A UNIQUE TWIST ON THE METROIDVANIA TEMPLATE DOESN’T QUITE WORK.
$14.99 | PC, PS4, Switch | www.longhathouse.com
The opening hours of Dandara are a hard sell. This is a 2D platformer, except you can’t jump, and for that matter, you can’t walk or run. Instead, the protagonist (whose name is Dandara, by the way) must warp between white surfaces in order to traverse the world. She can do so quickly and sometimes gracefully, but rare is the time you’re not thinking: isn’t there a better way? And it doesn’t help that this world resembles one secured in a jar and shaken violently.
Aside from the traversal, the game world itself is remarkable. It’s as illogical and winding as an Escher drawing, except rendered on a 2D plane. Any of the four sides of a given screen or environment could very well be a roof, or a floor, or a wall — or none of these things. When the protagonist warps from one white surface to another, the camera often re-orients: you’re meant to feel dizzy, poorly oriented, confused. Coupled with the lush orchestral soundtrack and the mysterious, austere art design, has a unique atmosphere. It’s just a shame it often feels more frustrating than intriguing.