Gamer on a Budget #10 – Surgeon Simulator 2013
Reviewed by William LJ Galaini
Surgeon Simulator 2013
Developer: Bossa Studios
Where: Steam, Mac Store
Platform: PC, OS X, Linux
Surgery is the astounding act of manipulating the insides of a human being while they are alive with the intention of altering their body in a tolerable way. Injuries that end lives often cause less scarring and damage that the act of surgery. A poorly placed laceration will end a life within twelve seconds whereas a precise amalgamation of incisions over a period of twelve hours can prolong life considerably. It is a paradox, and when you view the act of surgical practice on a macro scale, the idea itself is absurd. Cut people open and rip things out to save them!? That’s absurd!
Which is the best word to describe Surgeon Simulator 2013: ABSURD.
With controls like the infamous OctoDad, you must steer the surgeon’s arm and individual fingers in a uproarious effort to perform the most complex of surgeries with completely ham-fisted results. Like a Warner Brother’s cartoon, you yank out beating hearts and *splort* new ones in. Bursting through ribcages with a hammer is not uncommon and I even once left an entire phone inside a patient after I had removed a lung (said lung bounced off the table and flopped on the floor with a satisfying squish).
Trying to pry out chiseled chunks of rib with your sausage fingers is my favorite challenge. Wrestling with the controls is honestly the true nature of this game, and it occurred to me during one of my many many failures that not only is victory rare, but it is all the sweeter for it. Failure itself is astoundingly entertaining, and this game is delightful to play in front of an audience. The shouts and squeals from the sidelines lead to bizarre commentary that juxtaposes the actions on screen resulting in comic gold. For example:
“Yes, we don’t want the phone where the liver is. Wait, is it an iPhone 4? Leave it, he’s better off.”
“Stroke their eyebrows, calm them down some.”
“Dude! Is that a diskette? Is Commander Keen on that?”
“Nurse, do you ever think about that night?”
“Perhaps the eyeball is not the best place to inject a coagulant. JUST A GUESS.”
“I’m surgering as hard as I can!”
Production values here are present and polished. The graphics are slick and playfully gory in an ‘Itchy and Scratchy’ kind of way. With sound effects so ‘wet’ it almost rewards you every time you drop a kidney, you’ll be tempted to juggle every human chunk you can. The true crowd pleaser in this game is the control scheme, whereas this kind of thing failed miserably in Jurassic Park: Trespasser it is a rousing success here. With effort you can accomplish your intentions sloppily, but attempting to drive the disembodied arm of an apparently DRUNK doctor yields extreme fun.
In Surgeon Simulator 2013, the stoic nature of your patient means their organs are playthings and their hollow body a playground for your clumsy shenanigans. Even the serious title of the game makes it clear that we are going for irony full-bore. Every element of the game here makes efforts to support the absurdity present, and it does so in spades. What a fun, goofy, raunchy game!
Why you would buy it:
You like being inside people
Not like that
Well, maybe a little like that
Why you would pass on it:
Is it wrong to like being inside people?
I mean, it’s not unnatural
It’s not like you’re pulling out someone’s heart and having sex with it… Is it?
Say what you will, but that semilunar valve looks randy to me…
Recommended for: Aspiring doctors who need a laugh, people who like ‘squish’ sounds
This Gamer on a Budget review was originally published on the old Winterwind Productions site in December, 2013, prior to our switch to WordPress in 2020.