Cartoon Network cuts deep with a highly entertaining and overpriced surgery app for iPhone.
Amateur Surgeon is Cartoon Network's attempt at bringing a Trauma Center style surgery game to the iPhone. We're happy to report that after slicing fools with a pizza cutter and closing incisions with staple guns that the operation is a spectacular success. With 30 unique and oftentimes amusing operations to complete, memorable characters and well designed cut scenes, this is one of the iPhone's best apps and worth the $4.99 asking price. Just ignore all those rumors about it being free at the Adult Swim website. Psst, it is.
In the game, you play as Alan Probe, a pizza delivery man/wannabe surgeon who has the fortunate luck of hitting Ignacious Bleed with his truck. Unlike most folks, Ignacious just so happens to be a former surgeon and current cough syrup addict. He also has some busted ribs and a desire to live, so he walks young Alan through the surgery. Problem is, neither of them are in a hospital or have access to the necessary (and sanitized) tools. That fact doesn't bother the doc. Instead of asking for an ambulance, he instructs Alan to cut him up using his pizza cutter. From there, he tells him to set his broken ribs using tongs and then seal the wound with staples, followed by cauterization with a lighter. It's crude, but this saves the man's life.
This serves as the foundation for the entire game. You'll meet various patients, from a burglar with glass in his chest to a redneck with porcupine needles in his lungs and operate on them using the touch screen. Similar to the Trauma Center games, there's a close up image of the patient in the middle of the screen and the various instruments along the left and right sides of the playfield. To select one, you simply tap it with your finger and then perform the desired action. To cut someone open, for example, you'll press the pizza cutter and then run your finger along a dotted line. To extract glass and other objects, you'll pick up the tongs, carefully remove the objects and place them onto a tray. Later, you'll quickly tap wounds to staple them shut and inject people with goop to keep their heart rates in check, among other things. You just have to make sure you don't cut in the wrong places and keep an eye on the timer, located on the bottom left portion of the screen. If that hits zero, the patient croaks.
Overall, Amateur Surgeon is a wonderful addition to the iPhone library. Its 30 cases kept us busy for hours, the touch screen controls work surprisingly well and we're fans of the cartoon style graphics that make all of the app's gore easier to digest.
That said, there are some issues that keep Amateur Surgeon from a perfect score. Purchasing the game via the app store only to find it for zero dollars online is a kick to the groin. This is made worse by actually playing the flash version and discovering that it runs smoother than the iPhone edition. Furthermore, the game does not save your progress mid operation when you receive a call. Instead, you'll have to restart from the beginning. Finally, an online leaderboard to post high scores would've put a competitive spin on what's already an enjoyable product.
All of this brings us to a crossroads. Bottom line, Amateur Surgeon is an excellent game that belongs on your iPhone. At the same time, $5 is a lot of scratch when you can play the game free of charge. Choose wisely.
What's Hot: Thirty unique and fun operations, amusing cut scenes, excellent touch screen controls, slick cartoon style graphics with tons of gore.
What's Not: You can play the game for free online, iPhone version costs $4.99, you cannot post best times to an online leaderboard, operations reset if someone calls you.