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Amateur Surgeon 3

For: iPad   Also on: iPhone

Needs to go pro

Product: Amateur Surgeon 3 | Developer: Adult Swim | Publisher: Adult Swim | Format: iPad | Genre: Simulation, Time management | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Amateur Surgeon 3 iPad, thumbnail 1
Amateur Surgeon 3 is a funny, occasionally disgusting, often frustrating game that loses some of its identity in its payment model.

When it's going well it's every bit as entertaining as its predecessor Amateur Surgeon 2, but forced waits and ticking timers get in the way of what should be a vile reinterpretation of Operation.

It's still fun, but when you should be moving on it makes you grind through the same levels again, and when you should be enjoying its cleverer aspects it's locking them away behind cash walls and making you wait.

Pale looking

The game casts you as an apprentice surgeon who's sent out on a series of jobs to prove her mettle. You'll need to chainsaw cement out of prisoner's lungs, electrocute the fire bugs in an explorer's belly, and fix the broken innards of a dummy with medical Tourette's.

You have a set of tools at your disposal, each of which has its own unconventional role to play in your surgeries. A pizza slicer cuts open chests, while a lighter cauterises wounds, a chainsaw dislodges diseased organs, and a hoover sucks up fire.

It's all splendidly silly, and the surgery itself is a lot of fun. You need to balance speed with precision. Go too fast and your tools will fail, injuring whatever unlucky sap is under your blade. But go too slow and the sap will die before you've had a chance to close his wounds.

Slowly sliding a finger down a scored line in order to move down into the next layer of mangled organs and infested bones can be a tense experience, and a combo system that gets you extra points kicks in the faster you thread together your healing moves.

Each surgery you perform gives you a star rating, and you need these stars to move on to the next part of the game. There are bonus stars for completing missions too, but you need to play the missions after you've completed the level once.

Needs a shock

It's here that the grind starts to creep in. The barriers for unlocking the next set of levels are pretty high. Even if you get two stars on all of the first chunk of content, you're going to have to play at least one of them again.

IAPs explained
The currency in the game is surgery points, and you need them to buy new upgrades and extra partners for your surgery team.

You earn it through play, but you can also buy it with real money. Bundles range from £1.49 / $1.99 for 1,000 all the way up to £34.99 / $49.99 for 33,750.

The purchases are pretty expensive. And while they can alleviate some of the frustration, it's probably not worth the cost.
The game is fresh and funny the first time around. The second time around it's the same jokes and the same disgusting things stuck in people's livers.

You also have a tag partner, who has a special ability you can utilise when you've built up enough power. Mr Giblets the dog licks the patient with his anaesthetising tongue, for example, while Officer Brutality beats injuries into submission with his medical truncheon.

You need to buy your partners with the coins you collect for successful surgeries, but they're pretty expensive, and you need to build a decent roster of them because once you've used them in a surgery they have a lengthy recharge period.

To the morgue

Blood bags are required to retry levels after you've failed, but, again, they have a timer on them and if you run out you have to wait for them to regenerate or buy more. It builds up a wall between you and the game, where the frustration at your failure is doubled by the frustration of the wait.

When you're slicing open potential cadavers with a chainsaw and trying to electrocute the fleas that are scuttling around their raw, open wounds, Amateur Surgeon 3 is a vile and enjoyable game.

It's such a good game in those rare uncorrupted moments that you'll wish you could just buy it. But you can't.

There are many excellent, exquisitely balanced freemium games out there which offer value for whatever currency you choose to spend - time or money. Unfortunately, Amateur Surgeon 3 offers value for neither.
Amateur Surgeon 3
Reviewer photo
Harry Slater | 9 August 2013
There's a good game somewhere here, but Amateur Surgeon 3 tries too hard to make sure you don't see any of it
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