Mr Driller, developed by Namco Bandai and available as DSiWare for 500 Nintendo Points, puts the player in the role of a fun and frantic driller with a mission. Drill down through the seemingly endless onslaught of colored blocks. The blocks can merge together with other similarly-colored blocks, and disappear after 4 or more blocks merge. There are 4 main colors of blocks: red, blue, green, and yellow. There are also 3 special kinds of blocks: white blocks, which are pale blocks that don’t merge with other similarly-colored ones; crystal blocks, that last for around a few seconds before disappearing; and X-blocks, brown crate-like boxes that take 5 drill hits to disintegrate and also take off 20% of the player’s air supply.
The player has an air supply that acts as his/her health gauge. When it is under 30%, the player’s complexion will turn a shade of blue and a bubble with an air capsule will appear over his/her head. To keep the air from running out, the player can collect little air capsules that replenish the driller’s health by 20%. The playerâ€™s life is lost when the player’s air runs out, or they get squished by falling blocks, which seemed to be so frequent in my game play.
There are six characters to choose from in this fun filled game, with each of them being very cute and chibi. The characters are as follows:
Susumu Hori â€“ This is the series’ main protagonist and the highest-ranked Driller in the world, and the son of legendary Driller, Taizo Hori .He is a little crazy,Â but arenâ€™t they all but is still a good-natured, courageous young boy with a strong sense of justice. He is Japanese,has brown hair and eyes, and wears a pink and light blue jumpsuit and helmet. His performance in the game is all-around, with normal walking speed and a normal air-consumption rate. He is usually recommended for intermediate players.
Anna HottenmeyerÂ This is Susumu’s friend and fierce rival and the second-highest-ranked Driller in the world. She is German and has blue eyes, blonde hair, and wears a white jumpsuit with a pink star on the front, pink sleeves, and blue goggles. In the game her performance is only slightly different from Susumu, with a slightly faster walking speed and a slightly faster air consumption rate. She is usually recommended for expert players.
Taizo Hori -Â This is Susumu’s father heâ€™s a legendary Driller and chairman of the Driller Council. He is Japanese, has brown eyes and a goatee, wears a white suit with red chevrons and a blue belt, red boots, blue gloves, and a white-and-blue helmet.. In the game his walking speed is slow and his air consumption rate is fast. However, he can make blocks disappear much faster, making his descent speed quicker as well. He is usually recommended for expert players of which I am not.
Ataru Hori -Â This is Susumu’s older brother. He works as an unlicensed Driller ever since he left home after an argument with his father, Taizo, and has been trying to find his purpose in life ever since. He is Japanese, has brown eyes, has gray hair, and wears a gray suit with a white star on the front, a gray helmet, and a red scarf. In the game he is able to move very fast, but has a fast air consumption rate. He is usually recommended for expert players. This is where I start looking for a beginner character.
Holinger-Z â€“ This is a robot created by Dr. Z to take on jobs that are too dangerous for humans, and serves as Anna’s butler-robot. He is a gray robot who can morph into the form of a drill. In the game, Holinger-Z moves fairly slow and has a slow air consumption rate. His special feature is that he can withstand a fallen block once before dying; when a rock falls on him, his head will act as a “barrier” and the rest of the body continues to drill. He is usually recommended for beginning players
Puchi â€“ This was my favourite character to play. This is a genius talking wonder dog and companion to Susumu. Who makes some rather entertaining and amusing barking that had me in stitches. He has been Susumu’s closest canine companion ever since Susumu found him abandoned as a little puppy and nursed him back to health. He is a white dog with brown spots and is seriously cute. In the game, Puchi moves slower than Susumu, but his air consumption is slower as well. He also has the ability to jump up two blocks high. He is usually recommended for beginning players.
I havenâ€™t played this game for years, but I was up for the drilling challenge. There are various game modes to choose from, including mission, time attack and Dristone. In mission, the game is broken up to various stages depending on what skills you have with Mr Driller, ranging from beginner to expert. I spent most of my time on beginner, mainly because I had forgotten how frantic this game is and I was running out of Air Capsules fast. Time attack revolves around being the fastest driller, with items that allow you to drill quicker and slow, or even reverse, time. Dristone mode is new to this DS version of the game and allows the player to strategically use the Dristones to work through the levels. There are also a selection of power-ups that can be unlocked through the game, such as the eternally useful barrier that protects you from being crushed, or an air booster that recovers more air from the capsules.
The music in the game will get into your head and remain there until forcibly removed. Wonderfully uplifting and getting you in the mood for some drilling, the music may well drive you completely batty after prolonged exposure.
This classic retro game still manages to retain all of its charm. The animation is as cute, colourful and fun as ever, making Mr Driller enjoyable to play. It is the sort of game that you can pick up and play anytime, which is appealing. Mr Driller is cute, without being too cheesy, and fun, without being too overcomplicated.