Dillon’s Dead-Heat Breakers starts off in a unique and unusual way by taking the player’s Mii created on your 3DS system and turning it into one of a variety of different Amiimals. Which is in fact quite necessary as the world itself is actually filled with animals rather than humans. Once your Amiimal is ready to go you’re then thrown into a fiery opening scene where your Amiimals hometown is attacked and taken hostage whilst your Amiimal is trying to escape but confusingly instead of taking control of your Amiimal, you’re thrown into the shoes of Dillon himself and the game’s main battle mechanics are introduced to you. Admittedly the first battle was the most exciting as Dillon is an armadillo is capable of speeding through the highways at top speeds with the assistance of engines strapped to his waist. I hate to say it but he reminds me of a speedy blue hedgehog.
After the opening battle, the player’s Amiimal, Dillon and Russ (Dillon’s technological partner) retire to a nearby town that becomes your base of operations for the remainder of the game. Here you’ll find yourself jumping into the shoes of your Amiimal at last and will be creating a weapon to take back your village whilst working part-time in the town to earn cash to pay for the parts used to create your weapon, purchase stronger equipment and items to help in battle as well as hire help to assist you in battle. The part-time jobs are given to the player in the form of fun mini-games that often had me more interested in than the actual battles. The mini-games included working at a recycling plant, a grocery store and even shooting virtual enemies while playing at the arcade in virtual reality.
You’re gunner need some help
Each battle takes place on a map that’s supposedly villages but instead appear to be a number of towers spread across the map surrounded by roads for Dillon to speed across and play tower defense. During battles, you’ll jump back into Dillon’s shoes while your Amiimal battles alongside you, giving you fire support with the many weapons you’ll equip your Amiimal with. However, before every battle your Amiimal will be tasked with hiring gunners to assist on the battlefield to defend from the multiple towers. The cool bit is that these gunners are your many Mii friends saved on your 3DS in the form of Amiimals. The tricky bit is that each gunner is priced differently so it’s up to you to decide which gunners will be the most affordable but also the most effective since the gunners also possess different weapons such as long and short-ranged weapons. The gunners also level up with each battle making them not only stronger for the next battle but also more expensive. At first hiring the cheapest gunners is more than enough as you’ll quite possibly be handling all the heavy hitting but in later stages you’ll learn that you’ll have to be a bit more strategic in your selection not only from a budget perspective but also from a stats perspective on your gunners as the enemies not only increase in number but in difficulty as well, especially when new monsters are introduced.
Battles occur differently in two aspects. In the beginning of the stage Dillon will zoom around the map clearing enemies by bumping into them which will then trigger an arena styled battle. Here Dillon has to battle the enemies in a cordoned off zone by either slamming into them with his speed abilities or claw at them. The trick is to dodge incoming attacks from enemies behind you since there will always be a group of enemies within this arena. Once all enemies have been dispatched the game will then switch back into the village or main map for you to zoom by in search of more enemies. The most intriguing bit about these battles is that even while you battle an enemy to the South of the map, the enemies in the North of the map will still proceed to the towers closest to them. This is where your Amiimal and gunners come into play. While you’re handling business down South they’ll keep the enemy busy and often even eliminate them. The second part of the battle take place in a type of Mad Max race style where enemies are transformed into vehicles (Decepticon scum if you ask me) and Dillon has to chase behind them across the village map and try and smash into them a few times to take them out. This battle, unlike the previous one, has a timer and if you’re able to take out all the enemies within the time limit you’ll be successful in completing the stage and saving the village. If not, you’ll just end up going back to the previous battle stage.
Although new enemies are introduced through the game and environments change with every new village the game did feel a tad bit monotonous after a while. After every battle I would head back to town, hand in the parts collected to make a specific part for the weapon, run a few part-time jobs and then head out to another village and battle all over again. This is the crux of the game but at the same time really implemented some rather bad pacing within the game. It is, after all, an action tower defense title and that’s exactly what you’ll be doing 80% of the time, defending towers. The world is however well rendered and looks good on the 3DS especially the town area. The game actually shines a lot more in my opinion within its mini-games than it does in its main game. I was 10 times more addicted to working at the recycling center, entering Dillon in circuit races and participating in a VR center shooting virtual enemies than I was in zooming across maps defending towers.
I was 10 times more addicted to working at the recycling center, entering Dillon in circuit races and participating in a VR center shooting virtual enemies than I was in zooming across maps defending towers.
I won’t fault the game for this as it did start off rather well and kept me interested but after about eight hours in there were only so many towers I could defend. A single stage can take up to 40 minutes and if you fail during a mission by losing your hearts (life), instead of continuing from a certain point within the stage you are sent back to the beginning to start all over again which is pretty frustrating. Dillon’s Dead-Heat Breakers starts off well and sets a good pace but just cannot seem to hold on to that during the mid-section of the game and this is where the pacing issues come in. However, if you’re able to push through this there is a rather entertaining title waiting for you that combines racing battles/tower defense action and a virtual reality shoot em up styled mini-game together.