Dr. Mario Express (DSiWare)

Game Review

Dr. Mario Express Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Corbie Dillard

Dr. Mario Express retains all of the addictive charm of past releases and proves to be a great fit for the DSiWare service.

Over the years, Dr. Mario has become one of the most beloved Tetris clones available for any game system. From its original inception on Nintendo's NES console to the more recent offering on the WiiWare service, Dr. Mario has enjoyed success on many a Nintendo platform, so it should come as no surprise to see Nintendo releasing a version of the game on their new DSiWare service. But while the core game play remains intact, the omission of a multiplayer mode is likely to rub some longtime fans of the game the wrong way. Having said that, it's still hard to ignore the addictive charm the game still features, even all these years later.

The game play in Dr. Mario Express is quite simple. In Classic Mode, you begin the game with a host of viruses inside your pill bottle. Dr. Mario will begin tossing various-coloured pill capsules into your pill bottle one at a time. Some capsules have two different coloured ends and some feature the same colour on both ends. Using these falling capsules, you must line up three like-coloured capsule ends with a matching coloured virus in order to eradicate it. When you've completely rid the pill bottle of all viruses, you complete the level and move onto the next one. The number of viruses and speed with which Dr. Mario tosses the pills increases as you progress through the levels.

If you feel like a twist on the Classic Mode described above, you can take on the CPU in the VS. CPU Mode. This mode pits you against the CPU in a race to see who can wipe out all the viruses in their pill bottle first. Much like the Classic Mode, you can set your virus level and the speed with which Dr. Mario tosses the pills before you begin the game. You can also choose which of the two musical tracks you want to listen to during play. This mode basically functions much the same way the multi-player version does in other releases, only instead of taking on other players, you're relegated to challenging the CPU in this version of the game.

The Classic Mode is basically the game we've all seen in the various Dr. Mario releases over the years and it's the mode most people who are familiar with the game will likely spend the most time with. But there is something to be said for the VS. CPU Mode as well, as it injects a bit of added intensity to the experience and offers a nice diversion from the main game itself. The control system is simple and intuitive and will feel instantly familiar to fans of the game. The game even saves your records for each mode so you can always keep track of your performance any time you feel the need to do so. It's a small feature, but a welcome one nonetheless.

The presentation in Dr. Mario Express is quite good, even for a DSiWare release. While the playing field is fairly basic in design, the viruses and Dr. Mario all have a sharp 3D rendered look to them and animate quite well throughout their various poses. Since the game is fairly basic in design, there's not a real need for a lot of flashy visual effects, and the "less is more" look of the game works perfectly considering the type of game it is.

The music is another thing long-time fans of the game will pick up on right off. The classic 'Fever' track sounds as great as ever and the game even offers up an alternate audio track for those who tire of the tune, although we can't imagine that happening. You can set which song you want to play during your game or let the CPU randomly select one of them for you. Either way, the musical presentation in Dr. Mario Express remains catchy and it's nice to see Nintendo include the classic Fever track one more time for those who've enjoyed it in previous Dr. Mario releases over the years.


In the end, Dr. Mario Express still features the same addictive gameplay the title has become so well known for over the years and it ends up being a welcome addition to a DSiWare game library that's been a bit lacking to date. A multi-player mode would have made the package much more well-rounded, but if you're just looking to kill some time and want a quick dose of a game that's still as much fun today as it was nearly two decades ago when it was first released, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better solution than this DSiWare version of the game. And at 500 Nintendo Points, this could be just what the doctor ordered for DSi owners.

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User Comments (44)




We are big fans of Dr Mario WiiWare in our household and I am definately in for this. Looks like Europe will have to wait till after July though.

Gameplay, price, fanboyism and handheld play have convinced me to purchase this when it come out!



Philip_J_Reed said:

"the game even offers up an alternate audio track for those who tire of the tune"

Is it Chill? Or something brand new?



warioswoods said:

I'd add that although it is a very simple change from the NES game, having the CPU's playing area show on the top screen rather than having to cram two play areas side by side is a nice improvement made possible by the DS.



Olimar_91 said:

Normally I'd leap head first at a new Dr. Mario, but considering I own Online Rx and that I rarely take my DS with me on travels, it seems like a waste.

For everyone else though, it's good news.



Cheezy said:

I'm actually suprised, I was expecting a 6 or 7, even though I think it's fun as hell.



