Nintendo has announced that it is creating a mobile Dr. Mario game called Dr. Mario World, due out this summer, and has also announced that the game represents the beginning of the gaming giant's partnership with mobile and web powerhouse LINE. The two companies will not only develop the new game together, but also run and maintain it. Details of further activities under the partnership, if there will be any, are not given.
Dr. Mario World is described in brief as an "action puzzle game", which means that we may see more than the usual slight variation from the Dr. Mario formula that was established on the Nintendo Entertainment System nearly three decades ago. The series has seen many sequels and big changes to the formula since the reign of the late Gunpei Yokoi, who designed the original.
While Dr. Mario has by no means been a mainstay of Nintendo's lineup on an annual basis or in fan mindshare like Zelda or mainline Mario games have been, the popular puzzler series has lived a pretty active life. The latest entry, released on the Nintendo 3DS in 2015, featured a number of different modes, as well as gameplay tweaks like power-ups. It's safe to assume that this latest game will probably serve as the basis for Dr. Mario World.
Nintendo's mobile exploits began in 2016 with the ill-fated Miitomo, and moved on to bigger and better games as time went on. The company plans to continue expanding its mobile repertoire, and this partnership with LINE may be the perfect vector to do so. The partnership was only announced for this game, but could, and quite likely will, last longer if it's a success.
LINE may be an all-around mobile and web company, but the Japanese firm is no stranger to high-profile mobile games. Having started up a separate games arm in 2012, the company helped Disney pump out the popular Tsum Tsum puzzle game, and went on to create a smattering of its own hits. The most recent of these is a popular anime-themed RPG called Destiny Child.
Dr. Mario fans who haven't had a Nintendo console in hand for a while will finally get to experience how the series has matured over the years. Naturally, fans who tote a 3DS or resort to playing older Dr. Mario titles on their phones via emulation will find this to be great news, as well.
Nintendo's partnership with LINE is arguably the bigger news here. The two companies each have their own empire, but LINE is arguably more adapted to the modern mobile landscape. The company has a messaging app, a webcomic publishing outfit, and a virtual assistant app under its belt, just to name a few of its endeavors. This makes it a perfect partner to a gaming monolith like Nintendo that's been around for a long time and is trying to expand its reach.
If this new title does well, Nintendo fans can probably expect to see LINE partnering up for more games, and that can only lead to good things. LINE's aid could help Nintendo to create vast online communities around its mobile games, and perhaps even add features to older ones, or even create entirely new properties, among other benefits.