Dandara ($14.99) is out now on every single viable platform under the sun, including on iOS, Android, and Switch. This alone is unusual, because it’s a monumental effort to release a game on six different platforms simultaneously from a technical perspective. Odds are, if you’re interested in Dandara, and you should be, after reading our five-star review, you also have to choose which platform do you want it on: mobile, Nintendo Switch, or other?
The first thing to know is that if you’re choosing between console/PC and Switch, you should definitely go with the Switch version. This isn’t just because of the Switch’s innate advantage of portable play, but for another reason: it supports touch controls, and Dandara is amazing with touch controls. If you’re choosing between mobile and console/PC, from a pure gameplay perspective, go mobile. The tricky decision is whether to choose Switch or mobile.
Why care so much about touchscreen controls for Dandara? It’s so much easier to aim precisely and quickly with swipes. The introductory sequence makes this clear. The game introduces its movement system to you as you have to hop between platforms. Try it with a controller, and there’s a bit of fumbling around as you figure out that you have to point and then hit A to launch yourself in that direction. With the touch controls, you can just frantically swipe back and forth, and it feels amazing.
For a long time, there’s an uncertainty with using the joystick – are you sure that this is where you want to aim? The Joy-Con analog sticks feel a bit small to give the proper range of motion to make the quick, confident movements that are otherwise available with touchscreens. Using a full-size controller is best if you do use a controller. Every time I go back to using the touchscreen, this game increasingly feels like it was built for touch and expanded for controller. Long Hat House has a knack for building games that work really well with touch. This should be apparent anyone who played Magenta Arcade and the way that it made the player’s finger a part of the touch controls in the game.
The good news is that if you choose the Switch or mobile versions, you’re not locked in to one control scheme. The mobile versions have controller support. The Switch version also supports the same touch controls! However, unlike the iOS/Android versions, there isn’t a virtual joystick, which helps out with aiming, as well as movement. Plus, using the Switch without the Joy-Cons, holding it like a phone or slightly large tablet, isn’t bad, but it’s not ideal. The edges of the system aren’t ergonomically contoured for holding it the way phones and tablets are designed. Plus, the Joy-Cons will stay powered on, so the battery life on them can drain if you play the game just with the touchscreen. Regardless, the Switch version does give you all the control options you might possibly need for Dandara.
The other thing to consider with buying Dandara is that it costs the exact same on mobile as it does on console: $14.99 at launch, with an $11.99 pre-order price. So the one major benefit that comes with buying a mobile game, the absurd discount even with cross-platform launches, is gone. You’re picking purely based on which platform you want to buy the game on.
And unfortunately, there’s the one major uncertainty with buying an iOS game: that it could someday stop working and not get updated. I have no reason to suspect Long Hat House and Raw Fury Games will let that happen, and maybe after the uproar over the 32-bit appocalypse, Apple is trying to ensure fewer things break in later iOS versions. But if someone expressed reservations that they don’t want to spend full price on an iOS game given that they want to avoid a BioShock situation, I’d find it hard to fault them. Especially when the aforementioned Magenta Arcade isn’t on the App Store any more.
Nintendo, along with Sony and Microsoft, has strict certification policies that annoy developers because of how picky they can be, but they do help ensure that software released in 2018 is likely to work in 2023. Again, it’s quite possible that Dandara will work on iOS 33, but that uncertainty does play a role. The counterpoint is that it’s a $15 game, it’s far from the end of the world if it ever stops working, beyond the general cultural shame that is poor video game archival.
What this all adds up to is that the Switch version is likely the best version of the game because of the versatility to play it at home on the big screen, or on portable, with the most ideal control scheme, and with the best future-proofing. Next up is the mobile version because you get the best control scheme, but with some questionable future-proofing. Ultimately, I’d say that any drawback between the mobile and Switch versions are minor that it’s worth playing the game on the platform that most fits into the player’s life. Long Hat House and Raw Fury went a long way to make sure that players can have their preferred Dandara experience regardless of platform.