Not a bad little game, but a few critques.
The start screen is literally 4 tones repeated. Right track with the soft piano, but doesn't do much. The rest of the ost (aka 1 other track) is ok, but nothing stands out or is catchy. Felt like an attempt at the lake theme from pokemon diamond and pearl (haha), but it really, really falls short.
Honestly not bad. The lack of outlines and the very simplistic style took a while to grow on me but it works. Perhaps could use some refinement, but I'm not quite sure in what direction. It looks nice, though.
Good base, but not quite there yet. Granted, this is understandably not a fully refined thing yet, but there is a good base. Given that this is going to be the longest segment, I'm going to do my best to separate each bit.
Aro: Controls fine but goddamn this child is fast. It's like what happens when you equip all speed gear on Smash 4 Sonic. Her jumps are fine if a bit floaty.
Bjorn: I appreciate the attempt at the slingshot mechanics, but his punches are so goddamn inconsistent its like me trying to use a rubber band as a weapon. Half the time the punches don't even register against Lost Spirits, making his stun mechanic almost completely moot. I found myself not really using the slingshot mechanic much, as I'd often just get close to the bricks I wanted to punch, and then just tap shift, since it was easier. Additionally, he can't seem to damage the flying spirits, though I can't say for sure whether or not this is intentional. Please don't add invulnerable Primal Aspids into this game, Kingdom's Edge made me suffer enough.
Also I did appreciate him getting at least something from his paintings. Press F for Theo and Quyill.
Theo: A fine spirit, though his dash doesn't feel as tight like in other games such as Megaman X or Hollow Knight (the latter of which I advise you use as reference material). He felt a bit unstable, but started to shine more towards the endgame as he could combo with Quiyll in mid-air, but was otherwise underwhelming, and benched the moment I got bird powers.
On a similar note, the spikes being instant death, combined with the aforementioned instability, made it somewhat frustrating to go through Theo's hazards.
Quiyll: Triple jump is overpowered. Probably the most consistent playing of the three spirits, Quiyll allowed me to play around the game and mess around with some things. This was partly due to a bug; if Aro touched a ceiling or a wall, she could refresh her mid-air triple jumps. It was mildly useful to get to the upper dark crystal faster via wall-climbing the waterfall section. I will say Quiyll is severely hampered by the most common bug in this game; Aro can sometimes get stuck in her falling animation despite being on the ground, which sometimes prevents her jumps from being restored, particularly on the waterfall platforms. Definitely the most enjoyable power-up, though.
Areas and secrets: Asides from Theo's painting (which even had absolutely no dialogue), there really was no incentive for non-linear exploration, which is extremely concerning if you're saying this game is a Metroidvania. The map, at the very lease, is concise and woven together, if in a basic manner. The areas, while looking different, did not 'pop' to the point of having a fully appreciative distinction. Quiyll's tree was the most distinct between the three, not counting the final temple, which has a bit of a mishmash of the first area but with Alolan-Muk textures as well.
Spores: A very nice mechanic and much appreciated, particularly in the final area. I feel that there may be too much of them, though, as you can cheese through some enemies. I suppose its balanced by being unable to use Bjorn or Theo during the duration. Quiyll, weirdly, is still usable while invisible. I only wish that they could also be used to restore health, as sometimes I'd get hit by some off-screen projectile from a flying lost spirit.
Story: Basic, but not bad. The characterization was ok for the spirits at least, though Bjorn won out in his characterization since he had the painting in his favor. Still would've appreciated a bit more out of them though.
Bugs I found:
- Aro could dash onto one of the small spikes in Theo's area (in the group of 3) and live, and the spikes would despawn.
- Quiyll's passive would occasionally refresh if Aro hugged a wall while using it. It was also doable if she bonked on a ceiling, and the ceiling method was 100% consistent.
- Bjorn's punches, even when fully charged, wouldn't register on any of the Lost Spirits, despite his sprite (and seemingly hitbox) completely overlapping with them.
- Aro would be able to use Theo's passive upon respawning after a game over despite not having Theo. However, said dash could only be used once.
- You guys didn't check the goddamn ceiling, and I was able to get to the temple without the keys simply by walking along the top, dropping down, and touching the loading zone from the other side.
- The Void Portal was closed off with an invisible wall. Seems intentional. When I checked via no-clip later, some of the collision of the geometry below said portal doesn't work, as the walking Lost Spirit goes through it, so I'm just making sure.
- Flying Lost Spirits couldn't be stunned with Bjorn's punch. Don't know if that was intentional, either.
- If you game over, sometimes the game just says "fuck your save" and boots you back to the start screen with a grayed out continue button, and all your progress lost.
- If you die to the flying enemy near Quiyll's painting, you can respawn somewhere inside the tree, but only get a message saying that you weren't meant to see it, and would be softlocked. You can switch spirits and press shift with Theo though, but it just results in his animation looping forever with no way to actually move.
- Some of the geometry has weird collision and you can temporarily get stuck on them.
- Aro sometimes gets stuck in her falling animation on the ground.
- Walking Lost Spirits sometimes just don't do damage. At all. I'm not sure what triggers this.
- Landing on the waterfall platforms in the last segment is very unreliable, and half the time doesn't restore Quiyll's triple jump.
- Falling into the abyss of the waterfall in the last dungeon doesn't kill you, but sends you into this weird area. You're essentially stuck in the floor, but can see some of the dungeon.
- Some dialogue test didn't load right, instead showing up as that weird unicode question mark thing.
- Some of the geometry and art was incomplete or cut off in some places.
- The painting in Quiyll's tree loaded empty, showing no picture
Pictures of bugs:
Collision on geometry:
Quiyll exploit (not a very good picture, I know):
Quiyll's empty painting:
Tree softlock (I died to the flying enemy near the painting. it was not empty at that time):
Aro joins the void after jumping into a waterfall: