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Video game reviewers wanted

Too many video games is a nice problem to have, right?

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Too many video games is a nice problem to have, right?

We get offered a lot of review codes here at Thumbsticks. Sometimes we’ll get asked if we want a code; other times we’ll just have a review code thrust upon us by an enthusiastic PR person. On some rare occasions we still get physical copies of things, though this is becoming increasingly infrequent in the modern era of digital distribution.

The problem is that there are far, far too many for us to play them all.

too many review codes – game reviewers wanted

Alas, we are mere mortals – we have to succumb to the primitive need for sleep every now and then – and this leads to us declining more review copies than we ever accept. This unfortunately doesn’t sit will with our British sensibilities of politeness and graciously accepting any invitation we’re offered (because our parents taught us it was rude not to).

This is why we’re looking for a horde of new game reviewers.

Game reviewers wanted – who?

We’re looking for competent writers, first and foremost. Honestly, it’s actually easier to teach a brilliant writer how to critique video games than the inverse (to bring an avid gamer with no writing ability up to scratch). Ideally, we’re looking for a balance of the two.

English should be your first language, or if it isn’t, we sure as hell shouldn’t be able to tell it isn’t when reading your copy. You must have an excellent grasp of the language, including spelling and grammar, and any previous writing experience would be lovely. A conscientious approach to your work, including rigorous self-editing before submission, is thoroughly encouraged. There will be positive criticism, feedback, and editorial assistance from the team, but if a piece requires too much time on our part, we’ll either ask you to take another swing at it or have to reject it.

Age, gender, location, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or any other variable you can think of really isn’t important to us, though you really need to be over 18; partly so we can ensure a level of maturity befitting our site, but also so we’re not violating any labour laws in your country.

Game reviewers wanted – what?

Mostly, we have an overspill of indie games, or those from smaller/more left-field publishers. Typically the majority of these are available for the PC, because this is the most open publishing platform.

You’re therefore going to need a reasonably modern PC in order to be able to play the majority of review copies we get sent, and in most cases, a Steam account. We do sometimes get review copies for other platforms, but as with the physical copies, those are fewer and farther between. It’s far cheaper and easier for a publisher to produce a Steam key than one for PSN or the Xbox store, so even if a game is multi-platform, you can almost guarantee it will be a Steam key you’ll be receiving. Sometimes there are previews, betas, and Early Access games, too.

We can’t however promise they will all be any good. That’s the nature of reviewing, and it will be as much your job to say something isn’t very good – and why – as it is to rave about the great games. It’s important to have the ability to do that in an even-handed way, without gloating or sounding mean.

You’ll get to choose which games you review from the codes we have available, on a first come, first served basis. We’ll never force you to review anything you don’t want to, but if you’re always hanging on for AAA games (or even just for games that you expect you’re going to like) then you may have a long wait. That’s the nature of being a reviewer.

Game reviewers wanted – where?

This really doesn’t matter to us. You could be based anywhere, as long as you’ve got an internet connection, some software to write articles, and your grasp of the English language – and ability to write sparkling, error-free copy – is up to scratch.

Thumbsticks is a British English site, however. This means some words are spelled differently – like ‘colour’ instead of ‘color’, and ’emphasise’ instead of ’emphasize’ – but also that some of the vocabulary is different, like ‘pavement’ instead of ‘sidewalk’, or ‘football’ instead of ‘soccer’. We won’t turn an article away if you get these things wrong, but equally, we’d appreciate you making as much effort in trying to keep up with the differences as we do.

Physical location can also have a bearing on the ability to review certain things, but not through any mechanism on our side. In the rare event that a publisher is sending out a physical copy they may only be able to do so in certain countries, for example, or a writer might only be able to attend a review event if they’re local to it.

Game reviewers wanted – when?

As soon as possible! We have review codes sitting in our inbox that we haven’t been able to service, and those codes could be yours.

There is a question of the timeliness of reviews, however. We’ll usually get sent review codes by publishers a few days in advance, and writers are expected to finish games before delivering a final verdict. Sometimes, you’ll finish a game early and might have to wait for an embargo to lift – that’s a deal we agree with the publisher in exchange for an early copy – before we can publish it.

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Other times, a game might be so large (or we might receive it so late) that you run past the release date, and that’s absolutely fine: we would far rather you took your time and did it right, than rushed a game out for its release date deadline and cut corners. Similarly, we might not be able to get hold of a game until after launch, and the same principle applies. Ditto if you already have a game that you’d desperately like to write a review and we’ve not already covered it, incidentally – the more the merrier.

Game reviewers wanted – why?

Only you can answer this question.

Maybe you’re an aspiring writer, video game reviewer, or journalism student, and you’d like to cut your teeth on some real life reviewing? Maybe you’ve got really strong opinions (and the writing ability to back it up) and the world just really needs to hear your critical appraisal of video games? Or maybe you just really love games, have some latent writing ability, and think that reviewing would be fun?

