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Overview

Mr. Driller: Drill Spirits is the DS entry from the popular action/puzzle style game Mr. Driller. Make your way to the bottom of a shaft without running out of air or getting crushed by falling blocks, and do so as fast as possible. Featuring simple but deep gameplay and puzzle mechanic, Mr. Driller: Drill Spirits is a worthy DS entry in the long-running series.

Gameplay

Mr. Driller DS plays exactly like previous entries in the series. The goal is to travel straight down a mine shaft by destroying blocks of various color. The primary danger comes in the form brown, x-marked blocks that take some of your air supply when you to break through them. Besides the brown x-blocks, other hazards include blocks falling on you from above. These problems can be mitigated because blocks of a similar color will merge together and, if of an appropriate size, disappear. (Note that the arrangements these joined-together blocks create may result in more unpredictable ways blocks will fall on you.)

You also have an 'air' meter which can be refilled by picking up 'air' capsules along the way. Air is constantly depleted as you play, forcing you to dig as fast as you can and get each air capsule you find without taking too long. (sometimes it is good to skip an air capsule, if it will take too long to get it) Air capsules are often placed 'off center' so that the player is forced to head out from the center of the screen toward the edge of the screen, where there is only one direction to escape. The fact that air capsules can be found on any column of the screen also means the player must keep moving left and right in order to get them, (instead of just digging in a straight line downwards all the time) thereby placing him/herself under more blocks that will fall.

The goal is to head downward as fast as possible, avoiding falling blocks and picking up as much air as possible. Every 100 meters, the level changes, adding a different mix of block types for the player to chew through, and each level may have a slight variance or theme -- For instance, one level may have more rocks than usual, another may have more disappearing blocks than usual, (or may have tons, resulting in a hectic spiral toward the bottom with a constant barrage of falling blocks) whereas another level may have only 2 or 3 colors of blocks, while another level may have much less air capsules than normal! (All the more reason to keep your air supply as high as possible, just in case you reach one of these parts.) After reaching a predetermined depth, you win the level and get your score. The more difficult the level, the deeper it goes. The hardest level can easily take fifteen minutes to complete.

DS-Specific Features

The DS offers a few specialized touches. There are different 'characters' to unlock, each with slightly different performance in areas such as speed of drilling, speed of moving and even, occasionally, character-specific abilities such as the ability to survive being crushed, or the ability to jump up a height of two blocks instead of just one. These additional characters are unlocked by playing through the minimal 'story mode' and reaching the bottom of each level, increasing in depth and difficulty each time. After that, the goal is really to improve your speed and/or score, although simply completing the later levels can be extraordinarily difficult.

One of the most notable advantages of being on DS is the fact that the top screen is used to display more of the playing area above the player, giving players a better view of, among other things, when blocks might be falling on them and whether they have to get out of the way.

Playable characters

Susumu Hori (aka Mr. Driller)

The main character and star of the Mr. Driller series, a boy in a pink drilling suit. Standard speed in both movement and drilling.

Anna

The girl in the white drilling suit. Either she is close to Susumu in ability, or in fact exactly the same. It's hard to tell.

Puchi

Yes, you get to play as the dog. Woof woof! Puchi is able to jump a height of 2 blocks instead of just 1 block. This can get you out of many jams that would have been lethal for other characters.

Holinger-Z

The robot. Holinger-Z (seemingly pronounced Holinger Zed by other characters in the game) is not as quick as other characters, but can survived being crushed exactly once. In a way this means that picking Holinger-Z is a way of doubling your amount of lives, if not for the fact that he can still die from running out of air, just like anyone else. It is worth nothing that Holinger-Z's drilling sound is loud and grating on the ears, making clearing one of the longer stages with him an especially daunting task unless you mute the volume on your DS.

Taizo Hori

Susumu's dad, who is in fact the guy from Dig Dug. Slower movement speed in exchange for fast drilling speed.

Ataru Hori

Susumu's runaway brother, a skilled driller in a black drilling suit and red scarf. Fast movement speed.

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