If you’ve been paying attention to YouTube recently, you’ll probably have noticed the hype surrounding PC game developers Bossa Studios’ latest release: Surgeon Simulator 2013. While this might sound like the latest in a series of mundane, overly detailed simulators such as the fast paced Crane Simulator 2009 and cheerful Tanker Truck Simulator 2011, the reality is a different experience. If you’re after that kind of game, then this review is most certainly not going to please you.
Photo: Edge Online
You can tell a game is going to stand out from the crowd when the main menu consists of your character’s drugged up hand hovering almost drunkenly over your desk. To start with, it’s vital to spend a few minutes grasping the basics of the controls: use the mouse to move, tilt and lower the hand & wrist, and the keys to bend the fingers. While in practice this isn’t the most intuitive idea, making even coffee cups tricky to grip, that was always the developers’ intention; from the first surgical operation, a comparatively ‘straightforward’ heart transplant, to a ridiculous brain transplant in the back of an ambulance, Surgeon Simulator doesn’t exactly demand accuracy.
Given that from the word go you’re expected to saw away ribs and tear out organs using just one ungloved (and unskilled) hand, you’d be forgiven for assuming that not one developer from Bossa Studios has a degree in medicine. Nor do you have to have one to play, and that’s the great thing. You don’t have to worry about the risk of infection, or the fact that you’ve just choked your patient with his own intestines. With its unhindered, irrational gameplay, you could argue that Surgeon Simulator 2013 is the ‘hand’ on sequel to Theme Hospital.
But it’s not a simulator. So what is it? Well, it costs £6.99 in the Steam store, and it’s disappointing. You don’t actually get very much for your hard earned cash – in fact, you’re paying just over a pound per operation (three in a theatre and three in an ambulance). Considering that you are limited to transplanting a heart, brain or pair of kidneys, the replayability value of this game is almost nil. Sure, there are Steam achievements and you can try and carry out an operation within a particular time or while losing the least amount of blood possible, but these don’t take away from the fact that the whole game should only take the typical player a couple of hours. It’s a cheap thrill (and the term ‘thrill’ is used loosely here).
It’s a shame that the madness of gamers’ YouTube videos can’t be conveyed in a review, as first looks at the game are hilarious; you just can’t wait to try it out for yourself. However, amusing as it may be, Surgeon Simulator 2013 looks unlikely to become the next must have PC title. On the other hand, with scope for future updates on Steam or even a full-fat release, there’s room for more bloodthirsty surgical malpractice yet.
In the meantime, try not to jab yourself with any needles or drop the drill into your poor patient’s open body, if you can help it.