Dandy Ace is an isometric roguelike that has a lot of similarities to Hades, the popular “it” rogue title at the moment. Instead of a hellish landscape, Dandy Ace is built around cards, magic, and an almost carnival-like visual presentation.
Playing as a magician that has been trapped inside a mirror by a rival magician that is a bit jealous, the ultimate goal is to progress level by level until the final boss is defeated. Since this is a rogue, death puts you back to the start, resetting all progress you made until that point. The gimmick here is that new abilities/attacks are collected along the way and some can be stacked to increase potency. Picking up cards are assigned to face buttons and the player also has access to a dodge maneuver and quick heal options; this is all standard fair for a roguelike.
To be perfect clear, this is a difficult game. Permanent stat boosts can be unlocked but they take time and only slightly make the player more powerful. Success ultimately comes down to the player, take precaution with each encounter as each hit point is critical. Expect to die a lot with making little to no progress. This is the rogue, so players should have a general understanding of what to expect, but know there is a higher than normal level of difficulty here.
Visually, the game features a bright visual style but each environment essentially looks the same. Players will always traverse squared isometric level design and it becomes boring and routine after just a few attempts. There are enough enemy varieties but the plain, always flat, levels do not perform any visual favors. However, the samey level design is totally excusable when compared to the audio department, specifically with the annoying narrator. More often than not, the rival magician that trapped you in the mirror will be speaking directly to the player, announcing a play-by-play as if listening to a MLB game on the radio. The problem is, this gets annoying super fast and makes me not want to play, die, and try again.
Honestly, Dandy Ace is fine. It doesn’t do anything really wrong but it also doesn’t have a gimmick to separate itself from the half dozen rogue titles that are released every week on Steam, the eShop, and other digital marketplaces. In fact, most indie games that are released these days are some type of rogue title. Like indie platformers from several years ago, and the recent indie Metroidvania boom, it seems like every game these days is a rogue, roguelike, or roguelite. The market is beyond saturate with this style of game and if there is no major gimmick or gameplay twist, it is bound to get lost against the vast competition.
Also available on Switch and PC.
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