Dr. Mario World
Dr. Mario World is a puzzle game in the Dr. Mario series for iOS and Android smartphones. The game was originally set to release on July 10, 2019, but ended up being released a day earlier on July 9. It is a free to download game with in-app purchases that was co-developed by Nintendo, LINE, and NHN Entertainment, and was available initially in 59 countries/regions including Japan and the United States. The game supports multiple languages including Japanese and English. Dr. Mario World is the second Mario game for mobile devices, following Super Mario Run, though it is the first free-to-play mobile game featuring microtransactions and gacha mechanics in the Mario series. Pre-registration for the game opened on July 1. Like Super Mario Run, the game requires a constant internet connection to play.
Dr. Mario World takes advantage of the touchscreen controls of the smartphone, where players can drag capsules with the touchscreen to eliminate viruses, though the core gameplay is slightly tweaked in the single player as opposed to prior Dr. Mario titles in that players solve puzzles with a limited number of capsules rather than infinite capsules against a time limit. New gameplay elements include four introduced colors of viruses: green, light-blue, purple, and pink viruses, which occur mixed in the regular red, blue, and yellow viruses later in the game. Dr. Mario World features the debut of playable Mario characters as doctors than prior Dr. Mario games. These doctors have special abilities which help clear levels more easily. In addition, doctors can be paired with a wide variety of assistants, which constitute primarily of generic Mario enemies. As well as having a single player mode, Dr. Mario World introduces a competitive versus mode, where players battle against opponents online in a gameplay style similar to the traditional Dr. Mario games.
The game is set to end its services on November 1, 2021 at 6:00 a.m. (UTC).
A virus outbreak has occurred in the Mushroom Kingdom, infecting Koopa Troopas, Toads, and Shy Guys, where Dr. Mario hunts down viruses to save the locals. Dr. Toad instructs Dr. Mario on how to eliminate viruses in the first demo level, featuring only red viruses. By the 3rd (11th in version 1.10) level, Princess Peach notices that the Toads need her help while Bowser wants to take care of the viruses affecting his minions himself, so they join Dr. Mario as playable characters.
As with previous Dr. Mario games, the main and most common objective is to eliminate all of the viruses on the screen by connecting capsules of the same color to each of them, although instead of the capsules descending, the game's gravity is directed upwards with the viruses positioned towards the top of the screen. The player first drags a capsule from the bottom of the screen onto the field to use it, and can drag it again to move it or increase its "falling" speed, or tap it to rotate it horizontally or vertically; if there is an open space for the capsule to fit through, players may drag the capsule towards that open space as well. Viruses are eliminated if three (as opposed to four) or more of the same color are matched. If a player uses a half of a capsule to eliminate viruses, the other half remains, and players can drag it around as an ordinary capsule if it is free to go up the screen. Players earn a rainbow capsule if they make seven matches that eliminate viruses; these rainbow capsules can be used in tandem with pills of any color to eliminate viruses, though they take up only one tile on the screen. The classic red, blue, and yellow viruses return, while new green, purple, light-blue, and pink viruses make their debut, though purple viruses have never appeared in any stage before.
Depending on the stage, various obstacles may appear on the field, including Empty Blocks and Brick Blocks and viruses can be hidden inside of the Brick Blocks. Helpful objects such as shells, exploders, and skill chargers can also appear among the viruses which, when matched with capsules of the same color, will help out the player, where in the case of the aforementioned objects, respectively clear out viruses within the same row, eliminate surrounding viruses, and significantly fills the doctor's skill meter. There are various objects that act as obstacles, such as ice that may trap viruses which require a match to remove the ice, encased in bubbles which shield them from capsules once before they disappear, or trapped in cages that require clearing the lock block to release them.
Special items can be used prior to entering a stage and while in the middle of a stage which aids players to clear the stage. Dr. Toad gives out free items for a trial use, but after the single use, players need to purchase the items with diamonds or coins.
Dr. Mario World has three main modes – stage mode, versus mode and skill summit – a daily booster (daily mode prior to its introduction), and events. Stage mode serves as the game's single player mode, while versus mode serves as the game's multiplayer mode. Versus mode is unlocked when players have cleared Stage 5 (20 in old versions). Skill Summit is unlocked when players have cleared Stage 20.
