Mr. Driller Review

As it stands, Mr. Driller is good enough to keep you interested for a week or so, but it lacks any long-term staying power.

After a long absence, Namco has finally returned to the Dreamcast. Not content to let Soul Calibur stand as the only Namco title for the system, the company has decided to port its latest puzzle game, Mr. Driller, to both the PlayStation and the Dreamcast. With the exception of a slightly more colorful display on Sega's machine, the two games are identical.

It was a peaceful day in Downtown, much like any other. But then colored blocks started flowing up into the city streets from underground. Only one little driller guy can save the day, and his name is, of course, Mr. Driller.

Like any good puzzle game, Mr. Driller makes its living by forcing you to deal with lots of colored blocks. But the blocks don't fall on their own. Instead, you control Mr. Driller, who starts at the top of a pit filled with colored blocks. Mr. D has to drill down into the blocks. Blocks of the same color will link up and fall together, putting you in constant danger of getting crushed. On top of all that, Mr. D's limited air supply expires rapidly, so you must continually pick up the air refills that are scattered throughout the pit. The gameplay comes in a few different flavors, offering you varying target depths as well as survival mode and time attack options.

Graphically, Mr. Driller is as complex as it needs to be, which is to say, not very complex at all. The blocks are colorful, and every few levels they change their appearance in an attempt to keep things fresh. The audio portion of Mr. Driller mostly consists of the popping noise that sounds every time you drill a block, as well as a soundtrack consisting of a few different melodies.

It's downright criminal that Mr. Driller doesn't have any multiplayer modes. A set of cooperative and competitive two-player modes could have placed Mr. Driller in the upper echelon of puzzle games, right alongside Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo and Baku Baku. As it stands, Mr. Driller is good enough to keep you interested for a week or so, but it lacks any long-term staying power.

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Jeff Gerstmann has been professionally covering the video game industry since 1994.
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This is a shameful review of an all-time classic. Gerstmann phoned this one in, with no real assessment of the game's mechanics. Wonder why games are all the same these days? Blame guys like this, who waste time blathering about graphics and audio, with the only really negative comment being whining about no multiplayer mode.

Mr. Driller is one of the most innovative puzzle games of all-time, successfully merging the puzzle and platforming genres, with a nod to arcade classics like lode runner and dig dug. The DC port is light on features compared to the later Gamecube and DS releases, but playing for a high score means the game has infinite replay value, and Mr. Driller's long learning curve will always have you come back for more.

Mr. Driller More Info

  • First Released 1999
    • Arcade Games
    • Dreamcast
    • + 6 more
    • Game Boy Color
    • iOS (iPhone/iPad)
    • Mobile
    • PC
    • PlayStation
    • WonderSwan Color
    Mr. Driller is a cute and quirky puzzler that lacks the variety to make it a long-term contender for your attention like a Puzzle Fighter or Tetris would. At a low price of $20, however, Mr. Driller is a worthwhile and refreshing return to the puzzle genre, however short-lived the game may be.
    Average Rating164 Rating(s)
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    Developed by:
    Namco, Namco Networks America
    Published by:
    Namco, Virgin Interactive, Namco Networks America, Midas Interactive Entertainment, SCEE, Bandai Namco Games, SCE Australia, SCEA
    Puzzle, Action
    Content is generally suitable for all ages. May contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
    No Descriptors