Menus could use some quality of life improvements. It feels strange you can only use start button as a confirm button and some options such as amount of lifes can be only cycled through by tapping the same button multiple times. Selecting difficulty has to be confirmed by another button press and at times it's hard to tell what option is being highlighted etc. Small gripes but ironing these things out can add that extra polish you guys are looking for.
Now for the actual gameplay itself. Don't want to sound too harsh but my initial impressions are kind of lukewarm. Everything seems serviceable at the face value and that's where it kinda ends as well. Enemies and patterns feel downright bland on a closer inspection, like it's lacking some serious punch. This isn't something I can really pinpoint and say "fix this and that", it's more to do with the overall flow of the stage design and the way enemies behave. I can tell you were inspired by Dodonpachi and the likes of it yet your game isn't quite capable of showcasing a keen understanding of what really made those games "go" from the very beginning. Take the player's laser weapon for an example. DDP has a very small, deliberate pause when you start holding down the shot button before the laser actually fires along with more focused movement and cool after-image effect, all of which lends this satisfying weight to the weapon. In Oath to the Stars laser fires instantly after pressing button and tapping the button repeatably combined with the background shaking effect gives it pretty janky feel. Lasering doesn't affect your movement speed which seems almost an oversight since it makes dodging some of the more dense patterns unwieldy.
Again, don't want to sound too much of a defeatist and I'm not saying these things can't be worked out - just that it might take some time and some hefty amount of elbow grease to get the game from okay to something special. The groundwork here is solid enough that it can be made.
No problem, I appreciate honest feedback and that's exactly what I'm looking for with this demo
I'm still working on it so there's plenty of time to implement improvements.
You're right, Dodonpachi was one of the main inspiration for the game, along with Ikaruga, but level design and balancing still need polishing and tuning, so it's good that you mentioned it.
I'll need to play DDP again to check the small delay before the laser, I'm not sure I remember that.
I was considering adding a slowdown effect while you're using the laser and at some point I actually had it in the game, but I'm still not sure about it as I didn't want to slow down the action, but I'm open for it so I'll keep experimenting.
Also interesting point about tapping the laser button, I'll experiment some ways to avoid that, thanks!
What did you think about the enemies variety? Do you feel there's too much repetition or there's a healthy amount of different enemies?
Also, what did you think about the boss?
Another thing I'd love to have feedback on is - the game doesn't have a super-power to clear the screen, as a deliberate choice. I never really liked them in other games as it feels a bit like cheating. It would be great to have some feedback on this.