Dillon’s Rolling Western Review (3DS eShop): A Quirky, But Solid Adventure

I remember first hearing about Dillon’s Rolling Western at the Nintendo Direct conference earlier on in the year. Initially I had little interest in the game, but as I watched the gameplay videos, I became more intrigued; a new character from a new game that’s downloadable for a cool $9.99 on the eShop. It received the honor of being fully advertized during a public Nintendo conference, so it has to be worth the price of admission, right?

Dillon’s Rolling Western plays it safe and stylish with its story, throwing you into a western themed world full of anthropomorphic animals who are dealing with a pest control problem. The primary plot is given to you very early on (it was also given to you in its launch trailer), providing insight on how some humble towns in the west are losing their Scrogs livestock to some mean-looking monsters known as Grocks. The game centers around Dillon, an armored armadillo, who along with his little furry friend Russ, have offered to go out and help the towns (assuming the price is right). The story and atmosphere is very much child safe but can still be enjoyed by adults as well. Cutscenes are brief and the dialogue is sparse. Each character has a unique personality, though I’m sorry to say that there is no voice acting to help flesh out the characters any further.

This is one of the the few games I can name that truly takes advantage of the 3DS’ touch screen and 3D capabilities. All of Dillon’s primary controls other than walking (which is mapped to the Circle Pad) is handled by your stylus and the touch screen. Your primary method of getting around is by charging up Dillon by dragging the stylus downward and then releasing to allow Dillon to roll across the dusty western landscape. I’ve heard people compare this gameplay to Sonic the Hedgehog, but this is really a lot more like Goron Link from The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. Dillon’s turning is not particularly sharp when rolling, but navigating the map overall works pretty well.

It’s worth noting that the game is a new take on Tower Defense. The Grocks walk along a set path and make their way toward the town from their nests in order to eat Scrogs (which lowers your overall reward or can lead to failure). There are towers you can set up, but I’ve found it’s challenging to save enough money to adequately build towers and set up their weapons to properly aid you in fending off the beasts. That’s where Dillon’s combat mode comes in. You cannot rely solely on your tower guns, so you will have to engage Grocks on your own. When you run into a Grock on the map, you will enter a small battlefield where you can then roll into and punch Grocks into pieces. The Grocks still on the map will continue to move and your guns will still attack them if they are still in range. To make matters worse, your guns cannot change the direction they are facing (which depends on the gun you choose). This leads to towers getting attacked and destroyed frequently, and also allows Grocks to sometimes pass by them completely unscathed. It’s not something that cannot be worked with; in fact the game keeps you on your toes in this regard. However, more customization with the tower guns would have been much appreciated. Thankfully, you can temporarily upgrade Dillon’s gear as well as your town’s defenses.

The game looks pretty good for a downloadable game. The warm colors make it really feel like a game set in the west and the cel-shaded graphics make the game look quite cartoony, very much like its official artwork. The 3D works well when moving around the map, aiding seeing the depth between objects like towers and Grocks and not harming the game’s lower though steady framerate. While there isn’t a whole lot of action going at once until the later stages, it’s interesting to note how large the maps are. It takes at least a full minute or so to get from one end of the map to the other, and this is just from rolling. Models and textures are simple but the game overall looks appealing, if only a little bare.

The soundtrack is well composed with a spaghetti western type feel, though the song selection is fairly limited. The same music cues are played with little variety. The Grocks produce menacing groans and growls and Dillon’s grunt noises are fitting and fun to listen to. They’re fun tracks to say the least, but expect to hear them a lot when you play.

This was the first digitally downloaded game I purchased that was not a Virtual Console title. Despite some flaws, I found it to be very interesting and fun. Sure, it’s tower defense, but it takes the formula and tries something very unique. If you’re looking for a cheap game on your 3DS and don’t mind tower defense gameplay, this isn’t a bad selection to check out.

Verdict: BUY IT!

Nintendo 3DS – First Year Anniversary Recollection

At this time last year, I had gone out to pick up my pre-ordered Nintendo 3DS from Toys R Us. I remember going into the store first thing that morning and thinking, “There’s definitely going to be a line to pick this system up.” Well, I walked in there and I was the only person in the store picking it up. I was surprised to say in the least but at least I was able to get the system immediately. Alongside getting the system, I picked up Ridge Racer 3D and Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition since they were holding a “buy 1, get 1 50% off” sale on all 3DS games. I originally wanted Pilotwings Resort but oddly, Toys R Us never got a shipment in for that game which was why I resorted to SSF IV: 3D Edition.

