Horsey adventure had a complete story, a beginning, a middle and an end. After 5 minutes, you got the satisfaction of ‘finishing’ the game. This made it enjoyable. It’s graphics were simple, but consistent. Overall it was a fun game to play. I think it deserves the 3.6 stars it got. Games don’t have to be complex to be fun, and the most fun games are often the simple ones. Horsey Adventure had a lot of simple ‘charm.’ to it.
Every Mans Sky suffered from the same issue it’s counterpart did: after exploring a couple of worlds, you felt like you’d seen all there was to see. As such, when you close the game, you leave wondering what you have achieved. It is worth noting that the “lowest score was on graphics” (which was still a 3.0) is likely a result of visual disparity. A high poly spaceship, low poly planets. Highly detailed skyboxes and stars, but simple shaded terrain and flora. Thus, which certain aspects of the graphics were better than Horsey adventure, the half-way between detailed and low-poly made it appear unfinished.
One thing I have noticed between the (previous) community vote and the judge vote is the way they rank half-finished games. The games were ranked by the judges basd on the completeness of the experience - was it actually fun to play and pretty to look at.
But the community ranked the games based how impressive it was with respect to BGE. So for Every Mans Sky and Cave Miner, they are technically impressive but lacking in terms of player experience.
I think this is just a result of a different approach. The community is here to make games. The judges are here to play them.
I don’t know how much effort the developer put into the game but if I had made it, I could have completed it in 2 days. I worked on my game for about 4-5 hours every day, sometimes more than that, for the entire week. I put in way more effort into my game only to get just 0.1 points more.
Games aren’t reviewed based on how much effort went into the development. All the player cares about is how fun they are to play.
I really don’t think Undertow did well enough to have won be comfortable margins compared to EMS.
Look at them as a game. If nothing else, look at the gameplay length in Kendrick’s Let’s Play videos. He played EMS for ~6 minutes, and Undertow for ~20 (he said his first run was ~40?). If you had to pay the same money for EMS and for Undertow, which was better value for money? Which one did he look like he was having more fun playing?
I know I had fun in Undertow, but in EMS? Eh, kind-of.