Mario’s putting his doctorate to use this summer in ‘Dr. Mario World’

Nintendo’s next mobile game for smartphones and tablets will see Mario put his white lab coat back on in hopes of containing a deadly virus. Dr. Mario World, a free-to-play puzzler, arrives on mobile devices early this summer, Nintendo has announced.

Nintendo hasn’t released any screenshots or gameplay details, but it stands to reason that Dr. Mario World will follow a similar ruleset as the 1990 NES classic, which has received numerous sequels including the 2015 3DS eShop title Dr. Mario: Miracle Cure. The grid-based puzzler tasks Mario with turning and arranging multicolored capsules that fall onto the board before the virus engulfs the screen. The core formula would figure to be intact in Dr. Mario World.

It’s interesting, however, that “world” has been added to the title. The original game had a series of levels to complete, making it somewhat of a puzzle adventure. The new mobile title nods to the Super Nintendo platformer Super Mario World, so perhaps Dr. Mario World will have a world map and progression similar to the classic 2D Mario games.

Dr. Mario screenshots

As a puzzler, Dr. Mario feels like a natural fit for mobile devices. The “free-to-play” aspect of it is somewhat concerning, though. Knowing how some free-to-play puzzlers handle micro-transactions, we hope Nintendo makes the purchases feel optional, unlike some of its previous free-to-play mobile titles (Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, Fire Emblem Heroes). Some free-to-play puzzle titles make you throw money at the game to “recharge” some magical entity to play right away.

This summer is poised to be an interesting time for Nintendo’s mobile game business. Dr. Mario World appears to be launching first, but Mario Kart Tour is also slated for the summer. The free-to-start cart racer was originally supposed to launch this spring, but Nintendo announced a delay during its most recent earnings call. Mario Kart Tour will follow the similar payment model as Super Mario Run.

Dr. Mario World and Mario Kart Tour could be just what Nintendo needs to invigorate its mobile market. In 2018, Nintendo’s mobile games accounted for just two percent of its overall revenue — just half of what the seriously aging Nintendo 3DS pulled in.

If you want a refresher on Dr. Mario, Nintendo Switch Online subscribers can play the NES original right now in the app.

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