The dual screen does make mr. driller more interesting, yet the gameplay is not addictive as most puzzle titles on DS.
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In Mr. Driller you get 3 different modes on the singleplayer. One of them is Mission Driller where you’re going drilling in different meters. Each country can have 500, 100 and even more. Your basically doing in this game is drilling blocks, joining them to make them disappear and go down. You can join 4 or more blocks together. You can still drill any square on your left, right and down. But if you join a lot of blocks the faster you will go down to reach the goal. The problem here is that blocks can come falling down if they are any blocks close of you on top they will fall down and crush you and that will take you one live. The thing is that you also have to be worry about you air supply. You will have an air meter of 100% that will always be going down so you have to get while digging the air capsule or else you will die and lose a life. Also the levels can be pretty long and you have little lives like 3 only. They are some items you can buy like a bubble that protects you 2 or 3 times when a block falls on you. They are also others that can make air capsules give more air. You will have different countries like Korea and China, but the blocks look all similar with their soft colors. The game’s dual screen is pretty well used where you can see the blocks on top and know if they are blocks falling to crush you. They are some rock blocks that are hard to drill and if you drill them you lose 20% of air. The touch screen feels pretty useless tough you can use it to move the driller and use the menu but controlling the driller is easier with the control pad.
The second mode the most fun is pressure driller that has you battling against a big drilling machine. In this one on the top screen it will show you the destroyer drill which is the killing machine and down well you. In this mode your objective is to pick up power capsules that are use like fireballs and when the drilling machine takes on of his arms you have to shoot at it. But is no easy task the machine has a lot of life like 400 or more. The good thing is that if a block falls on you or if you lose air you will die but won’t have life and continue fighting but while you’re recovering the machine gets closer and if it touches you then its game over, which is disappointing because after you take him a lot of lives you lose at the first touch and you can’t try again with the same lives you take him out. If you collect up to 3 power capsules your fireball will be stronger, but if you die you lose all the power and start picking again power capsules. The machine throws you blocks on the way so you take more time drilling. It also shoots with left and right arm or on his bottom. When the machine gets angry it will go faster.
The other mode is time attack where you’re basically digging until you reach the goal within the time limit. You will have some balls that can subtract some time but it works very little. They are some little icons that can flip horizontally or rotate in 90 degrees the screen, and the crystal icon that makes crystal blocks get created. You can unlock different characters that have different abilities like one dog can climb 2 blocks and stuff like that. In order to unlock them you must go to the country where they are. While the game is pretty fun blocks falling down and losing air are 2 things to worry that get you very frustrated and make the game lose fun. Yet fans that play a Mr. Driller or like a Tetris style of game can enjoy it more than I do.
The graphics on this game are disappointing, starting with the menu screen that has cutesy pink flowers. They are different countries to dig but they don’t change anything on the game just the background at the beginning. The colored cutesy blocks that look similar only that some are vibrant while other are soft. The characters on the game have a type of anime style in which I am not sure if there is a show but I doubt. The destroyer drill on pressure driller mode has some great animations on how it moves but it’s always the same machine only that when is dying it brakes and you see it on metal. What is weird is why this game has a kiddy pinky look, which gives you that kiddy image that everyone talks about Nintendo but guess what this is made by Namco. Sure is a handheld but the DS has 3-D engine just take a look at Super Mario 64 DS. But since this is a drilling I suppose it has to look like that. But why colorful blocks and anime characters that look like those on pokemon?
You don’t only get cutesy graphics but also cutesy sound. After a stage on mission driller the characters will talk with some pretty fair voiceovers. The music is all very kiddy and simple but it fits the style of game you’re playing. When you drill a block it will sound ''bloop''. They are not many sound effects just hearing the destroyer drill shooting at you and chasing you that sounds pretty decent because it makes you feel that machine is real and make it a bit scarier despite that is a pinky machine that shoots with flower arms. There is not the biggest effort but it fits well with the game, and is not quite annoying.
The multiplayer is disappointing because each player needs the game in order to play it unlike Mario 64 DS in which just one player could have the game and play all together. The game’s multiplayer is a driller race where all players compete to be the fastest to reach the goal. You will never lose lives even if you lose air or get crush by falling blocks but instead you will lose time, special items also on this mode. The blue items are: speed that increases movements of speed for a limited time, Power that increases your drill speed for a limited time, turbo that increase both movements speed and drill speed also for a limited time. The red items are: Crystal that turns all objects of one color on your opponent’s screen to crystal blocks, Change-X turns all blocks of one color on you opponent’s screen to x blocks and Change W is the same but instead into white blocks. In the race your opponent’s are displayed as ghosts. The race is pretty fun but hard to play dimply because little people own the game and each player needs the game. The singleplayer offers 3 different modes but none of them have a huge replay simply because the levels sometimes are pretty long and hard.
Drill Spirits does try some great ideas but in the end only fans of the series can appreciate this game more. The DS capabilities are use very poor on this game only the dual screen was the great thing. So overall this game is a decent experience that fans of Tetris style of games can only really enjoy.