Also scattered throughout the subterranean levels are a slew of items to pick up: parts to upgrade your weapons, pieces of ancient fossils, and temporary power-ups. If you're brave enough to not whiz right through the story mode, there is a ton of stuff to collect, which does help add to the length of the game. In addition, two items you can find buried underground unlock brief minigames based on two other Namco games, Rally-X and Xevious. The twist here is that the gameplay takes place on the island you're currently on and helps you take care of the boss monster more quickly. They're fun to play, and they star Mr. Driller, another popular Namco character. If you're a fan of all things Namco, you'll probably find something to like in Digging Strike, especially during the wacky cutscenes before each level.
Someone needs a bath.
Given that this game appears on the Nintendo DS, one might expect some kind of interesting use of the stylus. Aside from tapping the screen at the menus and skipping past story sequences, this is the most tactile the game gets. While this is somewhat of a disappointment, the game does have a fun, cartoony look to the graphics, with colorful hand-drawn sprites for the subterranean levels, polygonal 3D for the parts of the game that take place above ground, and cute anime-style story sequences. It's nothing remarkable, exactly, but the visuals are ultimately servicable. Perhaps best of all is the inclusion of remixed takes on the classic Dig Dug music, which in and of its own is quite unique--in order to keep the music playing, you've got to keep moving.
When all is said and done, Dig Dug: Digging Strike isn't a terrible game, but it's not all that great, either. The nods to the Namco back catalog certainly add to the charm of the game, but it ends up playing awkwardly, and comes across as rather tossed together. If you're in the mood to collect every last item in the game and revel in the wacky story, you'll find some charm in the experience. If you came in looking for a throwback to the arcade days of old, you should probably look elsewhere.