Reviews - Updated on April 4, 2022

Many people might get tired of comparing new roguelites with Hades, but it is with her that the first associations are associated when looking at Dandy Ace. Isometric camera, ability combinations, passive upgrades that carry over from one run to another – quite a lot in common. However, we cannot talk about copying – for the first time, both games became known at about the same time. And although Dandy Ace loses in some respects to its nearest competitor, it remains fascinating and devours free time just as mercilessly.

In the bag

Once upon a time there was the Green-eyed Illusionist Lele (yes, that’s his name), the greatest magician in the world, who tirelessly entertained the audience and was a great favorite of the audience. But at one point, everything was stolen from him by a charlatan, the same Dandy Ace, whose performances were mediocre, but his appearance attracted people. Ace lured all the spectators to him and became their new favorite. Lele decided to teach the rogue a lesson and imprisoned him in a cursed mirror – now Ace is forced to roam the corridors of the Changing Palace and survive.

The hero does not have to go crazy from loneliness – he immediately gets acquainted with the Mysterious type, explaining where Ace got to at all, and later he meets two of his assistants. Another character is Nnif the smuggler rabbit, who has less screen time than everyone else. Well, Lele comments on the races. All the characters, except for the female ones, were perfectly voiced by the same actor (another association with Hades!), but in terms of storytelling, the game is very, very far from the creation of Supergiant Games.

Dandy Ace: Review

Who could this Mysterious type be?

There are very few replies from the characters – the assistants talk about something only at the first meeting, and Ace’s dialogues with the Mysterious Type occur only at the entrance to the next corridor. Well, with the bosses the character exchanges a couple of phrases. Most of all, Lele talks, commenting on everything: the appearance of a new pack of enemies, and the approach of the protagonist to the chest. But these phrases quickly begin to repeat themselves – they are pronounced with the same intonation, and jokes that were not very funny anyway seem more and more ridiculous.

However, comparing the plots of Dandy Ace and Hades is still not entirely correct, as well as underestimating the score because the developers have not reached the bar. Here, the narrative is given less attention, since the universe is far from being as rich as ancient Greek mythology. You do not need to communicate with the gods – you get abilities by collecting a deck of cards. There is no central location from which you start your journey – instead, between the corridors you visit a kind of circus arena with shops.

How the card will fall

Dandy Ace captivates with the gameplay, or rather, the combat system based on the combination of the cards found. All these cards are divided into three categories: blue ones open up new opportunities for movement, purple ones allow you to directly attack enemies, and the third ones give the player skills to control the situation or opponents. At the very beginning of any race, three different-colored cards are issued, and at first the “pool” is quite small. As you clear corridors, you’ll find blueprints for new cards, then turn them into full-fledged cards in the shop (by spending crystals that drop from opponents), and thereby replenish the list of potential skills in the next run.

Dandy Ace: Review

There is no inventory for extra cards – either “put on” them or sell them on the spot.

But the most interesting thing is that the new cards can make the old ones that were available from the very beginning stronger. Here, each main card can have one auxiliary card – only you decide in your inventory which one to put where. For example, you were given at the very beginning “Five Cards” – a purple skill, when activated, Ace throws five magic cards and deals damage with them. And later, you found the Poison Veil card, which releases a poisonous cloud. You can use these abilities separately from each other by pressing different buttons. Or you can make the second auxiliary, and in this case, when using the Five Cards, the hero will throw poisoned cards that cause additional damage for four seconds.

Thus, cards that are not very useful in the main cells can be very useful. Don’t want to use the fireworks, the power of which depends on how long you hold the button? Put it in the bottom slot, and make your main skill something more convenient – as an option, “Explosive Cards”, which remain on the ground and explode when enemies approach. With fireworks after the explosion, opponents will burn for a few more seconds, continuing to lose health. Or make some kind of blue card auxiliary – then you will receive acceleration after a successful attack.

There are also melee cards.

