Quick Thoughts On: DAGDROM

DAGDROM is one neat idea wrapped up in a whole lot of surreal delight.

At first glance it seemed like a game about its mechanics. Jump here, shimmy up walls over here, and jump into balls of goo that turn you into a fully automated paint gun. And that’s all great. Your character bounces around entertainingly and building your own platforms by painting shimmering parts of the environment creates a sense of communal level design (which I only wish had given me a bit more freedom in how I designed my platforms).

If that’s all DAGDROM was though I’m not sure I’d have cared. It’s the way developer Ditto has filled his game with so much life and character that makes it a joy. You can see it in his now trademark wavering art design, hear it in every step of your character, and feel it in how over the course of the game your character’s lack of a head seems like less and less of an issue.

I doubt DAGDROM was ever intended to be a game that promotes the idea that a disability doesn’t have to be one, but I can’t help but feel it’s at the heart of why I loved the game. A disembodied voice talks to you throughout the game about your lack of a head and how that must be hard to live with, but then it’s shown that even headless your character can still accomplish anything they set out to do.

It’s perhaps too subtle to make much out of, but it made me smile and wish other games did even that much to say that a disability doesn’t have to define or hinder someone. DAGDROM said that to me without even trying, which only begs the question of how much more games could be doing for people suffering from disabilities in need of a pick-me-up.

"Quick Thoughts" is a subset of my normal reviews for smaller games which might not fit into a full review but I still have something to say about.

DAGDROM was developed by Ditto and is available for free on itch.io.

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