This is fail on a few levels.
1. I hate memorization bosses. There's no way to anticipate, no visual clues, what the boss will do next.
2. The speed to size ratio is way off. There's just too little room to move around to justify the movement speed of the enemies. Sometimes there's literally no where to go.
3. The shading is deceptive. I was dodging things not on my axis, and getting hit by things I didn't expect to.
4. Shield is a gimmick. There's times when you literally have to just block. Shield should be used to overcome a challenge and give you recovery time, not so you can flash a "use shield now" sign, giving it no other practical purpose.
Having a fast game, or a bullet hell game is acceptable, but having a game so unpredictable the only way to win is by memory is an excuse to frustrate players.
I've learned to just drop a game that does this, as 100 levels of die and retry is lame.
A lot of people had issues with the boss. I'll work on giving him some visual cues for the final.
Okay, so for a demo, this game would tell me that the hit detection is way off, there is a major lack of sounds, and the challenge rating overflows when the boss shows up. Suddenly, you're in a predicament that, after dying once, you start to die in rapid succession, never knowing where you are on the screen or anything. This suggests to me that the shoot-'em-up section of the game is pretty much impossible by design and the side-scrolling aspect is pretty much forgettable and even useless. In other words, whatever kind of project this will turn out to be, I am not looking forward to "College-Ruled Universe" because because the demo flat-out royally sucks.
Let's start with the fact that there is not explicit plot. Just maneuver a little character ahead--just hold down the Right Arrow because nothing else is necessary--and the game will begin. Here, you are taken to a four-way sideways shooter with some marginally interesting overheated-gun and limited bullet-shielding mechanics, as well as the obligatory super-attack that powers up the more you kill your enemies. If you overheat, you have to wait until the gauge is back to the top before you can use that function again. You have a limited number of hits before you die, and you have a number of lives.
Looks great on the surface so far, right? For Flash games, this is a promising arcade shooter. But you'll be glad you didn't plunk in anything else but time, but time is money so you wasted a quarter anyway. Why? This game has some major interaction flaws. The ship handles okay and the shooting is effective--doesn't take millions of bullets to hose down a single ship, that's for sure--but what will grate on your nerves is the lack of audio cues to indicate ships, their types, or successful downing except when they explode. They don't react to bullets until they take the prescribed amount and die. Also, there are no audio cues to indicate injuries on part of your craft, or successes in deflecting bullets. And the graphics are so intricate as to prove distracting, especially when the boss shows up. No warnings and certainly no indication on how to avoid some of its attacks (including the biting; that took me three ships before I said "Fuck this!"), and it's impossible to tell if what you're seeing is a foreground obstacle to avoid or something in the background. Everything here is just a big paper-cut psychedelia trip, or just a big clusterfuck. Semantics.
In short, the "College-Ruled Universe" demo does not give us any indication about the upcoming game, except for a few things: it's going to suck if more sounds and greater graphic clarity are added before release, because as it stands now, it's not a game you want to sacrifice time into playing. There are plenty of worthier games and especially demos that warrant our attention. This thing? I can't even tell what the pictures are supposed to be, except maybe a tribute to "Bitter Films" or maybe the crazy stuff they featured in the first season of Superjail. Whatever. It's too chaotic for the rational mind to make a game out of.
Even though your review was harsh, I still find it super-useful. It's not often I get an essay-length critique! I'm actually fledgling in making games, (I'm an illustrator by trade)so any feedback/criticism helps to make better sound/ UI/ gameplay-mechanics.
Most of what I get is people responding that they had fun or enjoyed the visual style, but your review will help me improve for those that didn't!