Mr. Driller DrillLand, released in 2002 on Nintendo GameCube, returns to action with its charge of colorful blocks: this is how it is doing.
Even before the advent of the mad and overwhelming charm of the Heaven of Heaven Gurren Lagan, the videogame universe had already fully understood the potential inherent in characters ready to exploit the power of an auger to face the threats of a world at least bizarre. A clever fusion of mechanics à la Tetris and Dig Dug, in fact, more than twenty years have passed since the time when the series of Mr. Driller made its debut thanks to Bandai Namco.
Franchise particularly loved by puzzle game enthusiasts, the latter has recently returned to flood players with colorful blocks thanks to a remastering work by Mr. Driller: DrillLand. The fifth incarnation of the saga, the game that landed in 2002 on Nintendo GameCube has finally crossed the borders of the Rising Sun to reach the Old Continent, bringing as a gift an improved graphics and animated sequences in HD. Available on Nintendo Switch is PC, the new Mr. Driller: DrillLand he is ready to offer the public an interesting and adventurous alternative to the frenzy of Puyo Puyo Tetris.
In the company of an exceptional cast, the player is invited to devote himself to the exploration of DrillLand, a peculiar secret amusement park that develops underground. Given this confirmation, it is not surprising that the activities proposed by the recreational facility are particularly appreciated by our team six veteran diggers, ready to try all the attractions that make up this underground Disneyland.
By freely choosing between two difficulty levels proposed, “Classic” for lovers of the challenge and “Easy” for players looking for a more relaxing experience, the user is ready to start a journey aimed at completing his visit to the theme park. To do this, it will be necessary to successfully complete the path proposed by each of the five attractions that make up DrillLand. The essence of the gameplay experience sees the game world screen already full of colourful blocks.
To make their way through the latter, our trusted borer will have to create tunnels, moving freely in the four directions. Breaking a cube, however, will cause a number of chain effects, which will make the advance somewhat dangerous. Deprived of their supports, the blocks located above the character will, in fact, start to fall downwards, with the risk of overwhelming the player. To make everything even more uncertain and dynamic, the fact that the contact between four or more cubes of the same colour will determine their sudden disappearance contributes.
In the face of this apparently simple basic formula, the overall experience will be decidedly richer thanks to the different variations of the same offered by each attraction. In some cases, reflexes, strategy and speed of action will prove to be essential tools for the success of the company. The advance in the sea of blocks may indeed cause a progressive reduction of our reserve of air, which we will have to restore by collecting special capsules scattered along the way. But not only that, variations even further away from the original model await players in fact Mr. Driller: DrillLand.
Inside the Drindy Adventure for example, the experience will turn into an adventure worthy of Indiana Jones. With a slower and more rational advance, the protagonist will have to collect some artefacts, paying attention to rolling rocks and traps ready to reduce their lives.
A Haunted house instead it will force us to exorcise disturbing ghosts that populate the subsoil, while the Druaga pit will focus on exploration, asking the player to cross a particularly structured and populated map of dangerous opponents.
Completing all the activities proposed by the underground theme park will allow the Drillers to discover an unusual secret, which will place them in front of a fun final showdown with an evil villain. Overall, the main campaign is not particularly long but is still able to offer the player a stimulating level of challenge, flanked by an appreciable variety in gameplay approaches.
The control system, in its essentiality, responds efficiently to the inputs offered by the player, who will always have total control over what happens inside the bizarre tunnels of Mr. Driller: DrillLand. After the main adventure is over, the replayability of the title remains quite wide: each attraction can, in fact, be tackled in 4 different levels of difficulty, which can be progressively unlocked. Add to this the possibility of dedicating yourself to the collection of some collectables, which can be purchased at a special shopping area of the park, where it is also possible to exchange the game currency earned by completing the attractions with some bonus aids to “spend” in the levels that are found more difficult to overcome.
Next to the single-player campaign, Mr Driller: DrillLand offers an interesting multiplayer sector, designed for local competition. A minimum of 2 and a maximum of 4 players can, in fact, select their favourite character and try their hand at a drill challenge. At this juncture, each digger retains the peculiar characteristics that the user has come to know in the World Drill Tour, the only attraction in the park that has a character selection option.
The multiplayer of the Bandai Namco title basically offers two options. On the one hand, we have the Race mode, which boasts skill and speed among its essential requirements. In fact, each challenger will have their own maze, within which to make their way as quickly as possible: the victory will be assigned to the player who will first reach 500 meters in depth.
On the other hand, we have the Battle mode. In this case, rival Drillers will have to dig as hard as they can, competing for blocks within the same arena. The goal is to find as many medals as possible inside the cubes: the collection of three of the precious objects will make the player triumph over the contenders.
The multiplayer game options are therefore neither many nor particularly complex, but they are certainly effective in offering light content, able to generate the right level of competition between users, with a good dose of local fun. Nintendo Switch, on which we tested the game, proves for its essential characteristics a perfect platform to take advantage of the multiplayer features of Mr. Driller: DrillLand. To challenge a friend it is sufficient to resort to the possibility of participating in the game with a single Joy-Con.
Mr. Driller Drill Land
Analyzed Version Nintendo SwitchOverall, Mr. Driller: DrillLand has proven to be a puzzle game that can stand the test of time. The completion of the main campaign will require a few hours of gameplay, varying according to the confidence with the genre, for a light, fun and pleasant experience. To extend the longevity of the title we think instead of the unlockable levels of difficulty, capable of offering an additional degree of challenge. Finally, the multiplayer options are nice and enjoyable, they can be used for some local challenge among passionate diggers. Ultimately, a mass of content suitable for the low price at which Mr. Driller: DrillLand is proposed by Bandai Namco.