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Dandelion serves as the the game's "ramp-up" Character.
Dandelion is a challenging, playable Character designed around a ramp-up playstyle, and is the only Character to be unlocked by an alternate means instead of beating a certain requirement. They possess many unique attributes that makes them much different to play than other Characters.
Dandelion is unlocked via clearing a unique giant pod Camp, which can only spawn in Tier II biomes. Killing the guards and clearing the Camp will free Dandelion from the giant pod; after the run ends, Dandelion will be permanently unlocked as a playable character, and the giant pod Camp will no longer spawn. It is currently unknown if players could find Dandelion and then exit run in order to unlock them.
Dandelion's upside consists of the largest starting kit of all Characters, containing Duck Wings, Cleats, and Crampons. In addition, Dandelion features custom collectables in the form of Dandelion Puffs. This gives Dandelion extremely powerful Farming, as they never need to bother with tilling soil or cutting Weeds, the most time-consuming parts of sowing Crops.
Dandelion can be an extremely difficult character to play, due to their movement physics. Unlike every other Character currently in the game, their movement has very slow acceleration and deceleration, and they cannot quickly change directions. This makes dodging enemy shots much more difficult, and requires a different mindset compared to other Characters. However, each Dandelion Puff collected will reduce the amount of time Dandelion needs to accelerate and decelerate, effectively making their movement more responsive.
Dandelion starts with very powerful farming upgrades; their difficulties come from their weak combat and difficult movement.
Due to how Dandelion features a movement system that can cause the player to drift in unintended directions, it is advised to use a balancing method known as counter balancing. Counter balancing is the act of slightly moving in the opposite direction Dandelion is currently moving in when the player wishes to stop. This can be done by slightly tapping the key that forces the movement opposite to where Dandelion is currently heading. For example, based upon default keyboard bindings, when moving up caused by pressing the "W" key, slightly tapping the "S" key will assist when stopping. Doing this causes the backwards movement from pressing "S" to help counteract the forward momentum caused by drifting after pressing "W".
Upgrades that have their benefits trigger upon cutting Weeds or tilling soil can be powerful with Dandelion, as they can simply pass over them to activate said items. Razor Weeds in particular is especially powerful, as it helps with their less-potent combat. When choosing Farm Animals as Dandelion, the most important one is the Cow, as watering is the only farming action they do not gain powerful benefits to by default. Chickens are no longer as high-value, unless the player has found items that provide benefits to eggs, such as Fertile Eggs or Avian Placenta. Pigs also suffer partially from this; however, they still have the advantage of rarely being able to break open crust. Hogs are extremely helpful for the combat assistance they provide on top of tilling soil and breaking crust.
Gathering Dandelion Puffs
When playing as Dandelion, the first priority should be seeking out the Golden Pupa in each area, as killing the Tree Guardian will spawn a guaranteed Dandelion Puff. As Dandelion begins the game with Duck Wings, a viable strategy is to only explore each biome until every Golden Pupa is found and fight the Tree Guardian, then move on to the next Biome. Depending on how lucky the player is with finding the Pupa, they could potentially complete all four basic Tree Guardian fights in Spring, then explore the areas of those Biomes they skipped in Summer. Eventually, they will be ready to move on to the Tier II and later Biomes in Fall, once they have had more time to increase their Fighting Stat and gather randomly spawning Dandelion Puffs.
If the player has not found at least two or three Puffs by the time they fight the Spring boss, it is possible they might have extreme difficulty dodging attacks. The Unfriendly Worm, in particular, is exceptionally difficult as Dandelion. In general, the best tactic as Dandelion is to keep as much distance between the player and their enemies as possible, to give themselves more time to react to incoming attacks and move accordingly. Therefore, especially early on, before the player has collected many Puffs, it's a good idea to choose weapons with longer range. The Shallotgun and Sriracha Soaker only have a 4 tile range, and require the player to get dangerously close to Enemies in order to deal damage. The Blunderbloom, Parsniper, and Cattling Gun all have much longer range, as does the Spud Rifle, to a lesser extent, and these are generally the best choices for Dandelion in Spring and Summer. Once the player has gathered enough Dandelion Puffs that they feel comfortable with dodging attacks, they can then begin taking the shorter-range weapons for the power they provide.
- Dandelion's model design is a pun on the latter portion of the word "dandelion", where they feature a lion's mane to fit the namesake.
- Dandelion was one of the two Characters added in the Thyme Flies Update, the other of which was Thyme.
- Dandelion is the only Character that begins with any Golden Pupa loot Items in their starting loadout as well as the only one that features a unique movement set.
- Dandelion is currently the only non-human playable Character available.