I start with a warning courtesy of Namco’s Health Hints: "A very small portion of the population have a condition which may cause them to experience epileptic seizures or have a momentary loss of consciousness when viewing certain kinds of flashing lights or patterns". Now for my own warning: "This game is highly addictive and this review is nothing more than a shameless plug for my master, the Drill". With all that said, I can, in good conscience, recommend Mr. Driller and not be responsible for your downfall (Hah, I made a Mr. Driller joke).
So what is the main objective or problem that you, as Mr. Driller, must overcome? Simply put, "Mysterious blocks have begun to well up from underground and the world is in a panic. Extensive research shows that the blocks begin forming at 5000 feet below the surface, but there is no one that can stop the blocks, no one that can dig that deep". So who is Mr. Driller? "One of the youngest rookie professional drillers, albeit the one rumoured to be closest to becoming Mr. Driller, the best of the best, Susumu Hori". As you may already begin to see, this is another double-plus-sugar Japanese game that will be the cutest thing you install on your computer this week. Furthermore, the storyline makes no sense, another very good sign that it originated from Japan.
Surprisingly, there isn't much to say about the gameplay. The name practically says it all really. You have a few gameplay modes that all translate into difficulty settings and how many lives you start with. You drill down (no, up!) and you can get crushed by blocks or asphyxiated from a lack of air. You can avoid the later by avoiding falling blocks and picking up air bubbles. Simple game, but it's often those simple games that are so addictive (smoking is simple too, after all!)
As with most Japanese games of this genre, you can expect two wonderful things. First, the sound is fabulous. The music is that type I heard growing up at the local arcades. The sound is minimal but absolutely rewarding akin to the slot machine sounds that just make everything so exciting. Both are quite cheesy but they're also soothing and appropriate (remind yourself that this game is ported over from the PlayStation console). Second, the graphics are nice. Sure, they aren't the type of visuals that would require programming the FPGA of a GeForce3, but they are just so kawaii! Everything is cute and smooth. The thing I like the best is the option of playing the game in a window instead of full-screen. This adds to the addictiveness since you can keep it open and still go about your business. But every few minutes you notice it on the taskbar and you stop whatever you're doing to play that temptress known as Mr. Driller. The next thing you know, three hours have gone by. These two factors make a prime candidate for a good game.
With all that being said, "Go Driller, go!" (Wait... something doesn't feel right. I usually talk a lot more trash about a game... umm... I would like to now say that Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 sucked big time due to no real network play ability. You guys screwed it up big time!)