Dr. Mario: Miracle Cure – Video Review (3DS)

Dr. Mario Miracle Cure Review

Dr. Mario: Miracle Cure practically came out of nowhere. I was not expecting another title in the series so soon as it seemed like Dr. Luigi had just released a couple months ago. And to be honest, I had my fill of Dr. Mario after playing that game and the mini game in NES Remix. But I figured I would check it out because who knows? Maybe this title is the best Dr. Mario game out there. I mean, Miracle Cure being on a handheld right away was a plus in my books. But just how is it? Is the title worth 9 bucks? Well, let’s find out.

The story of Miracle Cure is actually quite fascinating. Out of pure luck, Mario gets his masters degree in medicine and quits his life of plumbing to become a doctor curing various patients of their viruses. He becomes so well-renowned as a doctor that he asks his brother Luigi to partner up with him and open their very own clinic. And SPOILER ALERT here, they spend their entire lives destroying viruses until both Mario and Luigi retire 10 years later. I’m just kidding. There is no story, or anything along those lines.

Miracle Cure is essentially just a collection of puzzle minigames where the main objective is always to eliminate all the viruses on screen by matching colored pills to the same colored virus. And when you match 4 titles of the same color in a vertical or horizontal row, all the tiles in that row disappear, which can include the viruses. If you have ever played or watched someone play Dr. Mario, you know what to expect here. The only thing different in Miracle Cure when compared to earlier installments is the addition of power-ups called “miracle cures”. These consist of bombs that destroy a certain area of tiles, an arrow formation that can eliminate a row or column of tiles, and certain blocks that can get rid of all of a certain color of pills or viruses on screen. And that’s it.

There are no other additional features as far as I can tell. You just guide a pill, whether that be the typical two-tile pill with Dr. Mario or the L-shaped capsule that is made up of two typical pills with Dr. Luigi, down the screen and hope it matches with the same colored tiles. There’s really not much else to the gameplay. There are about 40 single player missions to do, which progressively get more challenging as you go along, but once you have blown through that, there’s not much else to do but to fight against players online. This versus mode just pits two players against each other with each competing to eliminate the viruses on their board faster than their opponent does. You can also tamper with your opponent’s progress by racking up combos and negatively affecting their board in numerous ways, like inverting their controls or making the pills fall faster. But despite this limited content, I still had a lot of fun with the game. I mean, the single player is truly challenging and requires a lot of quick thinking to do successfully.

Dr Mario Miracle Cure Screenshot 1

 

Personally, I found myself getting trumped often by the later advanced Dr. Luigi levels as those types of stages especially require careful strategy and quick reflexes. You always think the L-shaped capsules will work out in your favor if you place them in one spot, but then that little tile on the end always comes back and creates some sort of roadblock that seemingly takes forever to get through. It’s this type of challenge that I really adore. It’s not outrageously difficult where every mistake causes a lot of frustration, but rather, it contains just the right level of challenge. Every mistake feels like your own doing and it feels punishing enough to where you want to fix your mistake to beat a level. Plus, those miracle cures serve as a reward for matching tiles consistently and seeing a row of pills and viruses instantly poof out of existence is strangely satisfying. Not to mention, there is also a custom single player mode where you can ramp up the challenge to the maximum difficulty. I couldn’t even survive 1 minute of the onslaught of fast moving pills and large patches of pills and viruses that seemed to never stop building up. Like I said before, I am not the best at the game so I never really felt compelled to go back into this custom mode and try to beat the hardest settings, but hey, it’s there to add some replayability.

And there is also another mode in this custom category that doesn’t use pills that move at a constant pace down the screen. Here you hold the 3DS sideways and move pills with your stylus. However, you still have to match colors in a row and eliminate viruses. I am not a huge fan of this mode as I just prefer using the d pad to position the pills, but once again, it’s there to add some replayability and for people who like stylus-based gameplay.

But by far the weakest element in Miracle Cure has to be the presentation. For one, the music, from what I can tell, is just copy and pasted over from Dr. Luigi. The entire soundtrack feels uninspired and while I like the Dr. Mario theme, I was sort of hoping there would be at least one new memorable song. This makes the soundtrack feel barebones and overdone. Also, the visuals are kind of mediocre. Sure the pills, viruses, new miracle cures and boards look decent, but the other huge visual detail here looks really weird. Care to take a guess who the blemish on the otherwise good aesthetic is? If you guessed the abominations that are Dr. Mario and Dr. Luigi, you would be right. Of course, I am a little over exaggerating, but the character models look off to me. The eyes look weird, the body is disproportionate, and each limb looks a bit too skinny and long. Not to mention their idle animations where they move their arms back and forth looks awkward. I am not a fan of these character models at all and they look like they were modeled by the same people who modeled Pikachu in the bootleg “Pocket Monster” for the SNES. Other than that, I guess the visuals are fine. There’s not much you can screw up with a Dr. Mario game graphically speaking.

Dr Mario Miracle Cure Screenshot 2

So overall, I liked Dr. Mario: Miracle Cure. There is quite a bit of variety to the gameplay and it was a pretty enjoyable experience. Sure, I can see it getting repetitive over time, but for a short distraction every now and again, I see it serving its purpose well. And while I am not that great at the game, I always appreciate a challenge and Miracle Cure certainly delivers. However, if you own Dr. Luigi, Dr. Mario for the DS, or Dr. Mario for the Wii, I don’t think Miracle Cure does enough differently to justify spending 9 dollars on it. There are miracle cures and it is on a handheld, but those are the only two innovations it brings to the table. I would even argue the aesthetics and soundtrack feel less unique and stunning when compared to the DS iteration. Recommending this game is certainly not easy because I know it is not for everyone. But I would like to say, puzzle games like Dr. Mario are better experienced than watched because actually watching someone else play the game is not fun. There is currently no demo available for the 3DS, so taking a gamble with this one may not be worth your 9 bucks. If you like Dr. Mario games and really like the series, you will probably like Miracle Cure too, but I would highly advise you wait for a slight price drop or sale to buy it. Therefore if I was legally mandated to give the game a score from a power out of my own hands, I would award Dr. Mario: Miracle Cure a 7 out of 10. And remember, don’t dwell on this number too much. I consider a 7 out of 10 to be a decent game. Although it didn’t blow me away or anything, I still liked. But as always, if you disagree or agree with me, let me know in the comment section below. Thank you so much for watching and take care.

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