Alright, finally got to play this thing.
First off, really nice job. Art, music, atmosphere, effects, its all pretty much spot on. The backgrounds are nice looking, but subtle enough to not get confused, you can tell enemy shots pretty well even when chaos is going on, so thats a big thumbs up.
There are a number of issues i have with the game personally though.
This is 1.5hours into the game, so i'm not sure i've figured everything out yet, which is another point i'll adress.
Ok, so the first major confusion hit me when i went gameover. The idea that you choose your squad is pretty awesome, but the whole screen was just overwhelming.
The contrast of the text, the choice of yellow for some text, which makes it pop unecessarily. It's really hard to figure out whats going on at a glance. In addition to that i find it incredibly hard to read the font, or lets say, it feels really unpleasant.
being blown up, and changing its shape doesn't help getting an overview of whats going on in that squad, it feels all very deliberately confusing to me.
When it comes to the score screen, i find some problems with focus and scaling.
The upper 3 values, Score, Mission Time and Pilots Deployed have unnaturally huge numbers, and it makes it kinda obnoxious to read the numbers. I'd also love to see a delimeter for thousands, as in the score on the very top. (also just realizing, why is that score different?)
The ingame stats, while secondary, are imo loosing too much attention. They will tell you how well you did compared to before. And its a scrollable list too, which is kind of odd too. The stat numbers itself are so far across the screen its really troublesome to look back and forthe for each stat, to see which value is which. I'd suggest to either get them closer, or add icons to get a quick overview of what number is what stat. I'd love to see this screen rearrange to fit all info in a well readable manner.
Ingame looks mostly nice and clean, although, ALTHOUGH, it does happen that the portrait covers up some incoming markers which had me killed more than once, which is just infuriating. A suggestion would be to move it to the far right side.
I'd just like to know what the bar beneath the portrait is supposed to be. which i couldnt figure at all. Is it just decoration, or does it actually imply something?
Ok, let's continue to the way the game teaches the player.
You start with 3 ships, pretty normal. You die, you go into the squad shop, you eventually figure out you can buy ships. You continue, you collect shiny bits, and realize your shooty gets stronger. Sometimes you can SUPER, until you realize there are bars at the bottom that indicate super fuel/ammo and the level your shooty thing is currently at. Add 1+1 and you figure out that shiny bits increase your ammo/level. While i like the ammo/level mechanic, it is not very well transported into the game at all. There is no feedback, no blinky blinky, no beep boop swoosh when you level up, that tells you "YOU DID SOMETHING" and therefore the player is like "SOMETHING HAPPENED, WHAT WAS IT, DO IT AGAIN"
This also was the reason i didnt figure out why the bar didnt charge beyond lvl2, and why sometimes i had splitshot for a splitsecond, which almost felt like a bug, but not quite. Turns out normal shooting depletes all ammo on level 3, not even sure what happens with super at 3.
Why? Because apparently shinybit stacking is a thing, and that mechanic is really weird. I'm not sure about my opinion on it yet. Let's say i'm not sold quite yet. The idea sounds neat. you don't collect your bits, they build up, stack up, and you can super a bunch, collect them, and super a bunch. Kind of interesting, interesting skill challenge, so to speak. Unless you run into a bullet, ship, obstacle, because you dont want to collect and therefore waste 2minutes of bitstacking for shitty waves. Then you die, and your shiny bits evaporate in your explosion. You continue with a new ship, and no ammo/level, and you are massively behind, depending on the ship and ammo. It doesnt help that they either try to go offscreen as fast as they can, or swarm towards you so you have to actively evade them. I've found stacking them in some areas night impossible, eventhough it would have been massively helpful (act 1, asteroid bouncy thingies).
Like i said, i'm not really sure about this mechanic. i don't feel it helps the game all that much, considering the difficulty it introduces, for a small dps boost, that is often times at the wrong place, or just too short to matter.
Anyway's lets carry on. Squads! Yeah, cool concept, neat idea. Love it! Although, right now it is like, look at score, choos squad, pick all, go. No reason not to. handpicking just takes far too long, and imo doesn't really benefit you all that much. sure, you can get rid of primaries/secondaries you dont like if you got the creds to spend, but there's no real meaning to pick certain ships over others, since you cannot really choose which ship you have at what stage in the game. No tag-team like swapping out. No choose what ship you want after death. Not even a preview of the ship you'll get next (OH next ship is a splash, that will be awesome in this and that area comming up, lets play careful so i dont waste it before). Kinda sounds like a voluntary crash to get the ship done for the job, but thats the vibe i get from squads. A bit of wasted potential at this point.
Unless you really get into the game it will be a get-a-random
-ship-every-death or a bunch of busy work every continue to re-assign your squad. I love the idea and setup, i just feel it should be more than it is.
Speaking of ships, i feel the values, specifically life, is really vague. Chance to evade a hit, with ranges from A-F. Whats that mean? 50-0%? 100-50%? 63-12%? Generally a random value determining your death seems a bit weird. I'd much rather see a more deterministic approach. something like remove 1 level/ammo bar. if not possible>die. If you want to bind it to a stat, i'm sure you can figure something out. but a evasion chance is really cheap (or actually wrong imo), especially for this kind of game.
2 more things, kind of relating to each other. I'd really like to know the hitbox of a ship. in a game where you need to do precision movement, it is kind of nice to know where you're gonna be killed. is it a bounding box, the cockpit, or just the ships muzzle? i wouldnt know. Maybe show the hitbox superimposed on a ship in the squad screen ship/character selection.
The second point is that i found it quite difficult to evade or precisely do small maneuvers, a small acceleration would probably help making tiny positioning adjustments.
All that said, i really dig the game. I hope you can tell
I'd love to see it flourish, advance, and become great, because it definitely has the potential. Just right now it feels like an amazing basis, without much replayability or decision making.
So, ppd, ryu, get the fuck busy, and make this thing amazing