hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Dillon's Rolling Western: The Last Ranger

Review: Dillon's Rolling Western: The Last Ranger

5:00 PM on 04.19.2013 // Jonathan Holmes

Going, going, Goron

Dillon's Rolling Western and it's sequel, The Last Ranger, feel like cut bonus content from The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. Dillon, the series' titular protagonist, has nearly identical moves as Goron Link. The game's three-day structure and constantly running in-game clock are also heavily reminiscent of Majora's. Dillon's even shares the underlying contrast between cute relaxing times, and feelings of dread invoked by a seemingly never-ending threat. 

Your goal in Dillon's is to traverse a large area, fending off invaders as quickly and efficiently as possible before they steal some cow-like beasts. Reminds me a lot of the "UFO hunting" side game in Majora's Mask, albeit with a very different set of tools. Dillon even gets a Zelda-style jingle and animation when he opens up a treasure chest. 

Majora's Mask is one of my favorite games ever. That should have made Dillon's and this sequel an easy slam dunk. Sadly, Nintendo and Vanpool came dangerously close to screwing it all up. 

Dillon's Rolling Western: The Last Ranger (3DS eShop)
Developer: Vanpool
Publisher: Nintendo
Released: April 11, 2013
MSRP: $10.99

The Last Ranger is largely about speed. You can walk if you want, but it's rarely a good idea. You're better off rolling around at top speed at all times, collecting all the resources you can before the sun goes down, and protecting your property from little rock guys at night before they wreck all your stuff. Balancing your attention between the macro game (awareness of the passage of time and the location of items/enemies/allies in a larger area) and the micro game (navigating through the immediate space as quickly and efficiently as possible) is the key concept here. That balance creates a pretty interesting internal conflict for the player between focusing on the here-and-now while also planning ahead. The better you can do both of those things simultaneously, the more likely you are to survive. 

It's an interesting idea delivered with a lot of confidence. The graphics look impressive for an $11 eShop title, the art direction is both moody and inviting, and the music is the right mix between non-intrusive and catchy. This cute-but-serious old west cartoon world does well to provide a surface level expression of the game's underlying themes of enjoying the moment while being driven by the dread and desperation of a wild world where safety is never constant. It's the best Rango game never made.

Just like in the first game, there are cool power-ups to discover or purchase for Dillon, and strategically placed combat towers strewn about the field of combat. The Last Ranger also gives you the option to team up with mysterious rangers. The ranger dynamic brings more to the table than just an A.I. co-op partner. It also provides a few surprises, new gameplay elements (which I don't want to spoil for you), some additional story, and sense of cutthroat culture to this world of adorable talking animals. Also new to the sequel is the train system, where you're tasked to stop protecting stationary villages for a while and instead guard a rolling steam train. Giving you a moving target adds to the tension a bit, but it doesn't feel substantially different. 

Problems also pop up with the interface. The controls are initially counter intuitive, as the combat overworld setups are totally different. This doesn't make a ton of sense, as on both the overworld and in battle you're still doing the same roll move using the touch screen. You just have to control the direction of that move in a totally different way. The game doesn't explain this to you either, which led me to play the game wrong for the first ten minutes or so. 

Once you get the hang of them, the controls lend themselves pretty well to the design. Using the touch screen, circle pad, and L trigger (which can be flipped for lefties) gives you everything you need. Though streamlined, you can still pull off cool combos in combat and feel a sense of variety in traversing the environment. It works great when the fixed camera in the combat screen doesn't hide enemies from you, which is fairly often. 

Then there is the tedium. There are a few enemy types, but you'll spend far too much time taking on the variations of the same relatively defenseless rock guys over and over again. The same is true of the game's levels. Every field lends itself to it's own unique strategies and cosmetic differences, but the feeling of sameness sets in fairly quickly regardless.

That's exacerbated by the punishing replay system. When you screw up really bad (which will likely happen a fair amount as the game is designed around tempting you to goof off), you may have to replay ten or more minutes of content in order to rectify your mistakes. While it's fun to see yourself improve in the process of turning past failures into total victories, it's not always satisfying enough to fend back the feeling of being re-fed some food you've already chewed and swallowed.