Stage mode is the mode players first start through and requires players to fulfill various objectives in order to clear stages. The most common objective is to eliminate viruses, though other objectives are include obtaining Virus Coins hidden in Brick Blocks. Stages are grouped into worlds, beginning with five – which are in order grass-, desert-, beach-, ghost-, and sky-themed – with more to be added in the future. Each world has two areas, which have 20 stages in each area. Each world also has its own set of challenge stages, in which players need to clear the stage before the time limit runs out, except for the last world where the challenge stages are not timed. Unlike the prior Dr. Mario games, players are limited to a certain amount of capsules per stage.
In order to play a stage, the player needs to have at least one heart. A heart is regained automatically every 30 minutes, although players can purchase hearts with diamonds or clear a stage for a free heart (prior to version 2.3.0, only clearing uncleared stages will reward a heart). Since version 2.4.0, players who made at least one in-app purchase prior to that version have unlimited hearts. In the first 20 stages, players have an infinite number of hearts; afterwards, players are granted a max number of 10 hearts (5 hearts prior to version 2.3.0) where if they have less than that amount each heart takes 30 minutes to refill. Diamonds can also be used to obtain items, obtain new doctors and assistants, and to continue a stage should a player failed to clear the objective after running out of capsules or time (although only two continues are allowed per attempt). Diamonds can be purchased through the app with real money.. Two version of continues are available: one of them provides five capsules or 15 seconds of time for the cost of 10 diamonds, while the other provides eight capsules or 30 seconds of time for 15 diamonds.
When a player clears a stage, they earn coins, a heart, and a number of stars depending on how many capsules are left when they have cleared; they can earn a max number of three stars for the best score. Coins are only rewarded if the player has not obtained the star(s) yet, while hearts were not rewarded for cleared stages prior to version 2.3.0. If a player retries or fails a stage too many times, Dr. Toad provides the player with extra capsules or time to the player (previously he uses a free hammer on a tile for the player), giving 3 extra capsules or 9 extra seconds in the process. This amount increases in number the more they failed to complete that stage. Since version 2.0.0, diamond offers for 3 items for the price of 2 will appear (boomerangs, skill fillers and Capsule+ in this order based on the amount of times failed).
In versus mode, players pit against other human opponents online or against their friends, and it plays similarly to the multiplayer modes of previous Dr. Mario titles. The goal for players is to clear viruses in their grid to send viruses to their opponent's side; players lose if an object crossed the bottom line of the stage. When players clear viruses, their attack meter fills; when the attack meter is full, players can send row(s) of viruses to their opponent. The attack meter influences the amount of viruses/objects that must be cleared before they attack. Every doctor sends a different amount of lines of viruses for each attack, determined by a bomb with a number: for example, Dr. Mario sends 2 lines of viruses on each attack while Dr. Toad sends 1 line of viruses on each attack. Players can view their opponent's grid as well as a dotted line indicator showing how far viruses are down on their opponent's stage. Additionally, players have a chance to prevent opponents from sending viruses to them; the higher their doctor's defense stat is against a specific bomb, the likelier the attack will be defended against.
If the player successfully eliminated all the viruses on their field, they will send three lines of viruses to the opponent that cannot be defended against while at the same time resetting their opponent's attack meter. They also gain three more lines of viruses after they attack, so that the player has viruses to work with. However, if there is an object that is close enough to the bottom after all viruses are cleared, the object will go past the line and the player will lose. When both players have not yet reached a point where one of them has filled the board, there will be a warning. After a brief period of time, the field will be pushed down by one line of blocks that cannot be cleared, and will continue to do so at 10 second intervals until there are only two rows to work with. If a player is left with three or less rows left, clearing all the viruses will not result in extra lines of viruses forming.
Players are sorted into tiers, which serves as the game's matchmaking feature. As of now, there are 11 tiers: Tier 1 to 10, and a Rainbow tier. Each tier has different virus layouts, and in a few of the tiers, the virus colors are different from the standard red, blue and yellow viruses. Some objects are only present in higher tiers, such as barrels in Tier 10. In the Rainbow tier, non-virus objects appear when new lines appear on each player's field even if the appropriate assistant is not equipped, whether it is an attack from the opponent or as a bonus for eliminating all viruses. Players earn battle points if they win matches and lose battle points if they do not. The amount of points earned compared to the amount of points will be a net positive for lower tiers (tier 9 and below currently), but in higher tiers (tier 10 and Rainbow tier) the amount of points gained for the winner is the same as the amount of points lost for the loser. If players of different tiers are matched up, the winner in a lower tier will earn more points than usual while the loser loses less points than usual, but if the winner is in the higher tier they will earn less points than usual while the loser lose more points than usual.
