Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Game Controls Rating:
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Despite the serious title, Surgeon Simulator is far from a serious game about surgery. At least, I really hope it isn't. Kind of like an adult version of the board game Operation, there's as much fun in messing around and everything going tragically wrong as there is in getting things right. Even if those awkward controls will grate throughout the experience.
Previously solely a PC game, Surgeon Simulator has gained quite a cult following - much like many other difficult games. Surgeon Simulator certainly isn't for the faint hearted, and that includes the squeamish and those unenthusiastic about tricky games. There's only 4 operations to tackle here, with the addition of a further challenge in the form of a moving corridor mode. It might not sound like much but given this isn't the kind of game to finish on one's first attempt it's reasonably plentiful.
Across those four operations, players must tackle various tricky tasks. First is a heart transplant, technically simple in terms of the steps needed to complete it (cut away the rib cage, remove loads of organs, and cut up some arteries) but the ideal starting point. Immediately, the dark sense of humor of the game shines through. Surgeon Simulator isn't about niceties and the odds of any patient surviving these operations is unlikely. Mostly because the control system is deliberately awkward, meaning that getting equipment stuck under the patient's ribcage isn't uncommon by any means. Mis-tapping and cutting up a lung with a saw, rather than cutting through a rib, is very likely. It's tough going for the perfectionist. In fact, the perfectionist will be quite frustrated here. The fun is gleaned from simply seeing how badly things can go more so than actually progressing.
Elsewhere, things turn even more gruesome with a kidney transplant, teeth transplant, and an eye transplant. Yuck. The same rules apply in terms of how to complete such tasks, but the challenge is in figuring out the best equipment to use. Given it's pretty easy to accidentally fling such equipment off screen, improvisation is also common place.
Surgeon Simulator certainly grows on the player after a time. At first it's awkward and unlikeable, but I found the urge to get things right steadily growing. The control system never really gets easier or more intuitive, remaining stubborn and with a mind of its own at times. The humor never rises above crude either, but it is oddly intriguing to see how things can go. Like any cult classic, Surgeon Simulator is going to have an equal number of lovers and haters, and understandably so. This isn't a game for hand holding in any way. It's more likely to cut one's hand off by accident.