PixelJunk Dev Calls Out IGN’s SideScroller Review

Daemon Hatfield, Senior Editor at IGN, was the subject of some probing questions this morning from PixelJunk studio head Dylan Cuthbert.  Hatfield’s review of PixelJunk SideScroller, which was a 6.5 score, clearly upset the developer.

[drop2]”You didn’t play it on normal,” said Cuthbert over Twitter.  We’ve yet to play the final game, so can’t comment, but apparently finishing the game on normal unlocks an extra final stage.


“Rest assured I did,” replied Hatfield publicly.  “Usually a big fan of your games, sorry this one didn’t click for me.”

Cuthbert annoyed that it was “the first review to go up” tweeted that “it’s obviously completely rushed by an intern”.  Understandably annoyed, it then appears that Hatfield removed part of his review.  “That’s really unprofessional,” he tweeted to the reviewer.  “You removed the section from your review showing clearly you rushed through the game in casual.”

Hatfield later blogged about the issue.  “I beat SideScroller twice, once on casual and then on normal,” he said. “The content was exactly the same in both play throughs.”

“When I assured the developer I had played on normal, he said I would have unlocked an ‘epic last stage’. I was confused, because I didn’t seem to unlock anything except the hard difficulty.”

“I thought this line in my review might be bothering him: ‘Finish the last stage and defeat the final boss and what is your reward? A swift kick back to the title screen with no more than ‘congratulations.'”  This is the line that Cuthbert says was removed from the review.  Screengrabs of both versions are here on GAF.

Hatfield says this was done “not to hide anything but in a hope to not mislead anyone into thinking there isn’t a brief little something at the end of the game, however insignificant.”

We’ll have a proper look at the final version of SideScroller (released yesterday onto the PSN) over the next day or so and pass our own comment – you can read our hands on here.  It’s worth mentioning that Cuthbert doesn’t seem to have much of an issue with the score, just that the final last stage wasn’t mentioned.

Much like the secret stage in Shooter 2 wasn’t mentioned in most reviews, eh?



  1. The problem is the game does change when you play it on hard and finally brutal. Each have a unique visual aesthetic. Brutal also adds a gameplay quirk where enemies explode into bullets after they are killed.

  2. Lol, I’m the one that took the screenshot of the review. I do that quite frequently since IGN likes to do stealth edits. Then it got posted on GAF by kassatsu. It was funny seeing the thread explode XD

  3. Well i’d be confident that Dylan knows his own game, this seems to be a rare situation in which a developer getting irritated by a reviewer is justified.

    • What if the reviewer didn’t lie and the unlocking of the final stage bugged out?

      • Maybe, but the fact that part of the review was removed says something about the reviewers confidence in it :P

  4. Ahh made my day thanks

  5. He posted a defence blog but it just seems like he’s digging himself a deeper hole. Why ninja edit the article if he wasn’t in the wrong. His excuses are laughable.

  6. To be honest I love the game. Very retro and bloody tough (as all PixelJunk games are) and very reminiscent of R-Type. Considering also how many 10p pieces I used to shove into arcade games that are similar to this over the years I thought it was excellent value for money. But each to their own I guess :)

  7. I’m looking forward to TSA’s review.

  8. Completing the game on normal unlocks a final stage? During a Q&A, Sid Shuman previously said on the US Playstation blog: ‘Also, the only way to unlock the “true” ending is to complete the game on Brutal.’


    So, which is it?

    • when you complete on brutal you unlock the ability to use any of the visual styles from any difficulty. So that’s the most complete way to complete the game, I guess…

  9. All quibbles aside, i have to say that ‘Daemon Hatfield’ is a pretty awesome name!

    Not sure if the parents or deed poll should be thanked though.

  10. A poor review from IGN will only make me like this game more.

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