In a world full of dark dungeon crawlers Dandy Ace is a breath of fresh air. You play as a magician banished by your rival, trapped inside a mystical mirror. You’ll need to fight your way through a maze-like, enemy-filled dungeon, armed with magic spells and quick reflexes.
Dandy Ace is a rogue-like. At the start of each run you’re given a set of randomly generated magic cards to fill three of your four ability slots. Each card grants you a magic spell that you can unleash on enemies. Each spell has a cool-down timer, so as swarms of enemies quickly pop-up to ambush you it’s important to swap between them and stay nimble.
The game tells you that you’ll find plenty of more powerful cards along the way and encourages you to experiment. As far as I could tell there are a few main types of abilities: ranged projectile attacks, punishing close-range, and movement focused spells that can be used offensively or defensively. Even in my short time with the demo I saw a good variety and I enjoyed swapping them in and out and finding the right mix of spells that made me most lethal.
Each of your four ability slots has a sub-slot, place a spell under one of your main attacks and it becomes a kind of support card, altering the main spell’s traits. I had a blast trying different card combinations and I felt like the added effects (like expanding area of effect, or granting a spell an additional debuff) really impacted the gameplay. A dash spell that I had used as a quick defensive getaway combined with a different spell allowed me to charge toward enemies to unleash damage.
Combat feels fast, fluid and satisfying. I love that most of the time you’re given a starting spell with a super short cool down that acts as your go-to main attack. While most games make you use a muted basic attack until you can use your stronger abilities, Dandy Ace is all magic all the time, I always felt like I was wielding spells that were powerful and fun to use.
I love that most of the time you’re given a starting spell with a super short cooldown that acts as your go-to main attack. While most games make you use a muted basic attack until you can use your stronger abilities, Dandy Ace is all magic all the time, I always felt like I was wielding spells that were powerful and fun to use. Every skill felt punchy and a nice variety of enemies kept me on my toes. I like a good challenge so I was pleased to find out that if I didn’t pay attention or got sloppy with positioning I would die and have to start another run, which I didn’t mind since the magic system kept combat fresh.
Aside from the great combat the standout feature of Dandy Ace is the visual style. The game’s color palette is full of bright saturated colors, think ‘bag of glitter meets candy store’. As enemies flood the screen and you and your foes start flinging fireballs at each other things look fantastically chaotic.
Long story short I’m craving more of this game. I’m excited to figure out what kind of permanent upgrades you begin to unlock that you can carry over from run-to-run and what new spells I can purchase that I didn’t get a chance to see yet. With its neon Alice in Wonderland look and satisfying spell combo system Dandy Ace has become one of my most anticipated games.