REVIEW | Dr. Luigi
The year: 1990. Tetris-mania is rampant and unchecked. Far and wide throughout the nation, American gamers had caught the Russian-based disease and were fighting an obsession with lining up things that fell from the sky in various manners. Only one man had the cure for Tetris-mania. A doctor. A doctor with a mission and more lives than a cat. That doctor… was Dr. Mario.
Who knew our favorite mushroom-hoarding plumber was taking medical night school?
Armed with his mighty, colorful capsules, Dr. Mario eradicated the world of the virus scourge, and his legacy would live on for years to come in Nintendo lore. (That part isn’t embellishment; Dr. Mario has seen some form of life on every Nintendo home console since the NES.)
Today, new viruses have made their way to the people, and again, only one doctor can save the world from a puzzling (get it?) sickness, but this time, the doctor wears green.
Dr. Luigi is the latest incarnation of the Dr. Mario series, released onto the Wii U eShop, and for those who enjoyed the match-four puzzler in the ’90s, it’s still just as addicting now. Dr. Luigi offers a few new twists, but nothing too far-fetched to throw off the winning formula.
The idea behind the game is still the same: clear all the viruses by matching four of the same color, be it viruses or capsule pieces. Capsules can be rotated and moved, but as time and levels progress, so does the speed and amount of viruses (virii?). It’s the classic Dr. Mario gameplay gamers know and love; those who select “Retro Remedy” mode will get just that. Dr. Luigi, however, also introduces “Operation L,” where everybody’s favorite Player 2 drops capsules in L-shaped packets that will break up upon landing, adding an element of necessary foresight to the puzzle; sure, one might know where the packet will land, but does that mean all the parts will stay in place? If you’re good, they will; if you’re really good, they won’t and they’ll land exactly where you want them to.
Both “Retro Remedy” and “Operation L” offer online and offline competitive play, where clearing combos sends capsule fragments over to the other player’s bottle, mucking up their playfield. But the most unique offering from Dr. Luigi also offers some of the most fun in “Virus Buster” mode. “Virus Buster” literally puts the bottle in player’s hands, transforming the Wii U Gamepad into the playfield with a drag-and-drop mechanic. Capsules drop slowly, but as time passes they speed up, and come in twos and threes. It’s an interesting twist to the steadfast mechanic, and works great for those who like to play match games on their table such as Bejeweled.
Dr. Luigi isn’t groundbreaking stuff; it’s the Dr. Mario we love, with enhanced graphics, music, and a dash of green. But no matter how you dress it up, it is and always will be addictive puzzle fun. It’s challenging and entertaining, and it’s worth having on your Wii U in between sessions of Super Mario 3D World and WindWaker HD as one of those titles anyone in the household can enjoy.
Wii U (via eShop)
Rated E for Everyone