Rushing back home, I was excited to finally unbox my newly anticipated Nintendo handheld (check out my unboxing video above). Upon unboxing the system, I was eager to test out all the features the system had such as the StreetPass Plaza, Music Player, Camera, Activity Log and of course, the 3D depth slider to witness the revolutionary new way to view 3D without any glasses. I was a bit skeptical on the 3D aspect of gaming, especially when reports were released that you should only play with the 3D on for no more than 30 minutes at a time and that people were reporting dizziness. The maximum 3D depth was certainly a bit straining on the eyes at first, with me then resorting to only playing at half the 3D strength. However, the more I played with the 3D on, the more my eyes adjusted to it. Currently, I have no problem playing with the slider on max. The music player was neat to test out as it had numerous different visualizations to view, along with some that you can actually interact with such as the Game & Watch Soccer Ball game and the StarFox inspired polygon-flight shooter. The camera was essentially what you’d come to expect, but with the 3D twist added to it. I recall taking a photo of my TV remote next to my iHome and viewing it in 3D, which was kind of mind blowing to witness. Unfortunately, the 3DS’s extremely low 0.3 megapixel camera won’t provide photos too crisply. The Activity Log was one particular app that really astounded me however. I loved the fact that my 3DS had an in-depth stat tracking system in which it recorded how much time I clocked in total with each game, the average time I played a game and the amount of times I played it. It even broke it down into a ranking system, showing which games you played the most or for the longest amount of time. Aside from that, it kept track of how many footsteps I had taken with the system in my pocket and how many total hours I clocked in playing the system in general. Also, Nintendo gave a pretty big incentive to carry the system with you at all times. The more you walked around with your 3DS, the more Play Coins you would earn so that you can unlock more content for your games. Also, StreetPassing people was another incentive to carry the 3DS around so that you can swap records, swap puzzle pieces and aid each other in Find Mii. It was something unheard of at the time and further pushed the originality that Nintendo was aiming for. Plus, StreetPass enabled titles allowed for players to experience deeper elements in their games, whether it unlocked extra missions, extra races, more content, etc.

Gotta love when this light comes up on your 3DS

However, some things weren’t ready at launch that later added a much deeper layer to the system. In the first week of June, during E3, Nintendo launched a firmware update that added the ability to browse the web and access the highly anticipated Nintendo eShop channel. The web browser was a nice addition that was teased at launch but wasn’t exactly a perfect experience. The neat thing was that you were able to check websites while playing games so if you needed to look up a strategy for a certain game, you can do that without having to quit out. However, the Nintendo eShop channel was what I was excited to go through. The last Nintendo handheld I owned was the DS Lite so the whole handheld digital market that I missed out on with the DSi and DSi XL was now at my fingertips. From there, I was downloading DSiWare titles that caught my attention in the past such as Shantae: Risky’s Revenge, Dark Void Zero and Cave Story. Today, we have some exceptional downloadable titles such as Pushmo and Mutant Mudds. Also, as time went on, we saw the birth of 3D Classics, NES titles that got a 3D enhancement. Early 3DS owners were entitled Excitebike as a free 3D Classic downloadable for a temporary time. Since then, we have seen Xevious, Urban Champion and my personal favorite, Kirby’s Adventure get remade into 3D.

Mutant Mudds is an awesome 2D platformer with a 3D twist

Nintendo announced on July 28th, 2011, that the 3DS will drop in price from $249.99 to $179.99. Many early adopters were outraged that Nintendo would drop the price of their new handheld within a mere 4 months since launch. Luckily, Nintendo delivered compensation via the Nintendo 3DS Ambassador Program in which early adopters that accessed their eShop channel prior to August 13th would receive 20 free games. Those games were split into 10 NES titles (Balloon Fight, Donkey Kong Jr., Ice Climbers, The Legend of Zelda, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, Metroid, NES Open Tournament Golf, Super Mario Bros., Wrecking Crew and Yoshi) and 10 GBA titles (F-Zero: Maximum Velocity, Fire Emblem, Kirby & The Amazing Mirror, The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, Mario vs Donkey Kong, Mario Kart: Super Circuit, Metroid Fusion, Wario Land 4, WarioWare Inc.: Mega Microgame$ and Yoshi’s Island: Super Mario Advance 3). While the NES titles are set for release in the near future (for a price) for customers via the eShop channel, the GBA titles are exclusive to only Ambassadors. We’ve already seen Super Mario Bros., Metroid and Punch-Out!! release on the eShop channel for $4.99 each.

