It has been five years since the last instalment in the Mr. Driller series—a mobile spin-off title: Mr. Driller for Kakao—and more than a decade since the last main series release. You’d be forgiven for thinking that, much like Dig Dug (the series which spun off into Mr. Driller), this series was effectively a dead property at this point. That is why it comes as such a pleasant surprise that Namco Bandai has revived the series with a full remake of the GameCube classic which defined the series: Mr. Driller DrillLand.
The GameCube game has been remade completely from scratch here for the Nintendo Switch in glorious fashion. Mr. Driller DrillLand for the Nintendo Switch maintains all the features that made the GameCube version so remarkable, all the while expanding upon them and improving the visual aspects of the game.
For the uninitiated, Mr. Driller is essentially a wicked combination of Dig Dug and Tetris—only you’re playing Tetris in reverse. The aim of the game is to drill your way through the various blocks and make it to the finish line at the bottom. However, DrillLand shakes the basic formula of Mr. Driller up by adding in a plethora of challenges and missions into the game—proving to be far more challenging than other entries in the series.
As you navigate your way through the different drill sites, you must contend with your character’s oxygen levels and also be aware of falling blocks and enemy characters. The game features a variety of different drill sites under the guise of theme park attractions in the titular “DrillLand”. Each has its own specific challenges and type of enemies you will encounter. What sets Mr. Driller apart from other puzzle games is that there can be multiple approaches to each puzzle. You can speed-run your way though or you can methodically calculate each move—considering oxygen points, enemy locations, and block colouration and shape.
Fans of puzzle games will no doubt find Mr. Driller DrillLand to be a fresh experience, blending the best aspects of Dig Dug and Tetris into a unique gaming formula. For those who are long time fans of the Mr. Driller series, this Nintendo Switch version of Mr. Driller DrillLand proves to be the magnum opus of the franchise. It is an encapsulation of the best parts of the franchise; polished to perfection. This is the best Mr. Driller game to date without a doubt, and arguably one of the most engaging puzzle games in recent memory. Whether you’re looking for a casual puzzle experience or a challenging one, gamers of any ilk are sure to find something that they dig about Mr. Driller DrillLand.