TL:DR it's a great system that oozes a very specific aesthetic, but some of the straightforwardness of the original may have been lost in all the pink paint.
I'll be breaking down my likes, dislikes, and notes section by section, but I want to make some more general observations from the top. Many of my dislikes are very nitpicky though so your mileage may vary on experiences for the content.
First and foremost, the layout and colors. The author made a clear choice in aesthetics over usability, as the contrast of white text on bubblegum pink is rough on the eyes and pretty distracting. The horizontal spread style of the pdf makes the book look incredibly pretty and pleasing to the eye from a distance, but gives up readability as I find myself constantly having to zoom around the giant panel in order to read the actual text.
Second, there is no Index or Play Examples for the rules. In a shorter, condensed ruleset this wouldn't be a problem, but the resolution system and character abilities are, to me, different enough that even someone familiar with RPG's might not be able to fully understand how all the rules interlock, and having a topic index and more examples might go a long way to ease that burden.
Inside the Cage
The book starts with the dessert first, explaining the base lore of the game and some core locations. It is all excellent.
How to Play the Game
A fairly common section in similar books, essentially explaining how RPG's work with an emphasis on back and forth conversation between the GM (called the Mediator) and the other players at the table.
Continuing, the next subsection has an explanation of the resolution system. I will say that some parts feel more out of place than others. This is where the game explains what stress is, when you get it, and how much you get. It's elegant and straightforward- pretty much everything is a dice roll, higher side wins and the loser takes stress equal to the difference of the roll. Circumstances and stats can be added and change the size and number of die rolled. The notes about Saves and the Deus Ex Machina mechanic both strike me as out of place though.
"Saves" simply notes: "If a task doesn't fall into a category of a contest, roll your Stat die and a 1 means failure". This doesn't really seem to line up with all the other notes talking about how the basic Contest resolution is meant to work for everything from environments to skill challenges to actual fighting, and without any examples I find myself unable to think of a situation as a Mediator where I would use the Save mechanic in place of the regular Contest.
The Deus Ex Machina is interesting and flavorful, but feels out of place as it's the first mention of a mechanic called Faith which apparently has a very different set of rules from the other base Stats.
There's 4 stats that are roughly compatible to the 6 classed D&D ones, and Wealth. Each one gets a different dice type assigned rather than an actual number. It's cool but the Wealth blurb isn't very descriptive, stating only that "Wealth is a currency measured by the die assigned to it". I'm pretty sure this just means that giving it the d4 means that I have exactly 4 wealth and spend that to buy things, no other rolling involved. Which is really cool, but being more specific there for such a revolutionary system would be helpful. Overall though I really like these.
There's also the "Daring" dice which is a d20 that can be rolled in place of a stat "to aid a friend", and the Faith stat. Faith is explained fully here for the first time, but is still very, very broad.
Beyond the stats, characters have "Heart, Genre, Talent, Anomaly, Schooling, and Equipment". To me that's quite the abundance of things.
Heart: Everyone starts with one, and giving it to someone else creates a relationship. It's also implied that if you trade with someone, you...still get their heart maybe? Which you can maybe give to someone else? Honestly it's a little bit confusing, especially because there's an entirely different reference to "Heart" in the violence section. It also doesn't say anything about how getting more Hearts work here, only that the more you put into a relationship, the deeper it is.
Genre: There's only a short blurb about choosing a music genre for a characters aesthetic and a movie genre for their outlook. There's no mechanical weight here and note that these things are used for "Synth Fusions" later in the book. I'm a bit torn, because while I really like this part of the character creation process as art, without any mechanical weight or explanation it just seems like something that would get skipped over most of the time. I was honestly expecting something along the PbtA lines of "mark extra XP (or its equivalent) every session the group agrees that you embody your genre combination as a character".
