Surgeon Simulator 2013 Review
- Updated: April 19, 2013
Prepare to kill edition. For those unaware of Surgeon Simulator 2013′s glorious rise to power: it was a game, that consisted of a single surgery level, developed for the Global Game Jam by a very smart group of fellows from Bossa Studios. After it released to the general public, along with its teeth-grinding controls and hilarious concept, it was showered with love and kittens from all over the Internet. Now, after a long, hard wait of a few months, it’s time to welcome the full game of Surgeon Simulator 2013 to Steam! All thanks to the magic of Steam Greenlight.
There is even more good news, everyone: it’s still just as difficult, hilarious, and funny as it was back in demo form – only now there’s even more of it! There are now three surgeries which you can perform, as far as I can decipher as I cannot complete the brain surgery but it appears to be the final one in the list, including: an updated version of the heart surgery available in the free demo, a double kidney transplant, and the illusive brain surgery. I kept failing the double kidney transplant initially because I could not wrap my brain around how to do the intestines properly (a sentence that school never prepared me to write). Rest assured though that all three surgeries available are equal parts difficult, awesome, and bloody difficult. The brain surgery one especially as it bested me despite hours of attempting.
The concept of the game is pretty much in the title: you play as Nigel Burke, a man thrust into the occupation of surgeon with no prior knowledge or experience. A pretty entertaining concept already, however the true addictiveness of the game lies with the controls. It sounds dumb, but it’s true. You place your left hand on the A, W, E, R, and SPACE keys to simulate the hand’s fingers, and use the mouse to move, lower, and change the angle of the hand itself. You only control one hand throughout the game, and it sounds easy – but it isn’t. You will kill the patient enough times to convince them they’re stuck in a coma-dream eternally playing Dark Souls.
Gripping, lifting, and using the tools with true precision takes time. Luckily, the game is self-aware enough to accept this. It will take practice to complete a level, a lot of practice, but once you’ve honed your skills enough so you’re ready to replace the vital organ at the end of the level you can just dump it in without a care in the world. When dropping the new heart into the patient’s open, bleeding chest cavity at the end of the heart surgery, the game proudly announces: “Yeah. It looks like he’ll live. COMPLETE!”
The graphics, sound, and control smoothness have all been vastly improved from the original Game Jam demo. Likely because they weren’t tied down with a strict time limit for this release. The demo now acts as almost an Alpha version of the game, that remains available free here as a taster, and now we’ve jumped right over Beta and onto Steam! The free demo will give you a sense and feel for it all, but this Steam Greenlight package is definitely worth the bucks.
There are also a lot of really nice hidden Easter Eggs tucked away in the Steam version. There won’t be any spoilers of them here, but there is a very subtle but epic Rage Quit reference hidden away in the achievements. Any RoosterTeeth reference is a welcome sight in my books. Dicking around in the menu screen is also highly recommend, it is essentially Nigel’s work desk, as there are a lot of gems of interaction to be discovered outside of the obvious menu options, as long as you can ignore the bloody perpetually ringing phone.
Surgeon Simulator 2013 is a unique case to review. It should technically be labelled as frustrating, and at best a ‘in a sale’ recommendation, but it in reality comes across as masochistically fun. Think of the Super Hexagon/Impossible Game style of game genre, only with surgery (and granted a slightly better learning curve). Repeating the same surgery because you accidentally knocked the new organ off the table should be classified and irritating, but it’s not because the reason you failed is you knocked a vital organ off the freaking table. It’s so bizarre and enjoyable it dodges criticism because of it.
Be warned that the difficulty is very present throughout the game, but with the hilarious gameplay, sound effects, awesome achievements, varied and funny Easter Eggs, and that inevitable enormous satisfaction of finally completing a surgery… it’s a really fun game. It’s stupid, and occasionally annoying, but every moment I spent with it was fun.
It’s definitely worth paying money for. It may even be worth a little bit more if you have friends or relatives who you can convince to have a turn while you sit back and watch.