|System: Wii (WiiWare)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Nintendo||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Nintendo||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: May 26, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Dr. Mario has been one of my favorite puzzle games for years now, so making a new one for WiiWare just seemed to make sense. Now that Nintendo is finally taking advantage of online gaming, Wii games with online gameplay seem to be what the doctor ordered. After all, if you love Dr. Mario, wouldn't you love it even more if it offered online competition? The answer is yes, and that's the key to understanding the value of this game.
Dr. Mario is the classic game where colored capsules drop into a container that has other pills and viruses. By dropping the right color around the viruses, you'll end up killing them. But, how is this done? Well, you just make a horizontal or vertical combo of three or more pills of the same color as the virus, and it will disappear. You can move the pills with the D-Pad and rotate them with the push of a button, just like if you were playing Tetris. Most levels have several viruses; the higher the difficulty setting you choose, the more of them you'll have to take care of. Also, you can vary the speed at which the pills drop, which can make the game insanely more challenging. This puzzler is definitely not easy, but if you like it, you'll get used to it eventually and do a good job.
Dr. Mario RX Online has two main game modes: Dr. Mario and Virus Buster. In Dr. Mario, you'll be able to play the classic mode, where the main objective is to kill the viruses in each level and advance to the next one. There's also a Vs. CPU mode, where you compete against the machine. If you or the CPU kill more than one virus with a single move (chain), you'll send little colored blocks to the opponent's game board. This is a pain in the neck when, for example, you're about to do your next blue combo and a yellow piece falls right on top of it and kills your strategy. You'll then have to make a yellow combo before you can get rid of the blue pieces below. Also, most capsules are split in two colors, so it's tough to complete a combo without messing up the surrounding lines or rows.
Flash mode is not as painful as the Vs. mode. The goal is to kill the viruses in your container before the enemy does. No one sends extra blocks to the opponent here, so you have a better chance to do things right. Virus Buster mode is a bit more gimmicky. Here you can strategically place the falling capsules by pointing at them with the Wii Remote and holding the A or B button to drag them. Both the game layout and the pills are much bigger than in the other game modes; this makes it easier to see, but somehow more difficult to play. This one is also just single-player.
None of these game modes are especially appealing if you already own Dr. Mario for another system. Unfortunately, I have to admit I found more disappointment than joy after I downloaded and played this game. I remember the good old times when I was very addicted to Dr. Mario and played it on a handheld. Those times have come and gone though, and Dr. Mario is still the same. Like I said before, the key to this game is the brand new online gameplay.