Why is everyone talking about Dillon's Rolling Western? Certainly not because it stars a silent Armadillo who is Nintendo's coolest new hero since Olimar, nor because it's a game that puts the fun back into tower defence, but because it costs nine quid.
Still, that's less than you'd pay for a cinema ticket in London and when you consider that it costs only £1.80 more than hidden object horror show Halloween: Trick Or Treat, Dillon's Rolling Western almost seems like a bargain. Almost...
So how much game do you get for your £9? Well, there are 10 villages to defend from a bunch of walking rocks called grocks but it is difficult to say how long that will take as it really depends on how good you are at tower defence games.
Dillon's Rolling Western is challenging and it never holds you by the hand. You're never told whether you should build iron or wooden towers or which ones to equip with shotguns, Gatling guns or cannons. Instead, you're ordered to collect scruffles from the fields to feed the scrogs, the creatures who live in the village. If the grocks invade the village and eat all the scrogs, it's game over so it's important to collect scruffles to increase the population of scrogs. Keeping up?
Grock N Roll
So in the day, you have to roll around the field collecting scruffles for the scrogs to eat as well as entering the mines to grab ore which can be used to build iron gates. You'll also need to use this time to build your towers and equip weapons. Rolling is simple with the stylus while you can control Dillon's direction with the Circle Pad.
Then in the evening, the grocks come out for their dinner and it's up to Dillon to prevent them from breaking into the village.
Some of them will be shot down by your carefully positioned gun towers and you can use dynamite to knock down towers which create barriers, but for the most part you'll have to roll into the grocks for battle to commence.
To defeat them, you pull back with the stylus to charge up your roll and then let go to smash into them. Upon impact, you can keep the stylus held down to grind into them or tap the screen to start a combo. It's hard work but so satisfying when you defeat all the grocks in the field over the course of three days and save the village.
The key to victory is to avoid distractions but that's a hard thing to do. It's so easy to be tempted away from scruffle hunting and mining when a gold grock turns up during the day. Racing to catch him for his gold could mean you don't have enough time to collect enough ore for the gates, making you vulnerable at night.
Or you might spot a special type of grock in the distance whose debris you need to complete one of the three side-quests on each mission. Chasing him could leave your village exposed but rushing back to catch a grock before he breaks through the gates is genuinely thrilling.
Dillon's Rolling Western does that thing that Intelligent Systems did with Advance Wars. Developer Vanpool has taken the potentially dull genre of tower defence and packed it with enough charm and character to make it accessible to all.
Admittedly you're pretty much doing the same thing for hours on end but there are far worse things to do than roll around the wild west as an armadillo, and you'll be too busy worrying about gun tower placement to even consider that it might be getting repetitive. Of course it would have been nice to have a multiplayer mode but you'd probably have to pay even more for that. As it is, Dillon's Rolling Western is great fun and it's hard to think of another game quite like it. It's clearly not as good value as the amazing Pullblox but Dillon is definitely worth it.