Just like real drugs, the new 'miracle cure' power-ups in this version of Dr. Mario can save your life - or ruin it.
For the most part, the classic puzzle gameplay hasn't changed. In each bite-size level you drop coloured pills into a giant glass tub, filled with squirming bacteria. The goal is to kill the viruses by making them part of a four-piece match.
But now, making matches and scoring points tops up a special meter. When filled, one of four new power-ups drops into the tub.Germ warfare
There are ones that can immediately irradiate all the viruses and capsules on screen based on colour, and those that can destroy all blocks in a row or column - or blast radius.
They can all be helpful, but careless use of these drugs can make them a hinderance. That adds an extra, welcome - but somewhat thin - layer of strategy to the whole thing as you figure out the optimum way to use each power-up
It's maybe not as revelatory as Dr. Luigi's introduction in the last virus-hunting game, who brought those troublesome L-shaped capsules with him. Luckily, Mario's bro shows up in this game, too.The doctor is in
When you go to play a game you have loads of options - including whether to play as Mario or Luigi, or play the Germ Buster mode from WiiWare. You can also play alone or against a CPU, with miracle cure on or off, and set your own difficulty level.
The game's also got 50 puzzle-led stages that show off the new power-ups and you've got both online head-to-heas multiplayer, and local vs. and co-op with download play.
It's a reasonably generous package, and it looks and sounds okay (there's very little stereoscopic 3D, though) and if you like Dr. Mario's gameplay you'll find a lot to like here.Attack the block
But personally, I've never been too excited by Mario's stint as a GP, especially when compared to other block droppers like Tetris and Panel de Pon.
The play space is so claustrophobic as you weave in and out of floating germs. And because one silly slip-up - the wrong coloured capsule on a germ's bonce - can take ages to fix, it can often be more frustrating than exciting.
Those with fond memories of Dr. Mario's exploits will find a lot to like here - it's almost like a best-of compilation, with fresh material to boot. But anyone bored or just unenthused by Mario's germ-busting spin-off won't get much out of it.