Dandara: Trials of Fear Editionby Mikhail Feb 6, 2021 | 1 Votes | 64 Played | 0 Reviews 10 rate Dandara: Trials of Fear is an indie platformer developed by Long Hat House, and it’s one of the more unique ones in the genre. It features a movement system like no other, a world with unique perspectives and fast-paced gameplay that requires speed and a smart approach. Solve puzzles, defeat enemies with your energy blast, and uncover Salt’s mysteries. Play Now Similar Games Played
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As someone who grew up playing Super Mario World and cannot stop raving about Celeste, I was thoroughly impressed and rather surprised with Dandara: Trials of Fear, a 2D indie platformer by Brazilian developer Long Hat House. It features a unique movement system, wherein the game’s namesake, Dandara, jumps to and from different platforms, untethered by gravity and limited by range.
Free on Epic Games this week and available on mobile platforms and the PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One, should it be something you would want to redeem? Well, hey, not only is it a freebie, but it delivers a fantastic platforming experience.
Dandara: Trials of Fear is set in the world of Salt, a confusing, surreal world invaded by the Eldarians. Its inhabitants love art and focusing on liberal pursuits and happiness, but the invaders don’t care for any of these endeavors. Oppressed and isolated, Dandara awakens, intending to bring freedom and balance to the world and its inhabitants. Along the way, you will meet various characters who will help you on your journey, unlocking various features and adding more ways to navigate Salt.
Dandara’s gameplay utilizes Metroidvania mechanics and highly comparable to other indie platforms, notably Celeste. One thing that sets it apart from others is the movement. Instead of traditionally moving left and right like a normal character, Dandara moves around the world of Salt by jumping to different white platforms. Unbound by gravity, she can hang from the ceiling or sideways on a wall.
The gameplay revolves around finding ways to move to the end destination safely. It sounds simple enough, but Dandara will have to deal with countless enemies, specifically the Eldarian Army, their projectiles, and traps like the electric one that triggers moments after you step on them. Speed and timing are of the essence, but you need to calculate movement carefully. There may be some areas you cannot access right away, but the game amends this by making you meet certain characters first before you can unlock new movement mechanics.
Although the game has some dedicated puzzles, just trying to get to the next door is already one. You can shoot out most enemies and the obstructions with an energy blast, which you can charge up and change form as you progress.
Dandara’s upgrade and progression elements are brutal. You can do so by gathering salt, but unlike any other developer out there, The Long Hat decided to get players to do it on a limited basis via campsites, which are quite rare. You lose the salt when you die, but you can retrieve it by returning to the specific area where you died. However, if you get killed before doing so, you lose the salt forever. It’s so easy to lose what you’ve gathered because Dandara can only take a few hits. This gameplay mechanic adds a massive dimension of difficulty, which can be rather frustrating, especially in later levels. Once you manage to upgrade Dandara’s stats - endurance, HP, and energy - it’ll feel rewarding, and you’ll notice this in-game.
Dandara supports both mouse and keyboard input and a controller. I found using the latter to be easier and faster. Passing through stringent areas feels more natural with my Dualshock 4’s analog sticks. Note that you can use most controllers on Epic Games: all you have to do is plug it in, and you’re golden.
The 2D world of Salt may not stand out as much at first glance, most of the elements use surrealism. Some characters look normal, while others are of different proportions, like Tarsila. Meanwhile, many bosses are giant, stoic, purple heads. Even if the game utilizes pixel art/retro graphics and is a multiplatform title, it looks fantastic on a modern PC. In many instances, the map’s orientation may suddenly change, influencing the gameplay and your perspective of the world. The soundtrack is mostly composed of soft music, but things can get relatively fast-paced whenever you’re in high-tension moments.
Dandara is one of those indie games that deserve the spotlight. With its beautiful art style, quirky movement mechanics, and its well-crafted world, the title is worth adding to your Epic Games library. Although the death and the possibility of losing all your upgrade currency are daunting elements, it is relatively easy to learn. You can get used to the challenges it provides within minutes, enabling you to breeze past this 10-hour journey, just with many challenges along the way.
Overall, if you loved Celeste and Hollow Knight, you would feel at home in Salt. It’s a shining example of why Metroidvania titles can still provide different and unique experiences with compelling stories. Platformers are almost always restricted by their limited 2D space, but the developers managed to think out of the box and deliver a title that stands out.