I like this game, but it has a ton of glaring issues. It's not what it should be nor is it what it wants to be, yet.
This is a rogue-lite in its lightest form, providing hardly any differentiation between runs. The differences will be in the traits you obtain at levels 5/10/15, the items you get from chests (which are varied in usefulness, but are mostly similar and few) and of course mob drops/mob spawns. The layouts for each district follow a very strict pattern, involving massive sections next to each other as opposed to the standard 1x1 platform-style stage randomization. Each non-town district would blend into each other if it weren't for the differing biomes, which serve as alternate mob spawn pools for easier access to certain resources often at the cost of an increased difficulty.
Towns in this game currently serve very little purpose outside of a few obvious fantasy tropes. You have the Blacksmith, the Tailor and the Leatherworker, the latter two having static and unchanging names. You also have two shopkeepers which offer normally pointless and randomized items from the shop pool. Tools and weapons being sold are typically out of your price range when you'd need them, and entirely skippable once you have the gold for them. There are sometimes potions on sale, as well as herbs and hilts for treeless runs (I'll mention it later) but other than those the item pool for the shops aren't fantastic. Finally, there's the Hoarder that allows you to sell your items, which you'd think would be absolutely useful... But the sell price for each and every item you'll get ranges from 1-3 gold depending on said item. Weapons don't offer large sell prices, nor do armors. The Hoarder is a very cheap man.
The main issue with shops (again) is that they're normally pointless as far as tools and weapons go. With enough experience and proper door selection, you'll almost ALWAYS find the resources you need to make shops irrelevant. Heck, normally the only thing I'm missing at the end of each run are rings (which fight against a rather large and annoying chest drop pool) and rarely one piece of armor. I can go ahead and find a friend to wear a miner's cap to completely resolve the ore deficiency we may have.
Finally, Altars sometimes also spawn in towns, and are the only non-constant you'll find outside of giant chickens and normal chickens. (They're not worth talking about, food and potion drops if you're curious.) Altars are currently money sinks for the runs that offer their bounties long before the shops care to stock them, which is normally what happens as stated before. Altars cost 500 gold, which is a steep price for what they offer: A chance at a minimal stat buff, debuff or nothing at all. Rarely you'll earn a return to full health which is by far the best result most of the time, but the game is very stingy with both the spawn rate and good results of the Altars. By the time you have the money to trigger an Altar, you may not even find one... And sometimes they'll spawn when there's clearly no way you could have the money already without chopping every tree down. Normally, it's not worth the min-maxing.
... Min-maxing... Forgot about that. This game's mechanics are often lacking fluidity. Min-maxing is something that seems to be discouraged, due to the Scourge Invasion mechanic (a mechanic Spelunky players will find familiar, but irrelevant) and the rewards often not being worth the effort. Most of your min-maxing is for gold, from chopping tons of trees to continuing to break open each ironite ore deposit even when ironite is otherwise out of uses. Your reward for gold farming is, again, Altars and the occasional shop item before you have the chance to forge it.
Forging is relatively self-explanatory, but crafting can be a little tricky. Crafting is done via shift-clicking two items like an awkward Bejeweled puzzle. It's an easy mechanic, the issue is just the recipes at times. A lot of the early crafting recipes build off of each other, which provides cohesion and ease of access to tools and weapons. Some of the later items are either wiki bait, or "Oh, I didn't know that existed!" items. It can get awkward, but with enough thought it's not too bad. There's not too many crafting recipes to memorize, so once you have the main ones you're set.
Combat is simple. Grab a weapon, attack. If you want to use an item, hold it in your hands and right-click. Every item can be left-clicked with to hit enemies melee-style, and that's based off of your ATK stat. Staves and Bows can be right-clicked with to cast spells/shoot arrows, which are based on MAG and DEX respectively. Typically, people break down their runs to three classes. (it's often necessary with the lack of inventory space if you're somewhat new to the game still) With the speed of some mobs, and the fact that a lot of mobs in the game fly, melee is at a huge disadvantage. Ranged players will be able to aim their shots from afar, without aggroing enemies and easily taking out a majority of the mobs they'll see. The downside to Ranged play is that walls can often prevent shots, and by the time you get past the wall they'll have seen you. With the addition of the Fire Bow, you won't be having any issues with damage should you find it. Resources for arrows are normally quite plentiful as well.
Mages are strong. Too strong. Fireball shoots horizontally, moving forward seemingly infinitely and even passing through walls. While this is a powerful weapon, there is the downside of accidentally killing enemies and having their xp despawn if you're not careful... But honestly that's the only con to it, which is absurd. Bolt is pretty much the god staff, allowing you to shoot directly both above and below you. With jumps, timing and practice, this is normally the superior option. There's also a strange bug that makes each shot hit the target enemy once for each player in the run, which Fireball is unable to do. Frostshard is more of a melee supplement, offering additional damage that's halved from your current maximum mana. Mages are normally a distance away from their enemies, so it normally provides little to no benefit... If it costed one mana like the other two staves, it might be worth the effort of even using. Summon Zombie is also an option if you find it or use the Scourgeling race, but against flying enemies it's worthless.
Speaking of races, each race has it's own specialties. However, some are clearly superior to others. Typically you'll want to unlock the best races early on to put yourself at ease. Some races such as the Qualogg provide utility instead of immediate additional power.
Unlockables for character creation include the aforementioned races, the hats and also companions. Like races, there are a few certain hats and companions which are obvious choices once unlocked over the other ones, which is unfortunate. Each unlockable set has at least one thing that's insanely challenging, but most are either freebies or based on RNG which is really unfortunate.
The game is simple. Once you know what you're doing, it's as easy as going through the motions. You'll get all the items you need to beat the final boss, and you'll always win even if you're not a seasoned veteran. The skill cap is so low I feel like I'm in a hobbit hole.
If you want a game to play with friends when you're bored and you don't have better options, this is a nice game to pick up. (just be weary of multiplayer issues such as de-syncing) If you want a fully featured game with proper balancing and potential for failure even after learning it's mechanics and practice, you'll want to wait on your purchase of this game. I still recommend it, just don't expect wonders in it's current state... I'm sure with time the balance issues will be ironed out and the game will have more to accomplish and do.
Sean Young, if you're reading this I do hope you can find some ways to take care of these issues.