hello! big fan of chiptune/8bit sounds and also magical8bitplugin
very authentic feel with the arrangement, absolutely dripping w/ mega man 2 influence. the multi-sampled drums are kinda disappointing though since they sit in this uncanny valley of being "too HQ" for this style of chip music and not realistic/well produced enough to elevate the track on it's own. m8bp is very good at creating chippy percussion, and some of the default fpc kits can sound incredible with detailed mixing and production. could even use famitracker to convert the 505 samples to DPCM and then import them back into fl studio for maximum authenticity (the toms would sound killer imo). but idk, the raw 505 samples ain't it for me.
as far as the instruments go, the sound design is very basic even by 2A03 standards. m8bp can't alter duty cycle midway through a note but there's still stuff you can do with pitch bends and octave switching. hell you can automate the duty cycle anyway and then add more notes in when you want it to change. or use a different VST like triforce or medusa2 when you want to do PWM style leads. imagine the sunsoft DPCM bass on this track, that would be awesome. for sure a subjective point here, but i reckon in the modern age without file size and cpu limitations it's a waste to not delve into everything a sound chip is theoretically capable of.
to clarify: i'm absolutely by no means a chip music purist. authenticity can be writing in a dedicated tracker, emulating the soundset and its limitations in your modern DAW, or going balls deep in MML/ASM programming. but with a DAW once you make too many decisions that compromise the authenticity, you should probably forget about purity and make something modern and start leaning into the chip sound less overall. it'd still be chip music even if it sounded modern imo.
so aside from the chip music philosophy, i had trouble distinguishing any main theme after the cool melody at the start breaks into arpeggios - the fuguey boops are great in solos and in high energy parts but for me i need to hear it breakway into a more "singable" kind of hook. there's always a lot going on at the same volume so i don't get a sense for where the melodies are supposed to sit within those sequences. also the length is perfect when you need to fit a song into 4KB of ram, but i feel like you could've either conveyed more in the same time or expanded upon the idea in a 2nd loop.
i like the flow and progression though. a lot of the individual instruments and melody lines are cool and the transitions are actually very good. couldn't really get into it musically or stylistically though, and it's also quite short.
thanks for doing NGUAC!