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Since I believe the music to obviously be something you hadn't had time to properly manage, I'll focus my criticism on game design purely (although kudos on the aesthetic, it looks good!)

I'm having some issue considering this a shooting game without shots - because it feels more like a Strider-esque or Zelda 2-esque game, IE, an action-adventure game. I also believe the "Dodge" mechanic needs to not only get a rename, but also receive more focus - that's one of the most fun parts of the game! I could imagine an entire game about reflecting shots with a shield in a 2D Shooter - and that'd basically be a 2D shooter where you can't shoot! You've got a lot of potential here - you just need to improve a lot of things in terms of game feel and level design (and god the music) and you're absolutely good to go! <3

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Thanks for playing!

I'm glad the aesthetic worked for you, I think that 1-bit graphics work nicely in a fix.

I can see why it doesn't feel exactly like a shooter, since there are games (like the ones you mentioned) that feel very similar to this one. The "dodge" mechanic is meant to be the main focus, but I added stabbing to make you feel like you have a little more control. The game feels more balanced with stabbing in my opinion, but it does muddy the theme. (My excuse? Metal Slug has a knife lol). With more time, I'm sure it could be balanced properly without the knife.

More on the dodge, another commenter suggested "block" and I think that's a much better name for it, I may go with that moving forward. I did design a few interesting things into the levels that you won't notice if you don't reflect bullets (a couple enemies on high platforms can be killed by reflecting bullets), but I didn't really have enough time remaining to flesh that out.

Also, the music. I've gotten a lot of complaints about it, but if you don't mind I have a few more specific questions about it: would it seem less bad if the volume wasn't unexpectedly way too loud? Is all of the music bad, or just the main theme?

I appreciate the feedback! I'll consider it all when/if this becomes a full project.

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Glad to help! And I'll offer as much feedback as possible!
About the music, specifically: It feels like a cacophony. As in, it feel slike a lot of loud, incoherent rhythms mashed together with no cohesive glue between them. Making it less loud (or better yet - a voluem slider) would be the first step absolutely - but there's also something that you need to keep in mind: What is the pace of your game? Does this help the pace? Not help? Or worse: hinder it? Because maybe for a game about reflection (which requires some thought), a blast of cacophony isn't the best way to go about it. And I couldn't hear the SFX or anything - I'm judging purely the music I"ve heard while travelling through the levels. I actually think SFX would help a lot with game feel! 

One more suggestion, if I may: That's a great excuse. Use it and abuse it: actually make it so that the stab only comes out when near the enemy, or funnier yet, when you dodge besides the enemy you instakill him with a flashy cut, just like Metal Slug! I mean it - use and abuse that excuse. Wear the inspiration on your sleeve! Heck, make the enemy placement, enemy positioning, all around metal slug! 

A lot of game designers fear wearing their influence on their sleeve, but I really honestly believe it only helps your game: It's what you do different that makes it stand out, after all!