Mr. Driller DS and Pac-Pix official sites open

DS versions of Namco's popular arcade franchises will both make heavy use of the system's touch-screen input.

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Namco has opened the official Web sites for Pac-Pix and Mr. Driller DS, two of the company's first games for the Nintendo DS. The sites feature numerous new screenshots and explanations of the gameplay of both titles, which are centered around the system's touch-screen input.

Officially announced just this week, Mr. Driller DS' gameplay is fundamentally identical to the arcade and home versions of the puzzle/action title, but with two major additions that take advantage of the DS hardware.

In Mr. Driller, you control a young "drill fanatic" named Susumu who needs to drill his way though a tunnel of colorful blocks that fill up the screen. When you destroy a block near you, any connecting blocks of the same color will also disappear. That can cause some additional blocks to fall down, which will be erased if four or more blocks of the same color connect with each other.

In the DS version, you can control Susumu and make him drill the blocks by using the touch screen. Tapping a block next to Susumu makes him drill that block; tapping an empty space makes Susumu walk over to that space. Of course, players who want to use the traditional control pad-and-buttons method will have that option as well.

Aside from the usual mission and time attack modes, Mr. Driller DS will also have a new gameplay option called pressure mode, where a huge drill will come chasing after you on the top screen of the DS while you drill your way though the tunnel on the lower screen. Your objective is to destroy the huge drill by shooting attacks called drill souls at it, but you'll have to wait for your attack energy to replenish after each time you shoot. The huge drill will keep chasing you, so you'll need to drill deeper and deeper in order to keep a distance from it as you wait for your shot meter to recover.

Pac-Pix exclusively uses the touch screen for its control input. Three ghosts roam about the screen, and you must draw a Pac-Man who will then chomp across the screen and eat them. For more details on Pac-Pix, check out our impressions of the E3 demo. Release dates, as well as official titles, for both Mr. Driller DS and Pac-Pix are currently undecided, but more may be revealed at the October 7 DS press conference.

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