LifeisXbox’s Mr. Driller DrillLand review | Originally released in Japan in 2002 for the GameCube, Mr. Driller DrillLand is a puzzle game developed and published by Bandai Namco. An international release didn’t come until last year when an HD remaster of the game was released for PC and Nintendo Switch. And now, we finally got a version for Xbox and PlayStation, so we had to check out the popular Mr. Driller. Yes, I say popular because the Driller Land characters are actually quite admired by gamers all over the world. I personally wasn’t familiar with them, but they are indeed very cute and likable. And there is even a dog, so you know, I don’t need much more than that. Now, let’s dive into the wonderous world of DrillLand, shall we?
I didn’t expect to suck at a game but still enjoy it so much!
ℹ️ Reviewed on Xbox Series X | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion from the writer.
What we liked!
- The attractions of DrillLand | In the wonderful world of DrillLand, we find a total of five attractions. These are basically five games that are somewhat similar but still differ from each other enough to ensure some variation. Each of these games has three levels and an extra special level. As you can already guess by the title, the entire game revolves around drilling, and more precisely drilling your way down to somewhere or to a certain goal.
- First, we have the World Drill Tour, which is the standard arcade Mr. Driller routine. Here, you have to keep your air meter full by collecting air bubbles. The lower you drill, the more difficult the game becomes. While drilling, you’ll also be avoiding falling blocks that will take your lives. Level one has you drilling down 500 meters, level 2 1000 meters, and level 3 has you going down 2000 meters. The special level is basically an infinite level where you can drill until you die. Oh, and by the way, this is the only game in which you get to choose your own character from a range of six DrillLand characters. Of course, I choose the doggo every time!
- The second game is Star Driller. This one is similar to the World Drill Tour, as you’ll also be collecting air bubbles to keep yoru air meter full, but new blocks (called ? blocks) are added here. Getting to these special blocks can mean various things, either good or bad, like a temporary protection bubble or teleporting you.
- Third, we have Drindy Adventure, where you have to a certain amount of collect golden dolls per level, all while avoiding boulders, fire spikes, and more. The air meter is no longer in place here. Instead, there is another mechanism with blue balls keeping track of how many lives you have left. It had some Indiana Jones feels actually so that was cool.
- The fourth game is called The Hole of Druaga, which is more like being put into a dungeon and even has a bit of RPG in it. It was definitely my favourite game out of all five. There is no time limit here, but there is limited amount of drill uses. There are various dungeons to get through, you even have to battle a dragon to get a key, and rescue a princess by defeating a boss. In the dungeons there are also enemies, which you can defeat in order to get interesting items. There are no blue balls or air meters here either, instead you have an actual HP meter.
- Last but not least: Horror Night House. Definitely my second favourite one, as it has you using holy water to fight off ghosts. When using holy water on these ghosts, they freeze so you can easily drill their blocks and collect the amount of Drystals that’s needed per floor and level. You can only carry one bottle of holy water at a time, so you’ll need to get to a new bottle once you’ve used it, adding a fair bit of challenge to the gamepaly.
- Extra content | If you think these five games are everything Mr. Driller DrillLand has to offer, think again! There is an entire story with cutscenes to enjoy (even though this wasn’t really my kind of thing, I prefered focusing on the actual gameplay here). There is also the Dreamin’ Parade where you get to take control of a parade filled with the Drill Land characters. It’s a super basic feature that I don’t think many people will pay much or any attention to, but it could be fun for kids. And then, most importantly we have Drill Town. Here we have the card shop, goods, and item shop. Obviously, in the card shop you can buy cards so you can try and collect all fifty. These come in packs of three for 200 bits (which is the currency that you earn when playing games). In these packs, prizes (goods) are hidden as well. And why not visit the goods store for some limited-edition Drill Land souvenirs? Toys, keychains, pennants, you can find all kinds of cool stuff here. In the item store you can buy all kinds of items that prove to be helpful in the attractions. This came in quite handy as I really sucked at all the games at the start. Barriers, extra lives, boosts and more can be found here. You can look at everything you’ve bought and collected in your inventory: goods, items, cards, and also stamps for completing attractions. The extra content is maybe mainly focused on kids and completionists, but I do believe these are all nice additions to the game.
- Graphics and sound | The graphics got a glow up but honestly, they didn’t need that much of a touch up really. The art style is pretty cute, basic, and colorful, and basically, the game got even brighter and more adorable. The levels all lookalike but still, they are all clearly distinguishable. I’m definitely a fan of the simple art style, both in the games as in the cutscenes. The soundtrack is pretty energetic too, and some extra sounds really pump you up big time. The Japanese roots of this game definitely shine through in the sound of Mr. Driller DrillLand, and it’s very enjoyable for sure.
- Casual or classic, solo or together | As mentioned in the intro, the original Mr. Driller DrillLand came out in 2002. If you want to replay the games with the same difficulty level, the classic mode is your go-to. However, if you’re a new player, like me, you can choose to play the casual mode. In this mode, the games are made a little bit easier, so you can get used to the mechanics and stuff. Besides this, you can also choose to play solo or with up to three friends. The solo mode is more fun, in my opinion, but the multiplayer option is nice to explore and you get to play as one of the many DrillLand characters. There are two multiplayer modes: Race and Battle. In Race, the screen is split (depending on how many players there are) and you race to the 500 meters. You can drill up items to help you, like driller faster. In Battle, you all play on the same screen. The goal is to dig up a coin hidden somewhere on the screen by drilling your way through all the blocks. When someone finds the coin, you get a new screen filled with blocks. Be the first player to find three coins, and you win. So yeah, the multiplayer options are pretty basic. I did like the race one, but the battle one is mostly based on luck.
- Replay value | A game that has a lot of content and replay value? Well, that’s just perfect, isn’t it?! Mr. Driller DrillLand actually has a ranking system in place for every attraction and every level. I didn’t think the ranking system would do much, but it’s actually quite addictive to try and beat your best score, and to climb up in the rankings. The multiplayer also offers replay value, of course. And so does the randomized dungeons and blocks. Honestly, even if you’ve finished all levels in all attractions, you will still have fun simply playing this game.
- Addictive but repetitive gameplay | Mr. Driller DrillLand definitely has some very addictive gameplay. If you run out of lives, you just want to try again and again to reach the end of the level. Yet, somehow, the game also gets quite repetitive. I still think the combination of addictive and repetitive gameplay is weird, but that’s just how it is in this game. You want to keep trying, but after a while, you also realize you’re doing the same thing over and over again, making everything quite repetitive. I think Mr. Driller DrillLand is best enjoyed for a short while every now and then to keep it from getting monotonous.
What we disliked
- Even though I suck at this game, I got nothing, wow!
How long to beat the story | About 3 hours
How long to achieve 1000G | 20 hours
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Head of PC team. PC, Switch, and Xbox game reviewer. Also a marketeer, concert and animal lover, and photographer in training 🙂