Great game. I had a lot of fun with it, and that's the most important thing. It's not entirely perfect though, but that's okay. Nothing is perfect, but I'll list the pros and cons so you can improve (if you want).
The mechanics were okay but could’ve been better. Jumping worked well enough. I almost never missed a jump because how natural and intuitive the physics are. No ‘almost impossible jumps’ like in some platform games, except for the ones you have to cross using potions, but it’s all very obvious and doable. You quite easily bump into the top of the screen, which luckily doesn’t make you fall down immediately, but it’s always a bit of a strange experience. Breaks the fourth wall. I think you could’ve avoided that in the level design by making the screen higher. I didn’t immediately grasp the potion throwing mechanism. After a while you can make it work, though it never works really smoothly. They’re just not very comfortable weapons. Slow, short reach and difficult to aim. Not satisfying to use. It goes well with the alchemy theme of the game though. The whole item synthesis thing was a nice element to the game. Not something I've never seen before, but still unique enough to keep this game different from all the other platform games. It was quite well executed. Personally I don’t like this kind of system that much though, because you have to keep returning to places you’ve finished just to harvest stuff you ran out of. You run particularly quick out of gasrocks and cherts, because you want to explore every single screen to see if health upgrades are hidden in the sky or down a pit. I wasn’t such a fan of the zero gravity potion being it the game I must say. It forces you to waste a lot of time exploring screens that 9 out of 10 times didn’t have anything in them anyway, and consequently waste more time collecting the resources to create more zero gravity potions, that you in turn had to waste to explore, etc, etc. The menus were a bit annoying to navigate. I kept forgetting when to press enter and when spacebar. A one keystroke return and/or close menu would’ve been a great innovation. The controls froze up quite a lot. I thought it was just my computer, but more people had that problem according to the comments, so apparently it's a bug. Of all the things the mechanics could’ve been improved the most.
The graphics were good overall. I like pixel art. The best thing was the way the characters( hero, npcs, enemies and most of the bosses looked). Although they’re made out of large pixels they still look realistic and alive. Unfortunately the style wasn’t used consistently enough. Worst part was the map, which wasn’t pixel art at all, but looked hand drawn instead. Not a bad style, just not as good as the pixel art characters, and it didn’t fit the pixel art style of the rest of the game. The foreground wasn’t bad, but sometimes looked a little stiff and computerish. Reminded me of old NES games, but I wish it was less primitive and more realistic whilst maintaining the pixel art style, just like the character art. I didn’t like how 2d it looked and straight all of the lines were. Potal looked the worst in that respect. The floor and wall just consisted of huge blocks. Could be more lively and organic. The background was a hit and miss in my opinion. I liked the blurry effect and the layers. The starry sky with the blurry clouds and scenery looked really great at times. Still the background didn’t look like pixel art all the time. Sometimes the mountains looked too hand drawn, neither realistic nor like pixel art, just a blurred painting. I also think you could’ve made the background move more, that would be a huge improvement. Trees that wave in the wind, clouds that drift, stars that twinkle and such. The colours were very good. Pleasant to look at. Aeryl looked best in my opinion.
Aeryl also had some of the best music, which made it my favourite level, which was fortunate because I had to return there a lot to harvest recourses for zero gravity potions.
I can’t complain about the music. It was great and always evoked the right mood. 8-bit songs generally tends to sound alike because of the lack of different instruments, but not in this case. Wandshrank knows how to get a lot of different sounds out of 8-bit machines. Also the composition was just that good. The songs had many layers. Catchy melodies. Counter melodies. Interesting effects. And so on. It sounds very lively. The only drawback is that the necessity for 8-bit music is debatable. I mean, the music does such a great job at having a consistent and genuine 8-bit sound (instead of fake-bit like so many people (including me) create), but it isn’t in line with the art style. The graphics don’t look like 8-bit but rather 16-bit (if any bit). Actually it simply looks like flash, with a mixture of pixel and some other art styles. The music would’ve worked much better if the graphics looked like true 8-bit. Now that the graphics don’t look like that, I feel the consistent 8-bit style is just a limitation for the music. It may have sounded more interesting and would’ve fit the art style better if the music used non 8-bit instruments like 16 bit or acoustic instruments as well.
So yeah, that’s my review. I don’t mean to sound too negative, that’s just how I am. This game kept me entertained for longer than I expect from an online flash game. Thank you for making this. I hope the review was helpful. Good luck on your future games.