THE FACTS: Dr Mario and Germ Buster (a.k.a. Dr Mario RX)
WiiWare | Nintendo | Wi-fi multiplayer 1-2 | Split screen multiplayer 1-2 | Co-op multiplayer 1-4 | Mii support | Out Now | 1000 Wii Points (£7.00/$10.00 Online)
Controller compatability: Wii remote, Classic Controller, Nunchuck (seperately), GameCube Controller
Reviewer: Billy White
Dr Mario has never been “up there” with the puzzle games, and we expect people have had to go see a Doctor of their own due to migraines of frustration from this game, but for some reason, the series still sells well (most likely because it stars Mario).
Dr Mario is similar to good old Puyo Puyo in that you have rectangular blocks of two colours (red, blue or yellow) which you must then rotate and drop down into the playing area. Stack them up to the top and you lose, but get four or more blocks of the same colour together and they will all vanish, leaving the blocks above to fall back down thanks to the help of our friend gravity.
The twist that makes Dr Mario different is that some “viruses” have been littered amongst the playing area at the start, and so you must delete these from the screen in the same manner as you would do with your normal blocks (or pills as they are referred to here). Sure, it might sound like a simple premise that could be as addictive as fellow games Puyo Puyo, Yoshi’s Cookie or Tetris, but it isn’t because it’s far too frustrating.
If you’re excellent at the game though and can complete all 20 levels on all difficulties, (as well as thrash the CPU every single time on Hard) then you will squeal with joy at the fact you can now try and beat others via the means of the Wi-fi mode which is based around the 5000-point Mario Kart Wii scheme (where you simply earn and lose points depending on your skill). This is fairly enjoyable and also features high score tables, and you rarely get left with no one to play against.
If you’re not so good, or if you just aren’t any good at puzzle games in general, the less-frantic Germ Buster should help you out. With bigger, more Wii-like visuals and an equally simple control scheme (aim and drag the pieces instead of using the D-Pad), it will ensure anyone can play this edition of the puzzler.
At 1000 points, only puzzle fans should rake out the cash, but this IS the definitive version of the series, and can easily take up a few minutes of your time every so often.
Simple gameplay that works well, but is often too difficult
Very simple and easy to distinguish what's going on, with suitable (but repetitive) music tracks
As we said above, it's just too frustrating
The online mode, wi-fi rankings, co-op and germ buster modes should keep you occupied