Despite the fact my Vita is here, I’m frustratingly delaying its usage a little more. The reason? Nintendo have released a 3DS eStore game that is, in most regards, one of the quirkiest and tidiest digital games for a while.
Dillon is an armadillo. He’s a ranger, in a world that feels like the Wild West. Villages are being attacked by Grocks – rock-like creatures who basically eat anything within reason. Dillon charges up a spin attack – like Sonic – and rams into them at speed, breaking them.
That’s the basics, but there is so very much more to it than that – tower management, RPG-like quests, mining and collecting marathons, secrets and hidden extras all with a reasonably good quality soundtrack and a healthy amount of creativity. Nothing feels especially out of place either – everything slots together seamlessly enough. It looks slick and entertaining, with a crude sort of Nintendo charm circa Nintendo 64, but scaled up. It’s not that polished but it is aesthetically charming.
Not that this is the easiest game to get into – those expecting something along the lines of “social gaming” will be disappointed. This is a tough nut, the learning curve is steep and gets steeper as you go on. It’s about learning the tricks of the trade – combos, charging, bouncing around, getting your aim right as you slide your thumb across the touchscreen and release to slingshot Dillon where you want him to go. But it feels rewarding, and never obtuse.
Which makes it a very good game. And at £9 from the UK eStore, for ostensibly a 20-hour action adventure puzzler RPG hybrid thing, it’s stonking good value for money as well – a real eye opener. Pushmo was an example of a game that could show the eStore off as a place for good games to be born. Dillon’s Rolling Western is further proof that this service may just yet turn out to be something in Nintendo’s favour.
Dillon’s Rolling Western is out now. And highly recommended – although with one caveat. It’s very much designed for right-handed people. Left handers may have a few issues with it… nothing insurmountable, but it’s clearly something Nintendo could have – indeed should have – considered under the circumstances…