Dadish isn’t going to win any awards for platforming excellence. I’d even be surprised if the developer, Thomas K. Young, managed to pick up too much acclaim for the artstyle, the audio, or the weird narrative. In fact, I’d expect Dadish will struggle to find a place in the digital libraries of many an Xbox gamer.
But you know what? All that would be a massive shame, because this is a game that is sure to stick a smile on your face, rarely letting it drop throughout the couple of hours running time you’re going to get from it.
Dadish is a weird one. The main protagonist is a dad who just so happens to be a radish, and it’s up to you to join this veggie father as he goes off on a hunt for his kids. You see, whilst they were meant to be safe at home, playing around in the confines of the local vegetable patch, the kids have gone off adventuring, and it’s up to Dadish to get them home. Yes much like many parents, the overriding feel is that Dadish has just about had enough of his offspring.
Premise wise the setup of Dadish is simple, but that narrative plays out nicely with some humorous interactions between Dadish, the kids and the fast food enemies that get in his way. Why fast food enemies? Well in Dadish it’s the vegetables who are king and you will find that those you go up against come in the form of burgers, hotdogs, fries, ice-creams and more.
This humour is delivered well, hinting at real world interactions of a father who is fast getting annoyed by the wild tendencies of his kids. That’s complemented nicely on the other side of the coin too, detailing children happy to poke fun at their parents, no matter the dire situation they find themselves in. Although frankly, the kids here seem to be real risk takers, oblivious to the harm they could well find themselves in.
The story of Dadish matters little though for this is primarily a platformer in which you’ll be left to help Dadish traverse multiple levels, working platforms, jumps and the navigating of obstacles, before ‘rescuing’ a child at the end of each stage. These levels are split across multiple world types – the Abara Woods controlled by the Burgurgular, Strando Beach who has a slice of pizza named Hotdog as its end-of-world big guy, and the Monto Mountains; a snow-capped land overseen by ‘Sharon’. From there, Fungo Cave levels work more like a DoodleJump clone, with springy mushrooms powering Dadish all over the shop, while the final world of Kastelo Fortress houses the most intense of all the stages. You’d expect this to be the case, as difficulty ramps up and Dadish tries everything to rescue his kids, but it’s really only in these latter stages where you may find a little bit of frustration creeping in (hi, Level 49!), before concluding matters against the evil Lord Durnak.
If we’re honest with ourselves though, Dadish is a fairly simple playthrough and even the end-of-world bosses fail to bring too much in the way of a skills test. But that’s not really an issue and instead it lets you enjoy Dadish for what it is – a fun little platforming romp that will deliver smiles and joy at every opportunity.
Granted, there’s nothing in Dadish which is going to wow you, but there is also little in the way of frustration either, aside from learning the mechanics and skills needed for a couple of the stages. On the whole, it works really well – platforming is near precision perfect, jumping is accurate and there’s just enough allowance of movement to ensure you always feel in total control of Dadish. There will be times when hit collisions don’t quite seem right, but for the most part these err on the side of the player, letting them get away with more than seems right. For a little indie title, these tiny issues shouldn’t really be frown upon.
You’ll need the confidence that the mechanics bring too, especially as Dadish works his way through the five worlds. Each of these come with their own unique ideas, with simple platform navigation soon making way for falling blocks, fireballs, buzzsaws, and enemies content on throwing all manner of things at you. Oh, and then you’ve got the inclusion of a few that mix things up even more, pushing on that Doodlejump idea more and more.
This variety ensures that you’ll never feel bored of Dadish, something which is helped by the short running time and rather swift completion of each level. With well placed checkpoints in place for any stages that do occasionally increase in their length, you’ll not find too much hassle with anything Dadish is able to provide.
It looks okay too and whilst folk won’t be screaming for its visual take, this is a neat little platformer that thrives with colour. It’s all pretty fun to look at, with the delightful Dadish himself well created and designed, popping up out of the ground in each stage. Even the enemies are humorously put together, with the likes of Hotdog a real standout.
There is a slight issue in terms of the pricing though and that being asked for Dadish at launch just seems a tad too high, especially in comparison to other games of this ilk. Take into account the mobile nature and if only there was room to drop the price by a couple of quid, Dadish would have been a much more rounded affair. Yes, there’s the chance to gather up collectible stars from each stage (although working back through the stage map is a tiresome process), to take in a Hard Mode with increased enemy speed, and sticking a Timer in may appeal to speedrunners, but on the whole, once you’ve seen the back of Lord Durnak and his fast food mob, you’re likely to be done with everything Dadish can offer.
Really though, aside from the slightly too high price, there’s little to dislike with Dadish. It’s not going to wow you, but it will make you smile and it does more than enough to ensure it pulls you through to the very end; not just as you look for the next humour hit, but as you attempt to hone the skills required for level completion. There may be nothing really new here, and you’d have seen plenty of similar ideas included in various games from over the years, but what Tom Young has put things together must be applauded. If you’re in the market for a well crafted little platformer, Dadish is well deserving of a look.
Now, where’s that Dadish 2…
You can pick up Dadish on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S from the Xbox Store