HI there Aethesians. Here is my feedback and review of the game. I dont have alot of time in the game per se, but I did finish Episode 1, it only took about 6 hours.
First the graphics. I love them. Wonderful art style, animations are smooth, and overall I did not run into any graphical glitches. The cutesy cartoonish graphic style should appeal to the younger audience as well as hold up to the test of time much better. Very nice work, and kudos to the artists. Some of those outfits are simply amazing.
I dont have much to say on music or sounds. I only played with sound for about an hour, then muted everything or took off the headset. Not that it was bad, there just wasnt anything captivating there. No voiceover work, which I didnt expect there to be, and the music was lackluster.
The actual gameplay was fun. Crafting worked well, and I enjoyed it, although some items were much harder to get than others. While looking for 2 springs, I ended up with 147 cogs and 67 pipes... thats a bit far if you ask me, for grinding items. There should be a way to ensure a much more even spread of items. I made a few "suits" and a couple hats and masks, but quickly found they are useless, only cosmetic items. While I do enjoy them, and would love the whole set, it is too much to ask when the items are randomly generated (see above for looking for springs). If you are using a percentages variable to generate, it should be tied to the character, not the loot, as a 10% chance to spawn could result in never seeing that item once. Same with the after battle loot wheel, 90% of the time it gives a cog or two.
The quests were very well written, I loved following the story, although at times it was hard to determine exactly what it was I was asked to do. The paint cans for example took me a while to decide to dump oil and water into. I was expecting to find "colorful" items to place into the paint. I also did not see a "key" to tell me what the icons meant on the different quests styles although some are easy to guess. Should still be an explanation somewhere in game.
Combat played out well, but I feel the wheel may be a little too fast for some, especially younger kids. Having items that would reduce the speed of the spinner would be nice, maybe tied to the armor, since they dont serve much use. I also discovered "healing" on my own, just trying it out because I was curious. After talking to, and fighting with, many other players, I may be one of a very few (or maybe the only one haha) who actually know you can use Aether to heal in combat. I even discovered the "right clicking" of players and objects by reading the forums here, since it was not mentioned anywhere in the game. This is handy, especially for weapons, as before I had to craft it first and use it in combat to discover how much damage it did, and what "special" properties it had. This should be explained better in game as well, sometime during the tutorial.
Overall, a wonderful little game. I completed Episode 1 in about 6 hours, at level 6. I hear it caps at level 10 for the episode. But I did not see any reason to continue to level up, other than unlocking more cosmetic items (minus the tesla hammer). There didnt appear to be incentive to do so, unless you wanted to gather a bunch of clothing options. It didnt increase health that I noticed (maybe Im wrong) and didnt change the amount of damage you take, those are set values, since there is no armor in game. There also didnt seem to be a number indicator for the amount of Aether you have. Left clicking and right clicking the orb, both tried to use the Aether not display an info window. Also, a numerical indication of health, both the players and the mobs, would be useful. Having to right click to see health numbers is a needless extra step.
And Im not sure theres anything that can be done at this stage, but adding in hotkeys for everything would be nice. WASD for movement is much better than clicking to move, especially in a game where clicking objects in the world is necessary. Click to move makes you run all over the screen while trying to click the tiny pixels needed to collect an item or interact with an object. Also number hotkeys for using different weapons in combat would be nice, instead of the click and drag. And lastly a hotkey for opening the crafting book, so I can check progress on an item easily while looking for the parts.
I have many more ideas, and would love to help test future episodes as well, but sadly I had only a 3 day key. Luckily it was enough to finish completely, but if you want addition feedback or reports I will have to get lucky enough to score additional keys (if they are ever available for future episodes). Thanks for the wonderful game, keep up the good work, and spread the message. We need more games like this, that are family and kid friendly.