Healer: A Light In The Darkness said it was going to make me the healer in a World of Warcraft-like raid. One guy, using multiple purchasable skills and different tiers of talents, helping a team of tanks and DPS characters to fight enemies. That sounded like fun! So I went and tried it.
First of all, you can't access the talents before you get 15 skulls, you get skulls for fighting enemies (1 skull on easy, 2 on normal, 3 on hard and so on) and there are not enough things to fight for access to the talent screen before you pay for the expansion. Which also unlocks page 3 and 4 of your spellbook, adds a fourth spell slot and adds about 2/3 of the game's worth of enemies. I understand the need to paywall things, but at least let me see what the talents are like before I can unlock them, that'll make me want to do it even more.
This game is like a puzzle game. You pick up spells and talents and then you go fight enemies that range from very simple 5-man encounters to 25-man fights where sometimes the enemy 'focus' their attacks on a tanky character and sometimes they just attack randomly. I see a first problem here, because there is an extra layer of trial-and-error required that should be removed. If you go into a fight where the enemy can drastically kill your party with poisons without a purify spell, you're toast, if you go without good focus-healing spells or with too much of them and the enemy does the opposite of that, you're toast. Enemies should give hints of what they can do before you fight them.
Even in fights, you don't get all the info you could use. Enemies have some special abilities and passive effects going on, but you know the bare minimum.Information about their normal attacks, number of stacks of certain buffs, what they actually do, etc, would be welcome. Your party wails constantly on the enemy and you don't know how much damage they're doing. I'd love to see numbers, actually, this game needs more numbers and less percentages. Your HP totals are in percentages, the HP of the enemies are in percentages, and yet your spells heal for fixed amounts of HP. There is a talent that deals '1000' damage to enemies when you heal your allies, is that a lot? I don't know, because all I see are percentage bars ticking down. Also, the warlocks lower enemy damage by 20%, for how long? When they attack? Passively?
You have enough customization for your healer, talents and spell choices, to solve the battle puzzles the way you see fits. I would've loved to be able to customize my party, but that's not a big deal. The talent system works with skulls you get for killing bosses, so you kill everything on 'easy' or 'normal', then you have enough skulls for one or two talents, so you can try the next difficulty and theoretically get the next talents. They are meaningful choices such as between regenerating more mana to cast more spells, having your allies take 25% less damage after they've been healed and having your allies shielded for 10% of any healing they get. I'm not sure I'll get to the last talent tiers, this game is pretty tough.
I have two other problems with this game, you don't get enough gold and there's not enough stuff to do with it. At the end of each fight, you're scored on how you did, if any ally died, how long the fight took, etc. But that's all irrelevant, you get gold depending of the enemy and difficulty level. Why not scrap the score and give gold depending on how you did? More allies alive means more loot at the end, beating the enemy in a target time means more gold, accomplishing certain mini-achievements would be neat too, such as never going under 50% mana, never having allies dipping under 10% hp, killing a monster without a certain debuff going to more than 1 stack, etc.
And you need more things to buy, there are about 20 spells to be bought in the game, all of them make you consider mana costs, effects, cooldowns, casting times before picking the four you think are your main set (switching them occasionally for enemies that require you remove poisons and things like that) but you'll buy everything after fighting all enemies of the game up to 5 times. Why not give other ways to spend your money? Maybe upgrading your teammates? I know this game is about the Healer, but having defenders get more shielding or wizards give you more mana, warlocks reducing enemy damage further... Now that I think about it, increasing the life and damage of your party would help you win harder levels even if you don't entirely figure out the puzzle and would give way more value to the gold.
Healer: A Light In The Darkness is original and fun, but difficult and a bit short on content. You can try it out for free, but the 2.99$ experience is closer to what the game actually is. I don't know if it's too tough or if my strategies weren't appropriate, but I'll keep trying to finish everything in it.