Siralim 1 was undoubtedly the best thing I found on Amazon Underground. I have enjoyed both Siralims quite a bit, as I wanted to offer my perspective as the third game looms.
The balance between mage classes is great, as I am torn between what flavor of caster mage to play, even now. I’ve really come to enjoy the playstyle created by unforeseen combinations of traits /artifacts which my creatures can bring to the table. I feel the interactions of combinations is what have kept me interested in this game for 200+ hours. Even over those hundreds of hours I have yet to experience all of the features which have been added to the game (no significant play time with nether creatures, warlords, gem crafter, fortune teller, avatars, fortune sphere, or nether realms). This is a hell of a game system you have built. That being said, the complexity comes with some balance quirks.
Debuffs are a place which I feel could be improved (By which I mean, "Encourage a wider variation of play style and team composition) by implementing diminishing returns on repeated affliction of functionally similar debuffs (Ex: freeze and stun) may improve the overall balance of combat. From my experience, I have a two controlling spells (Mind Storm and Snowstorm) which cast on provoke / defend on my Stronghold. The net effect is that my Stronghold single-handly controls the entire flow of battle, often locking down the entire enemy team with his turn. While I enjoy the control offered by my set up, I feel like my Stronghold pushes the combat towards binary combat, which I think is a detrimental to the long term enjoyment of a game.
The balance between casters and melee appears to be in an odd place to me. While casting spells are powerful, using a turn to cast is often a poor use of a turn. Triggered spells are almost always a better use of spell slots. Perhaps spells could have two states - Triggered vs cast with a turn. Or, perhaps diminishing returns on the damage or debuffing capacity of chain casted spells. Another possibility would be to include stat checks - ex: my caster’s int vs a creature’s defense to avoid stun whereas my caster’s defense vs the target’s agility to avoid freeze. To return to my Stronghold example, if instead of having a flat chance to apply debuffs from cast spells, my spells checked against stats, some creatures would be more vulnerable to my shinangins than others. I feel this would walk back from binary combat, which I feel is an improvement.
– Other observations / experiences with less identified solutions:
The only punishments I use are those that offer some sort of compensation mechanic for increased difficulty. That being said, I appreciate some more than others. I love the two quests per floor punishment. Drought’s impact is almost zero on my game play, as mana is not used for triggered spells.
I have experienced a significant amount of variability in regards to difficulty on the same floor between groups. Some (most) packs can be vanquished with almost no effort but every so often a pack blind sides me and inexplicably tear me to pieces. Perhaps something could be done to reduce the range of variability between groups. (Disclosure: I use the punishment which obfuscates the identity of some enemies which may interfere with my ability to accurately access threats.)
I somewhat frequently use save & exit to reset my merchant’s inventories. This has allowed me to cherry pick specific traits/spells. This may be a feature rather than a bug.
The NG+ options of increased movement speed and to have all combinations open to me at the start of the game was a huge quality of life increase. Both of these changes were worth restarting my 100 hour file over. Perhaps the movement speed could be available from the start of the game and players could learn combinations in a different way.
Cards are a great idea, and jaw droppingly rare. Across my play time I have seen… two? Perhaps cards could be achieved in a way other (in addition?) to rare drops.
Cooking feels like a trap as it stands in Siralim 2. I feel like cooking is set up for me to fail and waste resources which I already feel constrained by. I feel obligated to use a third party resource to look up viable combinations and not try to find combinations on my own.
I only did a few of the side quests granted by rituals and my experiences were negative. I had a difficult time combining creatures enough to create the end goal. I remember needing to use outside resources and taking multiple steps to get my creature. I feel that “Show me your X”, especially if X must be bred, are an artificial difficulty booster and do not add much fun to the game. Perhaps, instead quests could challenge players to incorporate certain abilities or creatures into the linage of a bred monster.
“Your creature’s attacks now do X% damage based on Y” abilities… I am unclear as to if these abilities weaken my attacks in exchange for the benefits granted by the passive or instead are added on top of normal attacks damage. Perhaps an option could be added to make descriptions of abilities verbose?
My gems and artifact effects are not always clear to me before experimentation with the item. I have recollections of giving my enemies spells which I would consider to be buffs when the spells were triggered, or targeting my party with spells I would consider debuffs when triggered. An attached entry to spells / abilities / triggered effects to clarify targets (“Target(s): Allies, Enemies, Self, Any, Random, All”) would be helpful for me as a player to make meaningful choices in regards to how I want my party to function in combat.
Lastly, thank you for making this great game. I am looking forward to your upcoming work of both The Negative and Siralim 3.