Like a lot of country music, The Last Ranger suffers from being repetitive and overly simplistic at times. Thankfully, it's very well performed, infectious, and packed with plenty of personality. If you play in occasional 20-30 minutes burst, you may never grow tired of this composition, but if you try to marathon through this album of outlaw armadillo hits, you'll be tempted to put the thing down for good.



Dillon's Rolling Western: The Last Ranger - Reviewed by Jonathan Holmes
Likable - That's a seven, which is actually a different number than five. It's more than ok. We like this game. I don't want to play it every day forever and ever, but it's definitely worth the time I invested in it, and I'll be picking it up again to relive the fun sometime down the line.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Jonathan Holmes, Bad Joke Uncle
 Follow Blog + disclosure Tips
"Where do dreams end and reality begin? Videogames, I suppose."- Gainax, FLCL Vol. 1 "The beach, the trees, even the clouds in the sky... everything is build from little tiny pieces of stuff. Ju... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

Jiraya avatarJiraya
Coming soon in Mortal Kombat XXX DLC - HUMILITALITY [youtube][/youtube]
Robo Panda Z avatarRobo Panda Z
Those N64-era THQ wrestling games have actually held up really well over the years. Take that, nostalgia!
Halflocke avatarHalflocke
Underhero a 2d side scrolling rpg on indie gogo
extatix avatarextatix
Heading off to Spiel in a bit. A whole lot of games there, just of the cardboard variety. I love me some board games.
absolutfreak avatarabsolutfreak
Finally finished The Witcher 3. Definitely one of the best games I've played in my 30 years or so of gaming. Now onward to Ground Zeroes/Phantom Pain.
Nathan D avatarNathan D
*playing an old ps1 game* "START and SELECT don't bring the menu up?! WELL WHAT THE FU-oh, it's Triangle..."
TheDefenestrator avatarTheDefenestrator
If anyone's playing Marvel Puzzle Quest (any platform) you should join my Alliance, RedRightHand, and help me kick some Galactus butt for their second anniversary event. (Please?)
Shinta avatarShinta
MGS Online Day 3. I have 3 character up to level 10 now, one in each class. They're all pretty handy, but I do miss the scout's mark speed the most on other classes.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
The SW: Battlefront is pretty and has great sound design, but the gameplay is so shallow and has seemingly no depth! If the full game is like this I will be disappointed.
Torchman avatarTorchman
*looks at Amazon preorder* This one's for you Chib'
CJ Andriessen avatarCJ Andriessen
Dear Playboy: Love your video game coverage, but how about you start making some topless unboxing videos? Seeing someone unwrap a copy of Call of Duty is boring. Seeing a topless Playmate unwrap a copy of anything is awesome!
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
In happier news, Level-5 is already talking Yo-Kai Watch 2's Western release, and better/worse yet, they're considering amiibo support for the series! And hey, if they can't get Jibanyan into Smash, that'd be one way to get the West's attention.
gajknight avatargajknight
I drank a glass of Ovaltine for the first time in years today. It was nice. Like drinking a glass of my childhood, complete with ignorance, embarrassing angst, tears (so many tears) and night terrors. Ah, the good 'ol days.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
[img][/img] This is just depressing. Digital classics on consoles are such a great idea, but it's like not a single company wants to really go through with it.
StriderHoang avatarStriderHoang
My heart will always be yours, Papyrus #2spoopy4me
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
I recently beat Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow again, but this time I played on Hard mode from scratch. Outside of dying a few times due to me being an idiot, and enemies hitting harder, it was actually easy. Like really easy.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Today I replated bacteria that I made take up a plamid hopefully stitched onto the genes generatlight. Taken from other dead bacteria and put into a non glowing species, to make it glow. Fucking microbiology is the best.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
It seems fairy farts are a fragrance, a soap, incense, a vaping liquid and a kind of nail polish. I'm clearly in the wrong line of work and need to eat more chili.
Cannibal Steven avatarCannibal Steven
"You gave the Lost Soul a big smile, like you remember she likes to do... For some reason she sort of wants to smile back..." I'm not crying. Not one bit.
ChrisHannard avatarChrisHannard
Just tried 'The Last Of Us' on PSNow Trial, only to be told... 'Something went wrong. Try again.' Game-appropriate error message or quickie plot-summary?
more quickposts


destructoid's previous coverage:
Dillon's Rolling Western: The Last Ranger

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -