To echo what others have said, I try to find the good and bad of all my reviews. It's a hard balance to do, but rather than take my own experience I also try to decide if it really is a bad game, or if it's just something I personally wouldn't like. Not so much recently, but I've played plenty of games that I don't like because it's not my thing (real-time strategy, as an example).
But when it comes to reviewing, I try to put myself into the mind of the casual game player and take my own likes and dislikes out of it. I also try to find a few good things as well, just to enforce some possible potential. It helps to keep in mind that most of the developers in fan communities probably won't have the experience in commercial development, and most will use the RTP (at least in terms of graphics). However, I also pay attention to how they are used, and if any attempt was made to go outside of those graphics. There are some games available that really do shine above others, and if that's what you are aiming for, you may want to look at those.
I don't want to point names, but since Jonnie19 opened himself up already, I'll pick on him. Was the game bad? No, not by any means. But if you look at the score, you may think it's a bad game. This is one of the reasons we are in discussion about changing this up (we'll announce the changes once we get approval). The game is unique and has plenty of potential, and luckily it's in demo stage, however, it also has plenty of mistakes that prevented me from going much higher in my review. But there's a lot more there (currently as a concept) that will make me give it one more chance when it's finished.
In the case of Crysalis, I haven't played it much myself, nor do I know who made the game. My guess it was made more with a casual audience in mind versus the professional. Since VXA attracts more hobbyists than commercial-like, they probably wanted a game that the casual maker can open and study from, which is why it doesn't showcase VXA to the max. Without having played the game, I think it was more of a tutorial type game to teach the basics of using the maker. A good follow up would be for them to make a more hardcore game that stretches the system to the max for advanced training.
Now, some games are so bad that there's really nothing to sugarcoat. Typically, I tend to steer away from those games because I know my overall review would be very negative. But somebody has to review them, if not for any saving grace on the developer's part, then to inform the audience why it's bad and why it should be avoided. Keep in mind, though, that you are attacking the game, not the developer, so avoid insults that may be considered flaming. Most of the time, the reviewer uses a more humorous approach for these kind of games. Look at some of the "Let's Play" reviews on youtube. I can't believe some of the games they are willing to play. Instead of lashing out at the developers, though, they make it fun and enjoyable by doing voice makeovers, and cracking jokes at the expense of some of the scenes or designs.
It's a bit of a trick reviewing a bad game in a typical post without coming across as insulting, but it can be done. Rob_Riv used to do these kind of reviews a lot on his/her own personal blog
. Screenshots and funny humorous captions helped.
Now one final point, more to Jonnie19's comment, I understand if English is not a person's native language, however, that shouldn't excuse bad writing and grammar. It'd be up to them to hire a proofreader to help them along before displaying their game, if for no other reason than to avoid a comment against their writing mechanics. I have not yet played Nexus (it's in a to-do list with a long list of games going as far back as 2009), but if it's as bad as I've heard people say then chances are high I won't care to play much past the first hour.
But again, even if I don't bother finishing a game (bad grammar can be a deal breaker for me), I have to consider if the game play, mapping, and balance were at least subpar.