Toca Doctor Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on May 18th, 2011
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

Toca Doctor is another wonderful app from the developers at Toca Boca, who also developed personal favorite apps, Helicopter Taxi and Toca Tea Party. Here, 18 fun and age-appropriate mini-games with medical themes are included which will entertain everybody in the family from pre-school on up. Versions of this app are available for both iPhone as well as iPad

I have come to really appreciate the quirky apps that Toca Boca has developed. This app is also great, here bringing medical themes to mini-games. Utterly intuitive, this app opens with a young patient at the doctor's office. Tap a glowing light on the odd little doctor flying in some sort of diagnostic machine, hovering over the patient and adding bulls eyes to body parts that need further examination. Click on these bulls eyes and get taken to various puzzle mazes and other mini-games with a delightful medical theme, such as tapping nits in hair or bacteria found under a microscope or inside the mouth to rid the patient of these maladies. One also has a chance to pull splinters from fingers in the correct direction, clean and bandage a wounded knee and placing important bones or internal organs in their rightful places. Mazes also exist involving the brain, digestive tract and vascular systems. Personally, I really enjoy placing the cochlea and other bones of the ear back where they belong and going from hearing nothing to the sound of fuzzy music that becomes clear- sounding as the ear puzzle is completed.

The artwork is excellent, stylized, and very interesting to look at. I also love music used here, making this app cheerful even with the subject matter sometimes involving blood or ouchies. I also like the various sound effects, especially the room tone used with the beeps and other atmospheric sounds one would find in a hospital is used as the background noises heard between choosing mini-games. The faint sounds of a bike crashing can also be heard momentarily as one cleans up cuts on the patient, presumably obtained in a biking accident. Cute, extra moments are sometimes included after these games have been completed, such as a large pretty ring added onto the hand of a patient one removed splinters from, or a lovely hair bow added to a de-loused head, adding to the fun and richness of this app.

The age level needed to solve these activities is probably for around three and up, but I expect the entire family to get a kick out of this app, as does my family. I appreciate that although my husband and I cruise through these games quickly, there is no need to rush as no time or points are kept and one can take as long as needed to finish, especially helpful on the mazes where one can either navigate with the drag of a finger or the tilting of one's device. There is an impressive physics engine used here, with the majority of elements being affected the way one would expect by gravity and players may sometimes feel the need to stabilize objects with two fingers as they place these pieces where they belong. Staying easy for preschoolers, this app has a nice “grab” to it as this app helpfully pulls the pieces where they belong if the player comes close to the correct positioning, making accuracy less of an issue.

In terms of education, adults can take their time explaining these activities in a way that is age-appropriate for their child such in regards to how these thing relate to their lives. Personally, I have pointed out the nits in the hair as something we try to avoid by not sharing hats or combs, the names of internal organs or specific bones used during certain puzzles, even about how someone in the family needs eye drops occasionally as this is also a mini-game. The mazes and puzzles themselves are also very educational as one needs the small motor skills to drag puzzle pieces and small objects in the mazes where they need to go, one is also able to tilt the device in ways that help these maze pieces navigate, also taking patience and concentration. It also takes fine motor skills to pick up the pieces of these many puzzles, something that is harder here than in most basic puzzle apps, a level kids will find challenging but not to difficult to succeed at.

Being a huge fan of this developer, I have taken a look at the video made for this app found on youtube before this app was released. Here, an introduction involving a child falling from their bike and needing medical help. Just then the doctor shows up, and the scene changes to the patient in the doctor's office where the game begins. Although very short, the intro of the accident and the doctor appearing made for a nice introduction, and I was surprised not to see this intro as part of the app itself. I also would have also liked there to be some kind of conclusion after all 18 games are finished, tying up all that has been accomplished with the patent feeling well after their treatments. Even without an intro and conclusion, this app is undeniably fun for the entire family.

I am eagerly awaiting Toca Boca's next app as I can't wait to see what new ideas will be coming from such a creative group of people. I hope they will be making apps for a very long time to come.

iPhone Screenshots

(click to enlarge)

Toca Doctor screenshot 1 Toca Doctor screenshot 2 Toca Doctor screenshot 3 Toca Doctor screenshot 4 Toca Doctor screenshot 5
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