It is sad to see the Year of Luigi come to a close, but what better way to end it than with a callback to one of the great Nintendo franchises we haven’t seen in years. Dr. Luigi finally gives Mario’s green-inspired brother a chance to do some pill-popping of his own, in this pseudo sequel to Dr. Mario Online Rx.
While the core idea is similar, Dr. Luigi does toss in a few modified prescriptions to personalize it. This package is still slim however, making it a hard pill to swallow (these puns are too easy) for the price tag.
Dr. Luigi is broken up into four modes, Retro Remedy, Virus Buster, Online Battle, and the new Operation L. This definitely has the makings of an eShop downloadable title, featuring no fleshed-out campaign mode to speak of.
Operation L is the most prevalent of the new features. This changes the dynamic of the Dr. Mario formula by adding L-shaped pills that usually consist of common colors, making breaking down the viruses much quicker. This creates faster-paced sessions, and keeps things moving at a brisk pace. This is definitely the dominant mode, and after countless sessions I found it to be the most refreshing of the package. The new dynamic really changes the way I played a Dr. Mario title.
Retro Remedy is essentially the classic game everyone should be familiar with. For purists, this will be a comfortable destination, but for those looking for something new, it falls flat. This was best played when I was aching to scratch a familiar itch.
Virus Buster is the ancillary Wii U addition that focuses its game play on the gamepad. In this mode players use the stylus to manipulate pills horizontally and vertically, but there is a twist. While the speed at which I could maneuver my pills was increased, the game also tossed in more pills at the same time, making it a more twitch-based experience than traditional Dr. Luigi. It is a cool idea, and one that takes serious practice to master, but in the end I kept going back to Operation L.
Online also makes an appearance, but in its most rudimentary form. Players can match randomly or with friends in Retro Remedy or Operation L. Points can be earned for winning and matchmaking works fine, but that is it. There is a sort of leader board to display rankings, but the rest is about as bare bones as it gets.
I love seeing Nintendo re-imagining classic franchises, especially ones like Dr. Mario that don’t get enough love, but this small package does more to whet my appetite than satiate it. Still, for $15 fans of the formula cannot go wrong. This is as close as we are going to get to a proper Dr. Mario sequel for a while, so while the prescription doesn’t cure all woes; it does help dull the pain.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.