In September, Nintendo held a conference that showcased the Circle Pad Pro attachment that would be used for certain titles, helping developers create more console-like experiences. Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D, Resident Evil Revelations and Kid Icarus: Uprising are just a few to name that utilize this peripheral. While it garnered some negative views upon announcement, the peripheral has been stated to make the 3DS more comfortable to grip and allows these games to feel more “natural” to play. Retailing exclusively at Gamestop for $19.99, this peripheral was released alongside Resident Evil Revelations on February 7th, 2012. It’s not mandatory for any games at the moment, but it’s an option nonetheless and will inevitably be on the next 3DS model that will release in the future.

The Circle Pad Pro

Throughout the life cycle of a system, it’s important to have a solid list of titles to support your new console. At launch, the 3DS didn’t exactly have the best games to choose from. Aside from Pilotwings Resort, Ridge Racer 3D and Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition, most of the titles were mediocre. Luckily, I only had to wait two months from launch for the title that I had bought my 3DS for in the first place, Dead or Alive: Dimensions. Being a massive DOA fan, this was a game that had me playing the system day-in and day-out and truly showcased the visuals that the 3DS was capable of. In June, I was treated to getting the remake of one of the greatest games of all time, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D. I was thoroughly impressed with what Grezzo (the developer in charge of the 3D enhancement) had done with the game. The fact that they tweaked certain gameplay elements to further refine it was proof that it wasn’t just a simple port. After that, another game that I was anxiously waiting for released, Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D (my review found here). Now, it was evidently a fully released game based on an unlockable mini-game from the RE franchise. Despite its mediocre reviews, I ended up having a ton of fun with it (thanks to online play and my buddies owning a copy of it as well) and still come back to it, even after clocking in over 35 hours. Back in August, I wrote up the Nintendo 3DS Essential Games Guide that was basically my thoughts on which games every 3DS owner should own, broken down to specific genres. Since this point, we’ve seen StarFox 64 3D, Super Mario 3D Land, Shinobi (my review found here), Mario Kart 7, Resident Evil Revelations (my review found here) and now, Kid Icarus: Uprising. There’s no denying that the 3DS was off to a rocky start. However, the Nintendo handheld has skyrocketed amongst the gaming community with over 15 million units sold within less than a year (according to Nintendo’s statistics).

Within the system’s first year, it’s amazing to see how much the 3DS has evolved with its stellar lineup of titles that truly showcase a taste of what’s to come. With Nintendo prepping the Wii U for launch later this year, it’s guaranteed that we’ll see the 3DS integrated with the new home console. Nintendo has been known for their creativity to differentiate from the other companies and I’m sure they have a few surprises up their sleeves that’s in store for us.

What were your first 3DS games? Any particular game that stood out for you within its first year? Sound off your thoughts in the comments below!

Nintendo 3DS Firmware Release Date Unveiled; eShop Gets Revamped

Many of you 3DS owners are aware that we will be receiving a firmware update sometime in November. Well, it appears it will be sooner rather than later. It appears that the 3DS will receive the latest firmware on November 3rd. The list of features being added in the latest update can be found here.

The other additional feature however, is that the eShop will be getting a nice revamp. Once updated, the eShop will now contain DLC for games, as well as demos. That’s not the coolest part though. Nintendo is working on letting 3DS owners access the eShop via computer or smartphone. Now, users may get content that way and if your 3DS is in sleep mode in a WiFi area, it will automatically download without you having to log onto the eShop. This will allow Nintendo to promote downloadable titles a little more than just basing them on the user reviews that can only be seen on the eShop.

Excited for the new update? Sound off in the comments below!