When enough battle points are earned, players ascend tiers and the higher their tier is, the better rewards they earn for winning. The following amount of battle points are required to reach the respective tiers since their introductions: 400+ (tier 2), 800+ (tier 3), 1200+ (tier 4), 1600+ (tier 5), 2100+ (tier 6), 2600+ (tier 7), 3100+ (tier 8), 3600+ (tier 9), 4100+ (tier 10), 5000+ (Rainbow tier). The first time a player reaches a tier, they gain rewards based on where they are promoted to. The rewards are: 1000 coins for tier 2, 3000 coins for tier 3, 1 staff ticket each for tier 4 to tier 7, 100 doc tokens each for tier 8 to tier 10, and 200 doc tokens for Rainbow tier. Prior to version 2.4.0, a 72-hour offer appears in the shop, where the diamonds and potentially other items offered are proportionally higher than anything else in the shop.
Starting from version 1.4.0, which is also when season 3 started, the specialists feature is introduced. During each period, which typically lasts for 7 days, four or five doctors are selected to be specialists, in which they gain a couple of advantages in each match. For more information on specialists, refer to: List of specialists in Dr. Mario World.
Players earn coins and/or keys for a battle box if they win battles. Coins are earned if the player has won 20 or less times in a day, and are rewarded with more coins the higher their tier is. Likewise, keys are earned if the battle box has not accrued enough keys yet, where it was 7 keys prior to version 2.1.0 and 5 keys since then, although at certain time periods the amount of keys required is reduced to 3. If they have enough keys, they can open battle boxes to obtain random loot in them such as coins, hearts, staff tickets, items, etc., including special assistants exclusive to higher tier battle boxes. In older versions, some of the battle boxes may contain viruses, where the player essentially won nothing from it. Battle boxes can be opened once every 10 hours after they have been opened, but by using up to 3 diamonds (depending on the amount of time left), players can immediately obtain a new box to unlock. Diamonds can be spent this way for up to five times a day.
Once every two to three months, the game is updated to add a new season, which adds new tiers. When a new season starts, players earn 20 coins for every point they have over a specific threshold in addition to doc tokens for some seasons, before the score is reduced to that threshold. Tiers are held during the following periods:
The Daily Booster, introduced in the version 1.3 update, replaces the Daily Gift. The player eliminates viruses to earn coins and doc tokens. Once all of them have been eliminated, everything on the stage is eliminated, and new viruses appear after a few seconds. When the player runs out of capsules and cannot make any more moves, an object reaches beyond the bottom-most row, or the player quits the daily booster from the menu, the game ends and the player cashes in their rewards based on the amount of viruses cleared. The player gets 4 coins for every virus eliminated, and one doc token for every 45 viruses eliminated. It can be played for free once per day, and can be played again using diamonds, with the rewards being received at a tripled rate: each virus rewards 12 coins and each doc token is rewarded for every 15 viruses eliminated. Once a triple-reward game is finished, the player must wait until the next day to play this mode again.
Prior to version 1.3.5, a single music theme plays during both the Daily Booster rounds and the results screen. After that update, the theme that plays during the round has changed, with its old theme only played at the results screen.
Starting from version 1.4.0, the Daily Booster received a few changes. The following changes are made:
The Skill Summit, introduced in the version 2.0.0 update, is placed next to Stage mode or Versus mode. This mode is only available after the player has finished Stage 20 in Stage Mode. In this mode, four different doctors are assigned as mentor doctors, and each stage will feature one of those doctors. Each stage in this game is called a summit, and there are four types of summits: Basic, Intermediate, Advanced and Special. For the first three types, players can choose a doctor of their own, but in the Special summits, players must have at least one of the two eligible mentor doctors before they can play that summit. In regards to the player's choice of doctor, players cannot choose the same doctor as the mentor doctor. For example, if the mentor of the stage is Dr. Baby Mario, the player will not be allowed to use that doctor. Similarly, variations of that doctor are prohibited, so in Dr. Baby Mario's case, Dr. Mario, Dr. Fire Mario, or 8-bit Dr. Mario cannot be selected as the doctor. Besides the regular, baby and fire versions of specific characters, Dr. Bowser and Dr. Dry Bowser are considered the same type of character and thus can't be used together.
