Cool idea, but the implementation of weapon swapping in-battle is just painful to play. The culprit seems to me to be few under-thought misfeatures that may have sounded okay on paper or even tested in isolation of each other:
- Only one key controls the transition from style to style, and it only cycles in its fixed order (yellow->blue->green). This alone, I think, is just an inexplicable handicap that I could have gotten over with some practice, but not if...
- Style automatically cycles if you overheat your current style; this can happen mid-combo, while blocking, really any time unless you cycle every other key or so. Of course, that will never work because...
- Being green is a terrible idea if you were recently blue. The only way the long-range style can avoid damage is to be far away, and her back-step just isn't quick enough to outrun any of the enemies when they are attacking. Thus, you have to gain a lot of distance with yellow's E evade before you double-tap space to switch to green. This is a maneuver fraught with complications for the above two reasons. If you have been using your yellow style for anything else, you might not have enough left to get to the other side, and poof! you are unexpectedly a blue sitting duck mid-screen, and that double-space turns you back to yellow, which has no more energy. Even if you have planned a cautious, slow retreat covered by blue style's E block, enemies cover that distance so quickly that green style still isn't safe to stand still - which is her only move. In addition to being a death trap in most cases, green doesn't do much damage OR heal very efficiently, so I would use her VERY sparingly if at all.
So the control scheme is unusable, and I cannot figure out why you intentionally went off the beaten path to accomplish this. I would be happier with:
- Nine keys, one for each possible action, e.g. QWE = yellow QWE, ASD = blue QWE, ZXC = green QWE. No independent cycling keys; never cycle unless I ask for it by pressing an action outside of my current style. If I don't have the energy for the corresponding style, do nothing, instead of something I didn't intend.
- Two cycle keys, let's say right and left shift. One obviously goes in the reverse order, so that if I want to go blue->yellow->blue, I would press right-shift, left-shift, right-shift. At least give me the option to turn auto-cycling for lack of energy off, and if I leave it on, have it go in the opposite direction of the last intentional shift.
- One default style, two shifted styles. Again suppose, assuming blue is default, that holding left shift will cause me to use yellow style and holding right shift will cause me to use green style. Whether or not I have the option to configure which style is default, I would still like it better this way because it eliminates all uncertainty about what style I will be in at any given moment. Forget about auto-cycling here, just have the action fail if I don't have the corresponding energy.
- The classic 1 = turn yellow, 2 = turn blue, 3 = turn green. We've been doing this for weapon selection for ages and it works just fine. Again, please let me opt-out of automatically cycling when I run out of energy.
Apart from the battle system, while the presentation and story are not terrible, there is not much integration between the mechanics I went through (battles, walking right / cut scene, upgrading) and in every case it felt barely hacked together. As if it was originally planned as entirely cinematic, but someone decided it had to be merged with some other game project about a color-coded morphing ninja, and rather than spend time on designing maps and levels to explore, the devs just forced me to hold the right arrow key while the original cinematic played. Between cutscenes, I play the game about the color ninja, and if I win, Talia goes on with her movie.
When I upgraded, it was not only very unclear what the upgrades were supposed to be doing precisely, but it was also unpredictable where in the level I would be when I left the upgrade screen. Sometimes I started the room over, sometimes I skipped ahead. Again this feels like a half-baked feature tacked on by a third party who had little passion for the project but knew that every game has to have upgrades now, so the 4 most bland, indistinct improvements were put together in a dialog over a lunch break.
Okay, now the good points. The animations and art are pretty good quality. Story is not terrible. Enemies in battles have good variety of tactics. The mechanics of the combat system itself, if it could be controlled in a way that wasn't so irritating, are cool ideas that deserve more exploration than the control scheme and upgrade system currently allow.