I got a chance to play Dandy Ace back when it launched on PC, and really enjoyed my time with it. It’s an isometric action roguelike that reminded me a lot of Hades, but with a different sort of complexity to the combat and a much less interesting story. My biggest complaint back then was that the game wasn’t available on Switch and… now it is!
I’ve been playing the game for a bit, mostly in handheld mode, and I’m still enjoying it. My original review still holds up for the gist of the game, but there are a few details I want to note here about the Switch release.
Fantastic for Multitasking
First of all, having this game in an easy-to-carry-around form factor is wonderful. Runs in this game don’t last long, and there’s really not much of a story to dig into. Those could be negatives, but once you throw a game onto the Switch that just means it’s great for multitasking!
I would say that I’ve spent about 90% of my Dandy Ace playtime on the Switch with it in handheld while my wife and I watched Below Deck. The action in this game is persistent and energetic enough that you couldn’t try to play it while you were really engaged with a different activity, but it works great for something relatively banal.
Really, though, the drive to play it while watching something is a testament to how much fun it is. Unlike Hades, there’s no story that happens between runs in Dandy Ace. When you die you get about a 15-second load screen, then are standing at the start line for a new run. Just like with Evertried, I find myself excited to start over, instead of feeling discouraged by each new attempt.
The Problem With a Port
The only real downside to this console release of Dandy Ace is that it absolutely feels like a port. You could not pick this game up and think that it was built from the ground up for Nintendo’s console, and those rough edges stick out like a sore thumb.
The silliest giveaway (and that will be noticeable on the Playstation and Xbox releases, too) is that the game doesn’t seem super confident that you are going to interact with it using a controller. The title screen has the same note the PC version had telling you that a controller is recommended for this game. I mean, I suppose that is just as true on consoles as it was on PC, but it seems weird to point it out.
The bigger issue I have with how Dandy Ace translates from the PC to the Switch is the text in the game is way, way too small for the Switch. Playing with the game in the dock, it’s not so bad on the big screen, but in handheld mode, there are times where it’s near unreadable. The menus and dialogue screens are fine, but the descriptors for the cards that make up your character’s abilities are itsy bitsy. Honestly, I ended up having to run from memory most of the time, because trying to read the fine print on what the cards did gave me a headache.
Dandy Ace is a super fun action rogue-like with a really cool combat system and a bombastic visual flair. It’s a game that I really, really like a lot, and that I like a lot more on Switch than I did on PC. The nearly unreadable text is a horrible oversight, so I really hope that gets a patch to fix it. Still, I think the Switch is the best place to play this game.
As best evidence for how good of a fit it is, I figured I’d just dip back into the game to get a feel for it for this article. I played for a few hours and had my thoughts together… and then every time I went to write this I just ended up playing the game more instead!