This morning, Nintendo made a surprise announcement, revealing another reimagined classic coming to their line-up, this time in mobile form. Dr. Mario World, due on July 10, will bring the match-4 puzzle game to iOS and Android devices, with a visual and mechanical update that changes everything about how it looks and plays. If you think you knew Dr. Mario, think again: like a mutated virus, this new version is reminiscent of the original but with a twist that presents all new challenges.
The classic Dr. Mario is fairly simple: red, yellow and blue viruses are stacked in a bottle, and multicolored pills, falling from the top, must be matched in groups of four to eliminate them from the screen. In this new version, however, the levels are designed as more of an obstacle course, where blocks, breakable bricks, bombs, shells and other items from the Mario game universe create puzzles that can only be solved with the clever elimination of viruses in strategic combination with whatever is in the environment. Pills drift upwards from the bottom of the screen with the drag of a finger, and instead of being matched in sets of four, will only require three matched colors to eliminate the row. Each level will have its own unique objective to be obtained within a limited number of moves. It is very different from the Dr. Mario you once knew, but if you play a lot of mobile games, many of the additions will be familiar to you. More details on how these items are used and the effect they have on viruses and obstacles can be seen in the announcement and gameplay trailer below.
The game will also feature more characters than the old school Dr. Mario, pulling from the entire Mario line-up to flesh out over 200 levels spread out across several worlds. Dr. Peach, Dr. Bowser, and Dr. Toad will all be on hand to add unique special skills that can be used once per level. Nintendo says they’ll be updating the game with more doctors, stages and worlds on a regular basis after the game’s initial release.
This latest move to put a modern spin on an old game is not unlike Nintendo’s recent efforts to reimagine other classics. Lately Tetris has seen its own popularity resurge with Tetris 99, a last man standing version of the original whose slight competitive twist has breathed new life into the game. Those who wish to play the game the minute it debuts next month can sign up at the pre-registration link to get an alert when Dr. Mario World is available for download.
Holly Green is the assistant editor of Paste Games and a reporter and semiprofessional photographer. She is also the author of Fry Scores: An Unofficial Guide To Video Game Grub. You can find her work at Gamasutra, Polygon, Unwinnable, and other videogame news publications.