Home / Mobile / Hands-On: 'Dr. Mario World' Is Nintendo's Mobile Drug – Geek

Hands-On: 'Dr. Mario World' Is Nintendo's Mobile Drug – Geek



Ever since announcing its partnership with DeNA a few years ago to produce mobile games, Nintendo has already brought some of its biggest franchises to iOS and Android devices. Super Mario, Fire Emblem, Animal Crossing, and soon Mario Kart are all on the most ubiquitous pieces of tech out there. However, some true heavy hitters like Zelda and Metroid and Smash Bros. are still missing. That’s why I was surprised to learn that Nintendo’s next mobile is based on the fun and catchy but relatively B-tier puzzle game Dr. Mario.

However, after playing Dr. Mario World myself I totally get it. Nintendo wants to be the ones who give you the next Candy Crush Saga and reap in that kind of success. I don’t know if this will do that, but if nothing else Dr. Mario World is a clever little mobile puzzle game.

Whereas most falling block puzzle game are about creating and clearing huge solid masses of blocks, Dr. Mario has players creating lines to target specific colorful viruses. And that’s still the case in Dr. Mario World. But while that general concept remains, this mobile game plays surprisingly different from the NES original.

For starters, instead of dropping pills down, in Dr. Mario World you drag them up from the bottom. Nintendo says this helps visibility with one-handed touch screen play, but you do need to rethink your whole puzzle approach. You can drag pills side to side as they float up but you can’t pull them back down. My best combos came from quickly dragging and T-spinning pieces of used pills over to new strategic locations before they floated out of the window. The game calls for a different kind of quick-thinking puzzle game reflex.

My demo also showcased several twists players can expect in the 200 levels. The limited number of randomized pills turns each around into a larger puzzle in and of itself. Trigger bombs or bouncing koopa shells to take out whole clusters of viruses. Clear as many viruses as possible with unlimited blocks like in the original game. It stays surprisingly fresh. And that’s before you get into power-ups like stem cell-esque miracle pills that clear viruses of all colors or the special abilities of the different doctor and helper versions of Mario characters I can’t quite reveal yet.

Unfortunately, Dr. Mario World is still a free-to-play mobile game. There’s a multiplayer mode that might tear me away from Tetris 99 but it requires a pointless internet connection even in single-player. There are inconvenient, flow-halting hearts and stamina bars to worry about. And running out of medicine forces you to spend real money or wait to die, just like America’s actual health care system. But it’s not exactly Nintendo’s fault the mobile game scene is the way it is. You people wouldn’t even spend ten dollars on a pretty good Mario runner game.

Dr. Mario World comes to iOS and Android on July 10. For more on Nintendo check out these cool Nintendo Switch games.


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