Just played through the demo. Overall, I really enjoyed what I played and see a lot of promise in this hack, altough there are some things which I think you should address in future updates so here’s a gameplay review of each chapter and each unit.
Chapter 1: A good start to the game. The difficulty felt just right for me, and the pacing is handled well. There are no real anti turtling incentives besides the 2 cavalier reinforcements (by the way, lance cavs use infantry movement sound effects), so maybe that could be slightly improved. Also the whole western part of the map felt kind of pointless and isolated from everything else, maybe you could add a village or something else to incentivize the player to send their units there. The boss only being able to be attacked at 1 range from a single tile makes him slightly tedious to kill, especially since by the time you get to him most of the map has been cleared. When I killed all the enemy units a cutscene played which I think might make the boss move, but by then I had him surrounded and making the boss move only when the rest of the map has been routed is a bit odd for a defeat boss map.
As for the units that you start out with, Marius is a pretty typical sword lord with mediocre bases and balanced growths. He can’t do much with his iron sword, but his brave rapier prf goes a long way to making him usable. Altough I’d actually suggest adding a reaver effect as well because
the buffed weapon triangle’s +/- 3 MT becomes +/- 9 attack when dealing with effective weapons, making the royal sword really crappy against armor knights, which are already pretty hard to kill. My lord shouldn’t be dealing 4×4 damage with an effective weapon. Altough I understand that a brave effective reaver weapon would be a bit excessive, the royal sword is pretty mediocre as an effective weapon as is. Aside from his prf, Marius seems mostly fine, he’s your typical low bases good growths lord.
Colton, on the other hand, is a pretty interesting Jagen. His bases are… not spectacular, with him having good strength, HP and defense and low speed, and his growths reflect his bases, being really high on the physical side and downright terrible in every other aspect. He is your best tank but is far from being invincible, and can very easily die in the next chapter if you get careless. My main issue with him is that your Jagen is supposed to be a strong unit you can rely on when in need, but his low speed means that he can’t double and one round enemies (not even armor knights), and his hit rates are pretty bad against dodgier enemies. I’d at least suggest giving him an iron axe for the extra hit and maybe buffing his stats a bit.
Dante is a pretty straightforward unit. He’s a sword cav with average bases and good growths, altough they seem a bit too far on the high side. According to the guide section, they’re supposed to compensate for being sword-locked, but 1-2 range weaponry seems to have been nerfed so I don’t know if that’s really necessary. My only real complaints are that he relies on getting a speed level up in chapter 1 to double the enemies in chapter 2 and that his base luck is quite low causing him to face some low % crits against certain enemies, so maybe I’d give him an extra point of speed and some extra points of luck at base. Also, he doesn’t have Canto in the current build.
Finally, Lagertha is a pretty decent armor knight. She can tank well in the first chapter but she notably struggles against brigands due to the buffed weapon triangle and her
low speed getting her doubled by some of them. This especially hurts her performance in chapter 2, where you have to face 2 brigands in the central area during the most hectic turns of the map. Also, she has low luck just like Dante, which puts her at risk of being crit.
Chapter 2: Oh boy was this chapter challenging. It took me roughly 5 attempts to clear without any deaths. I feel like what really makes this chapter so hard is having to have to charge into a very diverse group of enemies to catch the Angelic Robe thief. The buffed weapon triangle means that none of your units can really tank all the different enemies effectively, and even if they could the archers make it really hard to set up a chokepoint. You really need to rely on all of your units to make it through this chapter safely, which makes avoiding the 2 brigands in the starting area ideal until you can safely deal with them later on. I’m not a huge fan of the reinforcements: the 2 brigands that spawn in the top-left can block off whoever you sent to cover the stairs from reaching the southern portion of the map. The swordreaver guy in particular is really scary and can absolutely slaughter Dante and Ren. Maybe making them spawn in a bit later would be better, or maybe making the spawn in from the north. Also the shaman reinforcements are REALLY hard to take down. They have high defence, higher than their resistance actually, but you don’t have any mages at this point so you can’t take advantage of that. They don’t have much speed but neither do your heavy hitters so you can’t count on doubling them for tons of damage. And to top it all off, they can 2 shot most of your units and come in a group of 3. None of your units are really suited to fighting these guys. Maybe lowering their magic or giving the player access to a pure water and/or ward staff could help make them more manageable.
The map’s layout could also use some improvements. You need to send your thief south to unlock the door and recruit Gwen, but if you want to catch the thief you’re going to have to send your strongest units north not really leaving anyone to deal with the armor knight blocking the door. Also, once you do recruit her, you need to send Ren up north to open the boss room. I don’t see why the room needs to be locked, especially since if Ren dies you will essentially be softlocked. Also I don’t get why the enemies in that room are stationary, altough it would be nice if this hacked displayed enemies that don’t move as having 0 move. The boss is mostly fine, altough Lagertha and Colton are the only units who can take him on efficiently.
Now onto the units:
Ren is a pretty basic thief: low bulk, high speed, his 1 base luck but 100% luck growth is unusual tough. He comes with a sleep edge, which seems like a nice weapon on paper, but in practice its hit rate is way too low for me to consider using it. I think bumping up its hit in exchange for some durability would be fair, because I just don’t see myself using this thing.
Gwen is your typical staffbot. Not much to say about her really. She has really high res and is actually kind of useful to bait the shamans I guess?
Ended up writing a lot more than I though I would. I hope none of these criticisms end up discouraging you, because despite everything, I still had a ton of fun. I’m really looking forward to the next update, so I hope you continue working on this project!