Mr. Driller is a puzzle-platformer developed and released by Namco for arcades (using PS1-based Namco System 12 hardware) on November 1999.
Originally conceived as a revival of the Dig Dug series, Mr. Driller puts players in the role of Susumu Hori, the titular "Mr. Driller", as he digs deep underground to reach the bottom of the playfield while moving around to avoid being crushed by falling blocks and collecting air capsules to prevent running out of air. Similar to SameGame puzzles, players remove groups of of same-colored blocks, causing blocks above to fall and combine into larger groups (which can cause them to disappear if forming groups of four-or-more).
Along with an arcade sequel, the game received home versions in 2000 for the Dreamcast, PlayStation, and Game Boy Color. The DC and PS1 versions add two new game modes (Time Attack and Survival Mode). It also received a Japan-exclusive port for the WonderSwan Color ion April 15, 2001, as well as a mobile port for iOS devices on August 28, 2009.
The PS1 version was later released as a PSone Classics title on the PlayStation Network on 2006 (in Japan) and 2014 (in North America), with both a PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4 release in 2022). This version was also included in the PlayStation Classic microconsole.
The goal of Mr. Driller is to keep drilling down through a set amount of level (often depending on difficulty) of varying lengths. Upon clearing a level, all blocks above you are destroyed and you are given a boost to your air supply. Your Air supply is your life. You run out, you die. While your air supply constantly dwindles as you are progressing to the next stage, finding air tanks will refill portions of your air. Watch out for rock and boxes marked with an “X” for they take many drills to destroy (slowing you down) and once they are destroyed they take a portion of your air supply.
The controls are rather simple: one button is your drill, while the D-pad or analog stick is your movement. You have the ability to use your drill in all four directions and you have the ability to jump up one block to your left or right, granted that there is space for you.
As you drill, you will notice that similar colored blocks will link together. These linked blocks are what you should be aiming for because once you tap one part of it with your drill, all the blocks linked in that chain will disappear. Aiming for these while drilling down will clear out a path much faster than just going straight down. Pay attention though, blocks that are not linked and have no support under them will fall down, often on your Mr. Driller. Its not the scariest thing in the world, for blocks will link even if they are falling, providing some intense moments where you think your end has come only for the block to link at the last moment.
Don't forget to move left and right! Having the ability to move left and right will save you from falling objects while also giving you access to more linked blocks
Air supplies count as blocks! When you get an Air Supply and there is a block (or many blocks) above it, it will fall. So grab them quick and get back to drilling!
Take your time! If you are just starting with Mr. Driller, take the time to learn how fast he jumps up blocks and moves left to right. This will prevent you from trying to drill out of the way of falling blocks rather than just moving out of the way.
Boxes and rocks marked with an X don't link! If you see these falling, avoid them at all costs. Its also good to give some space before you start drilling right under one. [Actually this tip is incorrect, X-blocks do link like any other block, and it is how you're supposed to get rid of them when they are surrounding an air capsule.]
Mr. Driller for iPhone seems to be an updated version of the original Mr. Driller, the main difference being that Susumu's in-game sprites have been redrawn to resemble the current artwork.
The app is only 1.99 US and, like any iPhone app, is compatible with the iPad.