VC Weekly 292

Welcome to VC Weekly, N-Europe’s guide to the wonderful world of Nintendo’s download service. Written by Sam C Gittins

Anyone who enjoys classic Namco titles should surely be more than happy with this former portable outing from just under a decade ago. Anyway enough from me and on with the game!
Available for download this week we have...     

Mr. Driller 2

Price: GB £3.49, EU €4.99
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Developer: Namco
Released: 2005
System: GBA

While this may have been something of a late release on the GameBoy Advance for Europe back in the day arriving years after Japan got it, we're in the odd situation where it's actually something to be celebrated on the eShop years later as it has been w little while since we last had a Mr. Driller title available on a Nintendo machine even virtually and while I realise it's merely a re-release it's most certainly a welcome one indeed just to get another decent Namco title added to the 'slowly but surely' growing virtual catalogue. Even on a basic level I can appreciate the fact that it was something of a leap at the time as the original game only appeared on the GBC so releasing the sequel on the GBA was certainly a good move as it showed off what the newer hardware could do for the series overall, you only have to scratch the surface to see that but for those who are relatively unaware of this simple but fun premise that this 'Action-Puzzler' entails; let's dig a little deeper.

The titular Mr. Driller is a Pink & Light-Blue coloured chibi styled character who must drill his way through lots of blocks until he - hopefully - reaches the bottom, the blocks are of various colours so if you drill a lot of them which are both adjacent to the one you're drilling plus if they are of the same colour then they will disappear too but naturally as you drill deeper you have to be aware of both falling blocks so that you don't get crushed in addition to your ever-dwindling air supply which you can top up by picking up air pockets but only if you take certain routes. So there is plenty to consider as you're 'casually' drilling away because if you don't at least think ahead to a certain degree then you'll most likely come to an end earlier than planned.

Various modes are available to you which include the main mission mode which has a nice structure to it as you work your way through the many stage, Time Attack where you're up against the clock in addition to the usual restraints making for some genuinely tense moments and of course Endless mode where you just keep drillint for as long as you can or until you get bored but being that this is now a Virtual Console title you could always just create a restore point so that you can carry on from where you left off. Multiplayer it seems is no longer supported which is a shame because this is a title which surely benefits from having a two-player mode so to lose it might feel like a bit of a blow for those who have played it on the GBA in the past, personally I didn't get the chance to until now so it wasn't much of a deal-breaker for me but I figured it's worth mentioning the ommision; but at least you get to choose to play as Anna Hottenmeyer as an alternative character which is a nice bonus.


Featuring colourful graphics throughout which utilise a bold style full of charm along with a decent amount of detail alongside animations which really show off what was possible on the GBA hardware. The accompanying soundtrack is pretty decent too featuring an upbeat tempo in keeping with the hectic nature of the on-screen action along with a brilliant selection of sound effects which further enhance the experience; this is essentially high-octane arcade style action which Namco do very well indeed as it shows in every element.

I would say that this is definitely a decent starting point for anyone new to the fast, frenetic series as it has everything that still essentially makes up the same template which later titles in the series continued to use to even greater success. Even veterans might get some fun out of it being that the game now has a new lease of life on the Wii U as it does at least seem like a fresh experience, so why not spin up the drill one more time and dig deep with this charming classic which I like to think of as a decent alternative to Namco's other classic Dig Dug except with a bit more excitement to it.    

Verdict : Mr. Driller 2 has a deceptive amount of depth.

That's it for another installment of VC Weekly which will return again soon. So until then, enjoy the rest of the week and Game On!

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