Try jumping or doing any attack (especially the upwards special move) in the defend phase, and you should see the difference instantly.
The story isn't meant to be taken seriously, it's comedically melodramatic on purpose haha
The small size of the game is due to the fact that almost half the stuff I made for it had to be cut last second. All the battles and cutscenes after the intro were made in one day at the end of the jam, since this is the only way I could have included a final boss Hawk death in time.
On the difficulty curve... different players had trouble with different parts; some people struggled on the birds battle and then two-rounded Hawk. That sorta stuff just happens with video game difficulty!
Thanks for playing and for the feedback!