Website MMOs.com accused the developer of directly paying for fake reviews, suggesting the company is “trying to boost sales in an incredibly shady way” and “trying anything and everything to get people to try the game.” “[I]f you’re going to try to trick your customers into buying your game[,] you might as well spend a little bit more and get your fake reviews written by native English speakers,” wrote the site, calling for Steam to take down the reviews.
On the Steam forums, Drago acknowledged the suspicious reviews but denied responsibility for them:
We know this is a serious issue and we are looking into it. To be clear: Drago did not buy any reviews. We did give keys to a bunch of people as part of sweepstakes or promotions including partners, testers, friends (as is common in the industry)… we are investigating this and will have questionable reviews (about a dozen as we can see) removed.
However, I also still like to point out that we got many negative reviews in a similar manner, that is from accounts with limited playtime and no other reviews.
In a followup post, Otherland rep Alpha noted,
I agree some accounts look suspicious. But pls also take into account that a) many bad reviews look the same way (bad English, same games that are available for free, close to zero play time) and b) could someone actually want to put us into bad light… because yes, it is very obvious that these reviews are not based on quality playing time and even dumb people like us would know that.
As mentioned before we are investigating. In the meantime I hope you are still enjoying our game. Many people do as you could see from reviews with dozens of hours played.
Massively OP took a look at Otherland back in September, arguing that “the gameworld’s idea feels fresh, but the execution and quest dialogue are hard to get into.”