Writing Constructive Map Reviews
Have you ever played a map that felt a bit unpolished? Perhaps it had offbeat notes or something that just felt uncomfortable. Better yet, maybe you’ve played something that blew you away with perfectly timed notes and a beautiful environment to compliment your favorite song. With a revamped map review feature on its way to BeatSaver, this article will help you give mappers constructive feedback and share your recommendations with other players.
Factors to Consider
Reviews have two parts: A “sentiment” and a comment. Modeled after Steam Reviews, you choose from three options:
Once you’ve made your selection, you’ll need to add a comment backing up your recommendation. Consider the following factors:
- Difficulty: Ask yourself whether the map and difficulty level was truly in your skill range. Some mappers gear their maps towards more advanced players, which may make the map feel worse than it really is. Remember that community maps tend to be slightly more difficult at each level than OST/DLC maps so there’s no shame in dropping down a level!
- Rhythm & Timing: In a game that’s all about rhythm, hitting a note that is even slightly offbeat can be pretty disappointing. If you’re able to pin-point where you found off beat notes, feel free to include that in the review!
- Fun factor: Would you play this map again? Did you take your headset off and say “that was awesome!”? Were you unable to wipe the grin off your face for the whole map? That’s the hallmark of the map that had a fun factor for you!
- Pattern Quality & Flow: How did the patterns feel to you? Did they flow really well with the music? Was it just solely up and down notes? Or did you smash your controllers together hitting two notes facing each other? (RIP Controllers this date). Take the map style (Dance, Tech, Speed, etc.) into consideration here.
- Readability: Were you able to clearly tell what note was coming up next or did some notes jump out of nowhere? An Easy difficulty should be, well, easy to read. On the other hand, an Expert+ difficulty might be a little bit harder, which is understandable. Again, consider if the map was appropriate for your skill range.
- Standards: Mapping standards have evolved a lot over the years. A map made in 2018 when the game had just come out is probably going to feel and flow a lot different than a more recent map. Bashing a map because standards have changed several years later is not cool.
- Point out what you like. If you liked everything, go ahead and say that! If something stood out that was unique and interesting, encourage that! Most players can appreciate at least something in the map that was done well on a serious map.
- Share what you didn’t like, constructively! Make suggestions on what went wrong and maybe what might make it feel better.
- Make a compliment sandwich! Wrap a piece of negative/constructive feedback with two pieces of positive feedback (even if it’s something small/basic). This especially helps newer mappers by not totally destroying their hopes of making great maps, while still noting areas for improvement.
- Make sure you specify which difficulty you played (or difficulties, if you played more than one). This can help the mapper pinpoint what they’re doing right, or where they could use some improvement.
- Remember that mappers are real people with real feelings. When in doubt, ask yourself if you’d want to read this about your own work.
- Never belittle or bash a map or mapper. We get it, some maps may not be the greatest. We’re not saying to paint every review with flowers and rainbows, but be constructive.
- “It was too hard” is not a reason not to recommend a map. Again, think instead whether the map was actually in your skill range. It’s perfectly okay to accept that you aren’t quite skilled enough to play a map proficiently.
- Don’t base your review on the song. If the mapping was fine but the music wasn’t your thing, maybe pass on leaving a review if you’re unable to separate the two.
- Don’t review your own work. Obviously we have biases about our own work so leave the reviewing to players who aren’t you.
Mapping is like an art-form and no one is perfect. Not to mention, some mappers spend upwards of 40+ hours on some maps! They have different styles, different tastes, different skill sets, etc. Providing mappers with constructive feedback on what to improve and what to keep doing is the most valuable feedback they can receive – far more valuable than upvotes and downvotes. Keep it in good taste, and remember, all reviews are subject to BeatSaver TOS.