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Quickie Review: Dr. Mario Miracle Cure

As someone who loves puzzle games, I was ecstatic to hear that a new Dr. Mario game was in the works. They have always been really well constructed and have a charming simplicity about them that can't be beat, but does this brand new title have the gusto to be an exceptional entry in the franchise? Well let's see.

Like every other game in the series, Dr. Mario Miracle Cure keeps the series tradition of eliminating viruses by matching them with like-colored pills (called Mega-Vitamins) in rows or columns of four or more. The pills can be rotated to better fit into certain areas, and if the entirety of the pill isn't vaporized, the remaining half will drop down toward the bottom of the bottle if it isn't blocked by an obstacle in its path. As you play, the bottle will fill with more and more viruses in each subsequent stage, with the drop speed of your pills increasing in later stages. Now if this were just a simple game of Dr. Mario, then I'd be done with my review right now, but it's not, and now I'll explain why.

This iteration of the series actually includes quite a few features from previous games in the series and even throws in a few brand new gameplay elements in order to keep things fresh and exciting. Starting by order of additions, we have the game mode called Virus Buster which actually first made its appearance in the DS game Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes a Day as a bonus minigame. Virus Buster still goes by the same gameplay staple of connecting four viruses and pills of the same color to remove them from play, but the major difference is that the game is played with the stylus and two or even three pills can be dropped into play at once, although they fall at a fairly slow pace. Next is the Online mode which was introduced in Dr. Mario Online RX on the Wii. All it does is let you face a random player from somewhere around the world, or play against a friend on your 3DS's friend list. Then we have the game mode Dr. Luigi, which was introduced as the Operation L game mode in Dr. Luigi on the Wii U. This game mode drops two pills at once in the shape of the letter L with the long side of the shape often being comprised of all one color. This forced the player to think of new strategies as the unusual pill configuration and its large size made it difficult to maneuver in the confines of the bottle.

Now new to this game are the new Miracle Cure capsules which can help turn the tide in a losing match. These capsules can wipe out whole columns, whole rows, like-colored pills, like-colored viruses, or a two square radius around where the capsule is dropped. Now because of the nature of these power-ups, they cannot be used in the normal classic game mode as it would make it far too easy. Instead, a new game mode called Endless was specially made for the purpose of getting the full use out of them. In Endless mode, new viruses will continually spawn from the bottom of the playing field and won't stop until you get a game over. In addition to the Miracle Cures, we also have set of sixty single player challenges to help you get accustomed to using this new addition to the franchise. The challenges range from easy to excruciating in ten training, twenty basic, and thirty advanced challenges designed to test your reflexes and ability to think under pressure.

All in all, Dr. Mario Miracle Cure is a great entry to the franchise. It includes enough game modes to keep you busy for a long time to come and its new Miracle Cure power-ups make for a fine addition to the series. Hopefully we'll being seeing more of them in future installments, but until then, I'll be seeing you.



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