Talents: A mix of background and skills. Every character gets a random one by rolling a d20. The mix of options is inspired and g-o-o-d but also all over the place, which may be purposeful. There's everything from "+1 to weapon" to "Royalty" and while I like the breadth of options here, I could imagine players being confused or frustrated that some of these things have much more powerful mechanical implications than others, but that's one of the nice things about having the dice decide.
I do want to note here that there's a mention of something called "Temporary Wealth" here for the Talent "Inheritance", but I can't find any notes in the book about what the difference between "Wealth" and "Temporary Wealth" is in terms of mechanical consequences.
Another note is that the "Circus Family" talent states "you have an unusual talent which draws attention and is more useful than it probably should be" with no further explanation. We're in the Talent subsection so my take is: Either, you can pick one of the other Talents on the page and it gets a boost somehow, or you can work with the Mediator to figure out something else like sword-swallowing or acrobatics. It's another case where such a general statement is artful, but could possibly be helped by having some sort of example since the intent isn't quite clear.
Anomalies: "Your One Special Thing". Basically the class equivalent for the system. No randomness here, the choice is a deliberate one for the players. Each comes with a special ability of some sort. I really, really like most of them.
Schooling: This is a section I feel I don't quite "get". It's supposed to be an area of training you received which is different from both the talents and anomalies from before. You actually get three of them, a Major School (which also grants it's minor feature) and two Minor Schools. It's all very lore heavy and honestly a little overwhelming. To clarify, I like the abilities presented here (The ability to shout I OBJECT in order tell when someone is lying being a personal favorite) but I do wonder what the extra character options actually add that couldn't have been covered by the Talents or Anomalies.
I will note that the options are all over the place again. In this case I as a player would have a hard time making an informed decision picking between them, which I dislike. There's many things here that aren't referenced anywhere else in the entire document, such as something called the Judge's Corner. It sounds cool but the frustration of "Well, what the heck is it?!" keeps me from enjoying it and means I probably wouldn't use it. Maybe that just means it isn't for me.
Equipment: Rather than a standardized list of equipment like Songbirds v1 had, instead this section explains that any item is determined by its number of "Features" and priced appropriately, with each additional descriptive word costing an extra Wealth. The example given is that a Flashlight could cost 1 Wealth and would have either word "Shining" or "Bright", with a more powerful flashlight having both words and costing 2 Wealth.
I actually like the concept a good deal, but the list of words contains some confusing options like "Justice","Gifted" and "Romantic". Which is fun, but doesn't strike me as useable. I've racked my brain trying to come up with what an item with any of these things would actually do and come up short.
The next page has the list of random equipment you roll on to see what your character starts with. I like it but many of the entries are vague and artful, which I don't particularly look for in my equipment lists ("ring worth twice as much as you think" and "dying mp3 player with favorite song" are good for A E S T H E T I C but dont strike me as good for gameplay, but maybe that's just me being unimaginative). There's also lots of results that are actually contacts, which is cool.
"Bonds": The final subsection here is called "Do we know each other?" which has some really flavorful responses to that question, but the actual mechanic involves everyone rolling a d20 and depends on two people getting the same number. This strikes me as a bit strange since there's like an 80% chance or something with 4 players that the section doesn't even get used.
Here the game explains the various progression systems.
Basement: From what I can tell, the character sheets are actually referred to as "Basements" (which is confusing as later in the text there are references to both actual basements and sortof metaphorical basements).
There's quite a bit of information packed into this first two-page spread. There are things called "Milestones" which are unlocked by having Followers (social media followers, not hirelings) which are given by rolling a dice at the end of every session.
I was honestly really frustrated by this first two-page spread because the language is poetic and cool and has a certain vibe, but after reading it and re-reading it, I still can't fully explain how Basements and advancement is supposed to work.
Here's an example from the spread, called "How do you Expand?"
