This undiscovered little Gameboy Advance Gem created by Game Freak is an incredible action/platformer game that probably went under everyone’s radar. The game was awarded best game of the year for the gba by nintendo power but the poor sales never brought about a sequel which is such a shame.
The game starts off telling you how your father (Doug) and boss of the “Red Dozers” is beaten the shit up by the Skullkers, the rival dozer gang. They stole a red diamond from you.
The gameplay kicks off by sending you (Jill, Doug’s daughter) to find such diamond on your wonderful crazy dozer machine!
The idea of having a platformer where you control a dozer that can drill through stuff is so fresh that it just begs you to play it.
Gamefreak doesn’t stop surprising you throughout the whole game with new additions to the dozer and new ways to use it.
For example, in each level you start off with a crappy dozer with 1 gear. You use your R button to drill clockwise and L button to drill anticlockwise. When you pres L or R there’s a little gauge that appears and charges up. In first gear you only get it to reach the end of the gauge once and then it comes back down giving you only a few seconds of drilling power.
Once you find second gear in the stage, you can pres R or L again once the gauge is full to enter 2nd gear mode making your drill stronger and last longer.
In third gear things get serious and you will have a very powerfull drill that can help you navigate more easily through levels and last as long as you want.
If you think drilling stuff around levels is easy and boring you’re wrong. The gameplay is actually really good. There are good puzzle-like situations where you have to use your drill on certain “jelly” blocks that push you to higher platforms. It’s very hard to explain and can only be experienced once you try out the game.
This for example was one of the puzzles: Find 3 different activators around the level and insert the right combination to open the big safe:
Every level brings something new to do, a new block that involves new abilities, tunnels that propel you around depending on clockwise or anticlockwise drill direction, underwater levels with a propeller-drill, air levels with helicopter-drill, it’s really pretty amazing.
The end level bosses are incredibly satisfying. Not too hard but not too easy, i mean I rarely died (i bought some life enhancements at the shop) but it still was a challenge trying to find out boss softspots and learning how to kill them.
The last boss is quite the challenge too and very very satisfying to beat (one of the coolest moments in the game!!)
Speaking of difficulty, it really isn’t too much of a challenge. I found myself dead only a few times, especially at bosses, when trying to learn how to beat them but not much other than that. If you do lose all your life, it’s game over and it asks you for 50 ingame currency to continue. I always had enough currency to continue and I found it a great way to manage death and continues.
I have to mention that the cartridge even has a rumble feature if you buy the original!
All in all this was an incredible experience for a very underrated videogame that deserved so much more than it got. It reminded me of the first time I played Sonic on the game gear. A new experience with new characters and abilities, a fresh change!!
I wish there was a sequel and seriously hope they’re working on one!
Anyway: Final Riqz score 9/10
Enjoy it if you can cos it’s definetly worth it!