The classic Nintendo title “Dr. Mario” revolves around eliminating viruses by using color coded pills, matching them in lines of three or more in order to remove them from the field. “Dr. Luigi” adds some changes to the formula and while it makes it a different experience, an L shape isn’t enough to swallow the $15 price tag.
Review Score: 3.5/5
The biggest and best change to the series comes from one of the three included game modes, Operation L. Operation L replaces the classic pill by sticking two pills together that form an L shape block. The bigger blocks mean that a miscalculation can have harder consequences, but it’s still an easy task to clean out viruses.
The L shape isn’t the only change to the gameplay; when playing in multiplayer a combo no longer results in sending extra colored blocks into your enemies’ screen, but rather you change the color combination of their next pill at the last moment. Though not a seemingly punishing attack, veteran players that focus on planning ahead are severely crippled, forcing them to rethink strategy.
The two remaining game modes are Retro Remedy and Virus Buster. Retro Remedy takes away the “Dr. Luigi” changes and reverts to the classic “Dr. Mario” gameplay. Virus Buster takes a break from the hectic pill popping and dropping experience and slows down the gameplay while utilizing the Wii U touch pad to drag pieces down. The mood is light as pills drop slowly and prolonged play starts dropping more pills, up to three at a time, to put into place.
“Dr. Luigi” is not a perfect update as none of the multiplayer allows for more than two players at a time, even when previous iterations have included four player matches.
Another problem that may be off putting to new players is the player-matching in online matches. Players are ranked internationally by skill, but the ranking is not taken into consideration when matchmaking, meaning that a new player might be matched against veteran professionals, making for a sour experience.
One new mode doesn’t justify a five dollar price increase when there is a cheaper version available; however, better online servers and cute graphics might sweeten the deal for some. “Dr. Luigi” could’ve done better, but it’s still a solid experience for lovers of the green plumber and for that I give it a score of 3.5 out of 5.