Drilly Willis is a metroidvania game where you play as a drill-headed man named Drilly Willis. You’re a rocker and you were playing for a crowd when Flash Clappy showed up and banished you with his magical bullshit powers. You’re now trapped in a world, your music has been lost, your guitar has no strings, and your tuners are gone. You have to find a way out of Clappy’s shit world and back into the normal one.
In the game Drilly has the ability to use his drill head to attack enemies, eventually you gain screws to throw at enemies and you get songs which are effectively magic spells, like throwing out flames, or firing an icicle. For the magic/songs you have groove instead of magic. Enemies sometimes drop hearts for health, 4/4 scales for groove, or gears, if anything at all that is. Gears are used to upgrade Drilly, giving him more damage with everything and the like. You can also find special hearts and 4/4 scales in the world which upgrade your health and groove pool respectively.
Combat is pretty easy as it’s just mostly hitting things with the drill when they get close and they move just a little between hits allowing you to kill most things before they can touch you and then using a healing song when needed. Each area has two to four different types of enemies, a couple are usually just an enemy and it’s stronger counterpart though. I’d tell you to types of enemies you fight but they’re all so fucking weird. There’s some kool-aide guys, some weird rat things, spiders (ew), poops, fists, like it’s all over the place and it’s all fucking weird. Most enemies can just be killed the standard way, a few require special things to be done, for instance the fist enemies, you need to move something close to them so they’ll hit it, then you can get behind them and kill them with the drill, you can’t damage them with anything else and if you get close to them they’ll smash you and you can’t avoid that smash.
The platforming is basic, you jump, you climb stuff which is automatic as you just walk up, down, and to the sides just like walking on the ground. Otherwise you just shoot stuff, which you can still do while climbing and while falling. There’s no double jump that I found, and no crouching either. Sometimes you have to use switches to create new platforms, and sometimes there’s platforms which are just growing and shrinking rocks which makes it a little harder. Occasionally the game puts those same rocks against you by making them radioactive looking and if you have to avoid them instead of touching them. Most of the elements in the level will just kill you outright instead of damaging you, only enemies really harm you, everything else either kills you or doesn’t harm you.
You get to interact with other… people (?), in this place. Others that Clappy has sent there. They range from stages, to lights, to drum sets, all of them sent there because Clappy is shit as music and blames everything but himself, after blaming them he banishes them to this world, while he continues to suck ass at everything he does. Sometimes you have to do things for these ‘people’ but usually they just give you hints about what to do or just have some dialogue simply so they’ll say something instead of just standing there. Oh yeah, the world is hand drawn along with all the characters, which explains why it all looks so weird.
I did have a couple issues, one is that the game can be dangerous for photosensitive people like myself, due to flickering in the game and quick color shifting (flickering with color instead of just on and off). If you’re photosensitive, like me, don’t get this as you’ll likely have a seizure. However, the game DOES warn you about this stuff at the start of the game. However, even areas that don’t have strobe effects can sometimes be an issue because the background flickers as you move in some areas, which I’m sure wasn’t the plan. Other than that sometimes the jump button doesn’t register which is annoying more than half my deaths were due to it just not registering my jumps. I’m nearing one hundred deaths at this point, but I get Steam achievements for dying so fuck it, who cares.
Overall it’s okay, it’s very weird looking and has interesting alteration of the mechanics with magic, bombs, guns all being replaced with music and the like. It’s drawn style is very… different, some people will like it some people will hate it. The few issues I had aren’t a big issue for everyone so it’s fine. And there’s a hint system if you don’t know what the fuck you’re suppose to do, please remember it exists, you will need it occasionally.
A review copy of the game was provided by the dev, Mike Grosso.
darkmikasonfire doesn’t award Drilly Willis the Indie Gamer Team Seal of Approval, just isn’t my kind of game.