Darkly comedic surgery simulation game
Surgeon Simulator is a game that stands in a category all its own. That is to say that there hasn't been a game much like it in the past, and it's difficult to imagine one like it any time in the future.
Created in 48 hours as part of a competition (Global Game Jam), Bossa Studios created a simulator that puts players in the scrubs of a surgeon and hands them full control of the operating room and all its tools to "help" the unsuspecting patient. It quickly becomes clear that the initial intent may not have been as serious and the developers may have intended, but that doesn't mean it misses the mark.
In Surgeon Simulator, players will find no instructions, no tutorial on how to do anything at all. Prior to a surgery a display will tell what kind of operation needs to be performed, and the player is left to a selection of medical instruments and a sedated patient waiting for the surgery to be performed. With full control of one working hand, players can go blindly plunging drills and saws and pharmaceutical-filled syringes into an open chest cavity and guess at what to do. While this blind style of playing may seem frustrating to some, it turns out to be this game's greatest source of innovative fun.
Absurd as it may be to have an organ fly out of the simulated hand and have it fly out the open doors of the ambulance, there is something entertaining in playing at this skillful practice. Controlling only a single hand with a combination of keys and mouse controls does make it difficult to maneuver or do much of anything; the results of obliviously hazardous game play is an interesting change in pace for gamers who take pride in their skills in stealth or strategy games where precision is the key to success.
The game offers only a heart transplant, kidney transplant and brain transplant, which may seem limiting on its face. Any sim that only provides three modes of play may be overlooked by most, but here it provides more than enough variety in setting for each surgery that it fills hours of playtime. Players are limited by their patient's amount of blood lost during the surgery, and the total damage caused by the surgeon during the procedure. There are also hidden achievements that boost the player's score than can be discovered by experimenting during the surgery. This results in a grade that determines the player's grade.
Surgeon Simulator is most definitely an acquired taste for some. Such an absurd and cumbersome game should be the kind of title that frustrates, but all it manages to do is inspire laughs from pointless fun. There are a lot of great things hidden for the players to find while they move through this comedic sim, but they'll most likely come back for more cartoonish medical gory fun.
-Variety of gameplay
-Chaotic, messy fun