So you’re a Youtuber, or maybe a Streamer. Maybe you have a website. Or maybe you’re whatever the hell we call a ‘Content Creator’. And if you’re one of those game-talker-abouter-things, whatever you choose to call them, you’re probably going to want review access to games. Steam keys, PSN codes, itch.io download links, whatever works.
Corrections: 2017-04-07 – It turns out Terminals does now have the coverage-checking feature I initially found it lacking.
Fortunately in the last couple years, a number of services have popped up to make this easier than manually dredging through the internet looking for contact details, searching PR databases, and waiting breathlessly for replies (please breathe; email is not a consistent delivery mechanism).
The main ones that I have found and use are Keymailer, Terminals.io, and Distribute(), and here I’m going to explain and compare all of them. Note I’m talking explicitly from the content creator side of things here, I don’t have the developer-side experience to comment significantly on the other side of things.
As a note, all services mentioned in this article are in Alpha/Beta. This whole developer <-> content creator thing is so new that even the world “content creator” is controversial at best, and more importantly all of these sites (and all of the developers, and all of the PR people, and all of us content creators) are still working out the kinks here.
All these services have had multiple issues I’ve watched get fixed over the last year, and all of them still have some growing to do. Most started out only supporting Steam keys but now all include the most popular consoles, for example. But are they worth using? Let’s find out.
(There are some very vague, very technical, very Objective™ spoilers for Undertale below. You probably won’t get the joke if you haven’t beaten Undertale at least once anyway.)
Undertale is a 122.52 MB single player game with “partial” controller support described as an “RPG Game”. The game is rendered at 640×480 pixels like a 30 year old CRT television though almost all ingame art is actually made at a resolution well below 480p. Most enemies are black and white in combat with extremely limited animation. The color pallette is similarly limited, probably 32 colors or less on most screens. The game only uses three buttons and arrow keys.
The game has three endings. Two endings can be achieved at level 1, while the other ending requires more time grinding than playing the game. The “hardest” boss in the entire game has only 1 HP and their attacks can only deal 1 HP in return. The strongest equipment in the game is literally useless. Several fights cannot be lost.
If you’re unfamiliar, Rapture is a “walking simulator”, the only “mechanics” are move, look, a very slow run button and an “interact” button (actually, every button interacts). It’s not my intent to explain the appeal of walking sim games here, but suffice it to say if you were looking into this game hoping for Deep Mechanics you have absolutely no idea what this type of game is. Continue reading “Niche games and useless reviews”