This past year, it has been The Year of Luigi and various titles have been released under this moniker, from Luigi’s Mansion 2 to New Super Luigi U. The grand finale to these games is the puzzle title, Dr. Luigi.
Dr. Luigi is a game that follows on from the Dr. Mario series, started in the early 1990s. In it, you need to release various capsules into the puzzle area in order to make rows/columns of four or more. In doing so, you need to remove the area of all viruses.
This title has got three separate modes for you to play through. The first, Retro Remedy, is simply the same game as all previous Dr. Mario games where you bring down one capsule at a time to create the combos and get rid of viruses.
Returning from the Wii title is Germ Buster, which has a new twist in this game. This mode uses the Wii U GamePad and has you drag the various capsules into place in order to get rid of the viruses.
Finally is the brand new mode, Operation L. This mode focuses upon Luigi and offers special L shaped capsules. These capsules are often three blocks of one colour and one of another. Using this, you have to position it into the right position, thinking about where the extra pieces go after it sets on a position. This creates a variety of potential strategies and requires some lateral thinking.
Retro Remedy and Operation L have got a Classic mode which allows you to go at your own pace as well as a VS CPU mode. In this mode, you need to get bigger combos in order to stall the opponent, and if they manage it, it stalls you. There is also a Flash mode that has you race to clear the flashing viruses. You can also do this in local two player.
All modes have varying levels and difficulties for you to play with, allowing for manipulation of speed so you can get a challenge that suits your own desires. It also keeps track of your record scores and highest level completion.
The game also a substantial online mode. Not only can you face off against both friends and strangers in the Retro Remedy and Operation L modes, it has a decent play ranking system that lets you see Top Players, your position worldwide and how you measure up against friends.
The game controls well, but it blocks out features such as the Control Stick, presumably to prevent inadvertent errors due to the analogue control. As such, you have to use the D-Pad. While you can use other controllers in multiplayer, you are required to use the GamePad at all times otherwise.
Graphically, the game looks nice with a simple, sterile, aesthetic that fits somewhat with the idea of it being a medical game. When you’re playing on a stage, you don’t see much to the sides which could distract you. This is nice, but results in a large portion of the screen being unused. The music is nice and catchy, and the sound effects pop. However, there’s just a handful amount of tunes which is somewhat disappointing.
This game really feels like it further refines the classic Dr. Mario gameplay, but it feels like it could have done a lot more, and provided more modes and challenges for the price. It’s decent enough if you’re familiar with the puzzle style or love puzzle games, but otherwise you may feel unimpressed with Dr. Luigi. It’s completely solid, but just gives the feeling that it could have been so much more.