Seriously, seriously spectacular taste of what's to come here. The passion and polish poured into this thing are evident in every corner of the demo, and the fact that you're doing the majority of work by yourself inspires me in a way I haven't felt since I first played Cave Story as a freshman in high school. Just gonna gush for a minute about the things I really enjoyed:
- Expressive dialogue boxes/sounds - I love what you've done with the dialogue effects here. The character "voices" give each a unique personal flavor, and the myriad text effects complement the "speech" nicely. Maybe more understated but very much appreciated is how economic they are with the screen real-estate; their semitransparency and adaptive movement really help clear space for other interesting character and entity blocking in the immediate environment
- Immersive sound design - The positional audio worked wonders in creating an engrossing atmosphere here. I really loved hearing Keu's sound effects pan as she moved around the screen-space. It seems like a lot of work went into creating the audio system here, and it certainly shows.
- Intriguing setting/great environmental storytelling - NYKRA strikes me a game with a heavy focus on setting and atmosphere, so it's greatly to its credit that you managed to create such an interesting world. Spaces feel lived-in, the world design is organic, and the notes, ships, and mysterious entities that make appearances in the demo have me clamoring for more.
- Slick and intuitive UI - The user interface was an absolute joy to interact with. Once I was accustomed to the game's "verbs" (namely, the importance of the up arrow) every aspect of the UI felt completely natural to me. Beyond being functionally superb, it looks damn good, too. The visual design is cohesive, and I love the radial menus as a consistent design element in-game.
With that all said, here are a few potential areas of improvement I noticed:
- Obstacle placement - I felt like there were a few outdoor sections in the game where the presence of those red matter-shredding obstacles broke an otherwise fairly calm, exploratory flow. Being stopped to execute some precise platforming jumps in the middle of a relatively open area seemed to conflict with the "tone" of the space, if that makes sense.
- Jump height - There definitely needs to be a minimum jump height in this game; having a reliable "hop" height for when I tap the jump button would be awesome, but I'd definitely hold onto the "variable jump height" mechanic beyond that.
- Enemy knockback - I felt a little frustration facing some of the game's first enemies, because it seemed like a hit from them was unavoidable. If each attack could cause a little enemy knockback, instead of every other attack, that would be very much appreciated.
And I'd just like to clarify this again: you've put together one hell of a demo here, and I have no doubt the full thing is going to be a masterpiece.