Available to download via Steam now, Surgeon Simulator 2013 has experienced quite an odd path to consumer’s hands. Having begun life as a prototype developed in just forty eight hours at this year’s Global Game Jam back in January, Surgeon Simulator 2013 caught the attention of the gaming public due to its madcap gameplay and smatterings of gore. Both of these headline grabbing assets have made their way into the retail production, born of a demand for a more fleshed-out Surgeon Simulator 2013 experience.
Surgeon Simulator 2013 is an odd title, and capitalises on this at every opportunity: it’s not a videogame that you’re supposed to take seriously. Obviously riffing on the rise in popularity of titles such as Farming Simulator and Delivery Truck Simulator, Surgeon Simulator 2013 is a more light-hearted affair than those titles which have inspired it. You are not meant to be good at Surgeon Simulator 2013, and for the first hour you most certainly won’t be.
While the contemporaries offer virtual interpretations of realistic management or direct control procedures related to their chosen field, Surgeon Simulator 2013 is about as abstract as you could possibly get. The player uses the mouse to guide position, rotation and height of a virtual left hand, with the A, W, E, R and Space keys representing each of the five digits. Using this intentionally loose and slow-to-respond control scheme the player takes to the operating theatre and attempts to perform incredibly challenging surgeries that could save many peoples lives. If you don’t end up with a pile of virtual cadavers however, you should probably be attending medical school rather than playing a videogame.
Once you have managed to build some understanding of the awkward control system, the momentum of your on-screen avatar and it’s connection to the virtual world you can go about attempting to save people’s lives, rather than bringing them to an abrupt and unflattering end. Despite being somewhat of a comedy title, Surgeon Simulator 2013 provides plenty of challenges for those who wish to continue beyond the initial combination of frustration and self-effacing laughs that the videogame provides. While suggesting that videogame starts gently with a heart transplant may sound like a misguided judgement, even just a small amount of progress while have you wishing for a time when life as a virtual surgeon was oh-so-easy.
And therein lays Surgeon Simulator 2013’s greatest strength: despite being a frustratingly taxing affair, it does compel you to continue pushing on through. From the struggle to learn the basics to the hugely taxing brain transplant, Surgeon Simulator 2013 is inherently designed to be inviting even when the obstacles you’re facing appear almost insurmountable. With a rapidly increasing difficulty curve you’ll return to earlier challenges only to wonder what was so complicated first time around, and relish in beating your original scores. Whether it was by chance or clever design we’ll perhaps never know, but those forty eight hours have lead to something which is far more enjoyable than it has any right to be.