This used to be one of my favorite game series - what happened, Adult Swim?
By Maz 'Rah did nothing wrong
(If you want to skip to my main review, scroll to the fourth paragraph.) Where do I start? I have so many memories with this game series. I remember playing the very first Amateur Surgeon game when it came out so many years ago in 2008, on my old iPod Touch; I snagged it for like 2 bucks, and I had hours of fun. I was a grade school-aged kid when I first got it, actually; I remember that AS1 was accidentally tagged with a 4+ rating on the App Store, so I got my parents to allow it. A lot of the more “mature” jokes went way over my head, but it felt gratifying to unlock and beat all the “hidden” special surgeries, and to (mild spoiler) ace Bleed’s second surgery. I could play it for hours and it got me through countless airplane flights or long car rides.
Then, I heard about Amateur Surgeon 2 in 2011. By that point, I hadn’t been playing AS1 nearly as often, but of course I knew that I needed it right away. I ended up getting it with a gift card on my birthday, and again, I was hooked the second I opened it. They improved the graphics, they replaced the old wonky corkscrew injections with a sleek syringe, and it had the corny yet fun narration that I knew and loved from the first game. After a few months, I mastered all the surgeries, including the circus freak-out operations, and even then I continued to play for a long time. I won’t go into detail, but around the time I bought AS2 is also when I was having some...family issues, and the game honestly helped me deal with the rougher moments. I should also mention that, aside from the up-front purchase fee, I spent no money on IAPs.
Fast forward to Fall 2013, and I’m talking with my cousin about the old Amateur Surgeon games. He mentions that AS3 is a thing, and what can I say? I bought it without a second thought. Things had changed a bit from AS1 and AS2; there was a blood pack system that forced you to wait on a cooldown if you failed three surgeries, but I don’t think I ever failed surgeries, so I wasn’t hurt by that. They added the tag-team partner system, but partners were completely optional for all surgeries, and I often ended up going without them. The upgrade system now costed credits, but again, I grinded quickly and soon I had no financial troubles; there were also absolutely no lootboxes or random drops during upgrades. There were “star limits”, which basically meant that you needed to score well on enough surgeries to progress, but again, I always aced surgeries. In hindsight, this was the beginning of the end, but I didn’t even notice the monetization most of the time; I easily got through the game with no IAPs, and I still loved and enjoyed AS3 just as much as AS1 and AS2.
Now, let’s jump to the present, over 10 years after I first patched up Ignacious Bleed’s ribcage after hitting him with a pizza van. I was trying to find the old Amateur Surgeon games, only to find that the original trilogy was no longer available. I found this game, and I figured that I’d download it for the heck of it; I knew going on that the game would be 80% rehashes of old surgeries, and frankly, I was okay with that. I was mostly excited to catch up with the series and maybe re-live some old memories with a fresh coat of paint applied to them.
Initially, I wasn’t disappointed. I had a good bit of fun playing the old surgeries; that is, until all my partners needed to be recharged and I hit my first “partner mandatory” surgery. That was annoying, because it meant that I couldn’t just play the way I used to, with no real caps or limits. Still, I pushed forward, and I found that my issues only grew from there. Your tools and partners start out incredibly weak; you need copies of a tool’s “card” to upgrade it, similar to Clash Royale’s deck system. There are multiple forms of currency, both gold coins and “diamonds”; you need diamonds to actually buy cards to upgrade, and you need gold coins to upgrade when you have enough copies of a card (and upgrades are pitiful, maybe +5% healing or whatever). Did I mention that you can’t actually directly buy cards? The ONLY purchases are lootboxes with random drops, which I find unacceptable and disgusting. And the game constantly tries to push IAPs on you, with constant pop-ups and reminders. Oh, they jacked up the star restriction system; even if you ace every normal surgery, it’s not enough to progress. You have to complete the bonus surgeries and the challenge variants of the normal surgeries as well (all of which require a partner). There are also ads in this game, which again have never been a thing in any other Amateur Surgeon game.
I’m a bit upset, because this series was genuinely one of my favorites for the longest time. I loved AS 1/2/3, and I played them all for countless hours when I was younger; AS4 basically just craps on all of that while trying to take my wallet. If there ever is an Amateur Surgeon 5, it’ll be the first one I don’t download unless things seriously change.
This game is actually really fun, smart, and actually kinda gross, but I love it all the same! The only, and I repeat only (actually there’s two lol) well, one, I think it’s kinda weird how you need whatever amount of starts to pass. It’s fine I guess though. Another though, I kinda got a virus with this game? Like, the app button went gray with lines and I couldn’t open it. Also, I couldn’t delete it, and it took up a lot of space. Eventually I got rid of the bug and the game was back to normal. I loved this game but I was scared it would happen again so I deleted it. I still recommend it, just I would have to be careful with it. Developers, can you find a way to put an anti-virus thing on the game? I’d be really happy if you could. If you do then please respond and tell me you’ve done so. Then I would re-download this (awsome) game again. Hope to hear a response. - WoodlyNoodly (a gamer)