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Nintendo And LINE Team Up To Bring New Dr. Mario Game To Mobile

The 1990’s classic action puzzle game Dr. Mario is making a comeback and will be available for free on smart devices. Nintendo and LINE Corporation, a subsidiary of the South Korean internet search giant, Naver Corporation, are teaming up to bring the beloved character to back to life in a remake of the 1990’s falling block puzzle game. An exact release date has not been revealed, but a press release by Nintendo says we can expect the title sometime in “Early summer 2019”.

Dr. Mario was originally designed by Japanese game developer Takahiro Harada and released on July 27, 1990, on the Nintendo Entertainment System and Game Boy consoles. It has since been ported on every Nintendo console and most portable game systems.

Dr. Mario is a falling block game which pits the player against viruses which can only be destroyed by correctly matching colored capsules tossed by Mario. The original game was beaten by eliminating all of the viruses on the screen by rotating falling pill capsules, similar to Tetris. While Nintendo hasn’t revealed any details about the gameplay, it has confirmed that the new Dr. Mario will also be a puzzle game. The new iteration of the Nintendo classic will be called Dr. Mario World, in what appears to be a mashup of the NES-era classics Super Mario World and Dr. Mario. One has to wonder if the game will also merge elements from the side-scrolling classic Super Mario World with the action puzzle genre as the name suggests.

So far, Nintendo has been tight-lipped about the details of the gameplay, but they have confirmed it will be releasing on both iOS and Android devices. In the press release from Nintendo, they describe the game’s genre simply as “puzzle.” Regardless of whether Nintendo revives the classic title as a modern day clone, or releases a totally new style of gameplay, it is safe to say that long-time fans of Nintendo will be pleased to revisit Dr. Mario once again. One worrying element, however, is the free-to-play model with optional in-app purchases. With other mobile franchises such as Pokemon Go bringing in as much as $2 billion, more and more developers are opting to shift resources to the mobile platform. But will Dr. Mario World be a fully fleshed out puzzle game or a hollow attempt at a cash grab? The last Mario game for mobile was released in 2016 and was called Super Mario Run. The game racked up $60 million in Apple Store and Google Play profits worldwide, hardly a home run when compared to other successful mobile games like Candy Crush which earned over $200 million a year.

News that Nintendo’s new mobile game Dr. Mario World is free-to-play is probably not a surprise, but when looking at the company’s past mobile Mario games, free-to-download is a better description. Unlocking the full Super Mario Run game on mobile cost $9.99. Sure you could try out each of the four game modes, but if you wanted to play more than a demo you had to pay. Regardless of the price model, hopefully Nintendo stays true to the core mechanics which made the original Dr. Mario such a hit.

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