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Starlight Demo Feedback Thread !


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Huh. Seems no one else has done it at the time of this writing, so I guess I'll open up the thread for people to post their opinions and feedback on Starlight Divide's demo.

 

So, uh, for starters, Congrats to you guys for making this demo, since from what i've followed, it means a lot to you guys. I was mostly only in it in a "let's see what they've been putting Reborn on hold for" way, but I've had a pleasant surprise and I'll probably follow starlight's development from there.

 

This post is probably going to end up resembling a doorstopper's worth of nitpicks by the time I'm done writing so here's the TL;DR : I liked it and there's a lot of potential there, but it's still rough on some pretty important aspects of the gameplay.

 

Here's the detailed version more or less sorted in bullet points.

 

-Aesthetic and Music : great job on those fonts, pretty much nothing to complain about. You've hit it out of the park as far as i'm concerned.

 

-Gameplay : I think you've had a really great idea for the concept of this game. I've been playing quite the dose of fire emblem and X-COM games over the years and the premise of a t-rpg that throws away everything involving dice rolls to replace it with a rythm game mechanics is REALLY SOLID. Like. I'm kinda surprised it has taken this long for someone to come up with the idea, in hindsight, because it has the potential to solve SO MANY frustrations people have been having for years with RNGesus. 

 

As for the execution of the premise, I think you have something pretty solid in the core ideas. I like that your units can take quite a beating thanks to the mechanics, as it encourage you to not turtle up and rewards you for being agressive but not reckless, and that even though perfectly blocking attacks in the back seems basically impossible, putting some effort in the dodge really makes the difference between taking chip damage and losing half of your health. 

 

I'm overall positive on the huge chasm there can be between trying to brute-force your way out of some situations and making smart use of your units - I've had an overall dreadful time dealing with the two beast ennemies in a timely fashion, probably because I didn't approach the situation the right way, but then I put Karus in a chokepoint to prevent the other enemies from pitching in and HOLY SHIT THIS MAN JUST KILLED THREE PEOPLE JUST BY PARRYING. and then again on to the next turn. I also really liked taking a look at the stats of the boss and going "wait a second, what's up with the piss poor magical defense, what happens if I use Ice Sha- OH HE FUCKING DIES, THAT'S WHAT HAPPENS". Making use of the positionning and the specialities of the characters feels very rewarding, and combined with the lot of different mechanics in the rythm game it already makes the game feels very rich in situations and depths, and that's really great.

 

Although, it might be a bit TOO rich for an intro. Of course, this is a demo so it makes sense to want to showcase a lot of things, but for a tutorial I felt a bit overwhelmed by how much stuff was thrown my way.

 

But that aside, On that font, that's about as close to a straight bullseye as I could honestly think of. So. Congrats for that.

 

I do however have a lot more nitpicks in the technical aspects of things.

 

So, for starters, I've encountered this graphic bug you can see in the attached image, where the menu opens up mid-cutscene and overlaps on the text. I'm pretty sure it comes from me closing the menu too fast and exiting the map immediately after, or something to that effect, but it doesn't want to go away, so my only option to not miss 70% of the dialogue of the cutscene was to kill and reload the game. Nothing very problematic, happened once in like my two hours of playtime, probably easy to fix.

 

I do take a bigger gripe against the framerate, or rather the stuterring, though. It runs smooth for the most part, but you can really feel it stuterring at various points, be it opening the menu/loading a save, finishing one character's action and trying to move to the next too fast, or even sometimes during battles, and I probably don't have to explain why something that's timing-based like a rythm game absolutely needs to be as spotless as possible on the framerate, lest it becomes an endless source of frustration for the player.

 

For the record, my computer isn't a toaster. It's a laptop with an I5 8th gen, a 1050X and 8 gigs of ram, and everything's on a SSD. I don't think I'm being unreasonable in saying something like that ought to be able to get a flawless framerate on the game considering it's scope. I'm guessing this is a lingering problem from rpg maker's terrible-ass performance due to being a very old engine, and I understand very well this is probably going to be an absolute pain of a problem to fix, not something easy, buuuut I really hope you'll be able to fix it over time or it probably is going to hold the game back in it's quality.

 

(To your defense, I realized after playing the game that I was running it with integrated graphics rather than through the graphic processor, so maybe that explains it. But on the other hand, while I don't feel like replaying the whole demo to see if it significantly improves the stuttering, I've played a couple turns just to check and found it didn't solved the problem, and I'm guessing the problem is more on the processor side, but that's just my guess.)

 

For that matter, I seem to have noticed than unlike landing hits, which seemingly doesn't have this, missing a hit seems to prevent you from hitting the button back again immediately, which tends to mean in practice that missing a strike often means missing the next, whic aggravates the occasionnal stutter A LOT. i'm not sure if this is intended or not, I'm guessing it is, but just in case I'm putting it there.

 

Which leads me to another thing, which might just be me overthinking it, but I feel like it's not a super good idea to have the beat start at the other end of the screen, have it fast forwards toward you really quick and then slowing down for the rythm section, because it tends to throw off my timing on the second strike. Maybe I'm just bad and making up excuse for that, it's a pretty real possibility considering I couldn't be good at Crypt of the Necrodancer to save a life, but. I feel like just making the beat start at the middle of the screen would be a better way of handling it. It would also give you a preview of what you should expect for the timing, which would save us an instant of thinking about it mid-rythm. 

 

I have a more minor nitpick to pick with the preview system. Imo, it kinda falls under the same problem Codename S.T.E.A.M., another tactical game made by the devs of Fire Emblem, encountered with it's gameplay. The preview does tell you how many hits you can get in and how many damage they will inflict, but the problem is that those numbers are then modified by several factors it doesn't take into consideration, which quickly renders the preview a very obsolete way to estimate the damage you will inflict.

 

Critical hits are the most obvious one, since landing those is semi-reliable, but there's also Star's damage incrementing on each consecutive hit on Ice shard and shoooting, and I think it's possible to get in scenarios where you attack, the enemy retaliates, but you get a parry, so you get additionnal damage.