"If you want to expand the basement and grow, you have to spend one of the Milestones from gaining followers. And since these are shared between the Table, it must be unanimous. After spending it, just divide one of the rooms in half"
Character Development: The next two page spread does explain the Milestone thing a little more, saying that you can spend one to get a d20 in a stat. Without more explanation though, I can't say with confidence how this is supposed to play out. I might assume that you can't automatically bump up your d4 stat to a d20 by spending a milestone, but it doesn't actually say that.
The same spread includes details on how each session earns players a point to put into one of the core Stats, with the option to spend points on specific rolls or spend enough at once to permanently increase the dice size. I like this mechanic, it both makes sense and is easy to understand.
There's also what I'll refer to as the "Acts" mechanic, where after a certain number of sessions, characters somehow enhance their Anomaly. It's yet another section that I like conceptually but find difficulty in applying: there's a list of words paired to various statements about how characters have used their anomalies, and whenever players participate in enough sessions to complete an Act, they get to tag these words onto their anomaly to enhance it somehow. It's another piece of rules that seems cool in theory but that I would have a hard time explaining to a player how it was actually supposed to work. The text explains that these tag words "can do anything from improve upon your Anomaly, add things to that Anomaly, change the way your Anomaly interacts with the world, or mutate the Anomaly." This is another spot where even just one example might be good to help those of us less gifted with imagination.
Skills: The next subsection explains "Skills" which is yet another advancement method. After the 1st and every 3rd session, characters get a "Skill" which is a three word idea that gives you +1 in situations that relate to that skill. Examples include "Hunter of Fae" and "Talks Like Royalty". It's cool, but I dislike having to track incremental situational bonuses, and it feels like they would stack up.
Synths: Two characters can fuse into one in order to become someone with the best of all their combined stats. The music/movie aesthetic from earlier is mentioned but has no mechanical weight. I think it's neat. I also think it's a reference to something?
Bringing it all Together
These first thoughts have already gone on for awhile so I won't cover the Stress or "How to GM" sections. I might throw up a part 2 at some point, but it feels unnecessary.
The latter half of the book follows many of the same trends as the first. A constant thought that kept coming up as I was reading through the book was "This is cool but how do I use it in the game?". There are several references to values that don't appear again anywhere in the document (Animal Companion...cool. How do I get one?!? I think they have the same rules as equipment, but then there are three kinds??)
Honestly, maybe I'm not the target audience for this book. I've never watched Steven Universe or FLCL, which seems to be two of the major points of inspiration for the author. Talking to dragons about their emotional issues instead of slaying them is a cool tag-line that intrigues me, but I still don't feel like I could support that kind of encounter mechanically with the rules given even after reading it a few times.
Maybe I'm just being incredibly dense. It's possible that most of the issues above could be fixed with a quick FAQ or a Let's Play video/podcast where I could experience it through a different medium. I still think a topic index and more application examples could be helpful.
At the end of the day, is the game worth the $15 the author is asking?
Yes. Totally, 100%. God knows I've paid more for less just because it was by a bigger publisher. The content generation tables are worth the price of entry alone, and I really look forward to more works by the author.
I will temper that recommendation with this: I can't say that I could run it "out of the box", and there are several issues of the sort you would expect from a one-man team with no editor. Typos abound but might be fixed over time. Language is sometimes artful but confusing from an application perspective, particularly when the same word can mean several different unique things depending on context. Some parts of game-play seem complicated upon reading, but I can't attest to how they flow at the Table.
Otherwise, this is a very unique game and I hope to see more risks from other authors in the same vein.
And who knows, maybe I'll get a chance to play it one day with a Mediator more familiar with the source material and everything will click for me.
Side Note: I hope the Author considers keeping up the Into the Odd hack of version 1, as it was also a very cool ruleset even if it didn't have quite as many unique mechanical elements as this revised version does. I freaking love the art from the old version. I also liked the Warnames and Bonds mechanic from that edition quite a bit as well.
EDIT: This review is in reference to the first released version. The author has released a new version of the game with layout and content changes aimed at playability.