Back in April last year we reviewed Surgeon Simulator 2013 which was created by London-based Bossa Studios. The game was hilarious thanks to the insane controls and very dark sense of humour. Nearly a year has passed and the game has now found its way onto iPad. We jumped at the chance to head back to the operating table to see what’s new.
It’s probably worth pointing out at this point that Surgeon Simulator 2013 isn’t a serious take on the life of a surgeon. To really appreciate the game you need the same dark sense of humour and it helps if you’re not too squeamish. You play as surgeon Nigel Burke and must work your way through four surgical procedures. The heart transplant and double kidney transplant return but the brain transplant has been removed. In its place are two brand new transplant operations – eyes and teeth!
Medical knowledge is not required in order to play the game, in fact it probably helps to have none at all. The action is again viewed from a first person perspective but you no longer control one of Nigel’s arms. Instead the iPad version features multi-touch controls and it plays quite different from the PC version.
In order to interact with anything you need to touch it. If you want to move an object then you need to hold and drag. Using two fingers together allows you to rotate the item you are holding. It is also possible to tap on the screen while holding an object to target an area. Finally for extra fun you can also dual-wield implements.
Nigel again starts the game at his desk which is full of all manner of things to interact with. Instead of the computer of the original Nigel now has his own tablet computer which can give you tips on the operations that you need to perform. When you’re ready to start an operation you can look at your todo list to select one.
Just like the PC version the game presents you with simple instructions like ‘Perform a heart transplant’ and lets you decide what to do. Your patient is already opened up and prepped for surgery. To the sides of the patient are all manner of standard medical tools such as scalpels, syringes, saws and a transplant case with the new organ. There are also plenty of other unconventional tools such as a hammer and drill as well as pens, pencils and even a plastic spoon.
With no real instructions or direction there’s a fair amount of trial and error before you get an operation right. It can be a little frustrating while you work out what you’re doing but it’s also a lot of fun. To crack the rib cage you might decide to use the small circular saw and take your time cutting each rib. However we dropped it on the floor on our first attempt and found that just smashing the ribs to bits with a hammer worked equally as well.
As you operate on a patient the game keeps an eye on their vitals and the important one is how much blood they have and how quickly they are losing it. Lose too much, the patient will die and it’s time to start again. As mentioned this isn’t a serious sim so pretty much anything goes as long as you keep the patient alive. The heart is covered by other internal organs which you can carefully cut out, drill out, hack to bits and even tear out with your hands. If the patient’s heart rate becomes a worry you can increase the anaesthetic. If their heart stops you can use the defibrillator to shock them back to life. There are also different needles you can use such as a green one that helps slow blood loss.
The complexity of the controls is done on purpose to ensure you don’t always manage to do what you intend. It’s quite possible to reach for a tool only to knock half of what you need on the floor, stab yourself with a syringe full of meds or just murder your patient completely by accident. The touch controls took us quite a few attempts to get used to and initially we were quite frustrated.
After a few tries it becomes easier and once you get through each operation the game then unlocks the new corridor mode. Here you get to tackle the same operations again but this time while running your patient through a hospital. This replaces the moving ambulance mode from the original. Operating while your patient is on a moving trolley is obviously far more difficult and things are constantly jerked and thrown about making things even tougher. Many times we’ve dropped a vital organ and had it bounce onto the floor and off down the corridor.
The mobile version includes a fantastic new option to save and share replays of your best (or worse!) attempts at performing your operations. Also new is a new multiplayer mode where you go up against another player. The aim is to finish your surgery first and while you are operating you are each given text updates of what the other player is up to. It adds some extra fun and pressure to your operations and extends the life of the game.
It would have been easy for Bossa Studios to bring the same version of the game to iPad. Instead it’s wonderful to see that they have put a ton of effort into expanding the game. The physics and tricky controls keep you coming back as they ensure that no two attempts will be the same. If you enjoyed the original or have yet to sample the delights of Surgeon Simulator then you should be sure to check the iPad version out.
Surgeon Simulator is available now via the App Store at a cost of £3.99.