 

Obviously fixing this is a non-trivial problem, but I think there's pretty simple ways to convey way more useful info to the player for not too much effort than currently : notifying the player on whether or not there's a chance to get parries during your attack, whether you have a specific modifier for this move like the increasing damage of Star seems like no-brainers. I'm not sure of how feasible it is for the next one, but a thing that at least sounds very smart in my head would be : store how often the player manages to land a critical hit for each different possible critical timing / how many time they missed so far, so you can give them an estimate of whether or not relying on critical in a given situation is a good idea or not. It might also be a fun incentive at improving on the timing, but I'm probably getting ahead of myself.

 

On a different matter, I appreciate giving the button prompts, but I assume they're based on an XBOX controller and they don't seem to recognize I'm not playing with that. I've had a mildly terrible time looking at my ps4 controller and speding several seconds wondering to myself which button was X and Y whenever I tried to use an Art. We could really use button prompts that match the controller you're using, or at least something more generic.

 

Although, I've been able to play the game pretty much without issues with a ps4 controller without having to plug in the thing that makes my computer believe it's an xbox controller in the first place, so props to you for supporting the controller in the first place.

 

Last nitpick, in a "we REALLY need this feature in PLEASE" way : please let us toggle the aggro range of the enemies like in Fire Emblem.

 

I assume you guys are familiar with the idea since I feel a couple of interface elements feel straight out of fire emblem, but frequenting Pokemon Desolation's Discord has taught me to not assume something isn't a coincidence, soooo just in case, modern games of the FE series let you toggle the aggro range of all the enemies at the press of  a button, and highlighting specific enemies let you toggle their specific aggro range independently of the overall aggro range, and it's a bit of a godsend to help positionning your units when preparing for an attack. I'm not joking in saying that not having this here already caused me a couple of fumble on positionning because I assumed the aggro range was further than it actually was despite double-checking and wasted a couple turns in the demo.

 

Alright, that's it for the gameplay. 

 

Last thing, in the plot department : While I like it, I really like the dialogue writing you have going there, and the plot concepts seem pretty promising, the mood of the game felt a bit too... Forceful, maybe, for an introduction ? That's not necessarily the right word, but, like, between the rapist misoginyst guard and the embodiment of lust who's throwing around lines that would definitely be right at home in hentai, it feels a bit too much.

 

I've kept that for last because I'm pretty aware it's a very subjective and minor thing compared to the rest, and that I can't quite put the right words in what exactly I'm thinking, and it's not like I'm against the overall premise of the characters either, but I can't help but think it could use just being a tad less... straw-man-y ? I dunno, that's probably not the right word, either. Unidimensionnal ? Eh. I keep going back at Forceful, but I'm not sure if it is veyr clear either. I guess that what I'm trying to say is that I'm not against talking about sexual violence in games, but throwing this much at me as the game's first impression is mildly off-putting. 

 

But yeah, that aside, pretty curious to see where the plot is going, and the cast seems likeable enough to me, although i'm getting Titania vibes from Star in the "one day you're gonna have to learn that shooting at your problems isn't going to solve them" way. Then again, I loved Titania's arc overall, so I'm not complaining.

 

Best of luck for future development, in any case, and thanks again for your work !

 

 

interfacebug.jpg

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Thanks for taking the time to write all this!

 

So a few of the points can be answered easily:

  • Button Prompts can be switched to PS style in the options menu
  • Togglable aggro range is definitely a planned feature, I miss it too foshure
  • Wrt 'force' feeling inappropriate for an intro, this isn't actually meant to be the start of the game! It's a few chapters in. We've got plans ^^

Combat forecast and lag I don't have immediate solutions too, but we're in agreement that both of them need some work, and they'll definitely continue to be focuses for us as we progress.

 

I'm glad you enjoyed the game though! Cheers! 

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Just finished my run through of the demo and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I come from the perspective of an avid fire emblem fan and other tactics like games such as luminous arc and much like the other poster I found this to be a more active and refreshing take on the genre. 

 

tackling different aspects one by one:

 

gameplay- As I briefly mentioned it is a refreshing thing to be a more active participant in a  tactics/jrpg/strategy game rather then just pushing a button and hoping all goes well. Making use of the cardinal direction wait system for defensive/parry benefits also was a nice addition. I'm going to make the assumption that if you are being attacked from behind that you are not supposed to be able to double tap the crits to negate them fully in order to make sure the player receives some damage and can't just run roughshod through the game if they have fantastic timing. or I just need to git good :shrug:. regardless the "rhythm" combat as the other poster put it feels good to execute, especially when the blocks are smaller in size, and not overly punishing. moreover it gave me the motivation to get better at the system- as opposed to something like fire emblem where you kind of just sigh and restart when getting hit by a 1% crit. I guess another shorter way of putting it is the gameplay feels interactive and in a good way. I can only assume that my already high opinion of it will only be higher when as a player I can have more depth with class and (possible?) weapon systems. I am interested to see how level ups will factor into the game design as you have seem to made the approach of having the player being more active, not that having a little bit of rng is a bad thing, just purely curious to see what kind of system is adopted.

 

music- I wouldn't expect anything different as reborn's music is excellent but I found SD's music to be fitting and well used. Maybe its just because I played this late into the night and didn't notice because tired brain, but a way to possibly improve further is to add a "b track" of sorts to switch to while in combat that is a little more faster tempo rather then keeping the same track playing. It could go even further to have different variations for bosses and defending and attacking. Granted I understand fully this is a first look demo and you may already have plans along these lines.

 

Art- the background/battlemap is beautiful and it looks like a lot of love and time went into it. The character art is done well and helps to bring the characters to life giving them a style and substance to set them apart.

 

story/writing- I found the story engaging and the writing helps to give it that edge. The story was dark but gripping and the darkness of it helped to sell the stakes and keep me invested to see the demo through. there were a lot of nice little touches that I noticed when I accidentally exited out of the save menu and loaded an auto save to finish off the boss again- things like all the different boss conversations, and even different dialogue when the boss is defeated by different people. as well as (his name escapes me) when the pet guy and his companion are separate or together they have different escape dialogue as well.

 

UI- this is where my only real gripe lies and its a small one. Again this may have more to do with me playing late at night, but the menus did feel a little clunky to navigate. it also felt like some things took a couple of confirmations like attacking or selecting arts to use, but then a single button press after opening the item menu will use an item. overall its not a bit deal and with some time I got used to it, and really its to be expected with any new game experience.

