I finished Gearend! Not 100% though. In any case, this post contains spoilers.
I really liked the game!
- The characters were super fun. My favourite is ArmBoy and the fire guy (I forget his name), very entertaining. I had many laughs.
- I noticed a lot of really smart game design decisions in all the zones.
- My favourite zone was the one with Vial - I liked how a lot of the equipment had to be used to complete the zone.
- I don't know if you did this on purpose, but the design of the weapons allowed for a lot of different fighting styles - it was really cool.
- In terms of length, the game was pretty much exactly as long as I thought it would be. That being said, given the variety of equipment, I know you could have made Gearend a lot longer.
- The ending felt like you were setting up for a sequel, will there be a Gearend 2?
- The music was tight-tight-tight man, great music.
- Aside from the few bugs, the game felt super professional :)
A few suggestions:
- There are too many buttons for equipping things (Ctrl, Arrow keys, X, C). I think it'd be better if equipping were done more traditionally - something like Zelda Breath of the Wild equipping.
- Please make the final cutscene before the Unnamed (and all bosses for that matter) skippable after you see it for the first time. I'm horrible at side-scrollers so I saw that cutscene at least 10 times lol
- This is a personal opinion, but instant deaths to me always come off as a way of artificially increasing game time. The spinners I could live with, but the spikes were super frustrating. I think instead of doing 999 damage, they should do like five damage per half-second or something like that (so they're deadly, but you can afford 1 - 2 mistakes). In Metroidvanias, the instant death blocks don't work well imo.
- Keep the ESC quit at the end of the game during the credits and go to title screen after credits (it's a small thing, but I think it's more professional than telling the user to just close the game).
- The sound when an enemy or the player is close to dying is a little annoying. I don't know if anyone else has the same opinion though. In general though, I find repeating sounds when at low health annoying (like in all Zelda games, it's the worst thing ever). A game that does it super well though is Axiom Verge, the death beep fuses with the music.
- EDIT: When there's a switch, it might be good to show what the switch does. For example, in the Vial zone (can't remember the name), there's a switch above the ground door. When you go up the stairs and hit the switch, you don't know what it does because the way that opens up is off camera. Similarly, there's a secret energy increase thing you can get by using the skating legs, but when you turn on the switch you don't know what opens. Finally, there are some switches in the desert zone where you turn them on, and I never know what they did because I hit the switch before finding the thing it's suppose to open. Maybe somehow move the camera to show that a door or something has been opened (like in Zelda?)
- I have a feeling there are memory leaks because GC happens more often the more times I die. Try profiling and dying multiple times.
- If I die on the Unnamed and he's doing an attack with a looping sound, the sound loops forever upon revival.
- I think the trigger for the Unnamed to finish the drill attack is touching the floor, right? Well sometimes the Unnamed hits the wall before hitting the floor and gets stuck there, and he's super easy to kill if this happens (and it's not that difficult to exploit). So maybe add the walls to trigger the Unnamed finishing the drill attack (or put him on a timer as back up, he can't be drilling more than 5 seconds, right?).
Okay that's pretty much it right now. I should have written the bugs as I played along (I'll comment here about more bugs if I play through the game again, or try to 100% it), but I was mostly just playing the game for fun! All in all, I had a really good time playing Gearend :) All my grievances are rather minor and some are due to my lack of Metroidvania skills haha
Edit: Just wanted to say that I don't expect you to follow through with any suggestions at all, they're mostly there as part of a small "review" and my opinion on certain aspects of the game.
Thanks for a great game, Solar!