Feel free to share your thoughts on the Rite of Life alpha demo in this thread. Suggest improvements that you'd like to see or tell us what you really like about the game!
Otherwise it's really promising, looking forward to seeing where it goes!
Hello there, Rebourne.
I tried out this game for a couple of hours and I have much to say about it. I'll categorize:
Art & Music - Characters and equipment are the weakest visually, I think, but the rippling water and creaking trees are quite beautiful, and the music sounds pleasant and fits well into the background. I especially like the leaf-border transition screen into combat and the experience circle which fills up as experience is sort of "poured" into it. Those are really neat effects that give your gave some character. Expand? Are you considering making a different patterned transition screen for different areas/seasons/weather etc? I think that would be a really nice detail that players would enjoy - it would keep things fresh longer.
Also the sound when you run into a random encounter actually made me jump the first few times I heard it.
Level-up System - This is very cool, and makes leveling up substantially more interesting than in games where you pour points directly into stats. The opportunity for long-term planning to be a consideration and the way stat ups are interspersed with new abilities, all of which can be important, is engaging. Plus, the layout is really beautiful!
Multi-Layer Strategy - There are three basic types of attacks. Also elemental advantages and disadvantages. Also seasonal and weather and day/night advantages and disadvantages. That's a lot to consider and especially in, for example in my own play through, the fight with Moo Moo, it's worth keeping track of. I personally went down the double-striking with knives route and I love it. That means that I get to make interesting strategic decisions about whether I want to use special moves that only let me attack once but may give me an advantage by lowering enemy accuracy or stunning them. Also the special attacks have the advantages or disadvantages of their type moves too, which means that my strategy has to be tailored to my enemy, and that's great.
Tutorials - This game suffers from annoying, almost entirely text-based and far too wordy tutorials which explain things that will be obvious to most gamers. It's boring to read and hard to remember. A situational help function which could be called up at whim would be much better, and cutting it down to things that are less intuitive, like how each enemy will be weak to one attack type, neutral to one and resistant to one (which isn't necessarily obvious), would help too.
Writing - The character dialogue is... mostly dumb and uninteresting. I'd like to be interested in talking to these people, but I'm not. The yandere butcher at least has something interesting about her, but even she is to all appearances a shallow stereotype. Could seriously use some show-don't-tell, or just a complete overhaul of their scripts.
Referential Humor - The collectible resources from bushes with the stupid movie references are just incredibly lame while they have nothing backing them up. Why do we want "despicable" berries? What the fuck does it mean for a pebble to be a "people's pebble"? If you can build these things up with explanations, give a second meaning to the joke, then they could be funny. For instance, maybe the despicable berries taste horrible unless they're cooked just right, and the pebbles have a prized mineral in them or are a popular shape. But while it's just "pop culture lulz!" it's not funny, it's annoying and stupid. Either do something WITH the references, or remove them, please.
Random Resources - Sometimes the collectible things in the forest aren't the usual collection resources, but a handful of gold or exp or a monster drop just hanging out which doesn't even bring up the harvest wheel. I don't get what's going on here, and it seems lazy, doesn't fit with the rest of the game aesthetic very well.
Have I Saved? - Using the Esc menu to return to the main menu warns that unsaved progress may be lost, but the game doesn't tell me anywhere when my game is being saved. This should be indicated somehow. I was afraid I might lose all my progress because the game had never saved - that wasn't the case, I was able to reload right back where I was, but I had no way of knowing that before I tried it.
UI Information - The information about enemies you can unlock by defeating five of them seems poorly laid out and communicated. The height, weight and lore seem irrelevant to anything (we don't need stories about these critters unless those stories will give useful clues to something in the game or are very interesting on their own - they currently are not). What would be really handy here that we don't have is a little reminder of what weapon strike they're vulnerable and resistant to - this is something we'll already know if we've fought them a bit, but if you leave the game for a while and then come back, it would be useful to be able to check it without having to trial-and-error it out again. Furthermore, it would just make sense for it to be there, and feels like it doesn't make sense for it not to be. What if the lore section were to explain, in an interesting way, why for example lunges are strongest against sucky duckies? Then it might be worth reading.
Also, I'd strongly recommend using icons instead of red and green text to show an enemy's environmental strengths and weaknesses - like a raindrop if it's affected by rain. This could be done in several ways - have a Strengths and Weaknesses column for instance, and the raindrop symbol (or whatever else) in the appropriate category. Or you could use more symbols to convey strong-in and weak-in conditions for each environment state. Pictures are much easier to interpret at a glance, once the player learns what they mean (perhaps include an accessible tutorial page and/or explanatory tooltips when hovering over the symbol).
Item Stats & Content - I found a "favourite person" jumper that would have offered no armor bonus at all, just +2 evasion, and was still more expensive than the itchy jumper I had already. Equipment available from the smith and weaver seem to have randomized properties. That's alright, although they don't always make sense. Also, some armors have an element, but it's not clear what affect that has - does it make you resistant to the elements weak against that and vulnerable to the ones that have an advantage? If so, please communicate this. Tooltips would help. Some kind of message or special effect in combat if you're taking more or less damage because of elemental effects of your armor would help a lot too. Also, although I've leveled up the townsfolk several times, it seems like I stopped seeing new kinds of weapons and equipment pop up after level 2 or 3. Have they not been developed yet or is there something holding up their release?
Scrollbars - A lot of windows have scrollbars that allow you to scroll through an uncounted number of completely empty pages for no reason. Please disable scrolling to extra pages when there is nothing on them to see.
Farming - Doesn't seem to be working at all. Standing in the field where the square selector comes up, clicking the buttons on screen does nothing. Also, the farmer lady is glitched, and every time I talk to her she will rebuke me for failing to "water them every day" and give me more carrot seeds. I can get lots of carrot seeds this way and then sell them back to her for free money. Also, this seems like something that should have more tutorial available. Not everyone has played Harvest Moon or Stardew Valley.
Invisible Resources? - Sometimes I get a hand icon out of nowhere and I can collect something with the harvest wheel, including in town sometimes, despite not having seen anything on the ground before or after. Is this a missing sprite issue, or is there something so subtle I'm not seeing it, or what? Additional context cues are required here because what's happening isn't clear.
Damage Counting Glitch - When I finish off an enemy with a multi-strike attack (which happens fairly often, since I'm using knives), the next attack that hits it doesn't stack on the existing negative hit points, but starts from zero. For example, if I hit a wheatsniffer with an attack that brings it to -4, and then I hit it again for 20 more points of damage, it's final hit point total reads -20, instead of -24. Since this only seems to happen when an enemy has already died, it doesn't really matter, but it annoys me.
Menu Freeze - Sometimes when I bring up the main menu, none of the buttons will work until I close it with Esc and re-open it again. This seems to happen when I had another menu open (like my Inventory) or was standing near an interact-able person or thing.
Height/Weight Stats - For all the enemies I've unlocked hunter quest information about, the size and weight stats read 0. I guess whatever's supposed to be going on here isn't implemented yet?
Last a Day - The baker's goods which are supposed to last only one day still last until you rest, even if that's not for five days, making the advice you hear from the baker and your father to eat them in the morning pointless and wrong. I think the items would be worth having even if they do only last one day (from midnight to midnight, or 24 in-game hours, whichever way you want that mechanic to work), but the conflict between instructions and mechanics is a problem.