 

Overall I'm very excited to see where the project goes and can't wait to play more of it! oh also on my run through everything seemed to run smooth as best I could tell, nor did I run into any bugs or issues.

Edited by erikabyte
more info in the story/writing section
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So before i detail anything i must say that i liked the game!

 

I do play a lot of fire emblem as well as devil survivor(playing=/=good) So to me trpg is a genre i ve come to like a lot

 

I only played once so far(i will try to do so one more time to try and get a better turncount) but the map design seemed good to me:The map is very big for the 4 characters we do have but there s not much moment where all we do is walking:the enemy count seems on point

The demo is also a rescue mission and it really did succeed in that regard since the  map size+handling the enemies in a timely fashion make failing seem like a real possibility(that and watching the person being saved slowly suffering, adding some constant pressure to get things done quick

 

The rythymin  combat: it s not really something i am used to but once i understood how it worked how was able to manage decently and even enable moves that would have been too risky in a game where tankiness comes from avoid/pure tanking).It s fun too.

 

With the tighther hitboxes i noticed that sometimes the lag would make you miss some of them.It happened only one time  where i can be sure it was the lag and not me and some other times too, although in those cases my own reaction speed might be at fault.I think that in those cases, the game is unable to detect the press of the z key and launch the dodge attack animation simultaneously

 

The characters have colorful expression and banter.Obviously we've only seen a glimpse but what i ve seen is already interesting enough

 

The map ost fitted well and i m curious to see where the story will go

 

I have not yet encountered any major bug but the game seems to ask a lot out of a computer: mine is reasonably powerful(8go ram,i5 processor) but sometimes i experienced lags in menu, during saving, between the transition map-->battle or when cursing through the map itself.Those were not too annoying nor gamebreaking but i don't know if it s something that can be ameliorated or if it s just the map size that pushed the games limit.The memory space of my computer is also quite limited so it might have had something to do with it

 

The saving mechanic is a godsend(literally as well), especially since the map was challenging.Though it might lead to a point where it s impossible to loose since you can use it for checkpoint but also as a way to retry any battle(since they are all skill based, a stubborn enough player will probably be able to eventually do perfectly at most battle) .At the same time it s the player putting effort into retrying and you can view it as  simply a way to not waste time going through entire sections of "solved" gameplay.I don't really  know

 

 

 

 

Suggestion

 

-Not sure how extensive nor how necessary it would be but maybe separate difficulty into the two sides of this game, since both don't require the same skillset

 

A)The tactical difficulty:ennemy stat, their class, their equipement, their ai,their placement: anything that makes juggernauting with a singular unit difficult and would force/incite the player totake a more careful/cunning positioning

B)The rhythym difficulty:affecting the hitboxes sizes, their speed, their shape if it come to be relevant: anything that increases or decreases the attention required for any  particular combat.I think the difficulty in the demo should be alright for most people but people with lower ability to follow the tune/with disability/willing to play more relaxed might appreciate a more accessible, while more experienced rhythym game player would probably be able to handle something more demanding.

 

-Maybe add tradding between characters?

 

-Depending on how you  view your game design you ight wanna put a limited number of saves through a given map.Or leave it as it is since backtracking can be a turnoff

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Aight, played the demo, I've only done the one last night with Marcello, intending on going back to retry some stuff but for now, my thoughts.

 

Spoiler

Ok, I absolutely loved this, adored it, Rhythm based gameplay and TRPG trappings? Wonderful.

 

I'm gonna go through what I really liked and then go through what I feel merit some attention.

 

The good

Spoiler

-Character designs. Love 'em. They've got this mix of punk and chic style aesthetics that does a lot to make the cast stand out. Their individual designs do a lot to tell us a lot of information about the characters if you're looking for it and all of the main character stand out. Shoutout to the sheer variety of audience members too, lots of individual sprites, that was cool.

 

-The shapes and how you use them in the UI. Circles, split rhombuses, rotated squares, it's nice to see when most trpgs are stuck in rigid square grids and the UI does nothing to get away from that. Visually it's fun and really helps out something I'm gonna be looking at for most of the game.

 

-The actual combat. Even just in this demo, which as I understand it is early in the game and before things begin to ramp in complexity, there's a LOT to break down here but the fundamental understanding of it means nothing is unreasonable. Ultimately, barring the ranged combat but we'll get to that, it's a rhythm game and that's my SHIT. With the difference between arts and melee, the way the bars change according to stats, character passives giving the opportunity to parry, counter attacks, crits, there's so much to learn and keep in mind that I can see this being an intensely addictive game. This gets even better with...

 

-Cores! So obvs everything is static in the demo but that didn't stop me speculating about the core system and the various traits and from what I've been given to speculate over, I could see it being a delightful mix of the fire emblem ability system and the Orbment system from the Legend of Heroes games, particularly the later games that involve a master quartz very similar to what the cores seem to do as a kind of playstyle enabling piece of equipment. Combine the amount of things in combat with even a moderate amount of ways to change up your units and this game will be a theorycrafting, min/maxers dream.

 

Also I'm guessing the NVC Warhead text and other similar things under the cores are their manufacturers, put that together when Nova's core said Custom.

 

-We're gonna bring it back to combat, specifically the ranged combat. I FUCKING LOVE THIS. Hi, hello, fps friend here, this is the first mechanic I've seen in an rpg ever that gives me the same sensation as trying to flickshot someone. The small window of time and the way you have to drag the bar over clicks the same part of my brain as when I'm playing siege and for a mechanic for guns, it's fucking phenomenal. Love it.

 

-Story content.  I'm talking about characterization as well as the actual plotting of events and dialogue. This is a lot harder to talk about because I'm lacking a lot of dots to connect and a snapshot isn't something I can fairly judge. What I'm picking up on though is the beginnings of an interesting cast of characters and very blatant themes of class divide, how much a life is worth, self harm, violence as a transformative force and toxic masculinity (Fuckin' looking at you Zaharald) all being explored with a fairly cynical tone set by our protagonist Star and supported by other bits and pieces of dialogue.

 

This tracks with what I expected, I'm on board for this and excited because unlike Reborn where this brand of storytelling suffered from the difficulty in making the sprites emote, SD has a fucking HUGE advantage with the actual character portraits as obvious as saying it may be. I really, really hope you get creative with the portraits and expressions because selling the emotions and feelings of the characters is gonna be so much more effective here and imo has a lot of potential to achieve what sometimes Reborn felt like it struggled to do. (That's the last of the Reborn comparisons I swear.)

