Release Date: April 19th, 2013
Developer: Bossa Studios
ESRB Rating: N/A
Saving lives is a full time job. But lately I spend more time operating a computer than on patients. My daily routine of organ transplants has itself been transplanted with folders full of paperwork and a colourful stack of floppy disks. I stare at the half empty bottle of diazepam as the phone opposite me continues to ring. I just can’t bring myself to answer it.
No, seriously, I’m completely unable to answer the phone. The last time I tried I punched it off my desk and onto the floor. Oh Surgeon Simulator 2013, why must you mock me?
Surgeon Simulator 2013 was originally conceived and created in 48 hours during 2013’s Global Game Jam. After the free version became an unexpected hit, London based Bossa Studios decided to expanded and refine the game for purchase on Steam. And now, 48 days of development later, gamers are able to get wrist-deep into the gooey innards of their fellow man in a simulatory experience like no other.
Livin’ the dream with Surgeon Simulator 2013
It’s a well known, scientifically proven fact that most gamers have probably daydreamed about being a bona fide surgeon at some point in their dreary, unsatisfying, non-surgeon lives. Enter Surgeon Simulator 2013.
So there I am, living the dream, standing in front of a man’s exposed ribcage. His diseased ticker half-heartedly pumps away somewhere beneath a mess of squidgy organs. But there’s no time to stare, the clock’s ticking and I’ve got a job to do.
Grabbing the surgical DIY hammer, I smash through the patient’s ribcage, sending shards of broken bone every which way. Flinging the hammer aside I yank out his left lung in an attempt to reach his heart.
Wait, the heart’s on his left, not my left!
In a panic I grab the discarded lung and shove it back into the patient’s chest, knocking over a jar of scalpels and cotton swabs which which tumble down into his gaping cavity. I try to use a nearby bone saw to scoop out the escaping utensils only to rupture a several major arteries. Fifteen seconds later the patient had died of extreme blood loss. But hey, you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs. Or something.
I wonder what’s for lunch today.
I am surgeon, hear me roar
Surgeon Simulator 2013 has players assume the role of a surgeon’s right-hand man. Well actually, it’s his left hand. But nevertheless this skilled hand, under the player’s direct control, must perform several of the most complicated organ transplants known to man using nothing but standard surgical tools. Move the mouse to move the hand, left-click to lower it, right-click to rotate it and press A, W, E, R and the spacebar to flex each individual digits. Simple enough, right? Well, it only takes a few seconds of trying to actually use these controls before it becomes abundantly clear that Surgeon Simulator 2013 is a complete and utter practical joke.
What other game is there is there where you can accidentally trash your office while trying to pick up a pen? It’s at this point where players will be either laughing along with the madness or fuming with frustration. Those who have a tendency to become enraged with finicky controls and brutally difficult gameplay may want to steer clear of Surgeon Simulator 2013, unless of course there’s a crowd watching.
Wannabe surgeons up for the challenge will likely steam ahead into Surgeon Simulator 2013‘s first operation, a complete heart transplant, only to be greeted with an open torso and no instructions. In a way, this lack of direction is the only aspect of the game that can be truly considered a simulation.
The patient’s ribcage is too solid to be pulled out by hand? Try smashing it with a hammer or give it a few blasts of the surgical laser. That pesky liver is wedged in pretty tight, hmm? Shove a pair of scissors in there and see what happens. Real surgeons don’t get on screen instructions, so neither do Surgeon Simulator 2013 players; we just have to wing it and hope for the best.
But things are bound to go wrong. Even those who’ve managed to get to grips with Surgeon Simulator 2013‘s infernal controls will eventually wind up accidentally administering potent, hallucinogenic into their own hand, or electrocuting themselves which results in reversed controls. But even if players are able to survive their own work bench, the inevitable slip of the hand can and will slice a patient open, sending blood spurting everywhere, resulting in major blood loss and possibly death.
Extra operations include a double kidney transplant and a particularly gruesome full brain transplant which can eventually be performed in the back of an ambulance for increased difficulty and giggles. Each successful transplant is rewarded with floppy disks containing helpful surgical tips and, upon completion of the last transplant, lead the way to Surgeon Simulator 2013‘s final, secret level that’s truly out of this world.
Dark video game humour at its finest
It’s not the best looking game around, nor is it the longest, but Surgeon Simulator 2013 is definitely one of the funniest titles to come out this year. It is a little disappointing that there are only three operations for a total of a few hours of gameplay, but what the game lacks in content it makes up for in replayability. The sheer amount of creativity and attention to detail that has gone into this game, combined with the wonky controls of a surgeon’s floppy hand, means that something new and amusing will happen during every playthrough. Even those who don’t enjoy playing it themselves can pass the reigns to friends or family for guaranteed laughs.
Surgeon Simulator 2013 is a weird little game with an absolutely great sense of dark humour that’s rarely achieved in the realm of video games. It’s difficult and frustrating, but it’ll still manage to squeeze a few chuckles out of even the most uptight of players and would be a great addition to anybody’s list of Steam games.