Now on Virtual Console, Drill Dozer Proves Game Freak Can do More than Pokemon

Now on Virtual Console, Drill Dozer Proves Game Freak Can do More than Pokemon

While you were distracted by E3, one of the last great GBA games released on Wii U.

Despite wishful thinking from thousands of Nintendo fans, the publisher's possible Hail Mary pass at this year's E3 never came into being. That's right: No Mother 3 on Virtual Console for us this year. (At least, not yet.)

While Nintendo might not be desperate enough to play all of their Mother/EarthBound cards while the Wii U enters hospice care, they still saw fit to fill one of Virtual Console's many gaps with this week's release of Drill Dozer. If you happened to miss this game in its original form, it originally launched for the Game Boy Advance in 2005. And, interestingly enough, it's made by Game Freak, better known for developing Nintendo's money printing machine known as Pokemon. We dove into their history on a recent episode of Retronauts, but it's important to note that this developer started as a collection of super-nerds who released quite a few games before Pokemon, so this deviation from their RPG roots isn't all that strange.

And while Game Freak has produced non-Pokemon games in recent years like Tembo the Badass Elephant and Pocket Card Jockey, Drill Dozer has the distinction of being directed by Ken Sugimori, one of the company's founding members who started there when it was just a humble fanzine. Even if you don't know his name, you're likely very familiar with his work: He designed all of the original 151 Pokemon, after all.

And that same creative spark is definitely present in Drill Dozer. While the Virtual Console version may lack the grafted-on rumble pack—which kinda just felt like an electric toothbrush buzzing in your hands—Drill Dozer remains an incredibly inventive side-scroller that has you steadily upgrading a walking tank throughout each level for the sake of wanton destruction. [Update: Apparently Drill Dozer's rumble functionality works as intended if you're using a Pro Controller.] All in all, it's a cute and incredibly tightly designed little game that makes tearing through the environment with giant drills just as fun as it should be.

Seeing as Drill Dozer released pretty late in the Game Boy Advance's life, it likely didn't get the attention it totally deserved. If you overlooked it a decade ago, strongly consider dropping $7.99 for it, if only to see those gorgeous sprite graphics blown up on your television screen. Drill Dozer might not be the Mother 3 surprise we wanted, but it's certainly a welcome addition to the Wii U Virtual Console.

Images courtesy of MobyGames

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Read this next

Death Stranding is a Game About Walking, Apparently

Someone has finally played Death Stranding and can tell us what its all about.

New Link's Awakening Video Shows Off Dungeon Creator and Map Markers

The adorable Zelda remake changes a few things.

NBA 2K20 is Still Very Committed to Switch: "The Flexibility Can't be Matched With That Console"

FIFA is scaling back on Nintendo's platform, but for the moment, Visual Concepts is here to stay.

Cyberpunk 2077 Producer Details Law Enforcement and the Rich Areas of Night City

There are no cops in the poorer districts. That all changes when you get to the affluent areas of Night City.

The Fire Emblem: Three Houses Student Ranking Thunderdome: 34 Students Enter, Only Shamir Leaves

We have no favorites among Three Houses' students, except for the ones that are our favorites.

Witchbrook Dev Tweets Design Docs Revealing New Details on the Charming Magical School Sim

A rare look into the internal process of development as it happens.

More Articles

Every Game and Trailer Shown off During the August Nintendo Indie World Showcase

Did you miss this morning's Indie World showcase? Let us help you.

What's The Best Video Game Spaceship?

COMMUNITY QUESTION | In honor of No Man's Sky Beyond, let's look back on the coolest spaceships around.

What's Your Favorite Non-Violent Game?

COMMUNITY QUESTION | Let's talk about our favorite chill, combat-free games.

More on Game Boy Advance

In Memorium: Fire Emblem's Juicy, Chunky GBA Sprites

A little bit of sprite art could convey a lot of emotion on the GBA.

Starting Screen | A Reminder for Fans Raging About Pokemon Sword and Shield: Every New Entry is Somebody's First

In this exciting issue: I recall dismissing Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire as "lazy" back in 2002.

Transferring Pokemon From the GBA to the Modern Games is an Insane and Convoluted Ballet

Bringing Pokemon from Gen 3 to the new games is like delivering a breech Miltank calf: You gotta twist and pull a little.

Kingdom Hearts 3 Primer: Making Sense of Kingdom Hearts' Notoriously Complex Story

We try to condense everything you need to know about Kingdom Hearts, so you don't have to read five million Wikis.

Game Boy Advance Emulator Contains Option That Brings Back Warm, Horrifying Memories

A feature on a Game Boy Advance emulator reminds me nostalgia is a landscape of contrasting feelings.