Balan Wonderworld receives suspicious surge of positive Metacritic user reviews

Don’t believe everything at face value.

Image via Square Enix

Online observations point out that Metacritic users are creating accounts to apparently falsely boost the overall user review score of Balan Wonderworld on the review aggregator. A quick search of the game on the website shows that while there are not enough critical reviews of the game available yet, dozens of accounts say the game earns a perfect 10 out of 10 score for them. Once you take a closer look at the actual reviews themselves though, things begin to appear fabricated.

Suppose you were to look at the list of written user reviews on any of the webpages dedicated to the game’s five different versions. You will find an influx of obviously new accounts with unusual user names and poorly written English. The names included are Okuman, Phuvhu, Zomyt, and Kuramy. A quick look into each of these accounts’ backgrounds shows that they have only given reviews for five games. All of them are the different versions of Balan Wonderworld.

How inflated are the scores, though? As of this writing, the current user Metacritic scores for each platform are:

  • Nintendo Switch: 7.8
  • PC: 8.4
  • PlayStation 4: 8.0
  • PlayStation 5: 8.5
  • Xbox One: 9.0
  • Xbox Series X: 9.1

Off the bat, you may think some of those scores don’t seem too inflated, but that is merely because more people are beginning to offer their opinions on the game in the user section. Potentially to counteract the fabricated positive scores, there may be more negative scores coming in from people who did not enjoy the game. For example, at one point, the Nintendo Switch user score was sitting as high as 9.5.

Screenshot taken on March 28th at 2:53 AM Central Time

What does this mean for the game overall? Simply put, you cannot trust the user review scores on Metacritic. In the past, we have seen this kind of situation play out with other games, although admittedly, usually the user review section is getting “bombed,” and the score is lower than it would normally be. All this kind of situation does for a website like Metacritic is call into question the authenticity of user-provided scores.

As of this writing, should you believe that Balan Wonderworld’s user review scores are genuine, the game is currently better rated than titles like Ori and the Will of the Wisp, Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time, Hitman 3, and another recently released game, It Takes Two. For those wanting to judge for themselves without purchasing the full game, there is a demo available on all platforms.