 

Also, I loved the attention to detail. Especially the snack cart even getting an overview description. Things like that seem small but over time really make a difference and adds levity that's vital when you're in deep thematic waters here.

What I'd like to see improved.

Spoiler

Thankfully this is going to be a much smaller section. My main concerns are about the UI and a specific element of the ranged combat. When combat starts and all the numbers, damage, times you need to hit etc, it's incredibly difficult to see them. I really think that information would benefit from a bright font to contrast the dark background, it'd mostly make it stand out and easy for the eye to find immediately. I never looked at it because I didn't want to look away and spend a couple seconds finding it only to gimp myself when also paying attention to the combat.

 

My other issue is the start of the ranged combat. There's the delay to let you get ready but the actual instant it starts doesn't feel like it's communicated at all, which hurts the ranged combat as the only part of combat that has a fixed timer and YOU have to be the one to act, it doesn't feel great at all to me. It's a very minor thing but maybe if the timer bar has an animation where it fills up, that'd give the player time like the pause but comes with the visual indicator of when the interactive portion starts.

 

The last thing I want to mention is a little too subjective for me to consider it a legitimate criticism but in regards to Star, naturally she's meant to be abrasive and ruthless as well as somewhat condescending and cocky whilst also having enough of a conscience that she's not willing to leave Sephany and Karus alone.  That's the characterization I was picking up on. This character is fine for a major supporting character like the comparison I've heard, Titania. It's not my cup of tea for a protagonist though and I think, in moments like when she decides to stay and fight a little less reluctance and a little more sympathy or a few more attempts to endear her to the audience would go a long way to make her a character I want to stick with. That said, I see the intent, the way she's written is clear, I get it if you think I'm missing the point in my limited knowledge.

 

 

Fuckin' great.

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[reposting since we split the thread]

 

thanks for the feedback y'all ! really glad you're enjoying it, issues aside!

points:

  • with regards to saving, limited saves (or a cooldown on it) is our intention but we noticed a lot of people not saving or not saving enough for the demo, and especially for testing where things are a bit unstable we decided to just let it be infinite for the demo specifically. we don't plan on letting it be that infinite for the actual
  • separate tactical/action difficulties is definitely the plan 
  • i think the lack of inputs while animating is because of the cooldown on attacks which i'm given to understand is a bit high right now

UI stuff we can continue to work on too for sure, filling up the timer for ranged combat sounds nice, maybe we have the bottom far flash at the moment the player gains control, we can brighten those damage texts.

Art selection does take extra click when you only have one right now, we have ideas to streamline that too!

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Moved my original edit from the download post here.  Fair warning:  I focus on the negative aspects here, usually to give my own suggestions on improving them.

 

Spoiler

I'll preface this with the obvious:  Like most people on this website I'm more into Pokemon and similar-style rpgs than Fire Emblem and its style of gameplay.  But despite a lack of, let's say... expertise in the subject, I still have valid issues with the game as it is and suggestions on how to remedy them.


First of all, let me make it clear that I don't mind this being a much easier game than Reborn.  The combat boils down to a bunch of timing-based button pressing minigames, and the "strategic" element only serves to make those minigames easier or harder.  On top of that you've got the save states, which apparently will be more limited in the final game but sound like they'll still be pretty easy to abuse.  With those three things combined, this isn't gonna be that hard unless you make the minigames near the end as unfair as scissor lady's (which I doubt you'll do because that'd just be bad design).  But that's not a big deal to me, if the game is fun.  So is the game fun?  Well the minigames are honestly pretty bland, so the fun is mainly derived from the game giving a good enough illusion that the ""strategic"" elements matter more than they actually do.

 

But notice how I've been putting the word """strategic""" in increasingly large quotation marks?  That's because the """"strategy"""" in this game is pretty much just this:

TOO SLOW! SAYS YOU TOO Minato Namikaze clothing cartoon black and white text history

Having a system where attacking a foe from behind makes the minigame easier (or harder, if you're the one being attacked from behind) sounds good in theory, but in practice you just get this.  There's nothing stopping the AI from just walking in a circle around you once you've engaged it and backstabbing you, and so it always will.  Then when your turn comes around again there's nothing stopping you from doing the same exact thing, so you always will unless you want to make things harder on yourself.  It's dumb and it makes the game not fun.

 

So how do we fix it?  We can't just remove it entirely, because I can already tell you guys have planned a bunch of character-specific special abilities that play into this system.  There are already some in the demo right now.  A possible solution would be that everyone passively blocks the tiles on either side of them, so that you and your enemies would have to go around in a wide arc to get behind you in one turn.  This would take 6 spaces of movement, which works out perfectly since all three player characters only have 5.  The only one with 6 is the cat when she's separated from her master, and this would actually give players an incentive to separate them (that's another problem this game has, there's no reason to ever separate them).  This solution has its own problem though: the players and AI would just recreate the above meme image with side attacks instead of back attacks, since attacking from the side also makes the minigame easier than attacking head on.  Therefore my suggested solution has another part:  Make it that when attacked from the side, the defender automatically turns to face the attacker.  Yeah this would effectively remove side attacks from the game, but honestly I don't think they're necessary and it would also open up strategies where you backstab an opponent while they're "distracted" by another player character.  Alternatively you could just make it that side attacks are the same as front attacks.

 

I won't bring up the lack of toggleable aggro range because someone else already has and you've already expressed an intention to put it in the game later.

 

So that's my main gripe with the gameplay.  My main gripe with the story would be... uhhhhh... that it's a total shitshow?  I haven't seen such a heavy handed """"""social commentary"""""" since... actually now that I think about those are really common in recent times.  I guess entertainment media's in a really dark place these days, huh?  Well guess what, this game ain't helping with that.  People in this thread are saying it's a good thing that the story tackles heavy themes, but I say if it tackles those themes in an eye-rolling (and sometimes unintentionally funny) way, then it's NOT good.

