Squire Grooktook wrote:
The only shmup I've ever played with fun bullet tanking is Guardian Legend. Mostly because the game is more of a straight up rpg/adventure game then a shmup, and the tanking can be recovered by killing everything for health ups. Although even there, it's probably possible to dodge everything, if pretty brutal
It's very unusual for a shmup, but it all works surprisingly well; you can probably dodge everything if you use the right powerups to cancel bullets (namely the fireball), but your weapon energy is tied directly to your main shot strength, so there's a risk vs reward element there. There's also some attacks that do a brutal amount of damage to you as well (the long eyebeams, touching bosses) so in many levels you can lose a massive amount of health with one mistake, but the chances of health items appearing increases the lower your health is, so recovery is always possible. I suspect a no-damage clear of all shmup stages (say in TLB mode) is entirely reasonable, albeit very difficult.
The overworld is probably tougher to no-damage, as some of the midbosses move extremely fast, like too fast to outrun. You'd have to plan well to deal with those or possibly avoid them altogether.
You've already been extended a personal invitation to be on the BETA list to test the game.
I'll pass on the beta invite. I tried the flash version
; I think you have an interesting concept for the game, but it's one that's aimed at a very different market of players the people who play arcade styled shmups, so I think you shouldn't be focusing on looking for feedback from us - just make the game that you want to make, one that you'll be happy with. It's a game that features upgraded, lots of buyable hats, and a bunch of levels; it's the sort of thing that'll be a hit with the casual crowd.
So, the flash game: I played Normal mode for a few minutes until I realized I'd upgraded my main gun's damage too quickly and bosses were dying before firing a shot.
Skipped to Hard mode. Basically, regardless of upgrades, I had a peashooter and could only take like 3 or 4 hits. Essentially, it was unwinnable if I ran against a boss that had attacks that were silly to dodge (the bananas and mines that arc up and then down). In fact, a lot of stuff is very silly to dodge; movement speed is just too slow when a lot of the attacks have very large hitboxes. The most frustrating part about dodging is the fact that so many attacks appear from offscreen, so it's not unusual to move around and be hit from something that you couldn't see being fired, especially when it's those blue minions that occasionally fire aimed shots. This is another reason why it's a good idea to make sure the camera has all the action on-screen: getting hit by offscreen shots isn't fun.
I eventually beat the level 72 boss in Hard mode, by rolling a particularly easy boss that tried to ram me and summoned gas mines with super easy minions. I realized that shooting the boss with my peashooter was a giant waste of time, and most of the fight was focused more on farming the minions it spawned for those temporary gun powerups and health refills. I did roughly 90% of the damage with the fist launchers.
Upgrading health is a huge priority as it allows you to go longer between health refills, and there's so many attacks you can't avoid (bosses that zoom across the screen to ram you combined with spear attacks that spawn offscreen at the bottom of the map with no warning indicators to show where they will appear). Even once upgrades, if you run into a bullet sponge you seem to spend more of the fight hunting the minions for their powerups, hoping for health or fist launchers. There doesn't seem to be a happy medium here; either you are too powerful and you can literally kill bosses in seconds or ignore bullets, or you haven't upgraded enough to survive.
And I didn't even notice until now: there's a time limit.
I had a fight going against a boss who I did scratch damage to and had spent a good minute one hit away from death plinking away and hoping for another fist launcher drop, thinking "I'm in a really good groove, I can still do this as long as I can get another powerup!" only to lose because I ran out of time. Basically, the game is telling me no matter how good I am at surviving I should have grinded more. I was left with the experience of playing what felt like a grindy, shallow action RPG. It was felt nothing like a shmup
If your Steam release is anything like the flash game I have no doubt it will be met with praise; if there's anything they love it is grinding, pixel graphics they can call 'retro', lots of collectables, and longevity in games. I would suggest focusing your efforts more on marketing to your real target audience, and less on worrying about what we think, because I think that addressing a lot of the criticisms with the game would require altering it so fundamentally that it would be no longer recognizable as Boss 101.