The Dadish Games Are Quietly Some of the Best Platformers Around

What do you call a root vegetable who's a father?

I picked up Dadish 2 on a whim when the game was on sale on the Nintendo Switch eShop last year, despite not having played the first. I was drawn in by the simple style — bold colors and bold blacklining — and the promise of dad jokes. What I got was a brisk playthrough of a solid platformer in which you play as a radish who is a dad (the titular Dadish) on a mission to rescue his kids. A few days ago, the third entry in the series came out, and so far it’s more of the same great formula.

I don’t see anyone talking about these games. Maybe it’s because they’re humble little titles, not trying to break the mold. The Dadish games are simple platformers with no special mechanics — no time reversal, sadistically difficult level design, or emotional storytelling. No, they’re just games about a radish trying to rescue his kids. Why does he have kids? Don’t worry about it!

The draw here is the simple but well-honed gameplay and distinct aesthetic. You can jump, do a second jump once you’re in the air, and that’s about it. You have no means of damaging enemies (except bosses), so you just have to avoid them. In such a simplified ruleset, it’s the little things that stand out, evincing a close attention to detail — Dadish’s bouncy little walk cycle, or the way the black borders around the characters disappear when they enter a school bus and are seen through the windows.

Dadish 3

Developer Thomas K Young clearly isn’t trying to reinvent the genre here. But neither is he leaning, as some indie titles do, on humor. Selling a game as “funny” is always a risk, because humor is so subjective and based on timing, and hearing the same joke dialogue bark over and over can get grating quick. Here, each level ends with a little exchange between Dadish and one of his radish kids. The jokes are basically tiny rewards for finishing each stage, and are always followed by a Super Mario Bros. 3-esque screen wipe and sound effect. Each stage is pretty short, clocking in at a minute or two, barring mistakes and restarts.

This all might sound like a “wholesome game” to you, but I don’t know that I would put Dadish in that category. Sure, it’s cute and doesn’t contain any kind of content that would be inappropriate for younger players, but it isn’t self-conscious about it. That is to say, it doesn’t feel like it’s selling itself on its adorableness or dad content. Instead, the Dadish series is a trilogy of solid platformers that are quick playthroughs without any unnecessary cruft. In the age of endless drip live games, sometimes I just want a short, simple little action title I can play through in a couple of sittings, you know? If you feel the same, then definitely check out the Dadish series.

Dadish 3 is available now on Xbox, PlayStation, Steam, Switch, and mobile. You can ride a dolphin in this one.