 

This is only one example of a much bigger problem, but let me point out a certain scene and describe how it could be done better:  The part where the main character stops the game in its tracks mid-level to go on a rant about consoomerism.  You're in the middle of a larger (and actually necessary) custscene when she climbs up onto the platform the spectators are sitting on, and one of them remarks that the "show" is getting a bit too close for comfort.  Then she launches into a tirade about how they're  just as bad as the people setting up the execution and they're enabling the abusers and blah blah blah consumerism blah blah blah responsibility blah blah blah racism.  After about three and a half pages of you mashing the spacebar because you've lost interest she fires a warning shot, the spectators run away and the ringleader lady goes into her OWN monologue before you finally get to go back to playing the game.  So how to fix it?  Simple, when she gets onto the platform have the spectator say "Uh, is this supposed to be part of the show?" to which she replies "Wanna stick around and find out?"  After a moment of awkward silence, she fires a warning shot and the spectators all run away.  Then you go back to playing the game.

 

(disclaimer:  This next paragraph was written back when I thought this was supposed to be the beginning of the game.  Actually it's a going to be few chapters in, which can change my opinion depending on how the rest of the game before it is.  I haven't seen that game yet, because it doesn't exist yet, so I'm not gonna rewrite it.  But just know it was written under a false pretense.)

Almost every character interaction in the demo is "oh man this character has SUCH a deep backstory, aren't you interested in playing the game more to find out about it?"  Well guess what, it had the opposite effect for me.  In fact, I went out of my way to kill the scissor lady you're supposed to run from, in the hopes that it would change the story and I wouldn't have to sit through her character arc (this is made by the same people who made Pokemon Reborn after all, where "unwinnable" fights are winnable and it changes the story).  But no, instead I get to the end of the level and watch a bugged out cutscene where the game pretends she's still alive, and then the game crashes.

image.png.6fab2269f317164ad74134d00d6813e1.png

That was probably where the end demo was going to end anyway.

 

EDIT:  Removed a comment about how I prefer Reborn over this, because that's not really the point of this post.

 

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I did thoroughly enjoy the demo but as a rhythm game player, I do see some issues:

 

Skill-based damage mitigation of 100% will probably not be healthy for the game since in order to balance around it, you either need to (1) enemy spam and hope that with enough skill checks the player will fail at least a few of them (which a bit of this demo kinda did feel like), (2) make the timing windows unfair (which you seem to be reserving for backstabs), (3) make the rhythm game segments more complex, or (4) crank up the damage numbers like with scissors lady/crank down player health to make each hit actually meaningful instead of the *shrug* the 1hp damage numbers are. These all have their problems.

 

(1): You'd have to balance around a % miss chance of some "average player" that doesn't represent most of your playerbase that's more or less skilled won't be at. While difficulty settings will help with this, you will definitely have players having a sub-optimal experience playing a game too easy (they don't want to miss out on content that you'll probably lock behind turn limits which will without a doubt be good for the game) or too hard (since it's the way the game was """intended""") for their current skill level no matter what. Repeat playthroughs on a better difficulty for a returning player in what will amount to be enemy spam maps that drag on will definitely be frustrating.

 

(2 and 3): And here we have the everpresent massive divide between rhythm game players of varying skill levels. While implementing difficulty levels in the game, I really hope you have different options for both note pattern difficulty and timing window since some people don't want to be stuck playing note patterns that bore them just because they aren't accurate enough at the harder ones yet. As a rhythm game player, having a single button to time presses on is boring to me and I hope that you can make it so that up to 3 or 4 buttons being used is standard for attacks and not just skills. In the current implementation, there's multiple colors on a single line which is far from ideal. The standard four segment scrolling you see in games like DDR/Stepmania allows for things like jumps and hands (2/3 simultaneous notes) to be possible without having to do some color mixing thing (the current implementation might also really suck for colorblind people)

 

(4): Making enemies too dangerous leads to excessively conservative play, i.e. abusing the early window for full damage mitigation instead of going for the riskier critical windows, more frequent resetting from saves instead of rolling with mistakes, and just having your characters stand with their backs to the wall/each other and turtling to avoid crits at all costs. These of course can be combatted by turn limits, but being too heavyhanded with those can lead the players that like playing in a low risk way to be turned off (people hate the XCOM 2 turn limits even though they make the game more fun).

 

If you want my super idealized version of combat:

- Get a rhythm game mapper to come up with unique note patterns (and weird polyrhythms at higher difficulties) for each unique attack at each difficulty.

- Standard DDR style note scrolling segregated by button with players able to adjust note scroll speed and direction

- Increased BPM or irregular BPM for more difficult combat encounters to raise difficulty

- An option to change note offset to accommodate for display lag and input lag

- The different rhythm game difficulties would have a varying number of notes to miss, but counteract that by massively inflating player health and to a lesser extent damage numbers. Make success/failure a smoother gradient based on the "MISS" "OK" "GREAT" "EXCELLENT" judges (which should be adjustable in a separate difficulty setting. Keep track of the average % damage mitigation the player gets and after each mission, recommend a setting that will put them at the difficulty you see as "optimal" for game balance.) This allows all enemies to chip you down very slowly if you're a bit off, discouraging stalling, and making the game less dependent on enemy spam and/or bullshit enemy damage

 

For reference: Rhythm Game Design 101 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWLKZUrW_F0

 

Also, what's keeping me from keeping all the fodder units not directly blocking the forward path alive to act as a meat shield from the actual threatening units? This is a problem that stems from the fact that you're effectively invincible to some enemy types and that you can just choose not to damage them. That seems like an oversight.

 

I know you probably never intended to make a rhythm game, but sadly you have. If you want players of all skill levels to enjoy your game, at least some of these changes would be necessary. If things are left the way they are now, I probably won't stick with the game, but I do wish you guys the best in making the game that you want to make.

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Hey there, just finished the demo !

 

I really did not expect the rythm game combat angle, especially in a RPG maker game.

I'm not a rythm game player, but it was manageable enough for me, so props to the team for that !

 

I have a lot of suggestions to unload, and some will probably be duplicates of what you've seen here already.

 

-- UI SUGGESTIONS --

 

- This may come across as a nitpick, but I do think navigable menus would be better than attributing a keybind to each option, like it's currently the case in the demo.

I can see the argument that it reduces menuing somewhat by allowing you to get directly what you want, but there's a lot of mechanics bound to the rythm game aspect to keep in mind, and having to build muscle memory for menuing as well might end up being more of a chore, in most cases.

