Who wouldn’t want to be a cowboy armadillo?
I must admit that the original Dillon’s Rolling Western passed by completely unnoticed by me, so I went into this new title, Dillon’s Rolling western: The Last Ranger from the 3DS Nintendo eShop, not knowing what to expect. I was met by a rolling cowboy armadillo.
At least it made sense of the title. The player takes on the role of an armadillo cowboy in the anthropomorphic animal filled wild west. Dillon’s main method of travel and attack within the 3D environment is through the player placing their stylus on the screen and then pulling back to launch Dillon in a slingshot style in that direction. It is a simple mechanic, and one which the player will find they are spending a lot of time performing through the game.
The game is actually played in two part. Dillon’s main missions seem to involve protecting the town’s livestock from living rock monsters, known as Grocks. The Grocks come in waves and make their way across the environment to attack the town and diminish the livestock supply.To prevent this, Dillon can attack a Grock in the exploration screen and be taken to a small battle area in which the player uses the slingshot move to defeat a given number of enemies.
But there are also towers spread around the environment which can be upgraded and used to fight the Grocks, or at least slow them down. This aspect takes on more of a tower defence style, and the player will find themselves rolling around the environment in between waves of enemies to gather resources and prepare the towers.
This pretty much makes up the majority of the game. Prepare for the attack and then fight it of. The time allowed for preparation is limited, so players will often be rushed and have to think on their feet. The same can be said when in battle as the other enemies continue to approach the town even while the player is busy fighting. It can be quite frantic and gives the game a reasonably high difficulty.
However, there are other things to do during the downtime between the waves. Collecting certain vegetation from the environment and donating it to the town increases the livestock level, giving the player a larger buffer before defeat. There are also mines to excavate, side missions to attempt and secrets to find. There is even a train to protect and new allies to do your bidding.
Perhaps most impressive about Dillon’s Rolling Western: The Last Ranger is the high level of polish. For an eShop game on 3DS, it is unexpectedly good looking, with nice environments, varied enemies, a cast of strange characters including a mobile equipment salamander and an overly enthusiastic squirrel partner, and some slick cut scenes. Even the character of Dillon himself looks the part and has the attitude to match, which is no mean feat for an armadillo.
The Last Ranger combines some great concepts into a solid gaming experience. The only downside is that players will quickly find themselves doing the same things over and over with little or no variety. Also, the combination of gameplay types may not be to everyone’s taste.
Dillon’s Rolling Western: The Last Ranger is an original game that combines exploration with action and tower defence. The separate parts are good, but not great. However, they all come together into a very enjoyable 3DS title that is well worth checking out.