Kemco's Latest Wii U JRPG ~ Asdivine Hearts Is Hitting The European Wii U eShop On Thursday! Game Freak is a developer known for its work on titles such as Pokemon Red and Blue, Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire and Pokemon Black and White.
As with all Virtual Console releases on the Wii U button re-mapping is available, but the defaults work well.
The sound effects in the game are a decent selection of crashes, crumbles and thumps as your drill does its work. Luckily things get tougher with the third area, where the action moves to some ancient ruins.
It mainly puts out games with "Pokemon" somewhere in the title, but Drill Dozer shows Game Freak is no one-trick Ponyta.
It does occasionally put out games that don't feature the pocket monsters, however, and one of those is Drill Dozer, a Game Boy Advance action platformer set across six different areas that sees you defeating a horde of enemies and drilling through many walls along the way. One day the not-so-loveable Skullkers ambush Doug, leaving him in traction, and steal a precious red diamond. You drill to break through walls, you drill to travel through tunnels and you drill to defeat goons, police and other attackers. The A button is used to perform small jumps (or a brief dash move when crouched) whilst B is a multi-purpose action button. The most effective (aside from the real-world hum of your controller) is the heavy metal clanking your Drill Dozer makes as you walk around the levels. Here you'll have to contend with skeletons that disintegrate in a cloud of poisonous gas, rolling boulders, rising spikes and ghosts that turn to flames that rush to attack you.
Here you can buy upgraded drill bits that smash through otherwise indestructible blocks, some lead to hidden areas whilst others provide a shortcut.
If you are just looking for an ending the game can be cleared quickly, but tracking down all the hidden treasure and clearing the additional levels adds to the longevity of the experience.
Whilst not as problematic as on some systems (due to the region-free nature of the GBA), the game was only released in Japan in 2005 before arriving early the following year in North America. You control Doug's daughter Jill, using her Drill Dozer (a rotund metal walker) to defeat the Skullkers and reclaim the diamond.


The original Game Pak featured a rumble feature and this has been carried over to this Virtual Console release. The music in the game is a good selection of tracks ranging from cheery and breezy to mysterious and intense. Most useful are the extra energy tanks can also be purchased and maps are also available that add a third (very tough) stage to each area. The story entertains and good music, decent use of the rumble function and effective sound effects compliment the enjoyable gameplay, meaning the main reason to return to the game is simply that it's a lot of fun. The two Pokemon games were addicting as hell however and Super Mario 2D World competes with Galaxy as the best game in the mainline series. Now thanks to the Wii U eShop the game is officially available in Europe and Oceania – a mere ten years later. Visually the game goes for a colourful cartoony style that fits the humorous plot that plays out in cutscenes and during the levels.
Vibration is available on any compatible controller and it's very effective, helping with the impression you're using a giant drill bit to break down a wall or attack a robot dog. You press either L or R to use your drill, each button spinning it in a different direction.Not all enemies are defeated by simply running into them with your drill spinning.
Upon collecting the third gear in a level the background music changes to a catchy triumphant piece that suits the situation of you having a fully-powered piece of machinery as you tackle the final part of the stage, determined that nothing will stand in your way.Each area in the game has two big levels for you to work through and the first two areas are a good introduction to the gameplay. From then on things get steadily more difficult as you have to make more use of special techniques and enemies become trickier. There's plenty of detail and variety in the surroundings and numerous locations are visited, beginning with the Skullkers' hideout where a poster informs members that "Business minions must always put on a fake smile. The movement of some rules that out whilst a few police officers have shields that make frontal assaults a waste of time.
As well as drilling in four directions you'll soon find you're deflecting bullets, latching on to "socket lifts" and drilling into indestructible jelly blocks, then changing your drill's direction to throw you across otherwise unmanageable gaps. You'll also find some tunnels can only be travelled through in certain gears and a few sections introduce a time limit. The game has horrible mini games, vast technical issues like the game crashing if you attempt to revive a KO'd party member while in battle, and an insanely high random encounter rate.


There are flying drones that shoot lasers and are only vulnerable at certain points and tanks are tackled by hopping over their projectiles before drilling away at their noses.
Also making use of your drill's two directions are the colour-coded tunnels: use R for red tunnels, L for blue. Next there's an art museum and later you'll be underwater (with a very effective rippling screen effect) and walking across the tops of train carriages. As well as walls your drill can also be used to destroy tables, plants, statues and even toilets; doing so can reveal items to replenish some of your energy or chips (the in-game currency).
Combined with some chuckles from the plot (a vault combination is written down for new employees with a "don't tell anyone" type note) it makes for an enjoyable time, but it lacks challenge.
Following an encounter with an elderly pair of diamond hunters (the diamonds restore youth) you acquire the add-ons to enable water and sky-based adventuring. Some blocks break quicker than others and you'll soon be introduced to self-repairing barriers that repair themselves quicker than you can drill through. The boss characters make you pause whilst you consider the best way to attack their vulnerable spot, but are fairly straightforward. Underwater you'll have strong currents to contend with (and aggressive fish) whilst the skies are trickier as you are not so much flying as hopping to platforms before your drill loses its power.The boss fights are a particular highlight and include encounters with a violent tree, a giant robot and one level ends with you playing hot potato with missiles.
It's riddled with a baffling game design choice and the level design is particularly mundane. Luckily you can pick up second and third gears during each level that increase your destructive power. The robot encounter sees you running around dismantling it from inside whilst a timer ticks down and feels a lot like a final end-of-game battle.
Luckily it isn't, but there then follows a series of events that seem like the grand finale but aren't. It gets tiring to realise 'nope, still not over' but the action remains enjoyable and the actual final battle is brilliant in its simplicity.



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