To put in my two penn’orth in the discussions about difficulty…
Well, I’m afraid You’d consider me a newschool n00b, since Cancelled Refuge is really much of a challenge for me… But still, tbh, I’m developing a liking for difficult games and will be the first to admit that many (not all) today’s games are too easy, both Indie games and mainstream ones. Can’t handle real Nintendo Hard yet – though, I’m making my slow progress on titles like the original Far Cry on Realistic, or some Bullet Hell games (on easier difficulties, though…)
In time I’ve developed my own way of thinking about what difficulty should look like. I suppose you won’t agree with me, but tbh I don’t like the fact that you cannot save in between loops in Cancelled Refuge. Look – I know I can pass Loop 2 for example, and even a few subsequent loops, and having to repeat this time and time again to reach those loops that pose a real challenge for me is most tedious and boring. The better I am with the game, the longer it takes me to reach the difficult loops, and therefore, the more annoying the game becomes.
In contrast, if the game could save in between loops, I could treat it like a series of increasingly difficult tasks in a book of riddles. Or mathematical exercises. Having passed one riddle, I can focus on the subsequent one, without having to solve all previous ones again.
You'd probably say that this would make the game too easy. I don’t know if these loops go ad infinitum, but – I think this wouldn’t. If they are enough possible to pass loops, then everyone sooner or later would hit their wall, and become stuck at loop they cannot pass. In addition, such a setting could allow to gamify even the early loops – you could set up per-loop and per-character highscores based on time taken to beat that specific loop.
You say in the standalone Windows version of the game you deny in-between loop heart regeneration. Assuming everything else is identical to the Flash version, then this IMHO won’t make the game slightly more difficult – it will make the game much more difficult and horribly more annooying. And will prevent many folks from reaching these loops they might actually find difficult and interesting, if the punishment for carelessness early-on is permanent.
Look, I’d honestly argue for giving all characters only one heart (therefore, demanding perfection) – but while allowing in-between loop saving.
Oh, an by the way, I confirm the bug with HUEY 2X4B’s primary gun. It tends to suddenly switch to a much weaker gun, that of CONTRA’s, and this persists even in subsequent loops, and even if you die and start the stage again from loop 1.