Dr. Mario World (iOS, Android)

Dr. Mario is one of Nintendo’s most popular puzzle games and it started back on the NES.  It was one of the few NES games I could get my mom to play back then and it’s one of her favorites!  So we were both excited when Nintendo recently released Dr. Mario World.  It’s a free-to-play downloadable mobile title (reviewed on iPad here) that takes gameplay elements from the original title to create a whole new kind of game, pretty much.

Those pesky viruses have invaded the Mushroom Kingdom, and it’s up to Dr. Mario and friends to stop them!  But instead of colored capsules falling down a well for you to rotate and match colors with viruses, it’s kind of the opposite.  The playfield in this game fills up with a purple goo, and you send capsules upward, like they’re floating.  Use the touch screen to tap on capsules to rotate them, and drag them where you want them to go.  When you match three of the same color, whether it be a capsule or virus, they’ll disappear.  In most levels, when you clear out all the viruses, you’ll beat the stage.  You have a limited number of capsules to use, and if you run out, you’ll have to start the level over again.

There are two main modes of play.  The main game has you following a map, similar to other mobile game titles.  Each level you can earn stars, depending on how many capsules are left over.  Sometimes there are other obstacles from Mario games in the levels, like brick blocks you can break when you match something near them, or Koopa shells that clear out anything in a horizontal line when you match colors with them.  Sometimes you must do other things in the levels instead of just clearing viruses.  Like nabbing coins from blocks or keeping viruses from reaching the bottom of the screen.

If you lose a level, you’ll lose a heart, which you need to play.  But hearts regain over time, and you can ask other friends for hearts via social media, or you can buy them.  As a free-to-play title, you can also purchase diamonds that act as currency in the game to buy power-ups and new characters to play as.  Near the start of the game, you’ll be able to choose from Dr. Mario, Dr. Peach, or even Dr. Bowser!  Dr. Mario is questionable enough, but if I were sick, I would definitely NOT go see Dr. Bowser!  Each character has their own special skill you can use when a meter fills up after clearing viruses.  There are other characters you can get later, too.  I wanna get Dr. Toad or Dr. Luigi!  You can also get assistants (other minor Mario characters) to give you boosts as well.

The other main mode of play is Versus.  Here you challenge another player online.  You can play against friends or anyone, and there is no limit as to how long you can play.  You can use character skills here, too, to attack the other player.  This mode was also a lot of fun and I was impressed on how fast and easy it was to get started, either with friends or anyone online.  Plus I’ve been able to win a lot so far, which is rare for me in an online game!

Dr. Mario World does have a few problems, though.  As with most other mobile games, you must always be online to play, and at least at first, sometimes it would have trouble connecting.  The touch screen controls aren’t always responsive, especially when you have to do more advanced things like drag capsules through walls.  That worked for me like about half the time.  And the game gets very hard, very quick.  As of this writing I can’t get past stage 47!  And my mom, more of a casual gamer, is having an even harder time!  But otherwise, the game still has that level of Nintendo polish, and since it’s free, I’d say it’s worth trying if you are a fan of puzzle games, Dr. Mario, and Nintendo in general.

Kid Factor:

Nothing violent or objectionable here.  Cleared viruses just make an ugly face and disappear.  Reading skill is needed for the text, and parental supervision is recommended for the in-game purchases.

One Response to “Dr. Mario World (iOS, Android)”

  1. the online player versus player actually sounds pretty fun.

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