Total time played: 2 Hours
Short review: Nintendo’s take on Tetris which is different enough to be a classic on its own but doesn’t have quite the same universal appeal as Tetris.
Interesting links related to Dr. Mario
How To Play
Dr. Mario sits in the top right corner of the screen and throws pills into a pill bottle which has viruses scattered throughout. The pills come in many shades but are all the same shape.
The goal of the game is to match groups of 4 of the same colors together to get rid of all the viruses on screen. This can be accomplished by 3 pills on top of a virus or 2 pills on top of 2 viruses of the same color. You can also stack pills under or beside viruses to accomplish this task.
Dr. Mario, unlike Tetris has an end. At the start of the game you select a stage and a speed. Stages go between 0-20 and speed is low-medium-high. I almost wish you couldn’t select a stage and were forced to start at level 0 and play through all 20 levels to beat the game. But, because you can select a stage I played the first few for practice and then jumped straight to the hardest level.
Virus Level 20
I thought I was going to be tough and beat the hardest level with the fastest speed. After never coming close after 50+ attempts I dropped the speed to medium and once was able to clear the viruses down to about 50 before choking and dying I decided to just beat the game on the slow speed. I plan on revisiting Dr. Mario and doing the fast speed at some point but I’m trying to knock out a few more games before the birth of my first child so slow speed will have to do for now.
I never really locked down any one strategy to help me beat the game. I just brute forced it by attempting it over and over until I got a good virus lay out with a lot of viruses of the same color stacked. This allowed me to drop a double sided same color pill on a stack of two viruses and clear them out much quicker than one at a time. The only other strategy is to keep one eye on Dr. Mario so you can see what the next pill will be. This allows you to plan out your moves one step ahead.
Music and sound effects are great. But, there are only 2 songs and you will get sick of hearing them eventually. I think I prefer the Tetris music to Dr. Mario music.
It is hard to make a game that is easy to learn, hard to master and appeals to people of all generations. I can’t imagine anyone not enjoying Dr. Mario. It is cute, fun, and challenging. I only wish there were more game mode options and there wasn’t a stage select to make it feel more like a game with a beginning and end. But, other than those couple of gripes this is a masterpiece.