SmaMan said:

Hmm, I wonder if it would be cheaper just to find the Classic NES Series version of Dr. Mario. Well you wouldn't be able to use it in the DSi anyway.



Wiiloveit said:

Wait... Corbie! An eight? You and I both know that deep down, you wanted to give it a seven.



Supermarioman said:

Actually the Classic NES Series are getting expensive, why would I pay $15 for Super Mario Bros. , when its $5 on the VC, HELL EVEN FREAKING ICE CLIMBERS IS $5 IN THE CLASSICS!



SmaMan said:

Actually, that's cheaper than what I saw them at when they were new. If I remember correctly, I saw Bomberman for $20. But it looks like this is the cheapest way to get Dr. Mario on the go, and the graphics are better too.



J_K said:

8 is a perfect for this game as some want to complain about and it's kind of valid, there's no multiplayer. The thing is outside that one issue the game stands on its own and has a good deal of game there and modes especially for $5. To raise it or lower it really off an 8 would be just not right.



Objection said:

I can't believe the review was this favorable considering there's no multiplayer but now that I think about it, single player is the only mode I've yet played. Then again, I bought my copy of WarioWare (GBA) which has this for $10 back in the day so I think I'm good.



Corbs said:

My first thought was to give the game a 7 due to the lack of multiplayer, but given the $5 price tag and the fact that it fits the portable DSi system to a tee, I felt like an 8 was more fair. It would have been nice to have had a multiplayer mode, however.



Victoria said:

I've always been a fan of Dr Mario - couldn't wait for it to come out on the Wii. So I'll probably get this when it's available in the UK.



Crunc said:

What justification is there for no having local wifi versus play at the least? And internet play? There's plenty of room for full featured games, even more full featured then DS cartridge games, especially once they update the DSi to support playing DSiWare from an SD card, which I have to presume they will be doing. It pisses me off that they give us gimped games. They seem to be doing so intentionally and I'm surprised how willing people seem to be to take it. Why did I buy this DSi? So I can play games with fewer features then GB games?



Nintendude92 said:

Are any dsiware games so far planning on having wireless multiplayer? You would think the doc would have it.



Kit said:

Thank God, Dr Mario has finally been released in the UK. Hooray!!!
Just in time for the Swine Flu! Once again Mario saves the day.



metakirbyknight said:

At first I was disappointed that there was no multiplayer, then I realized in all of my copies of Dr. Mario I never touched it anyway.



malki said:

I've had more fun with this version than the Wiiware one, it makes a great hand held game, but it is missing some multiplayer, but I'd only get beaten lot.



mastersworddude said:

One of my top priorities when i get a DSi, is to buy this game, so its like playing Online Rx on the road.



Gamer83 said:

OnlineRx is great so I'll be buying this for sure. Wish it had online but the fact that I can take this on the road with me makes up for that.



will_dsi said:

Dr. Mario (in my opinion) is one of the good spin off series of Mario.
I think this game is worth the 500 Nintendo Points.



PressStart said:

As soon as I heard of this, I wanted to get it! Seems to be worth the 500 DSi points... Multiplayer would of been nice though...



Kadaj said:

Dr. Mario is awesome

So far, this is the only DSiWare game I've seen that is worth getting



aerogirl1003 said:

Sorry Kadaj, but this game is the worst. I only played it once and hated the experience! Just consider yourself warned that this game is not worthy of 8/10. more like 6/10. Don't get me wrong though, it is a lot better than some stupid clock or mini game but i would keep looking.



xxx_Kirby_xxx said:

Virus...... *44? Merciless crud, that's difficult!!! I love Dr Mario xD. But I wouldn't buy this, 'cause I'd get stuck and frustrated.



Supremeist said:

I don't know how to play this, so I think I might learn before I pick it up on my 3DS. My sister really likes the Brain Age one, so I'm thinking about getting this.



AVahne said:

Hoping Nintendo makes a 3DSWare version with local and online multiplayer with DOWNLOAD PLAY.



nooooooooooooop said:

Ah yes. Dr. Mario. a brilliant and unique puzzle game! I remember seeing this on the DSi shop for just 500 points and without thinking I downloaded it! No regrets!
Shame it didn't come with online play but nevertheless a great game. I prefer the European name of the game though! "A little bit of Dr. Mario" just sounds nice and simple!



SeVok said:

Bought it today, been willing to try a Dr. Mario game and choose this version over the Gameboy version.

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