With their highly anticipated release of Rolando just around the corner, ngmoco has given iPhone gamers another quality title in Dr. Awesome, Microsurgeon MD. Making use of the accelerometer, gamers are finally able to play Doctor on the iPhone. Starring as Dr. Awesome, your job is to save patients from a deadly outbreak by isolating and trapping an assortment of nasty viruses found within tissue cells.
The idea of containing objects and securing a majority of the playing field is nothing new (old school games Qix and Jezzball are prime examples), but ngmoco breathes new life to this type of play with a modern medical twist. Adding to the drama of Dr. Awesome is that names from your contact list are used as in-game patients. If you are not exactly comfortable with the idea of operating on your own girlfriend for instance, you can generate a random name or simply edit an existing one.
For every patient, you will have to complete 3 stages of viral containtment before you are able to cure him/her . To do so, you must guide your surgical device by tilting your iPhone and cut off pieces of the cell. Cutting off a piece that contains a virus will also destroy them. When you have sliced away 75% of the cell or more before time runs out, you can move on to the next round of viruses. While this may sound easy, everytime a virus collides with your incision line or knife itself, time is subtracted from the clock.
Adding to the challenge will be the multiple types of viruses you will encounter. Some viruses crawl along the wall of the tissue (preventing you from camping out here too long to avoid the main floating viruses) and others will shoot nasty treats your way. Power ups will also aid you along the way, such as speed boosts, shrinking all viruses on screen and adding more precious time to the clock.
While the gameplay can be very addictive as you try and perfect your skill as a ‘surgeon’ and avoid viruses from every corner, the controls can be can be rather frustrating. There will be times when you can hardly see the action on the screen as you tilt the iPhone toward the ground in order to make a cut away from you. With a game that relies heavily on dodging viruses all over the screen, not being able to see it clearly when tilted at a certain angle can sure raise your blood pressure. An option to control the surgical device via the trace of your finger as opposed to just the tilt controls would have definitely been a welcome addition.
Sure, Dr Awesome Microsurgeon MD may have its own problems (control issues, a lack of variation after saving tens of lives), but I still found the game to be a fun and challenging. The Phoenix Wright style artwork and overall presentation works like a charm. For $1.99, Dr. Awesome should keep you busy playing Doctor on your iPhone until ngmoco’s other title, Rolando, is finally released at the App Store.