All of these things are great starting points, but it can be a lot of hard work, with scant reward.

Unfortunately, as we’re a growing site, we can’t currently pay for reviews. What we can offer – in addition to the free review copies themselves, which are a bonus – is a great platform to learn your craft, editorial support and training as part of a fun team, and the chance to have your work read by an ever-growing global audience. We’ll also offer other freebies, perks, and access to events as and when they become available.

It certainly beats blogging on your own.

Interested?

If you’ve read everything above and you’re still interested in becoming a game reviewer here at Thumbsticks, then please get in touch.

Fire an email over to [email protected] (that’s our catch-all editorial inbox for prospective writers) with the words ‘Reviewers Wanted’ in the subject line, telling us who you are and why you’d make a great game reviewer.

Please include links to your portfolio or any previously published writing where possible. If you don’t have a portfolio or any published clips that’s not a problem – you can attach a short sample review (around 500 words) to show off your ability. If we like your sample, we may even ask to publish it as your first piece.


Want to find out more about writing for Thumbsticks? Visit this page to find out more details.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.


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This wasn't written by any one individual. This was written by the Thumbsticks hive mind. Resistance is futile.

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New PlayStation 4 releases (June 1-5, 2020)

Here’s our guide to every new PlayStation 4 video game released on the PS Store over the next week.

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New PlayStation 4 game releases
Sony / Thumbsticks

Here’s our guide to every new PlayStation 4 video game released on the PS Store over the next week.

At the time of writing, there’s just a handful of new PS4 games confirmed for release. It’s not unusual for the time of year – typically E3 would only be a few weeks away – and many PS4 titles may have made way for The Last of Us Part II, which, at one point, was due last week. In any case, here’s what we know. We’ll update this page as more titles are confirmed.

Fans of retro-style platformers can look forward to going on another perilous adventure in Awesome Pea 2. It looks like another simple but lovingly crafted game from developer Sometimes You. The sublimely executed Game Boy style visuals are also very appealing.

If you miss the great outdoors, Tour de France 2020 and Pro Cycling Manager 2020 give fans of lycra and velocipedes the chance to race across France at reasonable speeds.

We were also expecting Game Freak’s Little Town Hero to be released on PS4 this week, but it seems the game has been bumped to June 23. Likewise, Rock of Ages III: Make & Break appears to have been pushed back to June 21. Again, we’ll update this page should things change.

Here’s the full list of new PlayStation Store releases for the PS4, PS VR, and PS Vita as it stands.

New PlayStation 4 releases: June 1-5, 2020

Monday, June 1, 2020

  •  No releases

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

  • No releases

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

  • Strawberry Vinegar
  • Awesome Pea 2

Thursday, June 4, 2020

  • Tour de France 2020
  • Pro Cycling Manager 2020

Friday, June 5, 2020

  • Tcheco in the Castle of Lucio
  • The Sims 4: Eco Lifestyle (Expansion)

Catch up with next week’s new Xbox One releases.


Bookmark the Thumbsticks new releases page for the latest games. You can also follow us on social media via Flipboard, Facebook, Google News, and Twitter.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.


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New Xbox One releases (June 1-5, 2020)

Here is next week’s lineup of brand new Xbox One releases. One title is quite literally awesome.

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New Xbox One game releases
Microsoft / Thumbsticks

Here’s the full lowdown on next week’s lineup of brand new Xbox One video game releases. One title is quite literally awesome.

There isn’t a huge amount to be excited for on Xbox One next week, but we promised you an awesome game, so let’s talk about one.

Awesome Pea 2 is the follow-up to Sometimes You’s enjoyable 2018 retro-platformer. The original was a slight, but occasionally tricky game, starring a heroic vegetable. The sequel promises a larger serving of everything, including dungeons, enemies, and loot. The pea-souper visuals also return, beautifully recalling the dingy display of the Nintendo Game Boy.

Other new releases include Strawberry Vinegar, a quirky visual novel about making food to save your soul, and We Were Here Together, a mysterious puzzle adventure set in the wastes of Antarctica.

The latest addition to the Thumbsticks ‘Big Book of Bland Game Names’ is called Cyber Protocol. It’s a fun retro-style puzzler. Finally, the long-awaited Eco Lifestyle expansion comes to The Sims 4.

Each new release can be purchased from the Xbox One digital games store and Microsoft online store. Here’s the full lineup.

New Xbox One releases: June 1-5, 2020

Monday, June 1, 2020

  •  No releases

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

  • No releases

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

  • Strawberry Vinegar
  • Depth of Extinction
  • Awesome Pea 2

Thursday, June 4, 2020

  • Tour de France 2020

Friday, June 5, 2020

  • Tcheco in the Castle of Lucio
  • Outbuddies DX
  • The Sims 4: Eco Lifestyle (Expansion)
  • We Were Here Together
  • Rigid Force Redux

If you’re looking for some video game bargains, read our roundup of this week’s rockin’ Xbox One sales.