It would also negate some key press conflicts between options menu (bottom left) and combat menu (bottom right).

 

- This suggestion requires the above point, otherwise it's going to be a pain to implement : tooltips. Being able to determine at first glance what an Art does, and which QTE it will require, directly in the Arts combat menu, without having to manually check the character's page first, then going to their Arts page, will make the game smoother. For example, I only learned that Ice Needles slows targets after finishing the demo, because the name seemed straightforward enough for me : it's an ice spell, you damage people with it.

 

- Given there's a rock-paper-scissors mechanic in play, and the only way to check one unit's element is to check their summary, an element icon and a "class" (melee/ranged/magic/...) icon on their portrait will reduce time lost menuing in summaries. If someone needs precise information on an unit, the summary is here, but if they just need to determine if it's worth it to attack an unit with Star solely based on element, having their answer immediatly is better. Quick example below :

image.png.a1a2122639536ddb9ae0911094519032.png

 

 

-- GENERAL SUGGESTIONS --

 

- The demo introduced a lot of systems very fast. It's probably because it's a demo, and it was necessary to explain everything to show what the game had to offer in a single fight, but I think it's worth mentioning that the game might confuse some people very quickly if it's replicated in the final game. 

 

- Related to above, a little codex with reminders of past tutorials could be nice in case of long breaks between sessions.

 

- Auto-pausing the game when it's out of focus. I found myself alt-tabbing to check something really quickly on the enemy turn, only to suddenly hear the QTE phase and going back to the game in panic, multiple times.

 

- As said in other posts before mine, a togglable aggro range display on all enemy units like in Fire Emblem/Advance Wars would be very much appreciated, especially if you plan on ramping up the difficulty on the strategy side.

 

 

-- NITPICKS --

 

- A subtle grid overlay in the options menu could be appreciated.

 

- A separate estimated damage counter for the "best outcome" - perfect inputs, etc.

 

- Conservation of movement points after going to a new room, ie not being able to move a full turn after climbing a set of stairs on one unit's last movement point.

 

- Consistency in QTE scrolling : always from the same side to another, not varying depending on enemy position/priority.

 

- Nova : While the story tells explicitely that she's not to be fought yet, the way actual combat is handled is frustrating imo.

Your units just stand doing nothing as their rythm minigame just fizzles into nothingness, when it's made clear they are not avoiding her out of hope she can switch sides, but rather because escaping is the top priority.

If the plan was to make her an advancing wall to force players to move on, it might have been less frustrating to make her just automatically dodge any attacks made against her, even on crit, instead of making your units passively take a beating.

 

 

There ! I'm done !

Hope this was useful.

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Just finished the demo, and my only nitpick after what everyone else said is that the scenes where the girl is being attacked with scissors kinda started to drag. It took something like fifteen turns to get to her, and having to watch both that animation and the cart going around every single time got tiresome. I get the idea, but maybe just have it repeat at certain intervals, with just the dialogue normally instead. So you'd see how many turns were left a few times, but not have to go through the entire window each time.

 

Also, you can use magic? I finsihed the demo and didn't notice that at all.

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...where to start? This will be pretty negative so if you don't want your feelings hurt better stop reading now. In short i'm disappointed, not even angry (despite a short temper) just sad...after all this time this is the result? The development of one of my favorite games was postponed for this? For the last couple of years i haven't been very active on the forums (just checking periodically on Reborn's progress more or less) so imagine my delight at finally seeing a demo of the next game, maybe my expectations were too high. Basically the only thing i really liked was the music and the design of some of the characters, the scissor girl (Nova i think?), the Sin of Lust dude and our protagonist Star. I never played a rhythm game before but the tutorial was easy enough to understand so that isn't a problem though as some people already mentioned the current implementation is open to abuse and kinda easy (surprising coming from the developer of Reborn) which i don't like but that's just my opinion other people may enjoy an easier experience. The art is "hit or miss" some of it is good/ok some bad, seriously i know we are in Hell and all but must everything be black and red? Some other color here and there would help i think, overall it's fine. The UI is a little clunky , for example an "end turn for all" button would be nice instead of clicking wait on every one of the characters (or maybe there is and i just missed it?) but that can (and probably will) get fixed. What will (probably) not get fixed is the story ohh the story, we start with the only male guard of the place (yes all the other guards are female) assaulting our protagonist because he wants her "water" as in her saliva (if i understood what Karus said correctly)...kinky...anyway i get what this scene wants to convey what i don't get is how she is able to avoid the guard (and why is the guard not armed?) till he just "gives up" and leaves? She didn't knock him out didn't call another guard for help or used some other method, no...he just leaves, then she is freed by sidekick N1 but when he tries to reassure her she harshly rebuffs him saying "she needs no help from a man" despite needing the help of said man 5 seconds earlier (funny i remember the same line said basically word for word from an NPC in BG Siege of Dragonspear but i digress) thankfully this was one of the worst parts (too bad it's the first we see) the bad thing is that the rest is just kinda meh? Stereotypical Heaven vs Hell story but this time both sides are baddies, then again this is just a little level (and not even the beginning) so i can be proved wrong on this front. The point i'm trying to make is despite the really heavy handed "social commentary" parts (which were present in Reborn too) i would still enjoy this game if the story and/or the characters were good but they are not which is baffling coming from the creator of such an interesting story and characters as the ones in Reborn. About the characters: maybe we didn't get to know them well yet (and that's not the players fault) but i honestly felt more "life" in the pixel sprites of the previous game, they didn't change expression sure but their dialog was so good they didn't need to and i know we didn't see all the characters in Starlight but the ones encountered felt very generic, we have the extra mega ultra baddies (still they have nothing on the Dark Elves from Warhammer but again i digress) on one side and whiny goody two shoes sidekicks on the other (again i know this is just a piece of the game) the only exception is our protagonist which seems to have a personality, a bad one but that's fine for a protagonist, it should help with character development (although i think not everyone will like her)...uff that was a wall of text but this is my opinion on the demo i will try it again when the game comes out but i'm not holding my breath tl:dr disappointed.

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A little late, but thanks y'all for the feedback! It's clear we have a lot of work to do, and while I'm definitely taking notes, we're holding off on a lot of it because we don't want to postpone Reborn forever for the sake of polishing a demo. But we'll be coming back to all of this when we make the full game.