Similar to stage mode, the player needs to have at least one heart before they can play a summit. In each summit, players are assigned various objectives and a limited amount of capsules to accomplish those objectives. Should a player run out of capsules before the objective(s) are completed, diamonds can be used to continue that summit for up to two times. Each summit plays similarly to a stage in stage mode, but the difference is that a mentor doctor is displayed at the top-left corner with a meter. This meter will fill each time a capsule is added to the stage, and once it is fully filled, the active capsule will be replaced by that mentor doctor's icon. The player must activate that mentor's skill before they can introduce more capsules to the stage, although other functions can still be used such as utilizing capsules currently on the stage, use in-stage items or activating their doctor's skill if it is filled. The mentor's skills may differ from their doctor's skill, typically with reduced effect. For example, while Dr. Baby Peach's skill normally change the next three capsules to rainbow capsules, Dr. Baby Peach's skill as a mentor instead only change one or two next capsules to rainbow capsules.
After clearing a summit, players will be awarded Kudos, which are functionally the same as clear stars in stage mode in that reaching specified benchmarks in the score will reward up to three of them. Each new kudos obtained will reward the player with 50 coins, for up to 150 coins. In addition to this, clearing a stage will reward a player with a heart (prior to version 2.3.0, only when the stage was originally uncleared), no matter the score. Rewards can be earned by reaching a specific number of kudos, which can include stage items, doc tokens, staff tickets, 10% score boost in Stage Mode or even a new doctor. Players are also rewarded if they cleared all stages in each type of summit, which can include extra capsules boost in Stage Mode, faster skill meter charge, Staff Tickets and 100 doc tokens. The Stage Mode boosts earned from Skill Summit are bonuses specifically for Stage Mode (thus, the changes do not apply to Daily Booster), and they last for 24 hours starting from the time each bonus is obtained, but it only takes effect in stages up to a specified World. The duration of the bonuses are cumulative, meaning that if the player has a bonus that is still active, obtaining another of that same type of bonus will extend the period for another 24 hours.
During the skill summit's first week and third week, there will be a staffing event where one or two of the doctors will have a higher chance of being added, allowing the player to potentially play the Special summits as they require specific doctors. The only exception thus far are Dr. Dry Bowser and Dr. King Boo, who are not obtainable by regular staffing. In addition, the shop will have two options for purchase each week for two of the skill summit's featured doctors: one is a purchasable Doctor Pack that contains that doctors alongside 210 (200 + 10 bonus) complimentary diamonds, while the other is a Referral that can be exchanged for 100 diamonds.
Each skill summit lasts for four weeks (two weeks prior to the 19th summit), after which a new skill summit will replace the old summits and the rewards and kudos are refreshed. Starting from version 2.2.0 when the 10th skill summit begins, obtaining enough kudos will reward players with medals, and getting all of the kudos will reward the player with a Platinum/Dazzling medal that contains a number that signifies the rank of the player that collected it.
Doctor's Orders are a list of objectives that players can complete for bonus coins. The player is given 5 different objectives at one time. Some objectives can be filled in both stage mode (which extends to Daily Booster and Skill Summit) and versus mode while others are exclusive to neither. Once one of the objectives is completed, it takes 6 hours (20 hours prior to version 1.1.0) to receive another, while skipping an objective takes 1 hour (8 hours prior to version 1.1.0) before a new one is replaced. The following are doctor's orders that can appear since version 1.1.0:
For this event, the player needs to do the following steps for the event:
Once a step is cleared, the player earns rewards as well as a medal with the patient on it. The character depends on the current season:
Collect Clear Stars
In Collect Clear Stars!, the player needs to collect stars and receive rewards. However, they do not count if they were previously earned. These events are active when a new area of a world is added, meaning that new stages are added.
Most of the time that this event is held, the rewards gained are the following:
Eliminate the viruses!
