Review: Dandy and Randy DX

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You can’t blame people for wanting to improve their lives. When you are up to your eyeballs in debt, you feel like you have nowhere to turn. Consequently, when an offer that is too good to be true lands on your lap, you throw caution to the wind. This is exactly what happens in Dandy and Randy DX. It’s a retro-inspired title that will fill you with nostalgia.

Developed by Asteristic Game Studio and published by Ratalaika Games, this is an action-adventure puzzler. It uses repetitive and simple mechanics, and won’t test experienced gamers. However, it is fun, straightforward, and great if you are a completionist. What’s more, it’s vivid, has a great synth soundtrack, and can be played couch cooperatively.

Dandy and Randy DX is a tale of desperation. 

The titular characters Dandy Duck and Randy Rabbit are two heavily indebted archaeologists. Their aspirations to find secret treasure have made them stone-cold broke! Therefore, they are desperate for their luck to turn. Fortunately for the pair, a leaflet plops onto their laps that tells of a magic gem. If anyone can find this diamond, they will be rich beyond their wildest dreams. With nothing to lose, the pair drop their tools and begin their adventure.

This simple but fantastical story takes place for 6 unique worlds. Each location has specific monsters and obstacles that must be overcome. Furthermore, each chapter of the tale has a special ability that must be unlocked. You’ll find a boomerang to hit switches, a hammer to bash blocks, a spade to dig, a hook shot to avoid pits and running shoes to sprint. Each special power is key to your progress and adds a layer of difficulty to the gameplay.

Dandy and Randy DX is full of simple puzzles.
So many puzzles to overcome.

It’s far too easy. 

You can adjust the difficulty to your liking. However, I recommend playing on the toughest setting as the game is too easy otherwise. Sadly, the lack of a challenge undermines the retro approach and the humour of the story. I found myself drifting from the action, as it never tested me. This was even true of the boss fights. Learning their weaknesses took seconds, and the battles lasted a few minutes at most. Consequently, I was frustrated and nothing ever tested me. This was made worse in cooperative mode as you simply steamrollered your opponents.

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Talking of foes, Dandy and Randy DX is filled with them. They’ll jump at you, run towards you, or spin fireballs in your direction. It all sounds hectic and tough to deal with. However, it wasn’t. Most enemies were defeated by throwing plants, pots, or rubbish on their heads! Subsequently, it was mind-numbingly easy and took zero effort.

What also took no effort was solving the puzzles. These minor logical tests can be completed by a child. The majority of the puzzles ask you to activate switches or run through timed gates. Every task was easily completed, and this added to the game’s lack of challenge.

Dandy and Randy DX is brilliantly retro.

The lack of difficulty did disappoint. Yet, I fell for its charms immediately. Its vivid style and dated sprites were great to look at. Moreover, the level designs were interesting, unique, and filled with obstacles. The labyrinthine dungeons resembled a Metroidvania game, and this was fantastic. I loved its late 80s/early 90s appeal and the cutesy art style.

I was also keen on the synth-wave audio. The upbeat soundtrack represents Dandy and Randy’s adventurous spirits. Sadly, though, it lacked originality, but this mattered not. Its basic tones were fun whilst adding energy to the action. Furthermore, it was wonderfully retro, and this matched the theme.

Use your hook shot to avoid the swamps.
Use your hook shot and avoid the swamps.

Basic game = basic controls. 

Dandy and Randy DX is as simple as they come. Consequently, it uses basic controls to get the job done. This was just as great as it was infuriating! On one hand, it was easy to master. However, on the other, it was annoying having to scroll through each special ability. If the developers had used a radial menu instead, it would have been much better.

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If you are a completionist, this will be a dream title. Achievements drop like confetti and the game is completed in around an hour. Subsequently, there is limited longevity and minimal replay value. Luckily, the cooperative mode adds some depth to the otherwise shallow gameplay.

Dandy and Randy DX misses the mark.

I love retro gaming, yet I played Dandy and Randy DX with a heavy heart. It had all the ingredients to be great, but its simplicity undermined it. However, this doesn’t mean it’s terrible because it’s not. It has many positives, but it should have been much better. All things considered, I can’t recommend you buy it! No one wants to be in debt. Break those shackles by going on an adventure and finding the priceless treasure.