 

I'm seeing a lot of ideas for things we already have planned, particularly with polishing the UX, adding flanking, generally making things clearer to the player faster-- and some other good ones we'll definitely take note on. I'm sorry to hear that the story didn't really quite do it for a couple of you, and I'll take what lessons I can from that when we get to the full game. As I said before, this isn't the start of the game so it's likely some things will be redone when we get back to this chapter.

 

I also appreciate the comments about this being distinctly unsatisfying to rhythm game players, and I hear you. One thing I am set on is that this is always going to be a tRPG first and foremost, but I've known since the beginning that finding a way to make the battle system non-trivial to rhythm game veterans (or just players as they gain experience in game) is going to be our greatest challenge. I have some ideas for that, but as far as the demo is concerned, I think that it's difficult to stress how much we're holding back right now. Early mid-development testing showed it was pretty tough for newcomers to rhythm sequences, which is why most of the enemies do so little damage relative to the players high health pools + there's abundance of healing items + we held off on some enemy skills to not make things too much harder... but there is a lot of room that I'm waiting to take advantage of until there's more game for people to be used to. 

 

However, that's just on the tactical side of things. Obviously, I'll need to get a lot more creative about the rhythm part if I don't want it to be boring to vets in the long run, and while I have some plans, I'm going to continue exploring more options for that. I realized after some of the above posts that I've never actually played a rhythm game for any substantial amount of time (osu for like half an hour, guitar hero for like, a few hours, that's it) so I've started to work on changing that. I moved away from the idea of calling this a rhythm hybrid a while ago since I felt it was misleading for the game's actual focus (non-RNG tRPG) but it's clearly still important to learn from that side of things. 

 

We're going to be moving forward with the public demo release today, but I want to offer an additional thank you to everyone who took the time to play the beta, and everyone who took the time to offer feedback. It can only go up from here. 

 

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Hope putting in a reply as a guest is okay; I'm too tired to make an account right now.

 

I've played the public release demo. Ran into an issue while playing on Mac High Sierra that forced it to quit halfway through the game; unfortunately, I didn't manage to record it. But I found another that begins with "Error: EROFS: read-only file system" when toggling the autosave option on the main menu, which may be related.

 

My main gripe with the gameplay as someone who liked Fire Emblem is that the skill-based rhythm game is not fun. Coming from Fire Emblem, feels like it slows the game considerably, because each turn isn't just figuring out where to navigate your units and how to think to make them attack, but also playing a minigame where you have to keep your attention up and time things. Each action takes a small amount of time to plan out and a long, tedious time to play a minigame, like maybe a third of the time on how to direct your units and the rest to play boring mind numbing rhythm games.

 

Hmm, I did like the minigame where you could line up your shot with the arrow keys though-- that felt simple and easy enough for it to be a fun addition, and was a nice break from all the timing attacks. If the standard attack minigame was that simple, I'd enjoy it more.

 

These rhythm games also have the effect of bulking out the enemy's turn, which is incredibly tedious when you're swarmed by five different attackers on one character, and have to play the dodge game again and again and again and ughhh. Frankly, I think the best way to handle this would to make them optional, so if you wanted to try them and get a higher damage output you could, or you could settle for a single number telling you how much you they'd count for. Or only have these rhythm games on boss enemies, when players are at their highest focus and every movement matters. Also, this game occupies kinda a weird spot between reflex based games and tactical rpgs, which are traditionally great for people who suck at rhythm based games, so having it as an optional or rare mechanic would be less of a barrier of entry.

 

As for the story, there were bits of worldbuilding I really liked such as hell not having any water and angels having the power to produce water, and heaven not having any heat and demons having the power to control heat. One of my favorite lines was when the snacks were introduced, and it was some normal spicy food, stuff that sounded like it'd be good to eat, and then just cool, refreshing water like that was a luxury. What a surprise!

 

I also liked how save points were explained. Having the user lose their memory resolves so many plot holes.

 

Thematic bits: the worst offender of this is when Star went and gave the audience the lecture on how they as consumers were evil and they act all surprised. I see that and go, well, yeah obviously, the ringmaster was offering up the girl being tortured to death to the audience to be raped. They're directly causing the harm there. There's no room for this to extend to us, consumers of media, because unlike the demons we are not taking part in torturing someone to death, so it ends up real heavy handed.

 

Additionally, the message of our heroes being the good guys because they don't kill anyone is muddied; these demons literally are torturing people to death for fun. Left to their own devices, they're going to torture and murder more people. Refusing to kill them is no act of mercy, it's choosing to kill their next victims. Star's big speech is a huge underreaction to these awful, awful people, and makes her look sanctimonious instead of inspiring.

 

As for the role of the god... it's a little disappointing, because the abandonment and collapse of heaven and earth removes the humans, making angels and demons basically just replacement superpower humans. They're humans cosplaying as angels and demons, or humans with angel and demon flavoring.

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I don't mind that you've replied as a guest, but it is a good reminder that I needed to fix the permissions of this subforum so that guests can't post. You in particular are completely fine but if we leave guest-posting on, bots tend to come on and spam ads, whoops... 

 

The issue you had with macs is due to their built in security; I'm surprised that you didn't have that issue earlier, because it prevents the game from editing any files altogether, such as... making save files. If you run the game from your Applications folder, there should be no issues, but I'm sorry that that ended up killing it for you so far into the game

 

Anyway, thanks for the feedback! One suggestion that came up during alpha is making some of the combats (particularly where the enemies would have like a one star hit rating) skippable, and we'll definitely consider what we can do with that to cut down on tedium. I'm also always all for finding the way to amp the speed of things more to keep people in the action. Ultimately I would like to be engaging players fully at every step of the way, but we've really dialed the difficulty back for the demo since it seemed like many people who aren't rhythm gamers were struggling to get used to the action system. I'm hoping difficulty modes will help keep players of varying skill levels engaged once we actually get to adding them.

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Frame rate was fine except for the first attack of each set (Still blaming that on Streamlabs) but combat mechanics are very enjoyable (except basic ranged attacks, that straight up feels like its not in my favor even from behind). I would say Ice Needles are either a little too op or bosses need to become agro and go fight you after taking damage since Zaharald just stood there and took it (Ironically) for 2 turns before getting taken out without even attacking. Would have liked to see just a little dip into the class system. Pretty much everything else has already been addressed here. Game is solid at the core.

