Surgeon Simulator 2013
Reviewed by Didi Cardoso
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2016-02-20 PC Simulation M (Mature) Bossa Studios

I finally caved in to Surgeon Simulator when it appeared on the Steam holiday sale for a ridiculously low price. I figured for under $3, even if it really is that bad, it should provide enough entertainment for a while. But I really had no idea how much I'd be laughing at how bad it was, and most of all, how bad I am at it.

My first few minutes of Surgeon Simulator were a mess of trying to figure out how the hand and fingers worked. It seems easy in theory but... holy crap, it was horrible. It's awkward, it's confusing, and to top it off, I tend to mistype everything anyway so that didn't help.

You begin at your desk, where you can play around trying to grab things, answering the phone, dialing a number or writing on a piece of paper. A VHS tape on the right side tempts you to put it in the VCR (bonus surgery if you do!) while on the left side the computer shows you the basic hand controls. Your fingers are controlled by the keyboard, one key per finger. You move the arm by moving your mouse. Left click lowers your hand while right click turns your wrist.

After crashing the game while changing settings, I found my first surgery. Bob requires a heart transplant? You have to be kidding... We can't even start with something easy, have to go right into open chest procedure?

With my excellent gaming companion Michael watching, I braved the awkward controls and stepped into the shoes of possibly the clumsiest and most clueless surgeon ever. With no direction whatsoever, I was to remove this patient's heart and replace it with a new one. But how? I guess using whatever is available...

After seeing what instruments I had on hand, it took me at least five minutes just to grab the hammer to attempt to break some ribs. It doesn't matter how you get those ribs out of the way, as long as you get to the heart! It also doesn't matter how you grab the hammer, as you can see from my incredibly display of zero finger agility in the video. Slowest and most delicate hammering session ever!

I also tried the drill but that didn't work so well, and eventually I lost it. Literally lost it, since it spun itself off the screen. The bone saw seemed to do the trick though. I was pretty confused by the process since there really are no instructions. Sure, you need to replace the heart, but how? And what do you use to do it? I guess it's up to me to figure that out. Once I got into the chest cavity, I tore the lungs off and then had no clue what else to do. Poor Bob lasted 14 minutes or so.

Regardless of what surgery you are performing, your goal is to finish it before the patient loses too much blood and dies. Of course, every wrong move can cause you to slice something open that will cause some serious hemorrhage. And as if the regular surgeries in the operating room weren't difficult enough, they are also offered in a higher difficulty: a bumpy ambulance ride where the doors will randomly swing open and your instruments fly everywhere. Fortunately the instruments aren't hazardous to the surgeon, since there were plenty of times where I thought I'd cut my hand off by the way I was holding the saw. The one thing that did do some "damage" was when I poked myself with a syringe and was on a drug-induced state for the rest of the surgery where everything looked and sounded weird, and movement was even more problematic than while "sober". Well, technically I guess I did more damage to the patient that way than to myself!

Surgeon Simulator has probably the worst control scheme ever, but it's this same wacky control scheme that makes things hilariously awkward and frustrated. There's nothing quite like laughing at my own clumsiness when things go horribly wrong. The crazy physics do not help for gameplay either, as things either go flying or just won't get off your hand at all, but they sure do wonders for the hilarity factor.

To top off the already over-the-top humor, there are some pretty ridiculous achievements to obtain. Make sure you check out the list for extra laughs!

In sum, if you don't mind being incredibly frustrated by really bad controls and stupid game physics, you should play this game. Because it's those same incredibly frustrated by really bad controls and stupid game physics that will make you laugh yourself to tears while Bob lies there helpless slowly dying. Over and over... and over...