I have played through this and thought I dump what I have in my mind... I hope you pick up something useful from it. BTW, you are talking about 15 to 60 minutes gameplay, but for me on hard mode it was more than 2 hours for sure. 15 minutes sounds impossibly quick.
First of all, I liked the game very much! Of course, considering that it's a prototype. After some polish, maybe you can capitalize on the guys hopelessly waiting for Eitr to come out. (-;
To me, the most important issues are with the AI:
- Enemies often stuck behind objects when they try to walk towards you. They just try to walk towards you without trying to go around. (Even if I don't want to exploit that, its sometimes not easy to get to the place where they unstuck.)
- If they are very far away, they just stand there while you are shooting them with fireballs. An relatively easy solution could be if they they dodge them if they aren't in attacking mode. (Ideally the should advance to attack instead, but then the whole group has to do that at once, or else you can exploit this to lure individuals.)
There are some ergonomic issues as well, which aren't that big deals, but hopefully easier to improve:
- When the manna is lower than what's needed for dodging, it should be well visible. For example, there could be a blue haze at the border, similarly to when your HP is too low, or some icon on the character. Otherwise next time you try to dodge and nothing is happening, you get a hit, and it's annoying. (Also, when I fail to cast or dodge because of low manna, there should be also some feedback, like some sound effect, otherwise it feels as if I pressed the key while still doing the attacking animation, or something like that.)
- When some of the assigned Q-able stuff runs out, do not remove it from the lower left, just keep it there with count 0. Otherwise I will have to re-assign it every time from the tab menu.
- I would also recommend not switching to the next Q-able stuff when I ran out of the current one, because you may not notice that, and will just use something you aren't intended to use.
- Especially when back-pedaling from enemies, it's a bit too easy to stuck at the edge of trees, fences, etc. After all, it's not visible where exactly the edge of those and of your character are. (A possible approach to solve that: Instead of treating the "base" of the character as a rectangle, you could imagine it as an ellipse with infinitely slippery edge. So if you push that against an obstacle near the corner of it, it can move, sliding along the corner of the obstacle, as then it not only moves in the direction of your intended movement, but sideways to go around the obstacle.)
- The description of Dark Blessing and Arcane Essence should tell how much they refill. Is it the percentage of the maximum HP/manna for example? (It matters when you decide which attributes to increase.)
Other gameplay notes (based on hard mode - I haven't tried the others):
- Right now, there's no big punishment if you die, in fact, it can be exploited for framing XP and items. I guess some better rules has to be figured out there.
- Daggers seem to be very weak compared to swords. Also it seems to me that the axe wins hands down even against the regular (non-short) sword. While it's slow, its damage easily makes up for that. Especially as you don't hit enemies repeatedly with sword for too many times either, as that's too risky, the average damage output won't get high enough. But it's maybe a problem with my game style, I don't know.
- I think the "skeleton army" (was that the name?) boss is too difficult (in hard mode as I said). Maybe I'm just lame, or maybe it's just Dark Souls philosophy. Personally, while I have no problem with spikes, in fact, bosses should be spikes, a too huge spike just leads to endless retries until you get lucky. In this case, the type of the skeleton spawns is random, and I managed the get through when I got lucky (basically, not too many mages in the final wave), and not because I have become better or figured out a new trick.
- Obviously, content, equipment types (and skills maybe) need to be expanded, but that's well known any maybe not the priority now.