Graficalaxy - A 2D roguelike space shooter (PC Demo included)

Hello everyone! I'm currently working on a 2D space shooter with roguelike elements. There's still a lot of work to be done but I wanted to post a demo and get some feedback.

You can find it here: https://psychoneirik.itch.io/graficalaxydemo

oleada2.png

How to play:
The demo includes a tutorial but it's in Spanish, so I'll give a rundown of how to play the game (Note, some text is still untranslated, but the most important stuff like weapon names and descriptions were translated for the demo).
  • On the main menu, press the button that says "JUGAR" (Play) to begin the game.
  • Use WASD or directional arrows to move your space ship.
  • Hold left click to shoot your primary weapon. Hold right click to shoot your secondary weapon.
  • When defeated, enemies drop gems. Grab these to collect them, they can be used at the store to buy perks or to heal yourself.
  • The game is divided in waves. Defeat all enemies on the screen to advance to the next wave. There's a total of 40 waves. If you die, you will have to start over.
  • During waves 5, 15, 25 and 35 you will be able to pick one of two random weapons for free. Click to buy them. If you left click them you will equip them as your primary weapon, if you right click them you will equip them as your secondary weapon. You can click on the button that says "CURAR" to heal yourself by paying gems. Click on the button that says "SALIR" to advance to the next wave.
  • During waves 9, 19, 29 and 39 you will enter the perk shop. Here you can spend your gems to buy perks, which passively help you.
  • During waves 10, 20, 30 and 40 you will fight a boss. Defeat the final boss at wave 40 to win the game.
  • Enemies, bosses, weapons and perks are randomized each time you start a new run.
I would like to hear your feedback. Among other things I'm interested in the following:
  • Is the game too easy or too hard?
  • Do you think you are getting too many or too few gems?
  • Is there any weapon or perk that feels either too weak or too powerful?
  • Is there any enemy or boss that feels either too weak or too powerful?
  • What's your opinion on the artstyle?
I would also like to hear your general opinions on the game, feedback or anything you want to share.
 
I liked it! I made it to level 24. Some of the balance feels a bit off but nothing that some extra polish wouldn't fix. It did seem like the difficulty jumped up rather abruptly at level 20 - I'd been more or less cruising through it, then suddenly there were a lot more enemies on screen firing a lot faster. Some specific thoughts:

- There didn't appear to be any feedback on when I took damage in game besides the hearts going down. I actually thought I'd gone through the first few waves entirely unscathed until I got to the upgrade screen and saw I was missing half a heart. Bigger feedback on taking damage - screen flashing, sound effects, etc - would make it easier to get a sense of the hitbox and my own ability to dodge bullets. I ended up buying the self-destruct upgrade, not because I thought the damage would be useful, but because it sounded like it would make it clear when I took damage. I'm still not certain if certain actions (like colliding with enemies) make you take damage.

- In the same vein, I wasn't sure when my bullets were damaging enemies, especially bosses I thought maybe the rock with an eye just reflected my bullets and I needed to wait for an opening to shoot a weak point until it started getting smaller. A simple flashing when hit would probably go a long way.

- I often had a hard time distinguishing my own bullets from those of enemies, especially after I got the upgrade that makes bullets bounce off the walls

- It wasn't clear to me at upgrade screens if I was buying a different gun or passive upgrades. This led to some confusion when I thought I was always upgrading my gun (first to fire in four directions, then to bounce off walls) and I bought another upgrade that made it fire more quickly but less accurately, which got rid of my four-directions shooting. They're labeled differently, but there should be some fundamental way that the screens or the buttons look, to make it more obvious that you're buying different stuff in the different screens.

- I liked how the gems don't automatically come to you, making choosing to collect them a decision, but they felt just a little too difficult to grab. Something that could be interesting is a Devil Daggers-style attraction system, where they automatically come to you unless you're shooting (and are actively repelled with certain weapons), which encourages the player to think more tactically about shooting and be less button-mashey. This could especially temper builds that feel a bit OP (like the four-direction gun + wall bouncing)

- The bullets that come from invisible enemies on the side of the screen could use a warning, like an indicator a half-second in advance that there will be bullets there


Regarding the art style, I'm not sure how far along on it you are, but while I love pixel art I've always been turned off when pixel art is rotated, moved or scaled in non-pixely ways. That's probably just me though, nobody else seemed to hate the way the crops in Stardew Valley bounced. While I also like the Gameboy-style approach, I'd love to see the palette change as you progress, giving a clearer indication of progression as things visibly change.
 
Thanks for the feedback! Seems like there's a lot of clarity issues, will follow your suggestions to make it easier to tell what's going on on the screen. About the palettes, I was thinking of making different color palette's that you could unlock by playing and change it in the settings, but the idea of it changing as you progress is also nice, will keep it in mind.
 
Updated the demo with a few clarity fixes:
  • Screen shakes when the player takes damage
  • Bosses flash when they take damage
  • Changed color of the player's bullets to differentiate them from the enemies
  • Lowered difficulty post wave 20
Also added a new boss, may still require a bit more testing so please let me know if you encounter any bugs.
 
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Updated the demo:
  • Added more weapons for a total of 20
  • Added more perks for a total of 30
  • Added more bosses for a total of 5
  • Added a few more normal enemies.
  • Max wave is now 50 instead of 40
  • Lowered the difficulty of the game, specially the big spike at wave 20
  • Added new moves to the old bosses to make them a bit more interesting.
  • Fixed several bugs and made some QoL changes.
Would love to hear your feedback. I'm currently working on balancing the game so if you find a certain weapon or perk to be too powerful, too weak, too expensive or too cheap, or if you find certain enemies or bosses too difficult or too easy please let me know.
 
Rebalanced the difficulty, the shop now appears more often. Added perks that synergize with other perks or weapons to create unique combos. Here's a screenshot showing a few of the new perks:
juegoscreen1.PNG
 
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