Drill Dozer is a 2D platforming adventure game developed by Game Freak for the Game Boy Advance. In addition to its colorful graphics and fleshed out drill-based game mechanics, it is also noteworthy for including force feedback in the game cartridge itself to provide players with tactile feedback similar to that of a modern console controller.
As Jill, the pink-haired pilot of a mechanical exo-suit called a Drill Dozer, players navigate through seventeen adventure levels filled with enemies, platform-style puzzles, and encounters with boss characters at the end of every stage. "Chips" collected by defeating enemies, opening treasure chests, and discovering hidden areas can be used between levels to purchase better equipment for the Drill Dozer, such as stronger drill bits for penetrating tougher materials and energy tanks to extend Jill's life bar.
The Drill Dozer can jump and scoot through narrow openings to explore the level, but the game's primary drilling mechanic has been woven into every facet of the game. In addition to defeating enemies and demolishing barriers, revving the drill in the proper direction can deflect incoming projectiles, spin turbines, release screws, propel the dozer through special vents, and even to swim and fly. The start of each new level restricts the drill to spinning only for a few brief moments, but by locating the gear boxes hidden in each area, Jill can increase its power and duration to the point where it can run indefinitely. However, since the Dozer's movement is restricted while the drill is running at full power, players will still need to time its use carefully.
When the drill is activated, an RPM meter appears on the screen to show how long it can run for. Once the Dozer has additional gears installed, players can shift up by releasing the button and quickly repressing it again with the right timing. This means the Dozer needs a little time to reach higher drill speeds which can be vital for breaching certain barriers, and though the timing required is fairly simple, it keeps the player more actively involved than simply holding down a lone button. Additionally, spinning the drill clockwise or counter-clockwise can have different effects based on the situation, so players will need to correctly switch between using the R or L shoulder buttons on the GBA to succeed.
Similar to games in the Metroid series, some areas in Drill Dozer cannot be explored when they are first encountered, but can be revisited later once the Dozer has been enhanced with stronger drill bits. This backtracking element is not necessary to complete the main game, but is required for players who wish to collect all of the hidden treasures and unlock the game's secret features.
When Jill's father Doug is attacked and robbed of a precious family heirloom by a rival bandit game called the Skullkers, Jill sets out to take back the stolen treasure and defeat their wicked plans in the process. Along the way, she'll also battle crooked cops, quirky crooks, and unite five diamonds with mystic powers.
- Although Drill Dozer enjoyed largely positive reviews, it suffered from poor sales in North America and Japan (where it was released under the title Screw Breaker).
- Jill and her Drill Dozer appear in the Wii game Super Smash Brothers Brawl as a collectible trophy, as well as one of the in-game assist trophies. When unleashed, Jill drills furiously towards the nearest enemies and attempts to ram them off the edge of the stage.
- In the game there are unlockable costumes, some of which reference to other Nintendo and Game Freak games, such as Mario's red shirt and blue overalls, the female Pokémon trainer's clothes from Pokémon FireRed/LeafGreen, and even Pulseman's costume.