Once again, I find myself playing a remaster/port of a game for Nintendo Switch, but this one is a literal different to the Bioshock Collection and The Outer Worlds before it. This is much closer to Katamari Damacy REROLL, a return of a beloved quirky Gamecube game from a franchise that is largely dead today. Mr. DRILLER DrillLand comes to Switch at a time where the Mr. Driller series has largely faded into obscurity, but quickly reminded me of just how good it once was.
Mr. DRILLER DrillLand follows Mr. Driller and his friends as they travel to a brand new hit-attraction named Drill Land. Drill Land is a high-tech amusement park filled with a variety of different drilling related attractions that seems just a little too good to be true. And, as you quickly find out, it truly is too good to be true, as you learn that it was all a ploy to lure you there. The story never really goes beyond the surface level and is really just there to give you a reason to be at Drill Land and partake in the attractions. It never feels particularly deep or engaging, but its cute, humorous and quirky nature brought a smile to my face as it ran its course.
The main meat on Mr. DRILLER DrillLand’s bones comes in the form of the game’s various attractions. Each attraction is a themed driller course, with its own unique backstory, enemies, visuals and rules. This lends a great variety to the game’s mechanics, as while the inherent mechanics remain the same no matter the level (you can drill in the four cardinal directions, blocks of the same colour stick together and drilling connected blocks of the same colour wipes the lot out), each attraction brings some great twists to the formula. There’s Horror Night House, with its dark countenance and ghost-possessed blocks that must be injected with holy water to stop them harming you, Drindy Adventure, with its Indiana Jones-themed style (complete with rolling boulders) and golden statues to steal. The variety of attractions, and the increasing difficulty you face as you progress through each level of them, goes a long way to keeping the game fresh over the hours you’ll spend with it.
While there’s great variety to the game’s attractions, it would all be for nothing if the game didn’t feel good to play. Thankfully, Mr. DRILLER DrillLand is a joy to play. The controls are ultra-responsive, the animations are fluid, and the drilling itself feels satisfying to pull off. There are some moments of annoyance as blocks occasionally fall from the sky when you get deep into a level, but that occurred only very infrequently.
Where I think Mr. DRILLER DrillLand truly excels, however, is the game’s visuals and music. With the original being an 18-year-old game, there was definitely the worry of aging artwork and style, but Bandai Namco have done a fantastic job bringing the game into the current generation. The 2D art style is still fully intact and looks fantastic, with its cute characters and colourful attractions coming together perfectly. The cutscenes similarly look fantastic, with a more detailed version of that same 2D art style. Similarly, the music in the game truly pulls everything together. The highly energetic beats provide a frantic energy to the game’s attractions no matter the theme or style, creating a sense of urgency as you push towards bedrock and your goal. I found myself bopping along to the soundtrack as I played, truly getting into the rhythm and flow of the experience.
Overall, there’s no doubt at all that Mr. DRILLER DrillLand is a fantastic game and one that you should definitely pick up. With engaging mechanics, a quirky art style, energetic music and plenty of variety, this is a great title, especially given the low price of $29.95 AUD.
Mr. DRILLER DrillLand was reviewed on a regular Nintendo Switch with a review copy provided by Bandai Namco. For more information, check out the game’s official website.
- Art style is cute and quirky - Soundtrack is filled with energetic bops that set the mood perfectly - Plenty of variety in its gameplay and mechanics
- Story isn't particularly deep or engaging