Hands-on with Dr. Mario World’s Story and Versus Modes
Nintendo’s next mobile game is just around the corner and we were lucky enough to try it out.
Dr. Mario World is your classic Dr Mario game with a ‘modern’ mobile twist. That means it plays very much like the Dr. Mario games you remember but also it has all the trappings of a modern mobile game. That means eventually you’ll hit a limit where you could pay to continue or be patient. Oh and there’s some Gacha in there too.
There are two ways to play Dr. Mario World, either by yourself through the puzzling Stage Mode or through the Versus mode with friends and random people over the internet. After you beat a certain number of puzzles you’ll be able to jump into that online world, pick your Doctor and away you go.
That’s right, the Hollywood Upstairs Medical College of the Nintendo world is handing out the title of Doctor to anyone. Once you reach a certain level you can pick either Dr. Mario, Dr. Peach, or Dr. Bowser. Other doctors are unlocked through drops later with the drop rate of which one you could get in the game. Each of the doctors has a different ability, to help you along the way. Once powered up, Peach can remove a random row, Toad will remove 5 random objects and so forth.
For our preview, we were only able to choose between Mario, Peach and Bowser, so we weren’t able to try out anyone else. Each character also has different stats for use online. Along with a range of different Doctors, there are also a bunch of different assistants you can put on your team, you can have two of these at once. Like Doctors, these assistants are unlocked through Gacha drops. You get a Goomba to start but characters like Pom Pom, Sumo Bro and Clampy can assist you in both the Stage Mode and Versus mode, each with a different ability in each.
Versus Mode is the other mode of the game even with limited preview servers were able to find people quite easily and quickly. You’ll take your Doctor and Assistants online to battle it out with another player. During online matches, it’s a simple Dr. Mario battle as you try to clear out as many viruses as possible, but doing so you’ll fill up your opponent’s screen. You’ll get matched with people close to your power level and your ranking, every match you win will go to unlocking some extra consumables.
Adding friends to the game looks to be easy, you can add friends via Facebook, Line and through your Nintendo Account. We weren’t able to test this out, but it should work just as well as it did in Super Mario Run and Animal Crossing Pocket Camp. Unlike the Stage Mode, there doesn’t seem to be a limit on how many times you can play, as it doesn’t use any consumables.
Dr Mario World has the standard ‘mobile game’ mechanics you’ve all seen before. A heart meter that refills over time limiting plays, a premium currency to more quickly (and expensively) unlock characters. You can also buy items to help you out and use coins as the standard currency for those who don’t mind grinding. Overall it took us a few hours to reach the point where we were faced with having to wait or pay to continue to play through Stage Mode.
There’s also something which we hope will be tweaked in time for launch and that’s the load times, the game takes 30 seconds to get into from an initial boot (On an iPhone XS). We also had trouble with multitasking, if you switched out to any other app on your phone and back it sometimes wouldn’t resume from where you were and you had to hard quit the app. But hey, this was a beta – we hope you won’t have the same troubles.
Dr. Mario World has been a tonne of fun even with the limited time we’ve had with it, and like Nintendo’s other mobile titles doesn’t grind you in the face with in-app purchases. It’s fun and inoffensive and probably the only time I’ve actually enjoyed playing Dr Mario.