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Free-to-start mobile game Dr. Mario World arrives early on iOS and Android

Dr. Mario World mobile game nintendo microtransactions diamond heart

Nintendo made its first major attempt at mobile gaming on smart devices with Super Mario Run at the end of 2016. Today, our multitalented hero is being tapped for another one of his professions in the Japanese game company’s latest mobile release. Dr. Mario World is out now — a day early — on iOS and Android, and it gives gamers a Candy Crush-style match-three experience with Nintendo flavor.

The original Dr. Mario was released in 1990 and designed by Takahiro Harada, who also worked as the main programmer for Metroid 2: Return of Samus. Mario puts on a doctor outfit in the puzzler and matches colored pill capsules to destroy viruses.

The first game was a falling block game similar to Tetris, but the mobile game Dr. Mario World has capsules enter the puzzle from the bottom of the screen instead of the top. You also have a limited amount of capsules to clear the viruses with, so the game encourages a slower and more methodical approach versus similar games.

Dr. Mario World is free-to-start, meaning you’ll be able to work through a collection of levels without having to spend a dime. Taking on the game’s puzzles requires hearts and you start out with an infinite heart as you work through the stages that teach you how to play and get you hooked on the Dr. Mario World rhythm before it asks you for money. Additional menu options, such as an online Versus Mode, are locked until you complete level 20 in single-player, so that’s likely when the free-to-start road ends.

Microtransactions are an obvious concern in these types of games and Dr. Mario World does indeed have them. You use diamonds to unlock more hearts, and you purchase diamonds with real money. Five hearts equals five puzzles you play and you can get them with 10 diamonds. 30 diamonds get you one hour of unlimited play. Here’s the breakdown of diamond prices:

  • 20 diamonds – $2
  • 53 diamonds – $5
  • 110 diamonds – $10
  • 250 diamonds – $20
  • 550 diamonds – $40
  • 1050 diamonds – $70

While Dr. Mario World doesn’t have you working against a clock in each puzzle, you will be burning through levels if you use one of the hearts that gives you an hour to play. Like the wildly popular game Candy Crush, you can connect Dr. Mario World to your Facebook account and ask friends for hearts as well. Thus far, it has all the makings of typical addictive mobile puzzle games. This game’s performance will surely color how Nintendo continues to move forward in the mobile gaming space, specifically with the upcoming Mario Kart Tour.

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