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Mr. Driller: Drill Spirits Package Art
GENRE
Puzzle
DEVELOPER
Namco
PUBLISHER
Namco
LOCAL WIRELESS
MULTI-PLAY
Yes
Wi-Fi/GLOBAL ONLINE
MULTI-PLAY
No
MICROPHONE
No
BUY NOW AT

Mr. Driller: Drill Spirits

When games that would benefit from additional horizontal screen space come to mind, Mr. Driller is at the top of the heap. While Namco recreated Mr. Driller pretty well on the GBA, this is a superior port of an arcade gem that has a few good unlockables. The game mechanics remain basically unchanged, but the additional screen space can save you from an occasional squish.

visuals

Bright, colorful, and competent. Thereís no mistaking the different blocks for one another, and the different tile sets are pleasing. As the star, Mr. Driller looks best and animates well. The other characters are a bit squashed and ugly in comparison, but thereís only so much you can squeeze into that square. The art style is cute, though not overly endearing. In the pressure driller mode, the maniacal drill on the top screen is clever and well defined, but feels a bit stiff when you think of all of the multi-joint animations possible on the contraption.

audio

Hit and miss. Some background tracks prove competent and well-suited for the drilling at hand, but most of the sound effects and voice samples are grating. Mr. Driller and friends can quickly drain the simplistic puzzle fun out of the game with their inane chatter, and thatís not counting the poorly voiced cutscenes.

gameplay

Classic Mr. Driller game play is the star here. The gist is, you dig towards the goal by popping blocks with your drill. Identical blocks clump together, and if four or more accumulate, they disappear. You must dig down and avoid being squashed by the above blocks while acquiring air tanks to keep yourself from asphyxiating. This game can be monumentally frustrating when you first begin, as your ability to sense when you need to move is not adequately developed; however, the game rewards patience. Not only do you get better with practice, but you also unlock additional items to help you out, including air powerups, shields to keep you from getting squished, and faster drills. High scores aren't counted should you choose to use these.

New to the game is Pressure Driller mode, which pits you against a giant drill. You must collect powerups to shoot fireballs at the vulnerable points on the robot and keep ahead of its monstrous drill bit. As long as you stay ahead of the drill, you have unlimited lives. This is a nice changeup to the formula, as those who die often can still play as long as they keep ahead of the drill.

Finally, the game offers a time trial mode--a minor tweak to the original that urges you to beat a time limit. It isnít nearly as fun as the other two modes, but those who obsess about their high scores will like it, provided they get past the initial curve.

multiplayer

Up to five players can play a race to the bottom of a level. This mode is actually a great idea and quite competitive. It is a shame that as simple as the game is that they did not include single-card support. With the robust experience options of Puyo Pop Fever and the graphical acumen of Meteos as its direct competitors, the absence of single card play is inexcusable.

overall

Thereís a lot of old-school goodness to enjoy in Mr. Driller: Drill Spirits. While this game has more single player potential than some other DS puzzlers, it lacks the multiplayer fun of titles like Bomberman DS and Puyo Pop Fever. If you love the arcade game, this is a no brainer; however, those unfamiliar with the series can probably safely pick it up now, as several retailers are selling it at reduced price. Overall, it's a solid but inconsequential release.

final score 6.5/10





WRITER INFORMATION
Staff Avatar Matt McDaniel
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"Quis custodiet ipsos custodes"


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