DANDARA

TechLife Australia - - DISCOVER - [ SHAUN PRESCOTT ]

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.

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