Review – Dandy Ace

If you take a look at Dandy Ace‘s trailer, some might start complaining about this game being a carbon copy of one of the best games of 2020 (and arguably the best roguelite of all time), Hades. I did that little experiment with some friends and even some colleagues from WTMG, and heard a lot of “oh my god, this is just like Hades“. I understand where they’re coming from, but I cannot agree with this statement at all. It took me just a few minutes to see how Dandy Ace is clearly able to shine due to its many own merits, being one title you should definitely not ignore by any means.

Dandy Ace Combat

Almost as good as Gambit.

Dandy Ace sees you playing as the titular character, Dandy. He’s a cocky yet kind-hearted magician who’s invited to, and consequently trapped inside an ever-changing palace owned by Lele; an ever cockier, but evil magician who wants to become the very best, like no one ever was before. Your objective is simple: get out of hell this palace in one sitting, all while defeating tons of magical creatures along your way. You know, the typical roguelite excuse for a plot. It’s all you need to know before getting trapped into a vicious, but very fun, cycle of dying and reviving until you get enough experience points to perform a perfect run.

This is your typical combat-oriented roguelite game. In each new run, the levels of the palace are completely revamped, with new enemy placements and room layouts. You need to find a way to the next level before being able to restore your energy and get a hold of permanent upgrades with the blue crystals you collect along the way. Furthermore, you can also purchase temporary powerups with common currency. Each time you reach a new floor, you’ll get a health replenish, but you can also occasionally find cupcakes randomly dropped by common foes.

Dandy Ace Lele

Yes, I totally trust you, who wouldn’t?

The best aspect about Dandy Ace is its combat system. It’s a mix between the sweet fast-paced combat from Hades, but with a card-flavored twist. Each of the four face buttons can be assigned to a different card you collect through the dungeon, which can range from a standard scattershot attack to a dash used to avoid incoming enemy attacks. So far, so good, right?

The real kick is the fact that each face button slot can hold up to two cards, but that doesn’t mean you can alternate between attacks at will. The thing is, every card features a primary function, which is the main attack performed when you press the respective face button and a secondary function when you insert it into a secondary weapon slot. These grant you with active or passive buffs, depending on the card. You can improve the strength of your attack, change its element, or even inflict a status condition on your foe whenever you attack it. That opens up a near infinite amount of combinations to your attacks. I was shocked with how easy to learn this combat system ended up being, despite being way more detailed than I could have ever expected.

We all deserve a break.

Dandy Ace is pretty fantastic when it comes to its gameplay loop and combat system, and it doesn’t disappoint in its artistic department. Granted, it’s flawed, but it’s still pretty good. It features great animations and a nice overall character design, with the titular character and his female assistants being the highlights. Enemies are all quirky and weird, ranging from killer rodents to a sentient cuckoo clock with ogre-like characteristics. The main issue with its graphics, however, is that most of the (supposedly) different floors look a bit too similar to one another, leading to some repetitive visuals.

Finally, there’s the soundtrack: it’s excellent. It’s upbeat, with some tones that can only be described as “magician-like”, a perfect fit for its themes. Its voice acting is nowhere near as good as the soundtrack, with some characters sounding way too amateurish. However, there’s one character who stands out among the rest: the villain Lele, who sounds equally intimidating and pathetic.

This is a different floor, yet it looks way too similar to the other ones.

Dandy Ace will probably suffer the unfortunate (and totally unfair) burden of being eternally compared to Hades, which is basically the most perfect roguelite of all time. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a fantastic roguelite in its own right, as well as packed with unique ideas and gameplay elements that make it stand out among the rest of its peers. It’s still one of the most entertaining roguelites I’ve played in a long time, mostly due to its sense of humor, really impressive production values, and excellent combat system. If you’re a fan of the genre, you have to pick this one up pronto.


Graphics: 8.0

Dandy Ace features great animations and a nice character design. The main issue with its visuals is the fact its environments look way too similar to one another.

Gameplay: 9.0

One would initially assume this is carbon copy of Hades, but Dandy Ace features a great card-based system that allows players to create entire arsenals of moves with ease. The collision detection can occasionally be wonky, though.

Sound: 8.0

Dandy Ace‘s sound department is comprised of some really good musical scores coupled with subpar voice acting. I did like Lele’s voice actor’s performance, though.

Fun Factor: 8.5

It gets a bit repetitive after a while due to the occasional performance issues and the lack of environmental variety. Other than that, the biggest issue is the hurdle of being compared to a practically perfect roguelike. Although when that happens, that’s not exactly the end of the world.

Final Verdict: 8.5

Dandy Ace is available now on PC.

Reviewed on PC.

A copy of Dandy Ace was provided by the publisher.