levels based on the expertise of the player as he masters each skill level. The art, the soundtrack, the player persona, the game mechanics, and the overall feel of the game should be geared for the audience.
Analyse all games that you play so that you can master the art of developing a critique of games. The knowledge and insights you gain through game analysis will help you make sound decisions when you develop games.