I really liked it! Overall a really, really nice bullet hell. I liked that every level has enemies that are kind of related to the boss, color or bullet-wise, I really loved the character interactions (indigo and saffrons dialogue before saffron’s last phase took me out, I felt the same as indigo and it was funny. indigo’s comment before fighting scarlet was also very funny) and how you subtly introduced pre-stabilished relationships and dynamics (the dialogue with amber before her last phase was very interesting and done gracefully). Knowing how the group formed through the compendium was a very cool adittion too.
I felt the difficulty curve was nice (seems like something you improved as time went on, and I think it really paid off), and there were a lot of cool patterns (I liked aqua’s first phase best). I like that the stardard mode has infinite continues but penalties on cores, and I loved the idea of an insta-fail bullet and love that it’s an evil little tadpole. I have honestly no background with bullet hell besides undertale so these opinions aren’t very well substantiated but… here they are anyway haha.
If there was one thing that wanted changed in the game, without contest would it be the game over screen. I don’t know if I’m the only one running into this, but the game takes input into the retry/quit decision immediately after dying, before the game over text or even the options have appeared. So if I press Z before I realized I’ve died, I can quit the run entirely (if the invisible cursor is over the quit option). It’s happened a few times and it really soured the experience for me. Besides making it so that the game only takes a decision into the retry/quit option after they appeared on the screen, I think it would be cool if the decision selection was the kind that had you hold the button for a few moments to confirm it.
About the core bombing, I thought it was a really cool idea in theory, but as it is it didn’t work for me at all. Mostly because 70% of the time I remembered CB was a mechanic I did because the cores I wanted to collect just flew off the screen and I wished they didn’t. Again, I’m a bullet hell casual, but usually I was focused on dodging bullets while collecting cores so the cores I tried to collect would just be shot offscreen because I didn’t angle myself properly to counter the orbit. Like I said, I really like the idea - it gives a choice to the player to sacrifice spending power for bullet power if they strategize right, but because the handling of the core is so unnintuitive I found it more of a bother than anything. Maybe assign a button that activates the orbiting, keeping one core orbiting the player while the button is pressed, and releasing it from orbit when released?
Speaking of cores, I would agree that they kind of mix with the enemy bullets. The flashing helps but not much, specially when dodging can depend on split second discernment. Couldn’t the color of the cores be indigo, as it’s the player color and contrasts well with the orange?
About Prism mode, I really like the addition of an easy mode for story purposes, but I’m not so hot about the execution. It completely disincentivizes any interaction from the player, making it just the dialogue but still including the in between challenges - none of which will be interacted with by the player. I think a better compromise for someone that wants to experience the story but doesn’t want to commit much to getting better could be made than just straight up invincibility. For example, you could double the amount of hearts, and/or raise speed of the burst charge, and/or refill hearts after retries and beginning of levels, and/or remove the core penalty, and/or slow enemy bullet speed. Basically make it much harder to die instead of impossible.
One thing: the compendium mentioned a “life burst”- is that an actual mechanic, or just lore? By testing I can’t tell if I successfully resurrected or bursted right before the bullet hit me. I’ve also let a burst after death that didn’t resurrect me (is that what the achievements call “Death burst”? the compendium doesn’t mention it) so i don’t know if the window for resurrecting is just really small.
Small things about the gameplay: Violet’s second attack sometimes has unreacheable safe spots. For example, if the only safe spot is at either end of the arc, as the arc grows out and downwards the safe spot moves outside the screen. Saffron’s first attack’s bullets can leave the screen before redirecting onscreen, which makes it hard to predict their path. In scarlet’s level the bullet that starts big then explode into a circle of little ones (from the orange) ghosts can spawn offscreen, making them completely umpredictable if you’re near them. Also, the burst sometimes does not clear all bullets as it expands. Can be bad if i’m near a swarm of bullets, use burst to clear them, and it misses them. And a suggestion about the locked modes: say what they are haha. I think you would only gain from saying what are the game modes one could get by buying the DX.
Oh, and two bugs (web version): I got the compendium completion achievement when i didn’t complete it. I had all but the two entries under prism scarlet, for context. Also, indigo’s compendium entry has her name as “TBD”.
Anyway, thank you for the awesome treat! Best of luck with the sequel, hope you keep it up.