Dillon’s Dead-Heat Breakers Review


Dillon’s Dead-Heat Breakers review on Nintendo 3DS

Nintendo has a long history of quirky characters, with some even being the face of the game. We’ve seen plenty of platforming action from Mario, swordsmanship action from Link, and even intergalactic space battles from Samus. However, when it comes to roaming the roads and taking down rock-faced monsters, no Nintendo character can do it better than Dillon.

Unlike the first two games, Dillon’s Dead-Heat Breakers ditches the Wild West motif and opts for a more post-apocalyptic setting instead. The world has been turned into a wasteland, looking like something out of Mad Max. Most animals have locked themselves in “The City” where they are safer from random attacks from those strange rocky creatures known as Grocks. Yet there are animals that have chosen to build colonies outside of town and live in the open world despite the impending dangers.

This is where you, or your Mii, make your big gaming debut. The game takes your Nintendo avatar and turns it into a living, breathing character aptly named Amiimal in Dillon’s Dead-Heat Breakers. Your Mii’s story is quite simple: you managed to escape from your village which was attacked by Grocks. Along the way, you come across Dillon and his resourceful squirrel helper, Russ, who offer to help free your colony. It’s not easy, however, since the Grocks’ mothership has decided to stay on your own turf. Russ has the idea to craft this awesome weapon that can blast the thing to smithereens, except you’ll need both materials and money to build it. The overall plot is simple and doesn’t divulge Grock’s attacks and nearby settlements too far.

Throughout Dillon’s Dead-Heat Breakers, you’ll be busy trying to find ways to earn the two resources to build this super-weapon. Dillon’s Dead-Heat Breakers has two playable characters: your Mii and Dillon himself. When it comes to making money, you will control your avatar. Every other day, you’ll wander around town and take part in all sorts of different activities where you can raise money, from running a grocery store to saving mines. On top of that, there are even days when Dillon can participate in traditional races to earn money. Depending on your performance, you will earn a good amount of money that you will need to prepare for your mission.

At the end of each working day, you will need to prepare for your rescue missions which involve traveling to a border and defeating Grocks. Before you deploy, you can recruit gunners, aka your other Miis, to help you on your mission. Each mercenary has a unique gun that ranges from different damage to explosion radius. The better the shooter, the more it costs, but it’s always worth spending the extra money to have reinforcements on the battlefield. In addition to hiring gunners, you can also purchase medkits and other gear for Dillon and your Amiimal for battle.

Come the next day, you will leave and head to the colony with your crew. You won’t have any control over your Mii at this point since all the action and material collection is handled by Dillon himself. Missions usually play out as a mix of action, racing, and tower defense. Each turf is laid out like a race track, with different bases scattered around.

You will need to deploy all of the gunners you have hired to a certain base where they will fire at any Grocks that come into their line of sight. There are pigs called Scroggs housed inside each building. Grocks will attack these bases, break down their barriers, and eat the Scroggs if you don’t defend them. Any broken buildings will also lose their gunner, so it is absolutely worth defending them. If all the bases are destroyed, the game is almost over and you will have to restart the battle from the beginning.

Before battles begin in Dillon’s Dead-Heat Breakers, you’ll have the opportunity to roam the terrain and grab any useful materials, such as Ore and Scruffle Plants, which you can use to fortify the walls of your bases and increase the number of Scroggs. Dillon will also need to generate power for bases that lack power. If a tower runs out of energy, it will stop firing and essentially be open to attack.

Dillon has access to quite a few tricks up his sleeve that he can use to get around. He can quickly roll across the terrain with his rolling dash, and you can even reload him for an extra boost. During this time, you can collect green orbs called Arma-Energy which charge a special gauge that allows him to use chips. These chips grant him special effects, such as a major speed boost or the throwing of a bomb, which he can use in both running and combat.

During the fight, Grocks will slowly start to enter the field and start targeting any nearby base. Dillon can approach these Grocks and engage in battle upon encountering them. These battles take place in a smaller open field where Dillon can hit Grocks with his dash. The armadillo will start out with two more abilities in battle: a rolling strike and a killing attack. Using Rolling Strike is a great way to tear Grocks apart and produce lots of materials from them, which you will need. Meanwhile, the slash attack deals incredible damage, which is extremely effective against larger monsters. The combat is really fluid and you can feel every hit as Dillon hacks and punches enemies. It’s worth noting that you have a health bar, so you’ll go down if you take enough hits.

Your Mii, on the other hand, will play a more supporting role that will move around and fight other Grocks. You won’t be able to control them, but you can direct them across the battlefield to take out any enemies that might be at the far end of the map. Moreover, you can even call them during a battle and they will come with blazing guns. One big complaint I have about my Mii during combat in Dillon’s Dead-Heat Breakers is that the AI ​​is a little annoying at times. More often than not, they will focus a bit more on stopping a random Grock than prioritizing an enemy that is already attacking a base. It’s essentially in your hands to command your Mii, which can get tedious when you get caught up in combat.

Dillon's Dead Heat Breakers

Once you clear enough Grocks, things will take a drastic turn. Enemies will transform into their “running” forms and begin zooming across the terrain. Instead of engaging in a typical fight, you’ll tear up the tracks to catch up to them. Once you hit one, you can use your roll ability or claw strikes to blast them. The chase scenes are fast and exciting, especially since you’ll have to beat an on-screen clock. If there are any Grocks left after the timer runs out, they will transform into large purple “boss” shapes and start attacking bases again. You’ll have to fight them mano o mano once more, but this time in their superpowered state.

Once all the Grocks have been torn to shreds, you will be rewarded with cash based on your performance and a gem which you can sell for more cash. You can also ask one of the gunners to stay for the next fight, but you’ll have to rehire them later. Back in town, you’ll return to your Mii and turn in all the necessary materials and shell out the cash to craft parts for this super-powered weapon to save your colony. If you run out of resources, Dillon’s Dead-Heat Breakers allows players to return to past missions to farm materials and earn extra cash.

In terms of performance, I never stumbled too much to break the game. There are a few slowdowns here and there, but never during combat or racing. The graphics are what you’d expect from a 3DS game, with nothing too eye-catching. On the other hand, Dillon’s Dead-Heat Breakers soundtrack is a completely different story. The music never failed to pump me during fights, and it heightens the dramatic tension during those tight chase scenes.

Dillon’s Dead-Heat Breakers follow a strict schedule of working, saving settlements, and enlisting in races. It might end up feeling a little repetitive in the long run, but the game aims to mix it up with various jobs, different racetrack designs, and enemy variations. Despite the constant back and forth between jobs and savings borders, I had a great time preparing for the ride. Dillon’s Dead-Heat Breakers offers a refreshing experience of both racing and action, blending the two genres with loads of tower defense for a truly unique experience.

Rating: 4/5 – Excellent


  • Fast and tight fight.
  • A brilliant mix of action, racing and tower defense.
  • Clever use of Miis.
  • The amazing soundtrack helps the players to fight for the battle.

The inconvenients

  • Partner AI is a bit lackluster.
  • Can get repetitive later.

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