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Dr Luigi Review: Can you prescribe something for Deja Vu?
Luigi didn’t get his name just because it’s Italian to go along with his brother’s. His name is actually a play on the Japanese word Ruiji which means ‘similar’. That being the case this new eShop title certainly feels very Ruiji to me. If I were Luigi, I’d actually feel kinda insulted by this year of Luigi Malarky. He did get a sequel to his own game, which was nice, but everything else has just been re-skinning Mario again. Now we close out the year with this, another re-skin of a Mario game. If you’ve played Dr Mario chances are you have a good understanding of what you’ll be doing in Dr Luigi. As the titular Doctor you are tasked with curing the world of three brightly colored viruses. To do so you must match the color of each virus with your medicinal capsules, 4 in a row each time. Each capsule has two sides that can be of varying combinations. It’s a pretty hectic game, something I had forgotten in my absence from playing the series. Matching up the colors on the fly gets really intense after you pass the first few levels. As we all know diseases love nothing more than to duplicate and every successive level sees an increased enemy count. It is frantic, but an enjoyable sort of frantic that brings about as much frustration as it does catharsis. That’s basically all that there is to be said about the gameplay, that is virtually unchanged from the 8 bit era meaning that there is very little to discuss. The game does come with one on one multiplayer, playable both online and off. The game essentially becomes a race between the two players; but if you can pull of two or more successful lines in one move you can send a little wrench into your opponent’s works. Nothing new, but the added risk/reward element helps the multiplayer mode feel distinct. Asides from the basic game mode (named in game as Retro Remedy) Dr Luigi sports two other playable scenarios. One of these just so happens to be another recurring style of play, albeit one that has been adapted to suit the Wii U. In the WiiWare release, Dr Mario Online RX the mode Virus Buster had the capsules falling much slower and allowed the player to grab them using the Wii Remote and move them around at will. All in all a much more laid back game mode. It appears here in a very similar way, though in this title the touch screen on the Game Pad is used to move the blocks. This is the relaxed way to play the game, it even comes fully featured with chilled out remixes of the original songs. The only thing disappointing here is the lack of the co-operative way to play that the Wii Ware game had. Operation L is the only truly new mode appearing in Dr Luigi. Luigi in all his incompetence has accidentally glued the pills together in a shape that just so happens to be an L. I’m not so sure that was by accident… but I suppose by this point in the plumbers life he’s gained something of a complex living in his brother’s shadow. I’m not entirely sure what the idea was behind this. The mode itself is fun enough, but I can’t tell what their intentions were. It feels as though they intended this to be a harder mode, much akin to New Super Luigi Bros U. The problem is I actually find it easier. The way the capsules stack means it’s much easier to get 4 in a row. Plus the increased area the new capsules take up forces the viruses to be less abundant, so it feels as though there is more space to navigate. Perhaps I am wrong though, as I said before the mode is fun enough so it is hardly worth spending too much time lingering on the will of the developer. When all is said and done, it’s Dr Mario. It may be wearing a new dress, but as the old saying goes: a leopard can’t change its spots. That means two things. The first of which being, it’s still a good game. The second, however, means you can get the same experience elsewhere for a lower price. If you’re a fan of the puzzle genre, especially playing them competitively, then this comes highly recommended. Otherwise, you may be wiser turning your attention to the 3DS virtual console release of Dr Mario.