Dandy & Randy DX – Review
Follow Genre: Adventure game, puzzle game
Developer: Asteristic Game Studio
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Platform: Switch, PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S
Tested on: Switch

Dandy & Randy DX – Review

Site Score
Good: Nails the 16-bit aesthetics
Bad: Lack of checkpoints
User Score
(1 votes)
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Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Roughly two months after Dandy & Randy DX made its debut on Steam, Brazilian developer Asteristic Game Studio’s game has found its way to consoles. The retro-inspired puzzle adventure game harkens back to a simpler time, when animal mascots were the go-to protagonists of video games. We were eager to discover just how close Dandy & Randy DX resembles the early ‘90s games it takes inspiration from, so we set out to the Sunrise Islands ourselves, in search of the fabled Celestial Stone!


A short scene consisting of still images sets up Dandy & Randy DX’s premise. The titular heroes, an anthropomorphic duck and rabbit, are archaeologists by trade. Work has dried up, however, and now the pair are going through a bit of a rough patch, as they are unable to pay their debt to the bank. Fortunately for our heroes, their bad luck is about to turn around as Randy has found a flyer that explains everything about the legendary Celestial Stone, a gem that will bring riches and fame to whoever finds it. Enticed by the idea, Dandy and Randy set out to the Sunrise Islands, where they hope they’ll find this priceless artifact. That’s easier said than done, as many have tried the same and disappeared. Will Dandy and Randy be able to do what other adventurers couldn’t?


We’ve seen plenty of instances where a game attempts to emulate the look of early ‘90s video games, and they often come pretty close but most of the time there is something off. This is not the case here, as Dandy & Randy DX absolutely nails the aesthetics of the time period that they are paying homage to. The cute pixel art character designs and varied environments look fantastic, with each of the game’s six levels boasting a completely different setting.


As you’d expect, Dandy & Randy DX doesn’t just knock the visuals out of the park but the OST as well. The chiptune music comes to us courtesy of Mark Spalding, whom you may know from his work on A Short Hike or Shantae and the Seven Sirens. His tunes take center stage here, as the game’s dedication to early ‘90s video game aesthetics makes for a soundscape that has access to a very limited set of sound effects and no voice acting whatsoever. It’s a good thing then that the cheerful and catchy music is such a highlight.


Given that we were handed a top-down puzzle adventure game, we assumed we had a pretty decent idea of what to expect gameplay-wise, but to our pleasant surprise, Dandy & Randy DX exceeded our expectations. The gameplay felt very reminiscent of the Game Boy Color-era Legend of Zelda titles Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons. As you navigate the Sunrise Islands, you’ll need to solve environmental puzzles as you gradually unlock more equipment, opening up new areas in the process. Of course, the puzzles aren’t the only thing that stands between you and the fabled Celestial Stone. There are also enemies and even a few bosses that you’ll need to beat. Before you can reach these bosses, however, you’ll need to find a series of keys on each island.

Navigating the islands themselves feels pretty straightforward as there is always a way forward, regardless of the obstacles you run into. You start out with your trusty shovel, which allows you to dig up cash, but soon enough you’ll unlock things like a boomerang that lets you hit objects you can’t reach, a hammer that can crush rocks, etc. Of note here is that you’ll never get your hands on an outright weapon. Instead, you’ll have to defeat enemies by picking up objects from the ground and throwing them. Your boomerang can stun opponents for a few seconds, but in order to outright get rid of them, pelting something in their face is the only way. This also applies to bosses, making for a different approach compared to many other games in the genre.

Islands need to be tackled in order but as you unlock new tools, you’re able to discover new secrets on islands you previously visited, so there is some backtracking involved. This never felt tedious, although some of that may have to do with the fact that Dandy & Randy DX is a very short game in the first place, that shouldn’t take more than an hour or three to fully complete. Luckily, some longevity is introduced thanks to hidden secrets that we won’t spoil here. This is reflected in the game’s price point and it’s a matter of quality over quantity. For the most part, Dandy & Randy DX is a joy to play, because it understands the type of game it wants to be, and it revels in it. This doesn’t just come across through the gameplay itself but also through the genuinely fun and humorous atmosphere that the game evokes.

Admittedly, Dandy & Randy DX isn’t a perfect game, although the majority of the issues present can be attributed to design flaws that were present in the genre back in the ‘90s. It’s a fine line to thread as a developer: if you modernize too much of the gameplay, then the experience wouldn’t feel authentic. The biggest issue that we had was with the game’s lack of checkpoints. Whenever you meet your untimely demise, you lose half of your money and you’ll start again at the beginning of a stage. This means that you’ll have to redo any completed puzzles for that specific stage, which can become quite tedious if you’re struggling against a boss and keep dying. Near the end of the game, there are even specific parts where you’ll have to deal with several back-to-back boss battles, and without the option to save in between, this can quickly turn a fun time into an evening of frustration.

Admittedly, much of this frustration is alleviated when playing the game as a co-op title rather than as a single-player experience. It certainly is doable to make it to the end credits as a solo player but we did feel like it was designed with two players in mind, and once we got to grips with the game as a co-op title, it felt a lot easier. Perhaps a bit too easy, although the difficulty level can be adjusted to your liking. There even is a “practice” difficulty if you really don’t feel like having to deal with difficult boss battles. Adjusting Dandy & Randy DX to fit your personal level of challenge can take a bit of trial and error, but once you find a setting you’re comfortable with, you’re going to be in for a good time.


Despite the lack of checkpoints, which hurts the flow of the game somewhat, there is a lot to like here, especially if you grew up in the ‘90s and have a particular fondness for this style of game. Dandy & Randy DX absolutely nails the look and feel of what Asteristic Game Studio was going for and has fun with it too. The game is fairly short, but we don’t mind it here, because that simply means it doesn’t overstay its welcome, and the inherent shortness is reflected in the asking price. This is a title definitely worth checking out, especially if you can get a friend to play it with you in co-op mode.

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Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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Dandy & Randy DX - Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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