Dr. Mario Express DS Review

If you hesitated to download a Nintendo DSi game until something good came along, Nintendo has got the cure for what ails you. Dr. Mario Express is a terrific variation of the classic NES game and a steal for 500 Wii points (or $5). It's limited to single-player modes, but that shouldn't stop you from dropping pills for hours on end. Safely, of course.

As Dr. Mario, it's your job to eliminate the narrow playfield of pesky yellow, red and blue viruses. While they dance around and taunt you on the top screen, you move multi-colored pills along the bottom. Line up four colors in a row and they disappear. The game starts off easy at first with just a few of these creatures scattered about. However, with each new level, they multiply. Soon you'll have to contend with dozens of these pests at once, making sure the colors match up. Stack too many colors the wrong way and it's game over.

Dr. Mario Express is just as cute as the NES original. Mario and the viruses cheer (or jeer) your every move, and the playfield is very easy to see, even though it's shrunken down on the bottom screen. In addition, the "Fever" and "Chill" songs make a return in remixed form. It would've been nice to have other music selections available, but that's a minor complaint.

As for gameplay, it remains unchanged. Being able to remove virus monsters and set up combos is still lots of fun. There's no need for the stylus here, since you play old school with the directional pad and buttons. You can also choose between Classic puzzle mode and a Versus mode, where you can challenge a computer opponent in split-screen combat. Furthermore, you have the option of changing your difficulty level if you feel like starting out with a challenge right away.

Sadly, there's no multiplayer with Dr. Mario Express. There is a scoreboard, but it's local scores only. Furthermore, you don't have the option to take on a friend in Versus. Had Nintendo included this option, there's no doubt that this would've been an absolute must-download for every DSi owner. Without it, it may seem a little shallow for some players, even for a $5 game.

Nevertheless, if you're a fan of puzzle games and want to treat your DSi (and yourself) to something fun for both quick and lengthy sessions, Dr. Mario Express is worth the prescription.

What's Hot: Cute visuals, addictive gameplay, fun Classic and Versus (Computer) modes, a steal for five bucks.

What's Not: No online play or leaderboards, only two available music selections.

4/5