Damn it, this wasn't as good as I was hoping... Still fun, though. But you'd have thought between Christmas of 2011 and 2012 you could have done a little more fine-tuning.
The graphics look pretty good, with the simple style you used in the Lazer Collection making a comeback in full color and improved animation. The animation is similarly simple but surprisingly good. While I didn't mind the visual aesthetic of the animation, though, some of the choppy motions made the control scheme somewhat deceptive, and I took a lot of damage because the walking animation was just so odd.
The plot wasn't bad, though it was a little predictable, and uses the same style of humor from all of your YouTube videos. Though humorous, I never found myself laughing out loud at any of the cutscenes.
The music is pretty darned good, reusing a lot of the musical motifs from the Deck'D series, but it really sucks that the style has gotten kind of stale, too. This isn't a huge issue, though, and the voice acting and sound effects more than make up for it.
Now, onto the most important part: Gameplay. Well, I didn't know Darren could program, but maybe the real answer to that is that he can't (sorry!). The combat mechanics work, but tend to be very frustrating.
The first issue here is that you just don't get a very clear indicator when you take damage. Sure, you can always look at your health bar, but the 'impact' is missing when your character recoils, sometimes fooling you into thinking you aren't taking as many hits as you actually are.
The second issue is that grunts are just way too easy. From very early on, I just learned to bait enemies into following me until they were parallel, then repeatedly jumping and spamming the attack button. Since I was able to use jumping to eliminate that window of opportunity at the end of a combo, I was able to remain largely in the same place while still pressuring enemies with attacks that made them flinch. This made the non-boss levels extremely repetitive, and the one time I did die during a normal level (it was at the very end, damn it...) I just felt annoyed redoing it all.
As for the bosses, I felt these were kind of botched, too. Much of the time I was able to use the same jump-attacking pressuring technique to prevent bosses from nailing me, and the attacks that did hit felt cheap for several reasons. Some were just too fast to realistically dodge, while others were hard to read and basically spelled death if you hadn't seen the attack coming from the very beginning.
But by far the biggest problem with the bosses is that you have to read them too quickly. The 2nd boss is a great example of this; the differences between his attacks (high flick, low flick, short range attack, charge attack) were so subtle and brief that the developers are really the only people that could have possibly felt reading them was easy. The polar bear racing level was a lot like this, too. The twitch-reflex thing just didn't float my boat, so overall I beat the game feeling rather empty.
One last thing I'll mention about the spirit gauge is that it just isn't very useful. I only ever felt myself using it during boss battles, and even then I found it easiest just to use normal attacks until the boss was low on health and then just using Singing Spirit to bullshit my way past the boss while they were attacking most frequently.
Overall this game just doesn't feel complete to me. I think the biggest issue is that you didn't have enough beta testers, or your beta testers got too accustomed to your game as you produced it to be able to give you good feedback on how the game would appear at face value.