The button layout for a controller is kind of odd. Obviously a 6-button fighter is going to be difficult on a PS2/Xbox style gamepad but the default layout is just weird, and remapping the controls makes the menu damn near impossible to use.
I did find a keyboard was easier to use, but arrow keys are no substitute for an analogue stick (and also my computer setup means I have to lean over the keyboard, which is on a tiny end-table thing). I do think an arcade stick, even if not strictly necessary, would help a lot. It's basically a 6-button controller with a thumbstick, after all, and that would solve both the problem of the weird layout on gamepads and the pain of using arrow keys. It's not like you need to spend thousands of pounds on a ridiculously overpriced high-end hunk of pointlessly overwrought hardware after all, especially not at the friendly level (StarCraft players and your jaw-droppingly overcompensating mice that cost more than a console, I'm looking at you...).
Also the very simple physical construction of arcade sticks (flat boards with buttons and a stick) means that decorating/cusfomizing them (purely aesthetically of course) should be easy.
Regarding the game itself, I haven't played any online or even the story mode yet- I'm sticking to the training room and the tutorial until I improve. I'm getting used to the characters, just seeing how they handle before I heavily investigate their movesets. Painwheel is quite fun, and I like her Buer Drive moves (especially the one where she uses it like a claw, snapping down the 4 blades one at a time) and from what I played of her Cerebella suits me quite well, with her good attack power and excellent knockback. Peacock seems kinda OP although that could be my inner scrub speaking.
I absolutely love the artstyle- it's like a blend of 90s pulp anime and Western underground comics, combined with a Vaudeville theme and plenty of silliness with just the right amount of grimdark. Painwheel is probably my favourite design, although I do love Peacock and her walking 30s cartoon schtick. Some of the palettes are cool as hell too. I kinda wish they'd release a palette editor so you could make your own colour schemes, but given the amount of labour that went into the hand-drawn sprites I can see that would be a pain to implement (although I actually think it would be fair of them to release it as paid DLC).
I'm determined to kick my scrub habits, so I'm going to keep trying at the tutorials. Will definitely look for an arcade controller though- any recommendations on decent ones that aren't stupidly expensive? I'm not interested in superconductive ultra-high-end stuff, just something that will make playing a bit easier and won't break on me.
Here lies Squigsquasher.