Drill Dozer is a 2D side scrolling platformer from the makers of the famous Pokemon series, Game Freak. The game stars Jill, a little girl and head of the gang of thieves called Red Dozers. She pilots a "Drill Dozer", a walking mech-like drilling machine. The drilling mechanic is the main focus of the game, allowing players to go through weak walls and blocks, as well as use it to aid in jumping, attacking and puzzle solving.
Using her Drill Dozer, Jill and the Red Dozers steal from an evil, villainous group called "Skullkers" These guys have stolen their red diamond and beat up Jill's father, forcing Jill to take leadership of his group. With her mechanics Gearmo and Grutch, Jill sets out to stop the Skullkers and their evil boss Croog. At the same time, Jill is being chased by Detective Carrie, who wants to bring Jill to justice.
In her Drill Dozer, Jill can jump, dash, and most importantly, drill. It can drill up, down, left and right. The drill can spin both clockwise and counter clockwise, depending on if you use the L or R button. The direction matters for certain switches, which must be turned a certain way. Drilling in one direction and then abruptly changing direction will also bounce Jill & her Dozer backwards, creating a kind of Wall-kick or Wall-jump.
Levels combine classic platformer mechanics with very light Metroid elements, by allowing players to drill to some poorly hidden areas to get more chips, or healing items, or gears. Chips are currency that can be used to upgrade parts and stats in between levels. Healing items...heal your health. Gears are items you find throughout the level to go up a gear level.
Your gear level is the strength of your drill. The stronger your drill, the more damage you do to enemies, and the more types of blocks/walls/barriers, you can drill through. The maximum level is 3, and you must find your gears all over again at the start of every level. An upper level gear level is not instant - You must drill through level 1, letting a bar fill up, then press the drill button at just the right time to go to level two, let that bar fill up, then press the button one final time to initiate the final level. If you do not press the drill button at the right time, or if you can't go any higher, the bar displayed will go down until it reaches the bottom - at which point your drill stops.
Levels involve Jill jumping from platform to platform, drilling thorugh walls, blocks, and enemies, and using her abilities to solve platformer puzzles. Everything that can be drilled through has a life bar, so very few things can be destroyed in an instant hit. However, the drill holds both Jill and the enemy in place, and can block incoming bullets. It cannot block incoming missiles or bombs, which will explode.