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I just played the new version and there are some good things and some bad things.

The new music feels very off and the drums dont sound like they belong with the dark nature of the game. You could try out to use a plucksynth or a piano for it instead, try out a lot of stuff! You could maybe take a look at the music from celest to get some inspiration.

The wave style is very frustrating, espaccially in the later levels where I fell like I get the win stolen from me, because when I prepared to land the last hits on an enemy and I did it feelt amazing. But then another wave killed me on the spot and it totally catched me offguard andfeelt really bad. The wavedesign also makes the fights a lot longer and makes it more frustrating when you die. 

In a lot of fights I didnt find the way to actually fight the enemy. Think of it this way: You can fight the enemy in two ways: by deflecting their attacks or to attack them head on. Most fights seem to favourise the first one. BUT even when using the deflect the deflect would almost never work because of two things: the enemy/enemies shot more than one shot at a time and the timing window is so short or the attack wouldnt be telegrafed precisely enough. What i mean with that is that i could know there were an attack coming, but i could never tell exactly enough to time the deflect. And even if I instead chose to just use the sword instead I would get completely overwhelmed with attacks and shot into pieces. So, in short: make the fights more clear on what weapon to use.

And just a little thing. The screen doesnt get completely blacked out when you die (there is two "stripes" at the top and at the bottom that doesnt turn black) and there is no deathanimation of the character. My screensize is 1940*1080 if you wondered.

A saving system is much needed.

So now to the good things!

I like that the game goes sideways as well as downwards. It was getting a bit tiring to just fall and fall and fall. Those points when you are walking sideways could be a point of rest and to give the game some better pacing instead of being so intense all the time. 

I really like the new enemies, they have such great animations you cant help but admiring them (even if it is the thirteenth time they kill you). ALSO i couldnt help but notice you have stolen some of the designs from jignons ascent. *wink wink*

The way the hidden boss is hidden gives the game more replayability because you get to know how to destroy such walls later in the game.

The assist mode really helps out. But i think that it is a bit intruding on the experience. You could take a look at the Gamemakers toolkit video "Celestes assist mode". 

But from what ive seen, the game is really getting somewhere! 

Really well done!

Edit: Im not at all sorry for writing such a long comment, meheheheh

Wow thanks so much for trying the new version and for writing all of this up! (I apologize in advance for the wall of text I'm about to respond with).

The wave fights: Thanks for this feedback, I think I needed to hear this. Looking back I think the wave style is a tiny bit lazy on my part: I want to test the player with a certain set of enemies in different configurations,  and waves seemed like a good way to do that, but in retrospect I think the best fights in the game are the unique ones that are only 1 or 2 waves total, followed by a non-combat section (like the first and last parts of dream 3). I think it helps keep the game more fresh and varied, so I'll definitely look to find better ways of testing the player instead of just spamming multiple waves.

On combat options (reflect vs attack): Before I give my rationale, I want to say that I totally hear you on it being a little unclear what "weapon" to use for a given fight. I think the wave-fights / design of having tons of enemies on screen is a bit to blame for that (too many enemies onscreen = tough to judge what tools to use). That said, I think one of the best parts of the game is being able to deflect while attacking, so managing all the threats on the screen at once while hitting something was something my friends said was really satisfying. 

My philosophy for attacks and reflect timings: There are two types of attacks: Projectiles (the reflect timing is dictated on visually judging where the projectile is relative to you), and "double-cue" attacks (reflect timing is denoted by two visual or audio cues followed by an attack, i.e the laser, the explosions, etc). My intention was that these two would hopefully be able to tell the player when to reflect, but again I totally feel you in that it can be unclear sometimes. Making these cues more telegraphed is definitely a good idea, thanks again for mentioning this. I'm wondering if there's a world where I can make the reflect window a little more generous without trivializing the encounters.

