I've approached this game with my love of the first game inescapably at the forefront of my mind. You could argue BITG is more of a 'party game' than TJ&E was, but if that's the case I guess I'm missing the point a bit. I've really enjoyed playing BITG but it's not quite been the game I hoped it was gonna be.
As I see it, the game currently plays like a party version of the first game. If need be, these suggested balance changes might be labelled a 'purists' mode really.
In order to to make the experience more rewarding and interactive, in my opinion, the following changes should be implemented, by rough order of importance:
-Increase map sizes by about 33-50%. Make finding hidden paths part of the necessary playstyle for victory again. I miss the TjandE where the map was the challenge as much as the earthlings were. Some maps are about 5 tiles in total size, small island in the middle surrounded by nothingness.
-Reduce the amount of time looking in bushes and structures by reducing the instance of these by about 80%. Further to this, the animation locking you into 1 second of looking at player-character looking in a bush looks nice but it ruins the flow of the action. Looking in bushes to my mind distracts or compensates for a lack of what I felt was the entire point of the first game: searching the map.
-Reduce the frequency of mini games and secret levels. Wouldn't really want to play the hyperfunk zone more than two or three times per play through, and probably the same or less for the rhythm game; this in turn would allow for these to be more incentivised with better rewards for good performance.
-Increase the amount of presents on the floor to compensate for the far fewer bushes/houses/minigames.
-Reduce friendly earthling frequency. All way too frequent.
-Too many enemies one-shot you late game. In first game nothing really OS, but rather ice cream van could kill in probably 2-3 hits. If the damage that enemies do is reduced, food can be reverted to 25% extra hp sort of values and reduced in frequency.
-Sunflowers make it too easy to drop aggro, as does jumping in water (remember the bees following you while you swam in TJandE1?) . Aggro also is probably not consistent enough: too often dentists just chill as you walk by. Not as mad as I'd like!
-Not seen a shark become remotely interested in my presence yet. Water feels very safe. Sharks in TjandE1 were terrifying.
-Why can you buy four of the same present from the mailbox? About level 22 I bought 5 invisibility paints and strolled home having one life.
I'd be willing and able to expand on any of these thoughts if anyone's interested. Stay funky!