Armadillos Roll Out: A Review of Dillon’s Rolling Western (3DS)

Dillon’s Rolling Western is a good game – it’s actually really good – but it hits home in this weird way. While I’ve never been clinically diagnosed, people have always told me that hanging out with me is like hanging out with the ADHD kid in school.

When I play Dillon’s Rolling Western on the Nintendo 3DS, I think I finally understand what those people mean.

Dillon’s Rolling Western doesn’t exactly know what kind of game it wants to be. I think at its heart it’s an action game. After pressing the flesh a little bit in town, Town savior Dillon (an armadillo) rolls in to rescue a town from the horrors of the invading Grocks. Nightfall means you get to fight the Grocks, using combat that consists of a fairly rudimentary swipe motion on the bottom screen.

It’s… fine. It’s fine, and it’s functional. Alright, I won’t dance around it – the combat’s nothing special, especially if you don’t like touch mechanics of any variety. But after the combat, you arrive back in town and find side quests that you can do. Yeah, I said side quests. Like in a role-playing game. They’re easy, and the townsfolk they introduce you to are charming, but it’s the fact that they’re there at all…

And you’re on these side quests to gather power-ups and collectibles that you can trade in for upgrades, thus introducing another role-playing element.

But these things are reasonable and understandable. Putting on a “developer” hat, if combat is essentially restricted to these arena battles, there has to exist another mechanic through which the player can get upgrades, and a richly populated town provides the perfect setup. So it makes sense.

Then you get into the game a little deeper, and find out that gun towers and city walls can be constructed to help fight the invasion, thus introducing a real-time strategy element. Grocks will even attack the towers, causing them to need rebuilt – or, you can rush over to defend the towers.

Even as I write this all down, it sounds schizophrenic and mad-capped. But does any of it ever feel out of place? No, not really. Do any of these elements ever feel forced, or shoehorned in? Not in the least.

You can probably glean from my incredulity that it’s not my kind of game, but objectively speaking, Dillon’s Rolling Western is great. There’s plenty of content, and the type of gameplay changes so frequently that it’s nigh impossible to get bored or bogged-down with any one section. It’s all worked into the story extraordinarily well, and mechanically, everything is intuitive and responsive.

Were this game burdened with a higher profile, it would subject to the kind of ridicule and misunderstanding that Brutal Legend had to endure. Thankfully, that’s not the case, so Dillon’s Rolling Western can enjoy a spot in the Nintendo eShop as a tiny gem that’s loaded with personality and charm.

Pixels or Death gives Dillon’s Rolling Western a four out of five.