The music: Sorry you didn't like the new music! Myself and my playtesters actually really like the new music, so I think it's just a personal preference thing (I've played Celeste and the music is incredible in that game, but I don't think that style would suit this game). That said, I'm willing to agree to disagree here, thanks for giving feedback on it anyway! There's always more tweaking I can do.

New content: Glad you liked the new enemies and secret boss! Also, holy crap I don't think I know many people (who don't know me in-person) that have played Jingnon's Ascent! (Also shhhhh don't tell anyone I'm reusing assets haha)

Misc: (Screen fade bug) good catch! I think I just didn't scale the black panel on the screen fully. I can fix that pretty easily. (Save/load functionality) Ahhhh this is coming, sorry I've been prioritizing a lot of other stuff. The "dream select" menu is a temporary workaround for the lack of save/load, but it's definitely coming soon.

The assist modes: Yeah these are tough to get right, I'm pretty new to assist modes and they're always a little scary to implement. I've seen GMTK's video on Celeste's assist modes, which is where I got some of the ideas from, but I'm still on the market for more options for players. Which assist modes did you find yourself using? Also, if you don't mind me asking, what about them felt intrusive? Was it the fact that they were kind of "in your face" as soon as you press pause? (If so, that's only temporary). I'm planning on putting them behind a bunch of dialogs like Celeste (so that the player understands that the game was NOT balanced around them).

Thanks again for playing! You have no idea how much I appreciate detailed writeups like yours,. It's really tough to get honest feedback from people, so thanks  so much!

I just replayed the game and tried to reflect a bit on why I felt the way i felt so you could get some reasoning around what i said.

I figured the laser would need some better telegraphing(idk how to properly spell telegraphing) because i could not see the connection with the explosions at first. Thats why the timing was so damn hard to get when trying to deflect the lasers. But when i read about the double cue and looked for it in the laser i could see it. But because the laser were so busy with other effects i couldnt see the cue. So either you could lower the amount of the other effects around it or increase the opacity of the "pulse" effect. 

Also when i hear a double pulse, i immideatly figure to press when the next puls would come and i think a lot of others do as well. The problem is that you have to tap BEFORE the pulse actually comes. Even though the brain wants you to tap on the beat you have to tap before the beat, it goes against instinct. So maybe you could make the pulse attacks (laser and explosion) actually do damage a few frames after the "imaginary beat". A terrible explanation, but imma roll with it.

The hitboxes of a lot of the bullets is bigger than the actual object, at least it feels so when you play. You can generally make the hitboxes of bullets in "bullet hell style games" smaller than the actual object. Just a tip, but i recomend to try it out and playtest it. It will feel easier and a bit less punishing.

I think the reason why I disliked the new music is because it is so sudden. The hihat just comes outof nowhere straigt into your face and its pretty loud, wich is not helping, generally the new song is so much more intense. So it would be nice with a transition song between dream 2 and 3.

On the assistmodes it sounds good.

A debug mode would be really nice to have where you can see the dream your at, the level of the dream and go back and fourth between levels with a buttonpress. (bonuspoints if it is activated by simply writing "debug" on the keyboard ;  ) ) that would make 


the hitbox is off so all the characters is floating.

To get to the secret you have to move the ball thing trough the floor and it just looks like a bug.

Thats all i had time to write because the gmtk game jam is starting soon, ill write more when its done : )

Thanks for the response. I actually think the point you bring up with tapping reflect BEFORE vs ON the beat for the "double-cue" attacks is really really huge, and something I never fully realized until you mentioned it. I think if I delay the attack by just a microsecond after the double-cue, it would feel really good because then you could press reflect ON the beat which definitely feels more natural.

On the music: ahh the hihats, yeah I feel you on how jarring it is. I have another version of the track on my pc without the intro hihats because that was the one thing I was on the fence about.

Thanks again for the rest of the feedback. Also, I guess I'll probably see you out there on the GMTK jam cause I'm doing it too haha! Good luck in the jam!

Great you found my terrible explaination useful.


idk why i had to do a evil laugh but hehe. why not ; )