Dillon's Rolling Western Hands-On - A Zelda Tower-Defense?
By:
Andre Segers
|
December 15, 2011, 12:02 pm

What it is...

Dillon’s Rolling Western is quite unlike any other game I’ve played. The best way I can describe it is as a tower-defense with the 3D exploration of Zelda...and even that doesn’t fully do it justice.

As Dillon, it’s up to you to defend 10 different villages over a span of three days each. The first half of each day is used for gathering resources, while night is when the real action happens as you use those resources to defend the town from the attacking hordes. But I’m getting ahead of myself...

From morning to dusk it’s your duty to gather as many resources as you can find in the large 3D plain, just outside the village. Fortunately, since Dillon is an armadillo, he can quickly traverse the world by--what else--rolling. Now rolling is actually handled pretty uniquely. Though you’ll steer yourself with the Circle Pad, you start your roll by sliding the stylus downward on the touchscreen, as if you were tugging on a toy’s pull-string. This will get you going, though you’ll have to recharge your roll every few seconds using the same method, lest Dillon will run out of steam.


As you roll around the landscape, you’ll want to gather whatever resources you can by smashing into rocks and plants, exposing precious collectibles. You might also stumble upon the occasional cave which contains a high quantity of valuables. Each cave is also like a mini-puzzle, as you figure out the best way to bounce Dillon off the rocks inside without pausing, building a combo, thus earning even more goodies. You’ll even come across the occasional treasure chest, which Dillon opens almost exactly like Link. Clearly the game’s overworld’s resemblance wasn’t lost on them.

With dusk looming, it’s generally a good idea to stop by the town to trade in whatever you’ve found in exchange for cash, which can be used to upgrade the guard tours dotting the landscape. These guard towers will prove crucial to you at night when enemies attack. However, you have to choose carefully how you upgrade these towers, as each weapon features different attack ranges and radiuses, which affects their usefulness.

Hopefully you’re prepared by nightfall, as the enemies won’t wait if you’re not. After emerging from the ground, they immediately make way for the village. The guard towers you’ve equipped will help thin the herd, but you’ll have to manually go after the stragglers who manage to evade them, or those that take an unguarded path. Thankfully, the map on the touch-screen provides a quick glance of the battlefield, allowing you to determine where your defenses are weak.

Touching an enemy on the field will transport you to a battle area, where you’ll find many different enemies waiting for you. Attacking them is similar to busting rocks, but you’ll want to make use of Dillon’s additional attacks, which are performed with timed-taps on the touchscreen as you bowl yourself into an enemy. If you manage to clear the field, you’ll remove that enemy’s presence from the overworld.

Early thoughts...
Dillon’s Rolling Western is one of the most bizarre--and interesting--titles I’ve played in recent months. Though I only spent 20 minutes with it, I felt like I had only scratched the surface, which is quite the compliment for a downloadable title. I can already tell there’s an impressive amount of depth to this game, and I really can’t wait to dive back in for more. The world Nintendo has crafted here is very appealing, and truly captures that western flair the title suggests. My only complaint is that the game runs at a sluggish frame-rate, which I’m hoping will be rectified before release.

Look for Dillon’s Rolling Western to roll onto the Nintendo 3DS’s eShop early next year.

 

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