 

Overall

.6/10 Because you cant give Lynnoe headpats

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Usually a lurker, but made an account to give feedback. Was presently surprised to see the demo out so had to give it a shot.

 

First impression was that it looks pretty feature rich for RPG Maker, especially when compared to the classics made in the engine like "To the Moon". So that was nice. I have also never played fire emblem, or any other "trpg" either, which I really don't know what that means, so I didn't really know what to expect. But I have played my fair share of regular RPGs, rhythm, and strategy games.

 

Difficulty:

The biggest surprise here was how easy this was. Never came close to death once, no need to save. Just basically attack and go. Hoping that in the future I'll need to implement more strategy then just running behind the enemy and pressing Z. The rhythm minigames make the team pretty OP.  Pretty sure I only ever got hit on a crit double-tap from behind when it was really small for a double tap. Although I have no worries at all about the main game being difficult considering who is in charge, but thought it should be stated anyway.

 

Gameplay:

-Battle Mechanics: Combat and Rhythm

--Combat: Mostly feels slow. Fighting through a bunch of weak enemies felt mostly tedious once I got a hang of the mechanics, especially when it would take 2 attacks to kill one enemy because the enemy was left with 1 hit til death, then having to waste someone's turn to finish the enemy. Classes and other powers can help fix this. Maybe an enemy damage bar over their heads so we know their health at a quick glance? Less powerful area effect attacks for dealing with multiple weaker enemies or finishing blows? Make use of the attacking space more with secondary effects like knockback/switch position/teleport? The game that came to my mind most when battling was surprisingly South Park: The Fractured But Whole (Amazing Game!), an RPG that uses powers and spatial awareness in a similar fashion. Where the SD demo seemed to focus on flanking as the main component of space in battle, SP:TFBW actually felt more tactical to me as there is much more going on in the battle area in maneuvering your characters into a position to be successful. 

--Rhythm: I'll restate from others that it is very imbalanced, and also not very fun. Getting into a minigame for EVERY battle is just a chore. Spatial awareness strategy is far more interesting than playing DDR with a keyboard. I would vote moving more toward how SP:TFBW did it then continuing with minigames. Maybe keep the minigames just for bosses or to call upon a special ability? When the player is annoyed after an hour long demo, it is not a good sign.

-Exploration: Beuller? Movement was only dictated through battling and "cutscenes," which was very clunky to begin with. But will our character be able to explore the world freely? Discover secrets? Find hidden items? Unlock Doors? Solve Puzzles? I hope so, but nothing of the sort was shown in the demo.

-Movement: SLOW! Moving the characters around the map felt very tedious. The whole segment of running away from the executioner was just not fun. Going 8 spaces at a time per player per turn. Ugh. There needs to be better game flow for sequences like this. Freedom of movement can come in handy here.

 

Story: 

When I read the early descriptions I was pretty excited about the concept. But from the demo, I felt pretty underwhelmed with the execution. As others have stated, it feels like Angel and Demon cosplay over everything else. I can get by the character design if we had a little more world-building and lore. The sexism elements are NOT subtle and serve no purpose. Lines like "It's biology men are stronger than women" have no place in this world....they aren't men and women, they are Angels and Demons. What biology are they referring to if we have no frame of reference? Why mention science in a faith based storyline at all? Science (Gender included) is an Earthly concept, not a divine one. Stereotypes can be done much better with more subtlety and world building, which would feel like a fresh take. Give Angels and demons specific stereotypes, or add different class levels to the Angels and Demons instead of focusing on gender, which just feels cliché and lazy. A small change that could go a long way, make exposition more interesting, and immerse the player more in the world.

 

Characters:

Not much to comment on, there just wasn't enough time in the demo to comment on motivations / personalities. But just as before, should be based on Angel/Demon types rather than Earthly concepts.

 

Music: All good things here, no surprise. Don't need to linger.

 

Art: All good things to say about the sprite and environment designs. The world looks good. Can't say I'm a huge fan of the dialogue character designs, too much of a "human" feel. This however does become a very small problem with an engaging story and good dialogue.

 

I hope this helps. And I wish you the best of luck with it! I'm definitely still interested in seeing how it turns out, so I'll be around to play any new releases. 

 

TLDR: Has the bones of an interesting game. Still needs all the muscles, blood, organs, and skin.

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Oof, where to start.

I really like the concepts here, a new method of combat in a tRPG is sorely needed, and the positional mechanics keep things interesting even with the cannon fodder enemies the demo throws at you. I enjoy the character designs, but I'll get to the dialogue in a sec. That's.... all I have to say on the positive side, unfortunately.

The dialogue is so bad. Like.... so bad. "I am 14 and this is deep" bad. The world is interesting and there are plenty of neat stories that I'm sure you can tell here, but the writing is really killing the joy I could have taken from this world. The characters are SO edgy it's unbearable. All of the bad guys have had the VERY compelling character trait of "I'm sexist/racist/a rapist," and nothing else to make them stand out/be interesting. We know sexism/racism/rape are bad, but they cannot be the only character trait of every villain. The whole Star/sexist guy (I can't remember his name because that was LITERALLY his whole character) dynamic was awful and felt super forced. You don't need to tell me a girl can beat up a guy in 2021, we're all aware. Demons and Angels being racist towards each other can be MUCH more interesting, and even that felt poorly written. Every other line of dialogue has vibrating text, which just adds to the bad fanfiction vibes the writing is giving me. If you're going to use vibrating text, that's fine, but save it for really important moments or really dark lines of dialogue.

You can tell a dark story without having all the characters be edgelords. If the only change was the writing, I'd be happy.

My main other gripe is with the rhythm game combat, and I think it's mostly because of how weak the enemies the demo sends at you are. Doing a 10-20 second minigame every time an enemy attacks me for 1 damage is SUPER dull. If the game had tighter maps, with a smaller amount of more difficult enemies, I think the combat could really shine. The demo definitely felt repetitive by the end.

There are some great ideas in this game, they're just being held back by the "ow the edge" writing and map design (this one could have just been a demo problem.) I honestly think you're going to lose a lot of potential players with this tone, which is a major bummer, because I REALLY enjoyed the positional aspect of combat and more hands-on approach to battles.

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