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Nintendo DS
November 30, 2004

Mr. Driller: Drill Spirits

While it would be surprising to expect that some of you may never have played Mr. Driller, here’s a quick run down. The original title hit North American shores on the PlayStation and Dreamcast more than four years ago. While it was met with a cold critical reception, the game became a sort of cult classic, offering a very Eastern flavor that Western gamers had been craving for years. After GameCube and Game Boy Advance titles launched, which never made it here, Mr. Driller became synonymous with Dr. Mario, Tetris, and overall fun. Enter Namco’s upcoming Mr. Driller: Drill Spirits, one of the twelve games that will arrive on the DS before Christmas hits. The game features more modes, more Drillers, and, most importantly, wireless multiplayer. What should we expect from such a veritable cornucopia of goodies?



There are several different ways to play Mr. Driller: Drill Spirits. The meat of the game, aside from the wireless multiplayer, is featured in Mission mode. The game uses the classic Mr. Driller formula and puts the player in various locals all over the world like Japan and Egypt. The main goal of the game is to drill through various colored blocks, picking up power-ups for your drill as you go. In the meantime, you must avoid getting crushed by rocks. Do a good job in Mission mode and you’ll be rewarded with unlockable playable Drillers. Some of these Drillers have distinct powers including the ability to drill through two blocks at once or simply drill faster. It’s certainly incentive to play the game outside of the multiplayer mode. Other single-player experiences include Race and Time Attack, where you are challenged to race against the clock.

There’s also the unique Pressure mode, which is much like any other mode, except for the fact that you’ve got the Earth Destroyer Drill right on your tail throughout the duration of your excavation. You’ll have to make sure that you’re at maximum power or the gigantic, yet somehow cute, will manage to catch up to you. However, you can pick up some power-ups that will be able to stop the massive drill from catching you. At least, it will for a little while. Of course, the game has touch screen support, allowing you to use the stylus to reach Mr. Driller’s desired direction.

Finally, there’s the much anticipated wireless multiplayer factor. It’s not yet known if it supports single-cart play, but either way, it’s sure to be one of the premiere multiplayer games on the Nintendo DS. The game supports up to five players, each on their own separate board of blocks. Once the depth of the board has been chosen, the race to the finish begins. On the player’s screen, other players are shown as ghosts. Players can collect power-ups to further their progress or to restrict the progress of your opponents. It’s a very cool feature that could keep you playing for hours. We’ll see how well the game is overall when it launches at the end of this month.

word on the street

Since the Mr. Driller series of games has yet to reach a critical audience, most of the buzz surrounding the game is mostly around the fans. Fans of the game are anticipating the wireless multiplayer while others are simply waiting to see how well it plays using the capabilities of the DS. All in all, the game is on every puzzle gamers’ wish list.

press release notes

  • Wireless Connectivity. Battle head-to-head with other players via the DS wireless capability.
  • Dual Screen Support. The lower screen is the main play screen. The upper screen will display the rest of the map, so you can now see how far down you have drilled.
  • More Challenge. Escape from the Earth Destroyer Drill in Pressure Mode or enjoy an incredible dead heat race underground in the Time Attack and Race modes.
  • Enhanced Replay Value. Unlock various playable DRILLERS in the Mission mode.
  • Multi-Player Battles. Compete with up to 4 other players in a race to finish first.


Mr. Driller: Drill Spirits is the first Nintendo DS title to ship after the system’s launch. From what we’ve seen, this could be a good follow-up to next week’s solid launch. Any puzzle fan should certainly be expecting this one under the tree or menorah or bundle of turkey this holiday season. Stay tuned to Nintendojo for further coverage of this promising new puzzler.

Staff Avatar Austin Starr
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"If life's not beautiful without the pain / well I'd just rather never ever even see beauty again"

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