In Eliminate the viruses!, the player eliminates viruses in stages and receive rewards. They only count in stage mode. Before Skill Summit was introduced, these events are sporadic but after its introduction, they are active on any week where there isn't a Star Clear event.
The rewards gained are the following:
Power Boost Rally
Starting from version 2.2.0, Power Boost Rally is introduced, which can be activated after Stage 20 in Stage Mode is cleared when all the stage start items are unlocked. When Power Boost Rally is active, the player is able to use certain stage start items as a bonus without using up limited free items or diamonds. In order to activate Power Boost Rally, the player has to beat an uncleared stage without losing or restarting that stage. Once the requirement is met, they will be able to use Power Boost Rally that lasts for 48 hours since the first time the player clears an uncleared stage. Once the Power Boost Rally's 48 hours are expired, the player will not be able to start another Power Boost Rally until the next day on the mobile device's clock.
Depending on the amount of stages cleared in a row, the player gains the following boosts:
If the player loses or restarts an uncleared stage, the boosts are lost and the player needs to start over. However, the streak is not affected for stages the player has already cleared, challenge stages or special stages, so the player do not lose the boosts if they didn't manage to clear them on the first attempt. Prior to when World 26 was introduced, the boosts are also lost if the player has reached the stages in around the last two added worlds.
Dr. Mario World features 45 playable characters. Each playable character offers a unique special skill that can be activated during gameplay. Players start with Dr. Mario when they first play the game and unlock Dr. Bowser and Dr. Peach when they have beaten stage 3; if players pick one of the three characters, the other two characters become unavailable. As of version 2.0.0, Dr. Toad is earned as another doctor when players have beaten Stage 20.
Players can purchase new doctors with coins, diamonds, staff tickets or doc tokens in the Staffing menu of the game (The exceptions are Dr. Dry Bowser and Dr. King Boo, who is as of now only available as occasional in-app purchases), although the doctors are obtained randomly and duplicates may occur. If players receive duplicate characters, it goes towards that doctor's skill level. Level 1 doctors require one copy, Level 2 doctors require two copies, Level 3 requires 5 copies, Level 4 requires 14 copies while the maximum level requires 30 copies. Players stop earning duplicates if a particular character has a maxed out skill level of that available doctor. Reaching new skill levels will make the skill meter fill faster for that doctor in stage mode, while in VS mode the skill meter will fill faster and/or increase the potency of the skill.
The following are the stats for all doctors in Versus mode. The bomb displays how many rows of viruses the doctors can send to their opponents, the speed lists how many viruses or capsules are required to be eliminated for the meter to fill, and the defense represents the chance a doctor has to block against the bomb displayed. The rate skill meters are charged are hidden and differ from each doctor.
Dr. Mario World features 64 assistants. Assistants, like the doctors, have unique skills that aid the player. Up to two assistants can be selected at once. Like doctors, these characters' skills level up by obtaining duplicates. Goomba is earned as the first assistant when players reach Stage 5.
In the description of the skills, the bolded portion of the assistant's effect is different depending on the level, which is the value for level 1 to 5 respectively.
While the red, blue, and yellow viruses return from previous Dr. Mario titles, Dr. Mario World introduces four more colors of viruses: green, cyan, magenta, and purple. Pink viruses are exclusive to challenge and special stages, while purple viruses appear in the overworld, but remain unused in the game's puzzles.
There are 31 worlds in total. Each world is sorted into two areas, with each area containing 20 stages, for a total of 1240 stages. Each world additionally contains three challenge levels which reward players with coins upon completion. Clearing an area will grant a 30-minute infinite play heart. Clearing the world's first area rewards a coin or assistant, while clearing the world's second area, represented by a Goal Pole, rewards a staff ticket and a silver medal. If they earn all stars in a world, they earn a gold medal for that world; and clearing a special stage in a world rewards a platinum medal, 1000 coins and a doctor. In every special stage, there are blue, yellow, and pink viruses, except in World 13, where the red virus replaces the pink one. Several of the worlds' designs take some inspiration from the New Super Mario Bros. series.
Items and objects
To promote Dr. Mario World, Nintendo released a series of short videos on social media featuring the viruses performing various activities, beginning on June 18, 2019 and ending on July 10, 2019, on a daily basis.
Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp
Diamonds obtained by purchases come in two types: purchased diamonds and bonus diamonds. Purchased diamonds are tied to the device that is used to purchase them and are thus not transferrable to another device, while bonus diamonds are retained within the player's save. The rate of purchased diamonds is 10 diamonds per US $1 (currency varies by region), while bonus diamonds are added in for diamonds bought in higher quantities.
Tier Rank up Promo
Removed Special Packs
Dr. Mario World had consistently received updates during its lifespan. These updates had occurred between July 10, 2019, and July 28, 2021. These additions range from additions of content, such as added modes, bug fixes, and the eventual removal of the ability to purchase diamonds and packs.
At launch, Dr. Mario World received generally mixed to somewhat negative reviews. Critics were somewhat divided but leaned positively on its puzzle aspect and its multiplayer mode, but near unanimously criticized its overabundance of microtransactions and its online requirement. It currently holds a score of 58 on Metacritic based on seventeen reviews and a score of 55.94% on GameRankings based on eight reviews.
Chris Carter of Destructoid gave the game a 6/10, praising the accessibility and puzzles the game has to offer, but criticized the microtransactions, claiming "I've been playing mobile games consistently since Flight Control in 2009; so you could say I've had many encounters with energy systems and the like. The situation is definitely case-by-case, nuanced, and depending on the game the juice can absolutely be worth the squeeze. But seeing cute Mario characters reduced to this, with all of the psychological tricks in the book thrown in, is depressing. Just energy, just "you can finish this hard level if you pay," or just gacha would have been a lot as it is." In a review without a score, Ben Bertoli of IGN expressed skepticism over the change in gameplay compared to the previous entries in the series, and was slightly more critical of the microtransactions, stating "While it doesn't make it unplayable, to be sure, it makes it very clear from the get-go where this Dr. Mario's priorities lie." He concluded that it was still a fairly decent game to play for those who enjoy puzzle games. In an even more negative review, Glen Fox of Gamezebo gave the game a 2/5, criticizing practically everything about the game; he called the puzzles "artificial difficulty" and "uninspired," and raised a larger furor over the microtransactions, stating that he never expected Nintendo to engage in such predatory practices.
In stark contrast to other critics, Chris Scullion of Nintendo Life gave the game an 8/10, and praised mainly the multiplayer mode. While he agreed with other critics that the single-player mode was muddled with excessive microtransactions, he believed that the gameplay was fitting for a mobile device, and believed the multiplayer mode would be the game's highlight.
On the Google Play storefront, Dr. Mario World currently has an average user score of 3.9 out of 5, while on Apple's App Store, it has an average user score of 4.5 out of 5.
Dr. Mario World has received 2 million downloads in the first 72 hours of its launch. It additionally received $100,000 from its in-app purchases. While it had only half of the downloads Super Mario Run had in the same time window, which was exclusive only to iOS at launch, and it is the lowest grossing Nintendo mobile game at this launch window, Dr. Mario World's revenue is comparable to other games in its genre such as Candy Crush Friends Saga; Dr. Mario World generated 75% of the revenue compared to Candy Crush Friends Saga's $137,000 in the same markets.
Dr. Mario World has reached 5 million downloads globally and players have spent $500,000 on in-app purchases in its first week, which is comparable to the top 25 puzzle games in Dr. Mario World's genre; Toon Blast from Peak Games, for example, grossed approximately $325 million in 2018, yet saw just $90,000 in its first week. Dr. Mario World charted as the #1 free iPhone app in Japan and #6 in the US.
Mobile app store description
Pre-release and unused content
Unused assets have been extracted from the game, showing Cooligan, Dino Piranha, Freezie, Ice Bro, Lava Bubble, and Whomp assistants, and text strings for Magikoopa and King Kaliente assistants. A tutorial image involving an asteroid game mechanic is present in the game's files, but it goes unused since the mechanic is not incorporated into the game. The asteroids would block four tiles (2x2) worth of viruses; once an adjacent row is matched, the asteroids would get destroyed, revealing the viruses.
There are also medals featuring Boo indicating future Clinic Events, a golden ticket to unlock costumes for characters, medals themed to Super Mario Galaxy, and a black, spiky, Fuzzy-looking creature wearing a surgical mask.
References to other games
Names in other languages