This is a longer term project that I have really picked up the pace on this past summer. I intend to add much more to the game in the coming months, but I want to ensure the base mechanics of shooting and dodging are fun with this minimal concept. It's listed as $2 on itch.io, but there are 50 free copies available as well!
Note: I went for one of the 50 free copies. I'll pay in feedback :D
What I like
Hope this helps!
A shmup, eh! Haven't played one in years. Always a good challenge, I recall. Well.
There's befuddlement and lack of distinction in this here design. A slowly moving and shooting ship would fit a methodical approach where each bullet counts. The power-ups throw that idea away. Same with the enemies mindlessly pushing forward.
There are many examples of bombastic/bullethell shmups out there to peruse, if that is what you are going for. They usually rely on combo systems and other gimmicks on top of the excess of bullets. I'm cooking up something else.
Now, you didn't expand on the mail idea yet. All I'll say about the current mechanic is that having a separate score counter is strange when mail alone would suffice. Halt! The idea has metamorphosed, listen to this:
Take the methodical approach: slow ship, slow bullets, low firerate. Power-ups mainly increase these three attributes. Crazy bullet patterns would be a detriment, because…
There are a loads of ships flying around in all sorts of directions. The player has to dodge them while trying to shoot at particular mail thieves to retrieve the mail. Every other ship is a civilian and shooting at those results in a penalty. Gotta be accurate!
Haven’t quite seen something like that before. Uniqueness is key in the swarmed landscape of shmups from current and yester year. Whichever way you decide to go, keep that in mind.
I wrote a post yesterday but due to the browser crashing, so I have to remember what I was going to say.
First I agree with all the things Maartene said. Doubly so on that you can shoot bullets!
I'll add on to confusion about the mail. Is it meant to give power ups? Is that why I'm shooting faster now? I really don't like hitting the return key for every shot, but I'll do it if power ups no longer require me to do so. If power ups wear off and I'm hitting return for every bullet again, I think that is too much. I really would prefer that I could just hold down the return key to fire.
This game feels slow to me. If it goes faster as you play more, I don't mind, but I got three levels and it still felt like swimming through molasses.
The part where I stopped typing to think about it, but hadn't yet posted my comment, is that your pricing strategy seems off to me and I think you should consider either raising your price, or setting it free with money to unlock things (or perhaps a demo). Two dollars is a price that I still have to pull out a card for, and thus provides a large barrier to entry, but I think it will scare enough people away. The problem for me is that I am not sure what the right answer is. Either improve/polis the game more (over time, raise the price to $10 or $20 and call the current state "early access"), or remove the price and go freemium.
I can't tell you the right answer, but I wouldn't be playing this game after the first try even with no price. (I hope that isn't too evil of me to say.) But the game does have a good foundation, and I could see this turn in to a very fun game with some tightening up of the controls and feel and movement.