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.