Dandy & Randy DX Review: Goof Troop Redux
I’m not sure exactly why, but I felt compelled to play Dandy & Randy DX ever since I heard about it. And not just because the title reminded me of Randy Rainbow cosplaying as a cowboy. The early images from the game brought me back to my childhood, to a simpler time of cute animal heroes and quests for epic treasure. The titular bird and bunny duo are a pair of archeologists who are hard-pressed for cash. They have a ton of debt to pay off, and then they find a possible solution – the Celestial Stone. This fabled artifact is sure to fetch a tidy sum! So they set off to the Sunset Islands to find it and end their financial woes. As this Dandy & Randy DX review will establish, not only is this a cute little game, it provides a very respectable bang for your buck.
Real quickly, I wanted to mention this is actually the first game published by Ratalaika Games I’ve ever covered, which is surprising since I’ve been aware of them for quite some time. They’re a prolific presence on the Nintendo Switch, with nearly 200 published titles on that console. But as much as I’m a fan of new games inspired by retro classics, I wasn’t sure how solid their titles were. But if the rest are anything like Dandy & Randy DX, I might have to make up for lost time very soon.
The Eternal Search for Legendary Treasure
While there are possible comparisons to be made between Dandy & Randy DX and series like The Legend of Zelda, the game it most resembles is the SNES Goof Troop. Which really takes me back to when I was a fresh-faced young gamer. Luckily, unlike Goof Troop, Dandy & Randy DX doesn’t feature any ice block puzzles that made me want to bash my own head in. Truthfully, the challenge of the puzzles is quite well balanced, and I never had to search for solutions online. It mostly involves pushing boxes around and triggering switches. And while puzzle solving is a key component of the game, so is exploration and fighting an array of crazy foes. You defeat them by grabbing stuff and hurling it at them, not unlike Super Mario Bros. 2.
The game is comprised of several levels, each with treasures to find and a fun boss fight. Some even have a mini-boss to deal with. There are also lots of locked gates you’ll need keys to open. Bosses range from an arrogant octopus to whimsical ghosts and even cranky cacti. Best of all, almost every level features a key item that gives you a new way to explore. You start out with a trusty shovel that lets you dig up buried treasure, but will gradually amass a respectable arsenal. This includes a boomerang, grappling hook, running shoes, and hammer. This will probably remind many gamers of Link’s arsenal, and that’s fair. But it’s also fair to say Dandy & Randy DX is very much its own game, despite some similarities.
Put On Your Thinking Cap
Each level in the game is totally different, from the lush Lime Forest to the arid Mango Desert and the haunted Dusk Woods. There are a couple more besides that, but I’ll let you discover those levels for yourselves. I never found the difficulty in the game too much, though I did die a handful of times. Whenever that happens, you’ll lose half your accumulated cash. Luckily, you can find a flying bag of money where you died and recover your lost riches. Less helpful is how every time you die, all the puzzles default to before you solved them, doors lock, and mini-bosses respawn. I especially hated this aspect of the game in the surprisingly difficult final stage.
Prices You’ll Squeal Over
Speaking of cash, it’s kind of a running theme in the game. You’ll never have quite enough of it, but it’s in your best interest to hoard it so you can buy health upgrades at Oinky’s Shop. He’ll have a booth in nearly every level, and it’s well worth it to shell out the cash for a health upgrade, since that’s the only way to boost your base health. Less useful are his health recovery options, which are frankly exorbitant. It’s much cheaper to just grab random fruit in levels, since doing so not only heals you but also boosts your amount of cash.
So Many Furry Friends
Given the game is called Dandy & Randy DX, it probably won’t surprise you there’s more than one playable character. Hell, you can even unlock a couple more, and the game also has two-player local co-op. The only thing that put a damper on my excitement for this feature is how each and every character plays completely the same. There’s a definite missed opportunity for each one to have a unique gimmick that makes it necessary to swap out who you’re playing as. Alas, that’s not the case here, and the only real reason to unlock all the characters is for achievements. But even those are only present in the PC and other console versions of the game, so it’s more of a completionist urge for Switch owners.
A Delight For the Retro Senses
Visually, Dandy & Randy DX is a delightfully retro experience that hit me just right. It’s colorful, simple, and full of fun details. It brought to mind classics like Bomberman and really reminded me of the SNES era of gaming. Likewise, the sound effects and music are actually quite extraordinary. Thanks to the musical talents of Mark Sparling, each and every level has a unique sound that’s very catchy. Combined with bombastic and era-specific sound effects, this game will put a smile on the faces of older gamers.
Only a Couple Pirates in the Mix
I enjoyed most everything about the game, but there are a few small missteps I have to mention. One is that there’s an optional puzzle in the first level I could not solve. It’s a field full of flowers that are each hiding deadly spikes beneath them, thus blocking your access to a chest. I came back to that level after getting every new item, and still couldn’t figure it out. Also frustrating is how the game description says there are hidden levels. Without spoiling anything, that’s simply not the case. The game is entirely linear, and has nothing you have to unlock. Which is only a problem since I so enjoyed most of my time with the adventure, and wanted an excuse to keep playing. Because Dandy & Randy DX is a very quick burn you can beat in a laidback afternoon.
Treasure Worth Digging Up
Dandy & Randy DX isn’t perfect, but it’s also a lot of fun for fans of retro gaming. While it doesn’t do a ton to elevate itself above the pack, there is one clever twist before the end of the game that made the entire experience that much more enjoyable. And honestly, for the price point, it’s hard to argue much with what the game accomplishes. If you have an interest in snappy, retro-inspired romps, be sure and check this one out.
Final Verdict: 3.5/5
Available on: Nintendo Switch (reviewed), PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, XBox Series X; Publisher: Ratalaika Games; Developer: Asteristic Game Studio; Players: 1 – 2; Released: April 29, 2022; MSRP: $6.99
Editor’s note: The publisher provided a review copy of Dandy & Randy DX to Hey Poor Player.