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Some combat/gameplay loop feedback

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Lets just get it out of the way that I already adore this game. It's a combination of some of my favourite games AND made by my favourite devs, and it's so nice to see how polished it is right out of the gate. The art is beautiful, the animations are amazing, the roguelite elements are fun and the combat is chunky. Great first impressions and so far I've beat the first area and reached the boss of the second, but I have some feedback and ideas.



The weapons having monster hunter-like weapon flowcharts is really nice. Each weapon has a clear identity and I was always shocked to see what each new weapon was!

However, I think the weapons need like 1-2 more combos to be interesting in the long run. I think experimenting with really difficult to land but satisfying moves similar to Monster Hunter True Charged Slash that would act as the sort of carrot on a stick to really master a weapons mechanics. Maybe Hammer has a brief window during charge attacks where if you get hit mid-attack you can follow up with a second charged attack that is very powerful, or if the spear lands a full attack chain focus hit you can perform a strong finisher. Maybe some weapon attacks can deflect projectiles for satisfying stagger?

Overall I like what I see and I can't wait to see how absurd the weapon designs get later on, but I think expanding the weapon combos just a liiiittle extra will help in the long-run to make them interesting to use over and over.

A minor nitpick that it seems like a lot of people agree with is that the vertical ranges on certain moves seems too small. Hammers Skill comes to mind. I think it's on purpose you can only attack horizontally but buffing vertical hitboxes across the board a little bit would make the combat feel a lot smoother


Teamwork/Co-op hypothesis

Now, while we don't have Co-op yet it's hard to tell without the full-picture, but on a standalone base the game is already fun, however I believe focusing on having co-op skills like taunting or buffing, and maybe statuses you need to save eachother from would go a long way to make the co-op really feel like co-op and not just wailing at enemies with your friends.

Perhaps this is already planned and not present in the demo since- it's singleplayer. But I do hope this is considered as Dont Starve Togethers The Forge teamwork elements was something that really made the difference between a bad team and a great team.



Some powers were interesting and you could make some strongs builds but a lot of them are fairly samey from what I found. Many of them are just "get crit for doing good" while not directly affecting your playstyle. Things like the more damage to enemies at full health is great as it makes you plan differently, but a lot of powers you can just ignore in your playstyle and are even fairly agnostic for what weapon you are using. Roguelites with tons of replayability put a lot of emphasis on making sure each run *plays* differently.

I also think adding more oppurtunities to swap skills and scrap powers would help because quite often I would get something I really didnt vibe with or didnt fit my build, I'd be stuck with it to the very final boss.


Gameplay Dynamics

I think adding a few more combat dynamics could help with specializing your build in ways that arent damage and health in co-op, like introducing guard to some enemies which needs guard damage to shatter, or applying debuffs to make enemies more managable. That way a team-comp could have a debuffer or enemy guard breaker, would make the metagame more fun with friends rather than just everyone rushing for highest damage.



I didn't expect there to be monster-hunter like armor and gear where monster parts can be made into gear but it's something I am a fan of- however, I think the act of upgrading gear isn't very rewarding. Maybe this is again, a demo thing as it was mentioned somewhere that progression systems was WIP, but upgrades adding new stats (while still weaker than the first stat) would make investing into armor more interesting than just getting a slightly bigger number. The different weapon variants were samey but I imagine that some might throw a spin on your weapon, like moving the focus hit condition somehow.



These I'm not a super big fan of these unless the effects are planned to be more playstyle defining. They're clearly inspired by Monster Hunter decoration but having to use a gem to make it stronger kind of forces you to keep using it so it's a commitment which messes with the experimentation metagame element of the game. Maybe instead of passive XP, it just requires resources to upgrade to bring up to speed.


Final Words

While it's hard to know what is demo and what is full-game features and of course the core component of co-op missing so maybe all I'm saying is already planned, this game is still showing a lot of promise and it's already stupidly addictive. I'm so glad that Co-op roguelites are becoming prevalent such as Risk Of Rain and Hyper Light Breaker, so I'm very glad Klei is taking a crack at it while throwing their own charm on it like they do with all their games.

There's pleeeenty of room for expansion and depth here and I am confident that Klei will fill it with time. So all in all, I will definitely play the playtest some more and eagerly be waiting for Early Access and its inevitable full release!



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