I finished the game, but I didn't really have fun doing it.
I want to start out by saying that I really enjoyed the controls and feeling of playing this game. The visual style was fantastic as well. This game has tons of potential.
If you're a user reading the reviews before playing, I recommend giving the game a try. It looks and feels really nice, and it's entirely possible that you'll have a completely different experience than I did.
In my opinion, the way the game works right now is not fun to play. I got 3 rooms in and then died. That's fine, that's part of the game. I died to an enemy that could shoot back at me, and it was a learning experience. The problems started when I tried to go back to recover my lost bolts and found it extremely hard to get back to the room I died in without having any upgrades. I would take damage on my way, collect all my bolts, and then inevitably die to the shooting enemy again. The problem is that, since I lost ALL my bolts every time I died, I couldn't upgrade so I would find it extremely difficult to defeat the enemy. Even if I got back into the room and collected all my bolts very quickly The game doesn't allow you to recall if there are still enemies in the room, so I HAD to fight and win with one slow gun and 3 hp. Eventually I did it, recalled and was able to buy a second gun.
The reason I bought a second gun instead of more health, was that with just one gun, every single enemy was tedious. The pulsing enemies that don't even move took 10 shots to kill, and I could barely escape the small red things if they swarmed me. Continuing after any death just took far too long to be fun anymore.
With my second gun, things got a little easier, but some rooms were absolutely unfair. The pulsing enemies had a ridiculous range that hit almost half of any room, and they gave absolutely no indication of when they were about to pulse, so I felt like I had no choice but to stay completely out of their range until they were dead (I know that they had a set rhythm, but I found it very difficult to keep track of while fighting other enemies at the same time).
And then I made the terrible discovery that everything respawned when I went into the heart room and came back out. The first room had one enemy that gave 5 bolts, and I ended up just grinding the first room 20 times to get my next 2 upgrades. I want to assure you that I didn't feel good about doing this, but I wanted to see the rest of the game.
With faster guns and a bit of extra health, I stopped my cowardly grind and actually ventured back out into the level. I was able to fight effectively, and I gained enough bolts to get my last health upgrade! With all 4 upgrades, I was a force to be reckoned with. I was still cautious, but capable, and I was having FUN! I found myself thinking that this should be the default loadout for my character, because the game was definitely still hard, but I felt like I could actually fight and defend myself. I eventually got to the boss room and really enjoyed the fight. It was satisfying and challenging, and a lot of fun. I do still feel like an indication right before something fires is an important element that's missing, but it wasn't a huge issue here. I defeated the boss with 1 hp remaining (which was very tense) and beat the game! I really did have fun in the end, but I only had fun for the last couple minutes of the game. I didn't really feel like it was worth the difficult grind.
So, first of all, I apologize for the long winded review which is mostly just me complaining. I want you to know that I didn't hate this game or anything like that, I actually enjoyed it quite a lot! I just wasn't able to have as much fun as I feel like I could have. I wanted to write this review because I can see that you are reading the comments and listening to the players, and really trying to make a great game. I wanted to share these things with you because I felt like they were holding the game back from being as fun as I know it can be. I hope that me sharing my experience can help you make this game the best it can be.
I really look forward to seeing where the game goes. Thank you very much for making it, and keep up the good work!