Developer: Asteristic Game Studio
Released: September 2019
Available on: Steam
Engine: Construct 2
Dandy & Randy is a 2D, top-down, retro-styled, adventure game by Asteristic Game Studio. In the game, you play as Dandy the duck and Randy the rabbit, two archeologists in debt who go on a journey to Sunrise Islands to obtain a gem called the Celestial Stone, rumored to bring fame and fortune. You can play as Dandy in single player, or both protagonists in multiplayer. I have only played the game in single player.
When you start playing, it is immediately clear that the level design is inspired by games like the original Legend of Zelda for the Nintendo Entertainment System, with each level broken up into rooms that take up the screen, as well as obtaining new tools. The game also takes inspiration from old PC games where you obtain colored keys to unlock similarly colored gates.
None of the levels are particularly long or too difficult, although they sometimes spike in difficulty. In fact, you could finish all the game’s five levels in one sitting. Unlike other games, you don’t directly attack enemies in Dandy & Randy, instead you throw items to kill them. Any room with an enemy is guaranteed to have a throwable item, and most have a surplus of them in case you mess up throwing (which you can’t do diagonally). There are a couple of puzzle rooms in all levels, some are Sokoban pushing blocks into the right places, some are digging the right spots with the shovel tool, and some finding the path to avoiding traps. I found most of them not too hard.
Each level has coins hidden in the ground or in the rocks, which I believe to influence the ending, but otherwise they have no purpose in-game. You can accumulate thousands per level if you go around digging flowers or other distinguishable spots on the ground, at the cost of spending more time in the level. You can also find coins in chests, which can also have a colored key. Golden chests always contain new tools, but unlike metroidvanias or any Legend of Zelda game, you cannot use the Hammer from the second level in the first level. Finally, all levels have at least one boss fight, which can be brought down by throwing items at them multiple times. Clearing a level’s boss unlocks the next level. While I found the core game to be fun, there was nothing tempting me to go for the coins, especially knowing that they had no value in-game and they would be lost if I died.
The art is well done, capturing the old-school feeling the game strives for. The game’s use of visuals brings each level to life, with Mango Desert being an arid desert full of perilous quicksand spike pits, or Dusk Wood’s dark, muted colors and its graveyard fogs. The chiptune music is slightly repetitive in the first level, but always fits the mood of the level. I especially liked Mango Desert’s theme.
I liked what I played of Dandy & Randy’s single player, but its short length and lack of purpose for the coins outside of achievements makes it hard for me to justify getting it at its listed price of $8.99, instead I’d prefer getting the game on discount. However, if you love old-school games, you’ll appreciate the art, the music, and the “throw items at the enemy” combat.
Liked Dandy & Randy? You might want to read our review of Dreaming Sarah, another game from Asteristic Game Studios!