Yet another downloadable game. :p Dillon’s Rolling Western is a downloadable title for 3DS that I've had for ages. It, along with Sakura Samurai, was one of the first Nintendo-published eShop titles way back in February 2012.
The anthropomorphic animal characters have a very Star Fox like feel, and generally speaking the main rolling mechanics have a very Majora's Mask feel (specifically, the Goron movement in that game). The game also has a Zelda vibe due to its taciturn title character, his grunts, and the chests he opens and the heart pieces he collects. Despite these similarities to other Nintendo series, the game is overall a unique hybrid of adventuring (rolling around and exploring each stage's map), mining, battling, and collecting resources, and selling resources in order to have enough money to set up watchtowers and gun towers.
The game is generally enjoyable and introduces new enemy types and attacks at a steady rate. However, there are two main game mechanics that really bring down the experience. The first is that the battles, which happen in a closed-off three-dimensional arena, are extremely repetitive. Battles make up about a third of the overall experience, and even with the new enemy types and attacks the mechanics just aren't interesting or deep enough. Although the touchscreen controls took a bit of getting used to, before too long I was able to plow through battles pretty much perfectly and the strategies didn't really change as I progressed through the game. And they become especially tedious since the mining mechanics are identical to the battle mechanics.
The second issue is that while the game has a ranking system, each stage basically requires you to complete it at least twice in order to get the highest ranking. The first time you encounter a stage you're given a small, fixed amount of funds to start with, but once you've conquered it you can use as much of your saved-up pool of funds as you want. Drawing from this larger pool seems to be the only way you would have any hope of getting the five-star rank. This seems like a cheap way of extending the length of the game, although I suppose if you view it more as postgame content rather than required to beat the game it's not quite such an annoyance.
The merging of tower defense mechanics with an adventure game feels fairly unique and the game is quite polished (esp. with the character design), but the monotony of the battling made me give up on this about halfway through. It looks like the sequel adds a couple new features, but by most accounts it seems to just be more of the same. I might try to come back to this later, but for now I'm more than happy to set it aside.
Have some Wild West adventures with these Dillon’s Rolling Western links:
- The official site
- Review at NintendoLife
- Guide to 5-starring every stage, at GameFAQs
- Wikia, which covers the original and the sequel
- Entry at howlongtobeat.com