Watched the whole run, and it was great! I'll start of by addressing some questions/bugs you encountered, and then I'd love to get your feedback on some future directions I'm considering for the game
- Vomit card description mentions healing slime terrain - that's indeed a typo, should be slowing slime terrain
- At one point your energy was above your max energy - that's debatably a bug (I plan to fix it). Your energy and health is allowed to momentarily go above your max, and it's brought down to your max at the end of your turn. In that instance you did a flash, so your got more energy, but your turn hadn't ended it.
- There's a bug where a bunch of action log messages talk about things getting poisoned and not poisoned, when they should actually be talking about other status effects like strengthened, etc, so that might have contributed to some confusion about poison
- Trained slimes are kinda OP, even after some last minute nerfs. They are summoned by the Slime Tamer so there's potentially an infinite amount of them, which is why they don't give you progress towards the Slime cards (each level has roughly equal amounts of Crystal/Mushroom/Slime enemies and thus potential card unlocks). They have a poison ability on a cooldown, and one of my last minute nerfs was to change it so when they are first summoned, their ability not charged and ready to use, so that's why sometimes they didn't poison you.
- Crystalize card (turn terrain into crystal terrain) is not very good, since the additional damage from crystal terrain mostly affects you
- You weren't too sure what Armor did or when it would be useful
- Strengthen (deal double damage) isn't very good since you mostly just eat enemies
- Those previous 3 (or 4) points are all related to damage and health, which is the subject of the biggest design change I'm considering, more on that later
- Finally, how big are you supposed to grow? I don't know either :P Designing the game, I knew I wanted their to be a trade-off between growing stronger and consuming more energy, but I didn't balance for a particular rate of growth or final size. The City with all the juicy peasants end ups encouraging a final growth spurt before the boss fight, and I like how that turned out, but honestly that's a happy accident.
So, the big, far-reaching change I'm considering: remove damage.
- The player mostly eats enemies directly, and damage modifiers (strengthen, crystal terrain, armor) are not too important. I'm considering removing damage and health entirely: all enemies have a single hitpoint, and the player no longer has health and only dies from starvation.
- Armor currently subtracts damage received, which would no longer be relevant. Instead, it would fully block a single attack then go down a level (so Armor 2 would block 2 attacks, etc).
- Poison is damage over time, which would no longer be relevant. Instead, for enemies, poison would mean delayed death, giving the chance for a friendly Shroom Doctor or Shroom Chemist to cure them. More later on what poison would be for the player...
- Strengthen is double damage and would no longer be relevant. It would change to Piercing, letting an attack ignore armor (I'm guessing you probably didn't even notice that some enemies have armor in the current game, haha).
- Crystal terrain gives +1 damage received, and would no longer be relevant. I haven't quite decided what to do with this. It might be a completely unrelated effect. Perhaps instead you slip over crystal terrain like ice in some games, which would fit thematically with the Flash and Charge crystal cards (the sprite would be updated to something smoother looking in this case).
- When the player is attacked, instead of taking damage, negative Wound cards are added to their deck (similar to Slay the Spire, or the board game Mage Knight). The player is then a theoretically unstoppable monster, but they are too careless, then their deck will be clogged down with useless cards and they will die of starvation because they are not able to fight and consume efficiently.
- Healing abilities would remove wound cards from your hand.
- Other negative status effects for the player would add cards to your hand or deck. Getting slimed would add a Slimed card to your hand that is slow, and playing it removes it from your deck. You would then get to choose if you wanted to play it and take the delay right away, or let it remain in your deck for a while. Poisoned would be another card added to the player the deck, that would continue to add additional Wound cards (details TBD). This would also easily let other status effects be implemented. For example, Confusion (currently can only effect enemies not the player) would be a card that when played moves the player in a random direction and is then removed.
Other, less fundamental changes I'm considering:
- There's too much luck involved in the map / exploring. Not finding the stairs then needing to double back can be a death sentence since there's no longer anything to eat. I'm thinking I'll add some Slime/Crystal/Mushroom walls that when dug out, leave a consumable slime/crystal/mushroom, so you can save some snacks for the way back if needed. Other solutions I'm considering (might implement all them together): smaller maps, more interconnected maps, Stone Sense card to help with exploration.
- Introduce Poison as a mechanic in the Lair, since it's weird to have cards to cure poison when you never get poisoned...
- Difficulty levels. You're the only person I know of other than myself to make it past level 2. If I go through with removing damage, then difficult could be pretty simply adjusted by changing the amount of energy you get from eating things.
- I guess that's about it other than a bunch of UI improvements and smaller balance changes. Though I'll end with a tease that I'm also brainstorming a whole new suit of Lava enemies, cards, and terrain ;)
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this, since you clearly have a good grasp of the game! And feel free to let me know if you have any other questions.