REVIEW: ‘Dandy Ace’ Doesn’t Need Tricks to Entertain (XSX)

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Dandy Ace - But Why Tho

Dandy Ace is a simplistic roguelike from Mad Mimic and Neowiz Games. Recently arrived on Xbox Game Pass, this simplistic game makes for a great first roguelike for people looking to enter the genre softly while offering plenty of challenge for anybody. You play as Dandy Ace, a successful magician who has unwittingly wronged Lele the Green-Eyed Illusionist, another magician. For his crime, Dandy Ace has been trapped in a magic, ever-changing mirror.

The story is straight forward as can be. There’s little exposition to start, which may be good because the script is somewhat weak, and the voice acting is fine but slightly off. The Green-Eyed Illusionist explains a few things here and there about your environment or his ire, and that’s that. The only other story you get or need to care about is when you face different bosses throughout your journey, and you get a bit more exposition with text that tries a bit too hard to be funny.

Where the game shines is its gameplay. As a magician, Dandy Ace is a master of magical cards. You start with three to begin each run, and the cards can be, more or less, divided between traversal, attack, defense, and magic. You’ll find other cards or upgraded versions of the same as you progress and defeat enemies or find chests and have to choose which cards to keep, which to assign as secondary, and which to abandon. The cards’ powers vary, causing different status effects, AOE damage, ranged attacks, pushback defense, and others. Plus, each card has a secondary power that can boost the usage of one other card. These can include increased damage, extra elemental damage or stacking, and way more. This secondary power feels especially unique on top of the great variety of primary powers. I also enjoy that you get four primary cards at a time, allowing you to pick and choose which types of maneuvers you even want to have. You can abandon traversal in exchange for a second magic card if you please, for example.

What I also love is that the game isn’t obscenely hard, at least, on lower difficulties and early on. You might make it several levels deep on your first try, which quickly helps you feel pretty accomplished and skilled. The levels themselves are randomly generated, but they also don’t have too wild of branching paths. You can also backtrack to previous rooms while in combat, as long as the room you enter isn’t gated off, to lure some enemies away from the pack and take them on more methodically. It helps the combat feel less intimidating since while Dandy Ace is not a bullet hell, it definitely gets chaotic in its largely melee-feeling fighting. You also can heal between every level, which feels great too.

The game had a few visual errors here and there, and the music gets rather dull rather quickly, but the visuals are fairly cool. The enemies themselves don’t feel all that remarkable looking, but the levels each have their own charm. They’re mostly distinct from one another and have different environmental factors that make traversal increasingly difficult in addition to the increasing damage and health of your enemies. As for the bosses, they’re pretty tough. It takes a lot of damage to bring them down and while avoiding them isn’t all that much more difficult than avoiding any other enemies, they do a lot of damage to you. This was where my frustration that you can’t blink through enemy attacks, only the environment, became the steepest since I would constantly warp right into an enemy attack because there was just nowhere else to dodge. Even still, the combat feels fair, and any damage I ever took felt like my own fault for not thinking fast enough.

My only real complaint is that with such a colorful protagonist, I wish Dandy Ace had more personality. Lele taunts you every time you enter a new room and occasionally even makes some decent quips. Dandy Ace, on the other hand, pretty much never has anything interesting to say or do besides be the character you play as. It doesn’t detract from the game, but it could have been better.

Dandy Ace is a great first roguelike and a fun take on the genre. Its very fun combat, not too sharp too fast difficulty, quick load times, and lack of central hub or anything to drag the time between runs on makes it extremely playable and very easy to get sucked into.

Dandy Ace is available now on Xbox Game Pass as well as PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, Mac, and PC.


Dandy Ace
  • 8/10
    Rating - 8/10
8/10

TL;DR

Dandy Ace is a great first roguelike and a fun take on the genre. Its very fun combat, not too sharp too fast difficulty, quick load times, and lack of central hub or anything to drag the time between runs on makes it extremely playable and very easy to get sucked into.