Dr Mario & Germ Buster
- Developer: Arika
- Wii Points: 1000
- In Real Money: GBP 7 / EUR 10 approx
It simply wouldn't be a new Nintendo service without a Mario-shaped safety net, but this enhanced remake of the company's 1990 Tetris clone is perhaps a slightly leftfield choice.
The words "Tetris clone" should tell you all you need to know, really. The play area is a bottle, and in the bottle are colourful viruses in red, yellow and blue. Mario, dressed up as a doctor even though his qualifications are dubious at best, stands to the side of the screen and tosses pills into the bottle. The pills are two blocks wide and made up of random combinations of the same colours. Match four in a row, vertically or horizontally, and they vanish. Forming such rows using the viruses, thereby eliminating them, is the rather obvious aim of the game.
Even on the easiest settings, it can be a tough challenge. Even though you'd think it'd be simple to slot simple two-block shapes together you're almost always left with rogue colours jutting out all over the place, and without quick reactions you can spend most of your time just trying to clear up your own clutter without even getting close to the viruses below.
Apart from a general lick of paint, the game really hasn't changed since it debuted on the NES, which will either come as a relief or an outrage depending on your taste for retro puzzle games. You can change a few more options at the start of the game, tweaking the speed and difficulty to your liking, but the main addition is online play. You can even play against a friend who doesn't own the game, with a limited demo version sent screaming down the wires to their Wii so they can join in. Online is always good, but it's still online in the terms set out by the feature-deficient Wii, and therefore not quite the selling point it might have been.
You also get Germ Buster, which is a slightly beefed up version of the Dr Mario mini-game from More Brain Training in which you grab and twizzle the pills with the remote. It's a cute idea, but not particularly effective for a game that leaves so little room for sausage-fingered inaccuracy.
It's certainly a decent enough block-dropping puzzler, even if most people probably would've preferred Tetris. Or a Virtual Console release for the SNES Dr Mario and Tetris compilation. Either way, 1000 Points feels a bit steep.
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