In many cases, I find the smaller and more ‘indie’ a game is, the more fun they offer are, and so I went hunting around Xbox Game Pass to see what titles might fit that criteria, and the one that appeared to hit the overlap in that particular Venn diagram was a 8-bit-esque title called Dandara.
The operative word in that introduction was appeared.
The premise for this one is simple – you ‘jump’ around the level using a linear path, which means trying to get to an overhead area often involves a whole lot of puzzle solving and using levers to either manipulate the environment, or help you ‘work your way around’ a whole heap of rooms just to be able to get where you need to be going.
There is also some shooting and a few enemies that make your life difficult – and they really do make your life difficult – but they are fairly inconsequential when it compares to the environment themselves.
I’ve only just managed to find a map within the game journey itself (I remember this being a boon when I finally managed to buy it within Hollow Knight) which might make life a bit easier, but in terms of game cadence, it probably injected itself into my life a little bit later than it needed to.
There is always going to be a healthy level of frustration when it comes to puzzle games. As there should be. But not at the expense of player goodwill. The only game that manages to treat its players with such disrespect is Dark Souls, and – to be honest – that’s part of what that particular playerbase wants, so bully for them. It’s not what I want, and, I suspect, it’s probably not what a whole lot of other puzzle gamers want either.
I’d like to say I’ll go back, but to be honest, it’s far too expansive, the narrative requires me to have smoked a very large joint of marijuana before I started playing, and it is (deliberately?) vague in giving players any sense of guidance.
I don’t want a life lesson on trial-and-error. I just want to play the damn game.