Bookmark the Thumbsticks new releases page for the latest games. You can also follow us on social media via Flipboard, Facebook, Google News, and Twitter.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.


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New Super Lucky’s Tale is coming to PS4 and Xbox One this summer

New Super Lucky’s Tale is on its way to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One later this year.

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New Super Lucky's Tale is coming to PS4 and Xbox One
Playful Studios

New Super Lucky’s Tale is on its way to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One later this year.

Playful Studios and PQube have announced that the super okay New Super Lucky’s Tale is breaking free from its Nintendo Switch bastille and will be released on Xbox One and PS4 this summer.

Pitched as a love letter to classic 3D platformers, New Super Lucky’s Tale was first released as plain old Super Lucky’s Tale in 2017, where it was an Xbox One X launch title. The revised and expanded “new” version debuted on Switch in 2019 to warm reviews and nods of moderate appreciation.

The foxy 3D adventure platformer is getting a physical and digital release on PS4 and Xbox, but there’s no news on if the game is being updated to take advantage of the increased hardware power.

You can see Lucky in action in this accolades trailer. If you own a Switch, you can also download a free demo to sample it for yourself.

Summer is a slightly vague release window, so we’ll make a prediction and see how close we end up being. Let’s lick our finger and stick it in the air… June 25, 2020? That’s our entirely random hunch.


Bookmark the Thumbsticks new releases page for weekly updates on the latest Xbox One, Switch, and PS4 games. You can also follow us on Facebook, Google News, Twitter, and Flipboard.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.


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June’s free PlayStation Plus games are War-full

Sony confirms the two free PS4 games coming to PlayStation Plus in June 2020.

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PlayStation Plus
Sony / Thumbsticks

Sony confirms the two free PS4 games coming to PlayStation Plus in June 2020.

June’s free PS Plus games are perfect for players who would like to shoot things, with the choice of a historical epic, of a futuristic, erm, even more historical epic.

First up is Call of Duty: WWII, the ‘boots on the ground’ FPS from Sledgehammer Games. The 2017 game is as subtle as a sledgehammer, but it’s one of our favourites from the franchise’s recent history. And it’s available to download right now.

It’s joined by the infamous Star Wars: Battlefront II, the game that caused millions of voices to cry out in terror at its microtransactions. With two-and-a-half years of changes and content updates under its belt, the game is much improved and probably the second-best Star Wars adventure of the generation.

June’s free PS Plus games are available to download from June 2 – July 6, 2020.

PlayStation Plus free games – June 2020

  • Call of Duty: WWII
  • Star Wars: Battlefront II

May’s PlayStation Plus games – Cities: Skylines and Farming Simulator 19 – remain available to download until next Tuesday.


Bookmark the Thumbsticks new releases page for weekly updates on the latest Xbox One, Switch, and PS4 games. You can also follow us on Facebook, Google News, Twitter, and Flipboard.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.


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Borderlands: The Handsome Collection is free on the Epic Games Store

Grab Borderlands: The Handsome Collection from today through Thursday on the Epic Games Store.

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Borderlands: The Handsome Collection
Gearbox Software

Grab Borderlands: The Handsome Collection from today through Thursday on the Epic Games Store.

Handsome Jack. You love him or you hate him. He has a diamond unicorn called Butt Stallion. You think that’s funny or deeply stupid. He’s a smarmy prick, with a hidden tragic backstory. That either makes him sympathetic or just a smarmy prick with a hidden tragic backstory.

How you feel about Handsome Jack will likely determine how you feel about this week’s Epic giveaway. Borderlands: The Handsome Collection includes Gearbox’s Borderlands 2 and the 2K Australia-developed spin-off, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. Both star the titular Hyperion President. In Borderlands 2, Jack is a villain and constant voice in your ear. Pre-Sequel, though — which, confusing title aside, is just a prequel — charts Jack’s fall from grace.

Both games are worth checking out if you haven’t already. The original Borderlands defined the loot-shooter, fusing solid FPS mechanics with RPG progression and procedurally generated loot. Borderlands 2 refined everything the first game did, expanded it, and did a significantly better job of telling a story.

Pre-Sequel transplants the action to a moon of Pandora, the lawless desert planet that served as setting for the first two games. The new environment brings new mechanics with it. The moon’s lower gravity means that gunfights and traversal have a vertical component. And, the lack of oxygen will push you between conveniently placed domes of air.

I never finished Pre-Sequel but I enjoyed the bits that I played of it. It’s a shame that 2K Australia closed shortly after its release.

The meme-y humour of Borderlands 2 and Pre-Sequel doesn’t hold up especially well (you can go ahead and use “Butt Stallion” as a litmus test for whether you’ll think it’s funny or not). But, they’re still a blast with a few friends at your side.

And, given that both are free right now, it should be pretty easy to round-up a co-op party. Here are Tom’s impressions of Borderlands 3 if you’d prefer something more current.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.


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