Though it isn’t labeled that way, Dillon’s Rolling Western is a game for right-handed people. I downloaded it for my Nintendo 3DS through the eShop, assuming it was just a simple action-adventure title with some tower-defense elements. It is that, for most people. For the minority of gamers like myself who are left handed, however, it instead is an effective (though slightly unconventional) training simulator to prepare for Kid Icarus: Uprising.
Since the 3DS comes asymmetrically equipped with only one circle pad, certain control setups can be a bit exclusive. In a game like Dillon’s Rolling Western, you use the directional nub to move the titular rugged cowboy armadillo. To attack and “run” with a Sonic the Hedgehog-style spin dash, you slide the stylus across the touch screen and then release. It’s a simple enough control scheme, but it requires southpaws to hold the stylus pen with their non-dominate hands. This is a considerably more foreign and demanding exercise than simply using another analog stick with your right thumb.
Rather than complain about the seemingly inaccessible controls, though, I see this as more of a learning opportunity. I’ve read that the new Kid Icarus game has a similar, limiting circle-pad-plus-touch-screen setup (not including the Circle Pad Pro accessory, but more on that later), so I’m up to the challenge of becoming more ambidextrous to better enjoy that high-profile release. Thankfully, Dillon is the perfect, tough-love teacher for that task.
The more I play, the better I get at directing the armadillo hero’s attacks with the stylus. At the same time, progressing through the story mode unlocks new weapons and moves that require tapping and other timed pen movements. I’m ending up with mixed results. Though my brain is making new neural connections and I’m developing fine motor skills in my right hand, I still feel a bit handicapped. Sometimes I have to switch the stylus to my left to click on the in-between-level prompts just to give my brain and other hand a rest.
Playing through the course of an in-game day (setting up defense towers, collecting resources, and fending off waves of invading Grocks), which lasts for around 15 minutes or so, leaves my right-hand muscles pretty fatigued. I rarely experience this with my left, so it’s quite frustrating. My grip on the skinny stylus begins to loosen, and I become very clumsy with my attacks.
I’m sure, like a child with a jumbo crayon, I’d benefit from playing with a bigger pen. In fact, that’s going to be my preferred method from here on out.
If I can keep getting stronger and building my manual endurance, by the time Uprising comes out later this month, I should have no problem playing like a righty. I’m reluctant to spend $20 for the ugly Circle Pad Pro add-on that opens Uprising up to lefties. In fact, I think I’d have to pay even more considering many retailers are back ordered, and resellers are currently marking up the price. No thank you.
Besides, Dillon’s Rolling Western doesn’t even support that accessory. So for me, I’ll just continue using this quirky eShop title as a literal warm-up and conditioning exercise to prepare for the most inexpensive way to play the new Kid Icarus. It’ll be like some kind of action-packed Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing but for lefties who want to be more ambidextrous…as a result of a design flaw in the Nintendo 3DS hardware. Huzzah.