Surgeon Simulator 2013
Gameplay 8
Graphics 8
Sound 8

One thing is for sure, Surgeon Simulator 2013 is not going to appeal to everyone. I had a blast with the unwieldy controls and the accidental mishaps is just as entertaining as finally nailing the surgery. A lot of patience is required if you want to become good at this game, but it is worth the effort.

Gameplay: Either utterly brilliant or utterly frustrating depending on how patient you are.

Graphics: Good in a gory and darkly humorous way.

Sound: Has a nice synth-laden soundtrack

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Surgeon Simulator 2013

Developer: Bossa Studios | Publisher: Bossa Studios | Release Date: 2013 | Genre: Simulation / Action / Indie| Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

One thing about Surgeon Simulator 2013 should be made abundantly clear right from the start. If you purchase this game thinking you are going to learn anything remotely valuable about surgery then you are very much mistaken. This is one of those games that while certainly possible to play “properly” is very much geared towards goofing around and having as much fun as possible doing so.

The game places you in control of Nigel Burke, or rather, the shaky left hand of Nigel Burke. Each individual finger is opened and closed with a corresponding keyboard button and the direction, rotation and height of the hand is handled (pardon the pun) with the mouse. If you think this sounds bad, wait until you actually try it out for yourself. Your first foray into the game will inevitably result in Nigel knocking over everything on his desk as you attempt simple tasks such as picking up the telephone or holding a pen. Then the game throws you into your first mission, performing a heart transplant and this is where the real fun begins.

Everything about this game is purposefully over the top and exaggerated. You are given a plethora of tools with which to perform operations, but when even the simple act of picking up a syringe can result in Nigel injecting himself and suffering double vision you know you are in for one heck of a ride. With time it is possible to become proficient and even good at the operations, but initially your patients are doomed to quick and horrible deaths. The game even rubs in every loss by telling you how long it took to “brutally murder” your poor victim.

Once you have mastered to art of heart surgery, it is on to a double kidney transplant and finally a brain transplant. Complete these and you get to do it all over again, but this time in the back of an ambulance that appears to be taking part in a demolition derby. It’s hard not to burst out laughing when the ambulance hits a bump and all your carefully laid out tools drops into the abdominal cavity of your patient or organs slip out of your grasp and go flying out the open doors before disappearing from view. Of course, not everyone is going to appreciate this kind of twisted humor, but personally I had a blast.

The visuals are gruesome in a cartoony kind of way and not particularly realistic. All the internal organs are more or less where they should be but that’s about as far as the realism goes. Smashing in the patient’s rib cage with a fire extinguisher before yanking out the lungs with your bare hands is about par for the course and the sadistic can even drape intestines around the victim’s neck for an achievement. The game doesn’t particularly care what you do with the organs once they are removed so it is entirely possible to complete surgery with all the organs strewn about the place. As long as you can finish the operation before the patient bleeds out and the transplanted organ is vaguely in the right spot you will finish the stage. You can of course do everything as carefully as possible with minimal trauma and blood loss, but where is the fun in that.

The idea for this game was born at the Global Game Jam and took a mere 48 hours to be created. This Steam version was made in about 48 days and features a lot more polish, but it is still more of a novelty than a real game. As I have mentioned, this game is not for the easily frustrated and if you can’t appreciate the fact that the controls are purposely hard you will struggle to find the fun in Surgeon Simulator. There are no tutorials and you have to complete each operation before the next one becomes available. The physics can also be a bit wonky at times and I noticed some clipping issues, but this didn’t detract too much from the experience. The hand you control can sometimes obscure what is going on inside the patient, which can make some procedures even harder than what they already are. The selection of operations is rather slim, but a recent update added a new surgery where you get to do an uber heart transplant on the Heavy from Team Fortress 2. There is also a hidden surgery level where you get to your surgical skills to a whole new frontier. I quite enjoyed the music in the game which features some very appropriate synth style tunes.

While it is easy to criticize Surgeon Simulator 2013 for the controls or write it off as nothing more than a novelty, there is definitely fun to be had here. I picked it up during the Steam Summer Sale and was hooked from the minute I lost my watch inside a patient and accidentally stuck a scalpel into an electrical socket. There are enough achievements to enhance the longevity of the game but hopefully future updates will add some more operations.

System Requirements

  • OS:Windows XP
  • Processor:2.0 GHz
  • Memory:2 GB RAM
  • Graphics:Nvidia Geforce 7800 GT or better
  • DirectX®:9.0
  • Hard Drive:500 MB HD space
  • Sound:DirectX9.0 compatible sound card
  • Additional:Requires keyboard. Touchpad supported, but mouse strongly recommended for best play experience.
  • OS:Windows 7
  • Processor:2.0 GHz or better
  • Memory:2 GB RAM
  • Graphics:Radeon x850 or comparable
  • DirectX®:9.0
  • Hard Drive:500 MB HD space
  • Sound:DirectX9.0 compatible sound card
  • Additional:Requires keyboard. Touchpad supported, but mouse strongly recommended for best play experience.
  • OS:10.6 Snow Leopard
  • Processor:1.7 GHz
  • Memory:2 GB RAM
  • Graphics:1024×768 or greater desktop screen resolution (Intel hd 3000 or comparable)
  • Hard Drive:500 MB HD space
  • Additional:Requires keyboard. Touchpad supported, but mouse strongly recommended for best play experience.
  • OS:10.6 Snow Leopard
  • Processor:2.4 GHz
  • Memory:4 GB RAM
  • Graphics:Nvidia GT 130 or comparable
  • Hard Drive:500 MB HD space
  • Additional:Requires keyboard. Touchpad supported, but mouse strongly recommended for best play experience.
  • OS:Ubuntu 13.04
  • Processor:2.0 GHz or better
  • Memory:2 GB RAM
  • Graphics:Radeon x850 or comparable
  • Hard Drive:500 MB HD space
  • Additional:Requires keyboard. Touchpad supported, but mouse strongly recommended for best play experience.

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