Found schemes allow you to create maps with features that have not been seen in the game before. Abilities appear, such as summoning three fairies that protect against projectiles, or creating a shield that explodes when destroyed. But schemes are not only for cards – there are also knick-knacks that also open up new possibilities. Increasing damage before the first wound, reducing the attack power of opponents, reducing the time required to restore cards of a certain color – if you have a particularly successful build, you can make it even more awesome by choosing the right accessories.

More and more aces

The emergence of new opportunities for experimentation makes the gameplay exciting. Later, access to that very Nnifu-smuggler and his machine guns, placed along the corridors, is opened – he can use the accumulated gold, which, like crystals, falls from enemies, to increase the ranks of the available cards. Yes, cards get obsolete over time – coming to the first boss with cards of the first rank will be suicide, because they deal significantly less damage than the third or fourth rank. It is necessary either to save gold, or to select other cards – it all depends on the situation.

Dandy Ace: Review

Unspent crystals will disappear after death, so it is better to invest them in something – it is not necessary to immediately fill the scale to the end.

Simplify the gameplay permanent improvements for crystals – if you do not want to buy them, no one forces you. You can take an additional first-aid kit, gain the ability to sell unnecessary cards immediately after receiving them, or shuffle the deck if completely stupid trash falls out. You can permanently improve the rank of starting cards with Nnifa the Smuggler. In general, the longer you play (and the more successfully you complete the corridors – all the currency is taken away after death), the more interesting. I didn’t mention the keys yet – in the corridors you constantly stumble upon locked doors of different colors, and as soon as you find the keys, you open up new paths to additional locations, and bonus chests, and stores with valuables.

Perhaps the combat system here is not as spectacular as in Hades (you can’t slam someone into a column and bring it down on his head here), but there is a charm. The most successful run I had was with a deck where one card left a cloud with damage when dashing, another allowed throwing poison cards, the third made enemies vulnerable when cards exploded (that is, they received more damage for a couple of seconds), and the fourth released an igniting firework along with bursting bubbles. As a result, the unfortunate enemies tried to catch up with me while I flooded them with magic and applied three or four effects. I immediately wanted to play the game again.

Dandy Ace: Review

In most cases, it is possible to run away from enemies in a cleared area, but sometimes the player is locked with them in a small room.

The mysterious type, of course, comments on your first victory over the final boss and warns of further difficulties the next time you meet, but here again the comparison with the narrative in Hades is again not in favor of the novelty. But the gameplay changes the game – if at first only one of the four difficulty levels (normal) is available, then the game switches to difficult and so on. The health of the enemies increases, the damage too, but you get more fragments and you can unlock new options sooner. Plus, fresh opponents are added – they won’t force you to mess with the same ones.

The only serious complaint about the gameplay is related to the bosses. Firstly, they sometimes attack more often than you have time to react – all skills, including the dash, have timers so that you can’t “spam” them endlessly. And in some cases, it is simply impossible to dodge an attack in time, especially if this attack covers a large area in the arena.

Secondly, bosses have a lot of health, so it is advisable to pay more attention to combinations – in order to set fire to opponents, and poison them, and so on. Because of this, the possibilities are slightly limited – for example, knockback abilities become useless on bosses, although they can come in handy in other situations. I hope the balance of the bosses will be corrected in the upcoming patches.

There are several types of jerks in the game – one of them creates a phantom that teleports back to the owner and deals damage.

The Brazilian gaming industry is surprising this month – the other day I wrote about the amazing platformer Kaze and the Wild Masks, and now the “roguelite” from sunny Sao Paulo turned out to be successful. It’s nowhere near as ambitious as Hades, but it’s no less entertaining. Although he is unlikely to win the same great popularity, those who want to play something like this should definitely pay attention to Dandy Ace. Especially for the sake of the combat system and all sorts of combinations of abilities – the longer you play, the more interesting “chips” you learn.

Pros: great combat system that allows you to experiment; new maps, trinkets and features make the gameplay fun; a pleasant visual style with which a mountain of special effects does not turn what is happening into a mess; convenient management.

Cons: the story is not given as much attention as we would like; annoying remarks of the main villain; slightly unbalanced bosses.

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