“Dandy Dungeon” is a very interesting game created by Onion Games and Powerchord Studio. I went into this game thinking it was going to be a simple dungeon crawler, and I couldn't have been any more wrong. “Dandy Dungeon” is something completely different. It's a narrative experience that wraps its story into its gameplay. It's the story of a game developer named Yamada, and his quest to fall in love with his new neighbor, Maria. There's a bunch of different aspects of play to this game, so let's dive into the specifics.
When the game starts, Yamada is a slave to the large corporation he works for. After deciding to skip work and start developing his indie game, “Dandy Dungeon” begins in earnest. The game is truly a narrative experience, and the gameplay directly represents that. As Yamada finishes new builds of the game he's working on, you'll play test it. There's two games going on at once. Yamada's quest for love is the over arc, with the dungeon crawling game backing it up.
The dungeon crawling game that Yamada is testing (and by proxy, you) is pretty simple to play. The game teaches you new aspects as the game progresses, so you'll never feel like you don't understand something. Additionally, the gameplay remains fresh and ever-changing throughout. The dungeon game starts with your hero at the entrance to a dungeon. You must draw a straight line to the exit and progress to the next floor. This starts out very simple, but as the story progresses, Yamada starts adding in time limits, enemies, and more.
What makes “Dandy Dungeon” truly special is the cycle of gameplay to story. You'll complete a test of the game, which awards Yamada experience points. After a successful play test, some story will play out through funny dialogue and brilliant animation. The entire game has a great pixel art style, and reminds me of Super Nintendo era graphics. The color palette is far beyond what the Super Nintendo allowed, mind you. As I said, the story revolves around Maria, the new girl next door. Yamada takes an immediate liking to her, ending up using her as the inspiration for his damsel in distress. After meeting her, he decides that he will be able to gain her love by creating the best game ever, thus pushing his motivation to add new elements to the game.
It won't be long before the simple dungeon levels become full sprawling towers with bosses. Just as Yamada yearns for Maria, the dungeon hero hopes to free his very own princess. You'll enter new areas and towers as the story progresses, gaining treasure and new equipment. These can be applied to your hero, increasing his overall statistics. There's also an upgrade system that appears early on, allowing you to further boost the stats of your weapons and gear. You'll find materials and items as you go through each build, amassing an inventory that can be sold off or used in upgrades. It's a very rewarding gameplay experience that never feels grindy or without reason. Each new build has purpose, both in story and in gameplay.
I don't want to give too much away about “Dandy Dungeon” as most of the fun I had with the game was watching Yamada's story play out and reflect in the gameplay. I wouldn't want to give away any more of the story or gameplay additions that come with it, but know that what I've explained so far is a base for a very great game. The characters Yamada interacts with along his journey are interesting and well written, and I had a great time reading all of the dialogue. The gameplay is rewarding a always fresh, never feeling stale or repetitive. It's a fantastic game, and one of the best I've played in a while. If you're looking for a mobile game that is fleshed out, entertaining, and unique, you need to download “Dandy Dungeon”. It's truly one of the best mobile games I've played in a while. It earns my full recommendation along with Editor's Choice.
Reviewed by Matt
Watch Dandy Dungeon! Trailer