The Last Ranger is a sequel to last year’s e-Shop hit, Dillon’s Rolling Western. You play as Dillon, a silent armadillo ranger, traveling through western towns and protecting their Scroggs from raiding Grocks. Okay, so yeah, it sounds pretty ridiculous. And it is. It’s a ridiculous game, but it’s a fun one.
The game is a sort of tower defense game…but also, it’s not really that at all. Okay, so yes, you have to defend a village from oncoming enemies, and in order to do so you can build towers. Beyond that, though, it is worlds away from your typical tower defense. Rounds begin by giving you some time to explore your area, harvesting Scruffles (which essentially give your village more hitpoints), mining for ores to bolster your defenses, and looking for things to sell to get money for your towers. Then you have to scurry back to your village to cash everything in before the raid starts.
That’s where the game gets even more interesting and genre-defying. The incoming Grocks are huge, but when you come into contact with one, the game switches from its normal overworld to a battle arena with several small Grocks that you battle. When they’re defeated, you go back to the overworld to continue defending your village.
So at first it’s a pretty disorienting game. I struggled for a bit to figure out what game I was playing. It became much more enjoyable once I realized that it was just different. Although, in the end I think I wish it was either more tower defense, or more real-time combat, or…I don’t know, it just sort of felt like it was hovering awkwardly.
That said, it is a delightful game. It has a fun graphical style, and the 3D is masterfully done. I’m not typically a fan of playing with the 3D always turned on, but in Last Ranger it felt very natural. And it has a good cast of characters. The silent, brooding protagonist is pretty rad. I absolutely hated his insufferable, gyrocopter-flying squirrel sidekick, but whatever. Other characters make up for it, like the Alligator bounty hunter Gallo, who is awesome, or the wonderfully old and crotchety Old Man Turtle, the train conductor.
All in all, Dillon’s Rolling Western: The Last Ranger is a pretty fun, really unique game. Its pacing and gameplay style probably isn’t something you’ve ever seen before, and that’s not a bad thing. It has a decent blend of strategy and action, and its strong point is its setting and characters.