Whew, this was lots of fun! I'm a big fan of SMT, so this was right up my alley. (Again, just like how I'm a fan of Kaiji/poker when I played CoT) The story is simple but effective and the effects in both cutscenes and gameplay were done really well too. But the real star of the show here is the gameplay. I'm actually genuinely surprised by how well this was designed, especially considering this was made in freaking AAO. The RPG mechanics are simple and not too deep (which I didn't expect to be that deep to begin with, so this isn't a critique at all but): It's just level ups and basic spells you can learn, with a usual elemental weakness system. But the gameplay loop still manages to nail what makes any good RPG fun: That feeling of getting more and more powerful and being able to stomp enemies that gave you trouble previously. The guarding mechanic of where you can choose an elemental resistance was very interesting and I thought it added a great bit of tactical decision making. I also quite like how each floor introduced a new gimmick of sorts, which weren't groundbreaking per se, but they still kept the game fresh as I went through it.
Having SMT knowledge was actually a huge boon for me, since I could already reasonably guess what weaknesses enemies would have based on their SMT counterparts. It caused me to not need Scan for like more than the first half of the game and most of the time I could resonably predict what resistance I needed too. The huge exception that threw me for a loop was Arahabaki, though. In just about all SMT games I've played, which are the more modern ones, Arahabaki repels Physical while usually being weak to a bunch of elements, but in this game it was the opposite: He's weak to physical here for some reason.
The game mostly didn't give me much problems to beat it and I went through it rather quickly, though I think that's also just because I'm very experienced in this type of game. I wouldn't exactly call the game a pushover, though. In fact, I thought it was very well balanced. I only got a game over at the first eyeball encounter which I figured out soon afterwards, and a few game overs at the final boss, Doppelganger, which is perhaps the only nitpick I have about the game.
It was the only boss where I felt like it's a bit unclear what you're supposed to do, and even after beating the game I'm really not sure how I did it or if I did it right. He copies your every move (except for Scan), and swaps his resists/repels to the ones you switch to. I was level 20 when I fought/beat him and I just could not figure out a really viable strategy for him. He had around 1070 HP, and since his Dia heal was around 490 and my damage before I needed to heal myself was around 530, I just thought I'd keep looping that with a net 40 HP I'd cut off each loop... But needless to say this was very slow and so it really felt like I did something wrong here.
Then for some reason when I tried Agi, it ended up doing 700 damage all of a sudden (I had a Bufu resistance up, if that matters?), which is a bit weird because the times I casted magic before, it really only did about 250 to 300 damage. I'm kinda confused why my Agi did so much damage all of a sudden, but that's how I beat him and I'm still not sure what the supposed strategy is for beating Doppelganger... But oh well. EDIT: Okay, after some testing, I figured it out, I guess: Switching elemental resistences does not only make Doppelganger adopt that as a repel, he gains the opposite element as a weakness. (And for those who aren't aware how this typically works in games like SMT: Agi (Fire) and Bufu (Ice) are each other's weakness, and the same goes for Zio (thunder) and Garu (Wind).) Alrighty, never mind that last nitpick, then. It was just on me for not figuring that out sooner.
Regardless, this was a really enjoyable experience and really well made, so huge props to TimeAxis. Not only was this very impressively made, but it felt really well-thought out too. I can definitely see how this won the competition it was in. This, along with CoT, really makes me curious for any future projects you might still make. Thanks for making!