June 14, 2021

Xbox One X

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The mysterious appeal of Dandara

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Metroidvanias are a pain. The genre leads to obligatory repetition, often making things unnecessarily cumbersome. A few titles in recent years, such as Shadow Complex and Axiom Verge, have proved that precise execution – in addition to original ideas – are the way to convince naysayers like me. Dandara is a game that belongs in the same company.

Released earlier this year on basically every platform (even iOS), Dandara’s the work of the Brazilian developer Long Hat House. The story is pretty barebones: you control a fearsome warrior named Dandara and have to rid the subdued world of a profound evil that’s taken over, represented by an array of strange, quick and powerful enemies. The twist is that the protagonist doesn’t walk or run like a character from most other games. Instead, they slingshot back and forth between the ground and the ceiling in each room.

In addition, weird and wonderful colours decorate the whole world, making the game much more inviting to play than other titles in this retro-style renaissance we seem to be going through. It helps that Thommaz Kauffmann’s soundtrack is just as rich, and “Once in a Beautiful Horizon” is something I kept returning to during and after playing sessions.

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