Thanks so much for playing! Sorry for the insanely late response. Glad you liked the music transitions and the basic gameplay.
For controls, I'm planning on letting people rebind the controls, but that's in the works for the future. I'll keep the default controls in mind and see if other people have similar feedback on Z/X vs Q/W and whatnot. Controller support is also enabled in this build.
Allowing people to control the screenshake is definitely on the list of accessibility options, thanks for letting me know it was a little intense.
Haha sorry that the lightning platforming section felt like a bit much. I wanted a non-combat section where you're forced to parry lightning to let the player know "oh I can parry ANYTHING". That said, I sort of forgot that it's also the first platforming section. I like the idea of breaking the flow of combat a little with more platforming/less-intense sections, so I'll keep that in mind and try that out as I continue.
I agree the difficulty curve is a little intense, definitely still a work in progress so I'll keep tuning and refining that part. As for the parry being a gimmick: I actually want the core gameplay to revolve entirely around the reflect/parry, so that's the main reason why it's so hammered in at the beginning.
That said, it needs to feel fair, and I think it feels really bad to miss a parry by a tiny bit, which is what probably happens to most people on their first time through. I think delaying the attack to allow the player to parry on the beat is a good way to make the parry feel a little easier. Perhaps lengthening the window as well could work.
Glad you made it to the sniper (and glad you found the assist modes useful!). The second phase is definitely a little insane, especially for a first boss. If I can come up with an elegant way to nerf it, I probably will. The sniper is the last thing in the current build right now, so you've seen everything I have to show you for now.
As for the lack of story: The story is in progress! I've written a lot of the story already, but I'm still looking for elegant ways to introduce it to the player. I think it'll help a lot with breaking up the flow of combat, but it's still in the works. I'm trying to iron out gameplay before I invest too much in the story.
As for 'which weapon to use', I like your suggestions. I think the core of your suggestion is to make it visually clear that an attack is unavoidable (MUST be parried), vs which enemies / attacks can just be fought conventionally.
One design I've been thinking about is to allow for 3 levels/degrees of player skill expression:
Level 1 player skill is just attack enemies, and run away / dodge enemy attacks (low risk, keep yourself out of harms way, low reward).
Level 2 is attack enemies, and parry attacks when they attack (put yourself in harms way, high risk, get rewarded by parrying enemies which deals tons of damage / stuns depending on the enemy).
Level 3 is parry attacks WHILE you yourself attack the enemy (put yourself in harms way and time parries while also attacking for maximum reward).
I think the issue right now is some enemies REQUIRE you to be experienced enough to use level 2 skill expression, which is kind of unfair for new players who are just getting used to the parry. I think the solution to this is to keep unavoidable attacks (things that MUST be parried) to an absolute minimum early and make them very visually distinct from other attacks. I also want to emphasize to the player that parrying is the MOST EFFECTIVE way to play. I still need to iterate on this though, so thank you for your suggestions.
Thanks again for playing, and thank you for the wall of text!