Mr. Driller: Drill Spirits DS Review

For those of us familiar with the Mr. Driller series, Mr. Driller: Drill Spirits for the Nintendo DS is just as good as its console counterparts. As with the other games, the goal of Drill Spirits is to drill underground and reach a certain distance without being crushed by falling debris. You start out as Susumu Hori (the main star of Mr. Driller), and playing as the adorable youngster you must use his drill to pop multi-colored blocks.

The problem is, as you drill, the decisions you make greatly effect what's happening above you. If you destroy a single block it may cause a chain reaction where TONS of other blocks begin to fall. When four or more colored blocks join together they pop, so most of the time you'll avoid being crushed simply because you caught a break since things disappeared.

However, getting squashed isn't the only thing you'll need to worry about. Each character has a dwindling air supply, so you'll need to snag air capsules as you go to prevent him/her/or it from asphyxiating. They're easy to reach while drilling to the shorter depths, but as you progress, getting to them will be a pain! You'll find they're surrounded by X-Blocks, objects that take five strikes to destroy and bump off 20% of your air each time you break one. More often than not the gameplay's one huge frantic race to the finish line, watching your air tank but also making sure that you haven't done something that'll kill your precious driller.

Drill Spirits does a pretty good job making use of the dual screens. The bottom screen is the main playfield, and it's possible to control your driller using the stylus. It has a bit of a learning curve (and is by no means as precise as using the d-pad and face buttons), but with practice I was able to do quite well and actually prefer using it to the game's other control schemes. As for the top screen, it shows what's happening to the blocks as you descend, so you can often avoid trouble by occasionally glancing at it to see what's falling your way.