Drill Dozer GameBoy Advance Review
In Nintendo and Game Freak's latest GBA title, Drill Dozer, you play as a cute girl named Jill who's out to retrieve her father's red diamond from the evil Skullker gang. It's not the best of stories, yet it doesn't need to be since the innovative gameplay is the focus, but even that's not enough to propel this game to OMG must buy status.
To fight the Skullker gang, Jill will have to use her unique drill dozer, a mech that has the ability to drill through whatever the game's developers will allow you to destroy, and while bursting through walls, piercing enemies, and pounding stones to dust is pretty enjoyable, what elevates this game is the ability to switch gears and harness even more power from the machine. Whole holding down either the R or L trigger, a drilling gauge will max out and you'll receive a prompt telling you to shift, which is done by hitting L or R. There are three separate gears so you can shift up to three times, and Game Freak's clever puzzles make excellent use of this feature and more, since the game allows you to slide into red and blue tubes, propel yourself from gelatinous cubes, and upgrade your drill dozer so it can even be transformed into different types of vehicles. The enemies are numerous, secrets abound, and the bosses are well designed and the actual battles are clever affairs. The cartridge even comes with a rumble feature, and unlike the one featured in Metroid Pinball (which I think is quieter than most journalists make it out to be), Drill Dozer's is quite subdued.
Unfortunately, the game's too linear. I find myself wanting to explore, and to a degree the game allows for it, but the options are limited. And it's made worse by the fact that you can't drill through any surface. It just doesn't make sense why I can plow through one side of a wall and not the other even though the surfaces are exactly the same. The developers try to justify this by inserting cracks, but that just winds up making Drill Dozer's environments look even more carefully laid out.
I'm also not too thrilled with the difficulty, which didn't test my skills as much as I wanted it to, partly because the game's easy, and also since the game gives advice on how to take bosses down. Considering Drill Dozer's not the longest of games, I would've preferred tackling things on my own.
Another component that bugs me is the soundtrack, which isn't catchy at all. It's just a mess of noise that's all jumbled together to create something extremely bland. That's not to say that it doesn't serve its purpose, but I was looking for something more memorable.
So that's the skinny on Drill Dozer. It's an enjoyable game that I'm glad that I own, but it didn't impress me enough that I felt the need to gush all over it. But kudos to Game Freak for coming up with something fresh in the platform genre, as simply conking bad guys on the head was getting tired.
What's Hot: Innovative level & boss design
What's Not: The game's a bit too easy