Not yet phased out by the DS, the Game
Boy Advance still has some new and upcoming games that are worth
checking out. Of its recent releases, Drill Dozer is one of those that
deserves your time.
This game was developed by Game Freak, best known for their Pokémon
franchise. But Game Freak isn't a one-trick pony (or Ponyta, as it
were), and this solid game experience stands up well by itself.
You play as Jill, a young girl who is now the leader of a band of
thieves after her father is injured. Armed with the Drill Dozer, a
small mech armed with a large drill, she sets off to recover the Red
Diamond, a treasure that was stolen from them by rival Skullkers. The
story has some twists...but nothing major and nothing too surprising.
However, it's more enjoyable than the narratives of most other 2D
isn't safe when Jill has a drill and some will.
That's right, it's a 2D platformer. It's a welcome entry into this
dwindling genre. If you're old enough to remember, you will be reminded
of NES and Super NES games when playing this gem. Instead of jumping
and shooting, though, you will be doing a lot of jumping and drilling,
as you surely would've guessed by now. The drill adds a lot to the game
mechanics, not just as a tool of destruction, but for defense
(deflecting shots), for puzzles (acting as a screwdriver or a crank),
and it is very often utilized in tricky jumps.
When the drill is in use, a large gear is superimposed on the screen,
showing the drilling direction and the gear-change meter. It's a neat
effect, and most of the time it isn't as distracting as it sounds. The
drill is controlled using the shoulder buttons. The drill spins
clockwise with the R button, and counter-clockwise with the L button.
For most enemies, you can drill through them either way, but in some
situations you will need to specifically use a particular direction
instead of the other, or switch between them. In a wall jump, for
example, you would need to jump to a surface that the drill can latch
onto (usually an indestructible "jelly block"), drill it, then reverse
the direction to propel yourself off of it.
That's a common maneuver, but there are other moves that can be
performed, and you'll be using everything that you learn. The stages
are varied enough to keep challenging your mastery of the drill. These
include an underwater stage and an aerial city stage, where the drill
also acts as a propeller for diving and flying. The bosses are always a
treat, as the battles are different enough from each other. In the end,
they're all defeated by being drilled, but there's something satisfying
about exposing or reaching a weak spot and then thrusting a big drill
into it, and that never gets old.
You won't get "screwed" if
you buy this game 'cause you won't get "bored" of it.
However, getting screwed or bored is what happens to your
Unfortunately, the game is a little bit on the short side, with only six
stages with one or two areas each. However, each stage also has one
secret area, and there are a total of 31 treasures to collect. After
finishing the story, I only had three of those treasures, getting me a
rank of a mere "Pickpocket". Going back to look for them and increase
your rank (up to "Crime Boss") will add some replay value. And the
secret areas will test your drill-handling skills to the maximum.
Probably designed with the Game Boy Micro's bright screen in mind, the
graphics are big, bright, and sharp. They're cartoon-like and appropriate
for the game; only in a cartoon could you get away with drilling through
enemies. The music is more than decent, with both the menu tune and
boss battle tracks being particularly catchy. The cartridge is equipped
with a built-in Rumble Pak, which adds a little bit to the experience of
handling a power tool.
This game is recommended, particularly if you're a fan of oldschool 2D
platforming action. If you have a DS, you'll soon be able to play Super
Princess Peach and the New Super Mario Bros. as well, but even so, as
the genre isn't as prominent as it used to be, it wouldn't hurt to pick
this one up, too. The sheer fun of being destructive with a big drill
combined with solid level design makes this an enjoyable and unique